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Liverpool Game 1 2012

Despite mixed weather conditions at Anfield spirits were very high for the annual Liverpool Football Aid match and our 1st game of the day turned out to be an excellent game of attacking football. Six goals in the first half and plenty of other chances made for a very open ended start to the match. A battling performance by the Away side managed to pull back the clinical Home team's advantage on numerous occasions, with Stephen Hanna thinking he had earned his team a well deserved draw when he made it 4-4 with time running out, but Home Striker Deepak Sharma was in the right place at the right time to prod in a late winner and earn his side a 5-4 win.  

Date: Friday 11th May 2012
Venue: Anfield
Liverpool Home vs Liverpool Away
Kick Off: 10:00am
Match Officials: Gary Dinsmore, Joe Pettit, Adam Scregg and Peter Munt
Legends: Alan Kennedy and Howard Gayle

As with so many of the other 2012 Football Aid games, the pace in the first five mins was frightening as everybody was operating on pure adrenaline and it was a very open start to the game with both teams making passes, getting hold of the ball and testing each other's goalkeepers early on. It didn't take long for the game's first goal to arrive, with the opener being scored by Mohit Sharma after a great cross field pass from Christian Stark from left to right. The No 7 was able to control the ball, use his pace to take it past legend Howard Gayle and calmly choose his spot to place the ball to the keeper's right. It was certainly a great start by the Home team. (1-0)

The team in Red were looking very strong at this point and 4 mins into the game they were given a huge boost with the introduction of Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy to the field. "Barney" slotted into his familiar left back surroundings and went to work organising his team from the back. The Home team were clearly boosted by the introduction of their legend and continued their early pressure.

The game saw another great chance for the Home team in the 12th min, Shoab Khan saw a gap between the centre back and left back to play an inch perfect through ball to his teammate Sharma, who was able to get a left footed strike away, but goalkeeper Jeffrey Addis was more than equal to the shot and made an excellent save, parrying the ball away to safety. Sharma was able to get possession after the shot, before finding teammate Deepak Sharma, but some great defending by Matthew Dalzell stopped any attempt on goal.

More pressure from the Home team caused the Away defence to make a mistake which lead to their next goal. This time the Home team's first goal scorer Sharma turned provider for the 2nd as he was able to intercept a pass from the centre half, before setting up Shoab Khan, who showed great composure to score with a side footed finish inside the box. (2-0)

The Away team kept battling for possession to try to get themselves back into the game. A few chances were starting to get created, with the best coming from a Kevin Ward cross which was curled across the 6 yard box, but Paul Roberts was a fraction too late to get on the end of it.

Howard Gayle's troops were now starting to play some great attacking football with another big chance coming in the 20th min after a threaded ball by John Grant to Paul Roberts. There was a hint of offside to the move, but the linesman kept his flag down, however Roberts could only blaze the ball over the bar.

The deserved Away goal did arrive in the 25th min courtesy of a penalty kick. After patient build up play on the edge of the box, Roberts was able to get a strike away which hit the hand of Stephen McConnell and the referee saw no option but to point to the spot. Paul Roberts made no mistake from the spot, drilling the ball low in to the centre of the goal with Edward Harrison diving to his left. (2-1)

Soon after the equaliser was scored after Howard Gayle was able to roll back the years, intercepting a defensive pass out wide, he showed great skill to dribble into the box, drawing the keeper out and unselfishly passing inside for Kai Baker to score from close in and draw his Away side level. (2-2)

However the Home side regained their one goal advantage again after some great pressuring from Shoab Khan forced goalkeeper Jeffrey Addis to hurry his clearance and Robert Dalzell was in the right place at the right time to curl a shot around the keeper into the empty net. (3-2)

The Home team's lead only lasted 4 min though, after a pass back from Shoab Khan seemed to fall awkwardly for his keeper to clear, the clearance fell to Kevin Ward who was able to pick out Jagdeep Lali, who beat the offside trap to look up and pass inside to Howard Gayle to tap in from 6 yards out. (3-3)

The scores were all square at half-time, with the spectators being treated to a 6 goal extravaganza of attacking football at the famous old stadium.

