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Arsenal 2011

It was a beautiful day at the magnificent Emirates Stadium as the players came out for only the second ever Football Aid match at the new ground. The players were thrilled to have the chance to pull on their personalised kits and march out of the tunnel to grace the same hallowed turf that first team stars like Fabregas, Van Persie and Nasri had done only 2 weeks previously. It was a perfect day for such a great occasion, and the pitch was in mint condition.

Thursday the 19th May 2011
Arsenal Home vs. Arsenal Away
Kick Off: 10:00am
Match Officials: Peter Munt, Carol Mitchell, Gordon Manning and Peter Cruise

The Home side playing in the traditional red and white got the game underway. Both teams started well with some excellent passing moves, however neither side was able to carve out any real opportunities until the 8th minute when Ronnie Smollet barged into the back of Away Captain David Read. The resulting free kick was in a central position 25 yards from goal. Anthony White stepped up a curled a beautiful free kick round the wall that sneaked in at the near post. (0-1)

The goal seemed to settle both sides down, and the Home team immediately had a great chance to level the game just minutes later. Darren Brogden won the ball well in defence and passed to Chris Phillips on the half way line. Winger Phillips looked up and delivered a fantastic long range through ball over the top of the defence to Maurizio Boi who had shown great movement to stay onside. Boi went for power and sliced his shot horribly, a wasted opportunity.

The Away side were quick to come back into the game. Left winger Craig Fowkes received the ball and played a sublime one-two with David Traynor, the midfielder weighting his pass perfectly that put Fowkes through on goal. With goalkeeper Paul Richings narrowing the angle, Fowkes bent the ball round Richings and onto the bar. Desperately unlucky after a great move!

They didn’t have to wait long for their second goal of the game however. Brogden did well to win the ball in defence and gave the ball to Joan Tell, whose attempted clearance was cut out about 25 yards from goal on the far touchline by Steve Forbes. Forbes spotted Richings off his line and executed an excellent shot that sailed over the goalkeeper and into the net. (0-2)

The Away team were clearly hungry for more, and they had chances. A beautiful cross from deep by White was somehow missed by centre forward pairing David Read and Pete Ashman, when only a touch would have put their team 3-0 up. Again they did not have to wait long, and in the 19th minute, big centre half Scott Herring started and finished off another great team move. Driving from defence Herring gave the ball to Ashman who delivered a pass through the middle to Traynor. The ball popped out from Traynor’s feet as Richings challenged the midfielder, and Herring’s run into the box was rewarded with the easiest of finishes into an open net. Herring celebrated with a glorious front flip. (0-3)

The Home side were damaged further, when centre half Darren Brogden, a standout performer, had to go off due to a nasty looking knee injury. They suffered for this on 28 minutes, when Traynor played a pass with real quality through to Pete Ashman, who slotted the ball past an onrushing Richings. It was a deadly finish, and was the beginning of a good day for Ashman. (0-4)

It was becoming a tough day for the team in red and white. The away side were awarded what looked to be a fairly soft penalty on 32 minutes, after James Hook brought down David Read in the area, the Captain stepping up to convert with a well placed shot that clipped the underside crossbar. (0-5)

Despite the score line, there were bright spots for the Home side. Scarisbrick and Smollet had been defensively solid and in midfield Edwell had been causing problems with some direct passing, complemented by the energy of Nick Wiley beside him. Chris Phillips had shown a good range of passing on the right, and a great team move culminated in a superb cross from Phillips being met with a powerful header from Robert Fullam. Veteran goalkeeper Roy Talbot was equal to the effort and saved well.

The away side reacted to the threat well with efforts from Ashman and James Read from distance; however Andrew Crawford came closest with an effort from close range that Richings did brilliantly to save. Almost immediately after the Home side pulled a goal back! A shambolic corner from the Away side saw Joan Tell in possession. He showed good awareness to lay the ball off for Edwell who fizzed a through pass into the left hand channel for Maurizio Boi to display his pace. He took the ball round centre half Martin Johnstone before slotting the calmest of finishes into the corner of the near post. It was a great goal and no less than the Home side had deserved. (1-5)

The Away team were right back on top from the restart, Ashman hitting the post after a neat team move involving Fowkes and David Read before the referee blew for half-time.

