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Blackpool 2011

There were perfect Football conditions in Blackpool when the excited Seasiders fans arrived for Football Aid’s first ever game at the charming Bloomfield Road stadium. 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 Adam, Vaughan and Campbell had been doing all season. There were also nerves; Blackpool would be playing against Manchester United for their Premiership survival the next day!

Saturday 21st May 2011
Blackpool Home vs. Blackpool Away
Kick Off: 2pm
Legends: Derek Spence, Terry Pashley, Ciaran Donnelly and Marc Joseph
Match Officials: Jim Waring, Tom Ruck, Mathew Gorton and Chris Waring

The Home team playing in the famous tangerine got the action underway at Bloomfield Road. Derek Spence had managed to whip his players up into a frenzy, whereas Terry Pashley had taken a calmer approach to managing his away side. We were poised for a cracker!

Spence’s men started so well that they nearly took the lead after just 25 seconds. Steve Bradshaw hit a long ball from the centre circle that fell into the path of Michael Corkery-Waldie, whose shot was denied by the onrushing Nick Croft in the Away goal. Both teams had struggled to settle into the game so far, but the Home side again had the best chance to take the lead, Dean Thorpe charging through the midfield and playing in Andy Tracey. Tracey took the ball well but was foiled by Croft, again coming off his line to clear danger. Excellent goalkeeping.

The teams had been fairly evenly matched so far, yet the Home side had created all the chances- It was no different for the first goal of the game. On 12 minutes Andy Tracey collected a cross from Corkery-Waldie before his initial shot was charged down by Away Captain Phillips, but he had help with his second. Picking up the rebound, his scuffed shot was deflected into the goal by Jon Gaskarth. 1-0 to Spence’s Home side; just reward for their bright start. (1-0)

Despite the Home side having the lead, both sets of defence were on top. Mark Phillips and Neil Aspden were doing a good job keeping a high line and sniffing out danger before it appeared, while Nick Poling was providing a good outlet down the right. For the Tangerines Bob Thorpe and Lukas Bennet were making some good individual challenges, but it was Bennet who conceded a penalty in the 25th minute. Bennet miscontrolled a pass from Donnelly, and as Harland pounced, Bennet brought him down. The referee pointed to the spot, and Andrew Harland stepped up and placed his shot into the bottom left corner. (1-1)

The Home side wanted to re-take the lead and almost did 2 minutes later. A great team passing move saw Bradshaw and Bennet move the ball around well before giving it to Captain Simon Heaney, who delivered the most inviting of crosses into the box from left wing. Andy Tracey was inches short of getting the vital touch to hit the back of the net. The home side were certainly enjoying the lions share of the possession and were doing well to keep the ball.

When the Away side launched a counterattack on the 30th minute however, it was devastating. Phillips’ forceful challenge landed at the feet of Eric Lamb who passed to Darren Tracey. Tracey, wide on the right, played a beautifully weighted cross that tormented the stretched Home defence. Andrew Harland beat Thorpe to the ball and made no mistake from 8 yards, an excellent team goal. (1-2)

The Home side were still the team carving out the chances, but still unable to take full advantage. Dave Travers and Andy Tracey combined well to give the ball to Corkery-Waldie, whose angled run into the box and shot went just wide of Croft’s near post. They then spurned a glorious chance. Travers flicked a superb ball into the box from Neil Smith’s throw in, but Andrew Tracey could only knock the ball over the bar. The Away goal was beginning to lead a charmed life, and perhaps Croft was responsible. He next showed great reflexes to deny Corkery-Waldie from close range after Andrew Tracey’s flick on.

After 45 minutes the half time whistle sounded. Despite being the better side, Spence’s men were 2-1 down to Pashley’s away team.

Half-Time: Blackpool Home 1 - 0 Blackpool Away

The Away side restarted the inaugural Football Aid game at Bloomfield Road, but again the Home side were the team creating the chances. Andrew Tracey did some good work on the half way line, before clipping a lovely pass through to Corkery-Waldie. Corkery-Waldie took his shot early, but Croft was equal to it.