Half-Time: Liverpool Home 3 - 3 Liverpool Away

Three mins into the second half, great work by Roberts on the left wing enabled him to knock it past Christian Stark to Jim Hanna who was then able to knock it into the path of the incoming Kevin Ward to curl the ball across the goal from 12 yards out. But his effort rebound back off the post and was cleared away from any danger by Alan Kennedy. Robert Dalzell did very well to close the space down and pressure Ward into his shot.

In the 56th min legend Alan Kennedy was replaced due to an unfortunate ankle injury sustained when he turned awkwardly in the centre of the pitch. However the Home team seemed to respond well despite their obvious disappointment at losing their inspirational legend. 

After more great pressure work from Left Midfielder Robert Dalzell, wearing the iconic Home No 8 shirt, a corner was conceded by the Away team. Dalzell took the corner in the far right corner of the pitch and put in a very direct corner that seemed to catch the Away goalkeeper Addis out. The ball looked like it was heading out for a goal kick, but it took a deflection off the near post and bounced straight to Sam Walker, who instantly controlled the ball and smashed it into the roof of the Away team's net. (4-3)

As in the first half, the Away team responded very well to going behind and almost equalised a minute later. A great ball by Howard Gayle, after incepting a pass in his own half, was played down the left wing to the onside Roberts. However Home Captain Garreth Berry was able to get back in time and produce the tackle of the game, sliding in and dispossessing Roberts before he could get a shot Away from 12 yards out. It was certainly a tackle that fellow Reds Captain Jamie Carragher would have been proud of himself!

The Away side were really cranking up the pressure to try and get the equalising goal, and an audacious effort by Stephen Hanna almost drew them level. After a loose ball went astray 25 yards out, Hanna struck it first time and the looping shot seemed to catch Harrison off guard, striking the crossbar before it fell to Ward, however his follow up effort went wide of the target.

The Home side were struggling to even get out of their half at this time in the game as the Away side were continuing to press and after a great through-ball from John Grant in the centre of the pitch, Roberts was able to beat the offside trap and round the keeper on the edge of the box. However the No 9 didn't put enough weight behind his shot and midfielder Steve Ajayi remarkably got back in time to stop it from crossing the line. It was a fantastic defensive effort by the midfielder to keep his team in the lead. The ball remained in play and Roberts was able to cross the ball back into the 6 yard area, however Ward could only hit it over the bar. 

A deserved equaliser for the Away team came with 12 mins left to play after a great passage of play from the Away side. Captain marvel Richard Tyrell, who had a very solid game throughout, started the move just beyond the halfway line, chipping a cross field ball to Grant who was just inside the corner of the box. Grant had plenty of time to look up and play it across the 6 yard box, to Stephen Hanna, whose headed effort went in off the post from close range. It was a clinical move from the Away side at a time when the Home team were struggling with the constant pressure they were under. Hanna celebrated his live the dream moment with a ‘Ravanelli/ Klinsmann combination celebration! (4-4)

Remarkably the Away side were only level for 2 mins and the goal came after a moment that Away goalkeeper Jeffrey Addis will want to forget. After a great run down the near touchline by Christian Stark, the No 4 was able to cut inside and play in Deepak Sharma who was able to prod a shot on target through the legs of Martyn Farrell. Addis attempted to clear the ball with his right boot but the ball went under his foot and into the back of the net, giving the Home side a one goal advantage again with only minutes left on the clock. (5-4)

Despite the efforts of the determined Away team the Home side held on for the remaining minutes of the game and clinched a memorable victory over their battling opponents.  

Full-Time: Liverpool Home 5 - 4 Liverpool Away

Man of the Match Home: Mohit Sharma
Man of the Match Away: Richard Tyrell
Moment of the Match: Steve Ajayi

Home Team: Harrison, McConnell, Kennedy, Stark, Berry (C), Ajayi, Sharma, Dalzell, Sharma, John, Khan, Williamson, Walker, Graham, Mallia
Home Mascot: Zain Khan

Away Team: Addis, Dalzell, Gayle, Tyrell (C), Banks, Green, Lali, Baker, Roberts, Grant, Ward, Hanna, Hill, Farrell, Hanna
Away Mascot: Bradley Hanna