Half-Time: Arsenal Home 1 - 5 Arsenal Away

The Away side got the game underway and scored just after just 12 seconds from the kick off! Anthony White pinged a beautiful pass to Fowkes who was operating on the right flank, before his cross to the back post was well finished by Pete Ashman, the striker taking the ball on the full and hitting across goal. It was a cruel blow for the Home side who had done well to pull a goal back. (1-6)

The substitutes had given the Away side a new burst of energy as Jerome Marks and Fowkes began to torture the Home team on the right. They created several good chances before being thwarted by last-ditch challenges from Smollet, Wiley and Hook. They were playing some beautiful football and it wasn’t long before they had another goal. On the 58th minute a patient build up resulted in Fowkes giving the ball to Pete Ashman on the edge of the area. Ashman swung his left boot and curled it into the top left hand corner, an absolute wonder goal. A superb hat-trick! (1-7)

They had another great chance a minute later, Andrew Crawford this time putting his effort from 10 yards wide of the far post. Pete Ashman then made it 8 for his side and 4 for him. Collecting a good touch from David Read, his low shot squeezed under the body of Richings. The young striker had scored 3 goals in just over 15 minutes. (1-8)

The Away side were not letting up the pressure on the Home goal, Richings again denying Crawford at the far post. The Home team had a brief foray into the Away half after 20 minutes, Hook distributing the ball to Edwell on the right wing, who then delivered a great ball into Phillips on the penalty spot. Phillips went for a spectacular full volley, and was unable to make proper connection, the ball spinning wide.

The Home team had come more into the game, and were enjoying a greater share of the possession, but were still disorganized in defence at times, Scarisbrick and Smollet having to do a lot of last ditch defending. Robert Fullam had been excellent in the second half, and a nice interchange on the right of the area with Boi carved out space for the substitute to test Talbot, who saved well, parrying the ball away for a corner. They had another go from the corner, Tell digging the ball out for Edwell whose vicious half volley dipped just a yard too late and over the bar.

From the resulting goal kick, the Away side made it 9-1 on the 73rd minute. Crawford counter-attacked up the left, giving it to Ashman who struggled to control the ball. David Read took over and delicately chipped over Richings, a crafty finish for a deserved goal for the centre forward. A superb belly-bumping celebration with Crawford was the icing on the cake. (1-9)

There was a nice touch on 76 minutes. Roy Talbot, playing his last ever game of football was substituted for a standing ovation from the crowd. The goalkeeper is one Football Aid’s most experienced players, and the perfect way to end a 35 year long career! The link below has more:

As players started to tire, the game became stretched. Ashman missed a header from close range before Fullam tested Fowkes (who had replace Talbot in goal) with a solo run and shot. White had another great free-kick, saved this time, by Richings. Chances were coming thick and fast, which was a credit to the two teams despite the one-sided scoreline.

It was then Edwell’s turn to have a run and shot which was well parried by Fowkes, the replacement Goalkeeper doing well. The Home side were pressing for another goal, but this had left them vulnerable at the back. David Traynor rounded Richings after a great run and squared the ball, and from 4 yards with an open goal to shoot at, David Read fluffed his lines and missed. The centre forward had had a great game, but won’t look back on this miss with much fondness!

Fullam twice again tested the goalkeeper with a run through the middle and shot as space opened up in front of him, but just before full-time Jerome Marks made it perfect 10 for the Away side after he turned in a great cut-back cross from White. (1-10)

Full-Time: Arsenal Home 1 - 10 Arsenal Away

Man of the Match Home: Tim Scarisbrick
Man of the Match Away: Pete Ashman
Moment of the Match: Steve Forbes 

Home Team: Richings, Scarisbrick, Smollet, Brogden, Edwell, Phillips, Twiddy, Boi, Wiley, Tell, Fullam, Hook, Donlon

Mascot: Luca Donlon

Away Team: Talbot, Forbes, Johnstone, Herring, Traynor, Fowkes, D.Read, J.Read, Ashman, White, Marks, Quantrell and Crawford.

Mascot: Daniel Gilmore