Anticipation was high on a beautiful day in Derby as the two sides emerged from the modern Pride Park tunnel. And the excitement of the Rams fans taking part would only have been heightened with the involvement of Derby County legends Phil Gee on the Home side and Marc Edworthy on the Away side, both of whom looked fighting fit after their playing involvement in the Masters Tournament. Also watching on from the sideline was Football Aid regular Roger Davies who had already delivered rousing team talks to both sides.Saturday 22nd May 2010
This pep talk obviously sprung the two sets of players into life from the outset and almost from the kick off the bustling Home centre forward Dene Gagliardi was put through with a long ball out of defence. However the chance was snuffed out by the Away central defensive partnership and this was an early indication of what was to become a regular theme throughout the game with the Home team probing constantly but the Away team determined in their defensive organisation.
The job of creating and prompting these moves were to increasingly come under the remit of Home number 6 Jordan Glossop who looked precise and creative from the beginning. He first made his mark after 4 mins with an impressive ball through to Matthew Lucas, who had broken from deep, and was left in on goal only to see his shot saved by the legs of Away goalkeeper Darrel Parker. A few mins later it was the central midfielder Jordan Glossop himself who made the run as the ball was expertly weaved through by the Home side, Glossop managed to outfox the Goalkeeper Parker in slotting into his bottom right hand corner (1-0).
The confidence derived from this goal allowed the Home side to go after a second goal in very direct fashion. On 16 mins a long ball from the back by the Home team eluded Away defender Griffiths leaving Home No 10 Adam Pearce clear through on goal; this brought out goalkeeper Darrel Parker who impressively and not for the first time was to deal effectively with the situation showing excellent awareness coming off his line. The domination from the Home side was really stemming from some impressive creative play in the middle of the park. This was providing the base for a wave of attacks; the next of which saw a throw-in luckily rebounding off Matthew Lucas into Dene Gagliardi's path whose shot just skewed wide of the post and the diving, in-form Parker in goal.
Taking stock of the early balance of power the Away side began to build from the back in a more patient and mindful manner, but on 20 mins they still couldn't deal with the direct passing of the Home side. Undoubtedly the moment of the match so far; Matthew Lucas initially showed great pace for the Home side after being put clear but despite sending the goalkeeper the wrong way Parker somehow stuck out a leg to produce a great save.
This was a truly inspirational moment for the team, wearing the Argentina-like Away strip and it was to provide a platform for them coming back into the contest.
A direct and aggressive run from Away No 11 Daniel Jones won his team a corner. The resulting set-piece was taken short and the flighted cross into the area was deflected into the six yard box by Home No 5 before being decisively flicked into the net at the near post for an equalising goal by Away right midfielder Seamus Bolger. While against the run of the play the Pride Park crowd reacted warmly to a goal that left the game finely poised (1-1).
Taking confidence from this the Away side quickly went on the attack again, almost straight from the restart, with the culmination of the move seeing the ball bundle itself through the area before arriving at the feet of No 8 Thomas Jones. The left winger found himself clean through on goal but could only poke his shot just wide. But it was not long before the blue and whites were to consolidate their new found domination by taking the lead with a wonderfully worked goal. Following patient build up and a precise one two on the edge of the area, No 16 Sam Hill fired a fantastic goal of the season contender in from the edge of the box with his left foot. With this almost unbelievable strike the tide of the game had almost completely turned (1-2).
With half time fast approaching the Home team sensed a final window to level the scores and go into the break with a score line that reflected their high levels of possession in the first period. On 39 mins some head-tennis resulted in Home No 8 Richard White being released through on goal and he would have been confident about getting on the score sheet only to see his hopes dashed as he came up against one of the stars of the first half Darrel Parker; who saved yet again with his legs.
But this was a temporary reprieve for the Parker-inspired Away team as the Home side achieved their aim on 42 mins when the ball was played into the right channel of the box for No 10 Adam Pearce to side foot Home, leaving the on form goalkeeper no chance.
Half Time: Derby County Home 2 - 2 Derby County Away
Having no doubt enjoyed their half time refreshments, in what had turned into a very warm day in the Midlands, the players came out for the second half with the game finely poised.
After a first half of breakneck speed the pace noticeably slowed and it really took 10 mins for the game to hit the heights of that adventurous first half. In fact it took the prompting and energy of Away legend Marc Edworthy to spark it into life. Picking the ball up on the left wing the former Rams' favourite accelerated in possession then cut inside to deliver an in-swinging cross into the 6 yard box for No 17 Naylor. But with the ball evading the substitute it was left to No 11 Daniel Jones to sidefoot the ball into the net (2-3).
This was met with surprise from the noisy spectators with most of the friends and family in attendance no doubt expecting the Home team to take the initiative at the start of the second half in an effort to reassert their first half dominance. But it was at the other end of the pitch that the Home team had to show their determination with the Away side now setting up to hit them on the counter attack. The hero on this occasion was Home Substitute Richard White who produced a timely and spectacular sliding tackle to avert the danger. This pressure was repeated on 61 mins; with a searching ball somehow finding its way past Nicholas Medlicott and being fumbled by Goalkeeper Morris before Away No 7 Seamus Bolger only narrowly failed in his attempt to force home his second goal of the game.
But all neutrals would have been pleased when it was the Home side that provided the 6th goal of the game on 64 mins. The impetus was provided by No 2 Russell White who played the ball into the omnipresent Jordan Glossop who turned smartly before firing into the bottom corner for his second goal of the game (3-3).
Buoyed by finally making their superior poise and possession count in the match situation, and by weathering a number of dangerous Away team attacks on the counter-attack, the Home team summoned up high reserves of energy and vigour, noticeably from their midfield quartet. Though it was Centre-Forward Matthew Lucas who fired the ball into the net with his head, in the process putting his team in front (4-3).
With the result finely poised the game was becoming increasingly stretched with the Away side looking for an equaliser. But it was just this frantic effort that left the Away side short at the back and led to the Home team extending their lead on 77 mins. A long ball to attacking midfielder Adam Pearce was taken down with aplomb and side footed impressively into the net (5-3).
This was very much a knockout blow for the Away team, especially in the increasingly humid conditions (credit to both sides for producing such an entertaining game in such trying conditions), and as the final whistle approached their task looked increasingly impossible. In fact with Adam Pearce looking a constant menace on the counter attack it was the Home team that looked more likely to add to their tally.
As Referee Dan Andrews blew his final whistle both sets of players sunk to their knees as the hot conditions had left them exhausted. But the fans rewarded them with a warm round of applause as they had thoroughly enjoyed the end to end and high scoring contest.
Full Time: Derby County Home 5 - 3 Derby County AwayMan of the Match Home: Nicholas Medlicott
Home Team: Jonathan Morris, Russell White, Phil Gee, Nicholas John Medlicott, Guy Glossop, Jordan Glossop, Russell Armstrong, Richard White, Dene Gagliardi, Adam Pearce, Matthew Lucas, Richard White, Jordan Glossop, Eric Lamb, Martyn Benfield
Away Team: Darrel Parker, Eric Lamb, Marc Edworthy, Andrew Blocksage, Colin Griffiths, Gavin Locker, Seamus Bolger, Thomas Jones, Paul Taylor, James Trussell, Daniel Jones, Michael Dalton, Colin Griffiths, Sam Hill, Sam Naylor
Mascots: Jacob Gagliardi & Kyle Trussell