They were then kept out by some extraordinary defending. Corkery-Waldie floated a corner into the box, which was met by the head of Andrew Tracey. Phillips made the block, before Lee Woods denied Dean Thorpe on the line. Finally the ball came out to Bennet, whose rocket was again charged down by Captain Phillips. Fabulous defending from Pashley’s men!

From the break the Away side made it 3-1 with an absolute belter from Andrew Harland! Chris and John Gaskarth combined to clear the danger before Craig Webster sent a long pass up the left for Harland to collect. He cut inside, beating Bob Thorpe and Donnelly before launching a shot to the top right hand corner. It was a fantastic strike to complete the centre forward’s hat trick and a goal of the season contender. (1-3)

Spence’s men looked shell-shocked, and what happened after 60 minutes wouldn’t have helped. Legend Marc Joseph crossed the ball from deep to the far post, where Chris Gaskarth was waiting. Gaskarth took the ball on the full volley with his left foot, and slammed the ball past Ingham, a stunning finish! (1-4)

The Home team had had something of an implosion; it was only moments before Pashley’s side stretched their lead. Andy Harland crossed the ball into a dangerous area, before an attempted clearance from right back Roger Reade ended up in Ingham’s top right corner. It was exceptionally unfortunate for the substitute, but bizarrely a great goal! (1-5)

It wasn’t long before Darren Tracey heaped on the misery for the Home team. It was another cracker. Tracey picked up the ball deep on the left and a good run set him up to drill a low shot pass Ingham from 25 yards. An excellent individual effort. (1-6)

The Home side weren’t going down without a fight however, and they came close when Mark Phillips was unfortunate to give away a free kick on the edge of the area. Corkery-Waldie’s resulting effort hit the inside of the left hand post before rolling across the goal mouth. Corkery-Waldie was to come close again 4 minutes later, Croft pushing away his close range effort. The goalkeeper was having a solid game between the sticks.

Next came a moment for the Home side that summed up the game for them. Dean Thorpe hit a beauty of a right footed effort from outside the box. The ball came back flush off the crossbar, to Thorpe’s feet for him to have another go with his left; he hit the bar again! It was bad luck for the Home side that had deserved another few goals with their good play.

When the Home side did get the goal that they deserved, it was well worth the wait. Andrew Tracey received the ball 20 yards from goal, and pinged a beautiful shot into the roof of the net. Stunning.  (2-6)

The Away side had evidently taken the goal they conceded personally, and it was another flowing counterattack that led to their 7th goal of the game. Darren Tracey and Harland combined to send Jon Gaskarth through on goal, and his finish was as emphatic as his “Robbie Keane-esque” celebration, complete with pistols. (2-7)

Spence’s men hit back immediately, Ciaran Donnelly taking a one-two from a corner and smashing the ball into the far right hand corner, showing us all how somebody gets to become a professional footballer. Great goal! (3-7)

The Home side had picked up some momentum, and was able to get a fourth. Donnelly this time setting up Andrew Tracey for a point blank finish and his hat trick. It was too little too late for the Tangerines, but the late rally had certainly restored some pride to what had been an even game, despite the score line! The Away team had showed what it meant to be clinical in front of goal.

Full-Time: Blackpool Home 4 - 7 Blackpool Away

Man of the Match Home: Bob Thorpe
Man of the Match Away: Chris Gaskarth
Moment of the Match: Andrew Harland

Home Team: Ingham, Smith, Donnelly, Bennet, R.Thorpe, Bradshaw, Travers, Heaney(Capt.), Corkery-Waldie, D.Thorpe, A. Tracey, Webster, Robertson

Mascot: Matthew & James Thorpe

Away Team: Croft, Poling, Joseph, Phillips, Aspden, C.Gaskarth, Lamb, Reid, Harland, J.Gaskarth, D.Tracey, Woods, Reade