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Liverpool Game 2 2012

Players from both sets of teams walked out of the tunnel to the famous anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone" echoing around Anfield for the 2nd Liverpool Football Aid match of 2012. It was a memorable moment for all the proud players involved and ensuring they enjoyed their day that bit extra was Liverpool and England legend Mark Wright who was as vocal as ever on the sidelines throughout the proceedings.

The players were clearly pumped up for the game and this made for a very quick tempoed game. Goals from Hat-trick hero Gareth Wright, Danilo Sbrissa and Steve McKibbin for the Away team were enough to record a 5-2 victory for the Away team. With Kenneth Cobb's looping goal (and unique celebration!) and Stuart Green's wonder strike for the Red team keeping the scoreline relatively close in a hugely entertaining afternoon match at Anfield.

Date: Friday 11th May 2012
Venue: Anfield
Liverpool Home vs Liverpool Away
Kick Off: 2:30pm
Match Officials: Matty Butler and Mark Eyres
Legend: Mark Wright 

The Home team kicked off the 2nd Football Aid 2012 match of the day at Anfield with the spectators in fine vocal form from the off.   

The game got off to a quick start when Stephen Callister made a great interception and played the ball to No 8 Gareth Wright, deep inside his own half on the left wing. The Left Midfielder used his pace to take the ball past the Home players with ease and he set his sights on the Home goal. Cutting inside into the box, the angle for the shot was too difficult and he could only shoot into the body of Home goalkeeper Pavol Holeczy, who was able to collect the rebound with ease. However it was an early warning for the Home side of what was to come.

In the 4th minute the Away side were again applying some pressure and after an attempted defensive clearance by Captain Garry Hamill, the referee deemed the interception as a push in the back of Clive Robinson and blew for a foul. The free-kick was in a very dangerous position, central to the goal, 30 yards out. Ian Agass stepped up and fired the ball to the keeper's far left, but the impressive Pavol Holeczy (who had travelled all the way from Slovakia for the game) was equal to the shot again and dived to collect with ease.

However the Away team got the reward for their early pressure in the 6th min, after great closing down by fellow Strikers Danilo Sbrissa and Robert Dodd caused the Home team to rush their passes. After a few passing interchanges at the back for the Home team, the ball was played back to Pavol Holeczy, who passed the ball to the far side of the pitch, the lively Gareth Wright was again quickest to react and carried the ball towards goal. When he was 8 yards out he faked a shot before side-footing a finish through the keeper's legs and into the far corner. It was a goal to savour for the Man in Black as it came in front of the famous Kop End. (0-1)

It was 2-0, 12 mins later with goal scorer Gareth Wright turning provider this time. The move was started after some great work by Stephen Callister to win the ball in the centre of the park, the Away No 10 passed it wide to James Cutler, who had the composure to clip a ball to the edge of the 6 yard box to meet Wright's run. Wright, using his momentum was able to knock the ball past the keeper, but his ball looked like going wide before Italian Striker Danilo Sbrissa showed great desire to get himself into the right place at the right time to score his team's 2nd goal. (0-2)

However the Home team were to get back into the game on 27 mins in spectacular style. After receiving the ball in the left wing position, Home No 8 John Halsall had plenty of time to control the ball near the corner flag and pick out a determined Kenneth Cobb. The Left Midfielder sent the defender a wrong-footing dummy, before hitting a looping right footed strike over the keeper and into the net. It was a stunning strike, which was matched by the celebrations that followed. Cobb, clearly ecstatic after scoring a dream goal, proceeded to run along the technical area and give his manager Mark Wright a massive celebratory hug! It was a fantastic moment, and it gave an indication of just what it means to score for Liverpool at Anfield. (1-2)

And in the 33rd min there was almost an equaliser for the Home team. After a mis-timed challenge on Peter Steede by Roger Algrøy on the left wing a free kick was awarded giving the Red team an opportunity to play a cross into the box. Captain Garry Hamill floated a great cross into Peter Steede, but the luckless Striker could only head over the bar.

The Away team thought they had increased their lead a minute later, after a great run and pass by Lee Holden found Francesco Ricciardi on the left wing. The Centre Half sent in a ball to Danilo Sbrissa, who prodded home from close range, however the whistle had already blown for an offside against Sbrissa.

Lee Holden was on the ball again shortly afterwards and decided to try his luck from long range but his effort was just wide of Holeczy's left-hand post.

Just 4 mins before half-time Home No 10 Ian Agass was able to get hold of possession, beat one man and play a reverse pass to Nathan Liddle.  However Away No 2 Anthony Keane did very well to get a challenge in and knock the ball away from the Right Midfielder. However the ball fell to the feet of John Halsall on the left side of the goal, he was able to control first-time but unfortunately he could only pull his shot wide of the post. It was a moment that Halsall will definitely want to forget.

