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Reading 2010

It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon when these faithful Reading followers arrived at the Madejski to participate in Football Aid's first ever event at this wonderful stadium. Spirits were high as the summer drew closer and the players were buzzing as they ran out of the tunnel to live the ultimate dream with the cheers from their friends and family ringing in their ears. For the die hard Royals fans taking part it was going to be an extra special day, with club legends of the calibre of Lawrie Sanchez, Mick Gooding and Michael Gilkes all on hand to lend their expert playing skills and Managerial experience to the day.

Tuesday 25th May 2010
Reading Home vs. Reading Away
Kick-Off: 6:30pm
Legends: Lawrie Sanchez, Mick Gooding, Michael Gilkes
Match Officials: Mark Mellor, Adrian Waters, Geoff Garnham, Ian Gordon 

The Away team got out of the blocks quickly and looked the more dangerous of the two sides early on. Pushing forward they created many chances, with one of the best coming when Michael Gilkes crossed the ball in from the left, it was met by the head of captain Lee Parsons on the edge of the six yard box, but he couldn't quite direct it on target and watched the ball drift over the bar.

Next up, the ever impressive Bal Singh came close for the Away team soon after their first chance. Some good hustling around the area from Sam Paine allowed him to set up Singh but after beating the keeper with a low shot, Trevor Fisher put Singh's effort behind for a corner.

The Home team's first real chance came when a deflected ball over the top found Captain Ryan Donkin just outside the area. The striker spotted keeper Gareth Pugh off his line but Donkin's lob went agonizingly wide of the post and out for a goal-kick.

Both teams were showing great fight, with the bulk of the first half being battled out in the middle third of the field. Ian McBride almost broke the deadlock when some great link up play between Phil Thorpe and Lee Parsons resulted in McBride latching on to a lovely through­-ball, taking one touch with his left before striking the ball past goalkeeper Darren Heath, only to be denied by the post.

As half time arrived the game remained goalless despite all the efforts of both teams to break the deadlock.

Half-Time: Reading Home 0 - 0 Reading Away

The Home team got the second half underway but again it was the Away team that looked sharp. The early highlight was an excellent solo run by Ian McBride, picking the ball up deep inside his own half he darted down the left side, with no real challenge he continued to close in towards the penalty box where he skipped past the tackle of Donkin before hitting a shot which was turned away for a corner.

At the other end Kevin Mills picked the ball up on the half-way line and began to drive forward. His vision picked out Dave Wheatley with a through ball and with Chris Jackson hot on the striker's tail he fired a first time effort at goal which produced a great diving save from Pugh. Wheatley came close again moments later when he linked up well with Mark Donkin in the area but another fine save from Pugh resulted in his low shot being put behind for a corner.

The opening goal finally came from a free-kick on the edge of the area; Fisher brought down Gary Jones which earned the Home centre-half a yellow card. After a quick discussion it was Sam Paine who stepped-up to take the free-kick; he struck it low and hard past the wall beyind the extended arm of the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net (0-1).

The Away team almost doubled their lead right away when Ian McBride drove forward; the ball was then picked up by Parsons who played a good ball to Ben Davitt who closed in on the goalkeeper. However Davitt was punished for being too generous, after he unselfishly squared the ball the defence were able to clear to safety.

The Away team certainly had the upper-hand now and again nearly increased their lead when a move initiated by Gary Jones saw Phil Thorpe close in on goal; bearing down on the keeper he perhaps should have shot but a square ball to McBride saw the No 10 try to chip the advancing Home keeper, but Heath pulled off a sublime one-handed save.

The game was becoming one-way traffic in this period and McBride was in on the action again only moments later. He picked the ball up just outside the area and after getting space in the box chipped it square to Parsons but his first time volley was well struck but went high and wide.

The Away No 16 Gary Jones quickly created another chance, picking the ball up in his own half and driving down the right wing, he continued into the box before squaring for his Captain Lee Parsons but his low shot was expertly deflected wide by the left boot of Heath in the Home goal.

