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Portsmouth 2011

Portsmouth Football Club would welcome Football Aid 2011 to Fratton Park on a sunny but chilly evening on England’s south coast. The players listened to some wise words from the Pompey legends before the game and both teams looked fired up for what was set to be an epic encounter by two very good sides.

Friday 13th May
Portsmouth Home vs. Portsmouth Away
Kick Off: 18.30
Match Officials: Mike Desborough, Craig Robson, Jamie Collumbell & James Robinson
Legends: Linvoy Primus, Mark Chamberlain & Paul Hardyman

The Away side in their white strip got the game underway kicking from right to left. They were unhurried and looked very patient as they sought to build up play from the back. The first chance of the game would fall to the Home side who at this stage preferred the more direct route. A long ball for Holland fell kindly to Mitchell who was almost through on goal but was thwarted by Arecco who was off his line quickly to end the danger.

The Home side were playing in determined fashion, pressing the ball quickly and affording the Away side very little time and space. It was perhaps this approach that got them into trouble when Puppo brought down Macauley at the edge of the box. The Away side’s effort was fired straight against the wall and the resulting corner was cleared without any danger.

Macauley showed real skill a few minutes later lifting the ball over two defenders with his back to goal before his turn and shot was blocked well by the defence. Moments later it was the Home side who nearly fired themselves into the lead. From a throw in down the right hand side Dellepiane played a neat through ball to Mitchell who turned just as the Away side stepped out in a rather late attempt to employ the offside trap. Mitchell had found some space and bulleted an effort towards goal but the shot was beaten away by Arecco.

The Home side were presented with another fantastic opportunity midway through the first half with a beautifully crafted effort. Dellepiane won the ball well in the middle of the park which was gathered nicely by Fitzpatrick who played the ball to Mitchell, who nodded a lovely flick-on round the corner for Ward whose lob over Arecco was cleared off the line by Beavis, the defender getting back in the nick of time.

The Home side were piling on the pressure now and passed up a number of opportunities before finally taking the lead. Former England international Mark Chamberlain whipped in a corner which was met with a great downwards header by Perry, Arecco got down well to block but the rebound fell to Jordan Ward who made no mistake in firing the ball into the roof of the net. (1-0)

Their lead was nearly doubled but the Home team were again foiled by some superb keeping by Arecco. Fitzpatrick drove the ball forward from the edge of his own box before feeding Ward who crossed to the unmarked Mitchell. Arecco was off his line quickly to make a vital block keeping the score down.

Arecco nearly went from hero to villain as once more he raced off his line to close the angle but Mitchell was clearly wise to the ‘keepers tactics, simply knocking the ball round him. Mitchell delayed too long in pulling the trigger allowing Beavis time to get back to make another goal line clearance. The keeper did make amends for his previous error in judgement by again getting off his line smartly to smother the ball before Perry, who though on goal, had time to shoot.

The Away side were almost back in the game after Macauley was put clean through from the clearance. He showed great composure taking his time to pick his spot and clip the ball over the keeper only to be denied by the linesman’s flag. He could only have been fractionally offside.

The half ended with the Home side holding on to a deserved, if narrow lead.

Half-Time: Portsmouth Home 1-0 Portsmouth Away

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first. The Home side held onto possession and looked the more dangerous of the two sides. They were handed a chance to double their lead early on when Beecham was adjudged to have pulled back Ward with the referee pointing to the spot. Jordan Ward stepped up and slammed the ball him. (2-0)

The Home side continued to dominate and had the chance to make it three after Chamberlain switched the ball to the right flank for Ward to fire in a cross an inviting ball. Mitchell arrived almost unseen by the Away defence at the back post but could only direct his header wide of the target. A real let off for the Away side.

It was the Home side who would yet again pass up another glorious chance to extend their lead. From a goal kick Mitchell held up the ball well and showed good vision to play the ball through to Ward who had made a great run. Ward, clean through on goal opted to shoot early past the always quick off his line Arecco but could only steer the ball wide of the mark.

Ward was to be denied again by the Away side who had defended stoically. Fox played a stunning diagonal ball for Ward to chase; he then knocked the ball past the keeper with only a great last ditch block from Reid preventing the goal. In the build up to the chance the match official noticed that the keeper had handled outside the box, he correctly waved for advantage before bringing the play back. Richard Perry let fly from the free-kick and powered the ball into the top corner leaving the keeper with no chance. A real screamer and no more than the Home side deserved at this stage of the game. (3-0) Immediately from the restart the Home side won the ball and almost made it four after Mitchell rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home. Again his side were denied by the offside flag.

They wouldn’t have long to wait to add the fourth of the evening however. Chamberlain this time would run unchallenged to the edge of the opposition box before sliding a through ball to Richard Perry who took his time to fire his curling effort past the keeper. The Home side were on fire and showing no signs of letting up. The Away side would have to get their act together if the were to avoid a real hammering. (4-0)

The Away side would give themselves the faintest glimmer of hope as they seized upon some very complacent defending by the Home side. Fowe reacted well, taking advantage of some slack passing before looping a precision cross into the box for Alex Macauley to coolly tuck away. The centre forward who had been working tirelessly was desperately unlucky not to have scored in the first half and thoroughly deserved his goal.

Straight from the restart it was the Away side’s turn to try out some casual defending which almost ended up with dire consequences. Perry won the ball and fed Marsh but he was denied by some desperate defending and could only watch as his effort trundled narrowly past the post.

James Mitchell was beginning to have one of those days when he saw his long range effort take a huge deflection but was denied again when Arecco palmed the ball out to safety. Mitchell was playing well, creating space for himself on this occasion and beating two men in the middle of the park before unleashing his effort.

The Away side suddenly gave themselves a great boost and a great chance to get themselves back into the game. After a good touch and quick feet Aaron Barnett beat his man before firing a superb diagonal ball which found Jed Fowe in space. The substitute rifled the ball into the net from a tight angle from 12 yards. A truly clinical finish.

Only minutes later the referee brought the game to a close and despite a spirited come back the Home side would hold on for a well earned victory.

Full-Time: Portsmouth Home 4-2 Portsmouth Away

Man of the Match Home: James Mitchell
Man of the Match Away:
Darryl Beecham
Moment of the Match:
Richard Perry

Home Team: Holland, Marsh, Chamberlain (Legend), Fryer, Puppo, Reed, Fitzpatrick, Mitchell, Dellepiane, Ward (subs) Perry, Chivers, Wiggins, Fox

Mascot: Jake Holland

Away Team: Arecco, Andrianopoli, Hardyman (Legend), Beecham, Beavis, Swaffield, J. Barnett, Carcheri, Macaulay, A. Barnett, Jellet (Subs) Rowe, Granata, Reid, Mardlin

Mascot: Oliver Beecham