Half-Time: Liverpool Home 1 - 2 Liverpool Away

It was a frantic opening 5 mins of the second half as neither team could get in a position to keep the ball and really start a passing move. However both sets of players were determined to work hard and dispossess the opposition and early in the half Home Captain Hamill displayed some great footwork and passing ability and started to become a bigger influence on the game.

The first real incident featured Away Fullback Anthony Keane, who was put into the referee's book for a deliberate handball, denying Peter Steede from crossing the half-way line and putting the Away side under pressure.

The Home team again tried to carve out an opening in the 56th min, with some neat interchanges of passing between Nathan Liddle, Ian Agass and Stuart Green, before a great defensive clearance by Francesco Ricciardi brought the move to an end.

It was that man again Garry Hamill, who showed great feet to knock it past Steve McKibbin on the edge of the box, but then a mis-timed challenge gave away a free kick. Hamill drilled the resultant free kick into the wall and it took a heavy deflection before falling for poacher Kenneth Cobb to head at goal. However Luca ‘Pepe Reina' Prado produced a fantastic one handed save from close range to tip the ball over the bar and out for a corner. 

In the 63rd min Hamill, who was certainly playing as a true Liverpool captain, was again involved in the next attacking piece of play. With his long range, Gerrard-esque effort, crashing back off the crossbar.

The Away team were starting to find gaps in the middle of midfield, and they almost found a third goal. A pin point through ball by Lee Holden by-passed the last defender and Danilo Sbrissa was able to continue his run for a 1-on-1 with the keeper. However his shot blasted straight into the impressive Pavol Holeczy's body. Sital Kaura doing very well to get back and put pressure on Sbrissa before he shot.

The game was beginning to become stretched as tiredness became a major factor after the frantic opening minutes of the half and the next goal came after a Home attack broke down just over the half way line. Gareth Wright was able to pick up the ball and feed into Anthony Keane, who then returned the pass to Wright who had continued his run. The tiring defenders were nowhere to be seen and Wright had plenty of time to compose himself and hit a clever left footed shot from the edge of the box, past the keeper and into the rippling net. (1-3)

Two mins later and the spectators had another Home goal to celebrate, and what a goal to celebrate! Receiving the ball just over the half-way line, Home No 16 Christian Ward looked up and spotted fellow 2nd half sub Stuart Green in plenty of space. As the defenders were backing off, Green unleashed a left footed shot and smashed the back of the net from 20 yards out. Living any Liverpool fan's dream by scoring a screamer in front of the Kop! (2-3)

There was almost an instant reply from the Away side 79th min. Holden started his run in the centre circle and was able to drive at the Home defence, shrugging off a few challenges as he went before continuing past the goalkeeper. However the ball got away from him slightly and just before Holden could finish off his chance, goal hungry Sbrissa took the ball off his foot and fired an effort on goal. However Sbrissa's effort hit the post and rebounded back out with the follow up going out for a goal kick.

Shortly after Home No 1 Pavol Holeczy pulled off a fantastic save, the goalkeeper doing enough to deny Steve McKibbin's shot from the edge of the box. It was a powerful shot that was definitely goal bound, but the agile Holeczy was able to tip the ball over the bar for a corner kick.

However from the resulting corner kick, the Away team were able to open up a two goal lead. The ball was played into the box and after it rebounded about a bit the defence failed to clear and Gareth Wright was given time and space to curl a shot over the last defender and into the far right bottom corner, to record a well deserved hat trick for the Away Man of the Match. (2-4)

The last goal of the game, sealing a fantastic 2nd half performance by the Away team, was scored by McKibbin in the 89th min. After a throw-in in the far right corner, Lee Holden had plenty of time to pass across the edge of the 6 yard box to Steve McKibbin, who controlled the ball and smashed it into the bottom left corner. (2-5)

This late strike was to be the final goal of the game, capping an impressive 5-2 win for the Away team.

Clearly enthused by the day and enjoying being back at Anfield, Mark Wright explained "...I'm just delighted to have come down here today and been part of it [Football Aid]. Another day I may put my boots on and grace the field again...".

As a final thought for all the players and to cap a fantastic day for everyone concerned, Mark Wright summed up everyone's feelings perfectly "...to come and play at an arena like this, alright there were only a hand full of supporters there, but to play in front of the Kop, to see how big the pitch is, to see how the pitch plays, that would have been a dream come true for anybody..."

By seeing the looks on the faces of all the players leaving the pitch, this was clearly the case.

Full-Time: Liverpool Home 2 - 5 Liverpool Away

Man of the Match Home: Gary Hamill
Man of the Match Away: Gareth Wright
Moment of the Match: Kenneth Cobb

Home Team: Holeczy, Clarke, Hamill (C), Edge, Singh, Liddle, Halsall, Robinson, Agass, Steede, Green, Kaura, Ward, Cobb
Home Mascot: Shivani Kaura

Away Team: Prado, Keane, Ricciardi, Algrøy, Cutler, Lo Prato, Wright (C), Sbrissa, Callister, Dodd, McKibbin, Holeczy, Coleman, Holden
Away Mascot: Shea Callister