The Home team desperately searched for a way back into this match but to no avail as the Away team continued to dominate; the increasingly dangerous Gilkes played the ball to McBride who tried a testing shot from around 20 yards, the ball was rising as it headed goal-wards but Heath pulled off another magnificent save and turned it over the crossbar with his right hand. From the resulting corner Left Midfielder Chawalerd Sangyingyongwattana tried his luck from 15 yards but his effort was beaten away by Heath.

The second goal eventually came for the Away team and what a fantastic individual goal it was. Gary Jones picked the ball up wide right just inside his opponent's half; he then darted diagonally across the pitch before reaching the edge of the eighteen yard box where he let fly with a brilliant left-footed strike which rattled the underside of the bar down onto the goal-line, before bouncing back up onto the bar and into the net! (0-2)

Despite being two goals behind the Home team continued to create chances. Matt Edwell played the ball up-field to Wheatley and continued his run through, Wheatley then returned the favour with a pin-point pass into the box and Edwell executed a dangerous looking shot at goal but Pugh pulled off a brilliant stop to keep the ball out.

However it was the Away team that got the next goal, Gilkes received the ball from a throw out, stepped inside his marker before releasing Paul Brand who was on a rare foray upfield from the back, he continued his run until he was just inside the box and just before the covering defender could get to him he side footed it confidently past the despairing keeper's dive (0-3).  

Unfortunately for the Home team it was to get worse only moments later, Brand won the ball in midfield, played it to Davitt who released the ever willing Jones on the right, he skipped past his defender, played it inside to Captain Lee Parsons who made no mistake from 8 yards out, his high 1st time shot evading the keeper's outstretched hand (0-4).

The match continued to ebb and flow with 1st a dangerous cross from the Home team then a chance for Feehan being snuffed out at either end by the impressive men between the sticks. But it was the Home team who were to strike next; the ball was well won in midfield by Kevin Mills and fell to Wheatley, his excellent back flick found Matt Edwell in space and he powered into the box before nonchalantly curling a right footed effort high into the net. A fantastic finish and another contender for Goal of the Season, from a game that what turning into an excellent contest (1-4).    

The Away team weren't put off their stride though, but they were to be denied by a brilliant double save by Heath, first of all Gilkes played in McBride on the left but his well struck effort was palmed away, the ball made it's way back to him and he tried his luck with a curling right foot shot but again Heath made the save.

McBride looked dangerous again shortly after, his excellent left footed effort from distant palmed away by the overworked Heath. However the Away team made no mistake from the corner, the ball was played in by Jones, flicked on by McBride with his head and Mark Feehan was on hand to finish cleverly with the outside of his left foot from close range (1-5).

The Home team hit back straight away, forcing a corner, however the Away team dealt with it comfortably. The game was becoming stretched and with the Home team's defence being badly affected by injury they were living dangerously, sure enough they were punished soon after. McBride showed great skill on the left before flicking the ball inside to Michael Gilkes who went on a mazy run, elegantly dancing into the box before bamboozling the keeper with a few stepovers and placing the ball into the net (1-6).

Going into the final seconds of the game the play was increasingly being played at almost a walking pace, but considering the energy sapping temperatures it was to be expected. The Home were still pushing forward and forced one last corner on the right, the ball was pinged into the box and met well by Ryan Donkin but his header flew high over the bar. The ref's whistle blew for full time and a fantastic second half was brought to an end with the impressive Away team running out deserving winners.

Full-Time: Reading Home 1 - 6 Reading Away

Man of the Match Home: Darren Heath
Man of the Match Away: Ian McBride
Moment of the Match: Gary Jones

Home Team: Darren Heath, Jon Keen, Mick Gooding, Mark Mills, Gary Jones, Barry Maclure, Andrew Blocksage, Nick Poling, Ryan Donkin, Matt Edwell, Dave Wheatley, Kevin Mills, Trevor Fisher & Mark Donkin

Away Team: Gareth Pugh, Antony James, Michael Gilkes, Chris Jackson, Paul Brand, Sam Paine, Ben Davitt, Bal Singh, Philip Thorpe, Ian McBride, Lee Parsons, Sam Paine, Mark Feehan, Gary Jones & Chawalerd Sangyingyongwattana

Mascots: Mason Page, Esmai Mills & Harrison Pugh