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Blackburn Rovers 2012

Despite the doom and gloom after it was confirmed that the club would be playing Championship football next year after the previous evening's result, Football Aid 2012 at Ewood Park had a feel good factor and consequently produced an exciting 11 goal thriller. At times the football was free flowing and a real pleasure to watch, and the entertainment levels certainly helped to eradicate any ‘Rovers' fans relegation woes for at least 90 mins. 

It was the Away team that proved to have too much for their opponents in the end, running out 7-4 winners in the end with goals by Justin Vaughan (3), Eric Lamb, James Gilmour (2), and Chris Best. The Home team replied with a second half hat-trick for Aman Chahal (3) and a goal by Andrew Thornhill.

Leaving aside the score, it was a memorable moment for all the proud players involved and ensuring they enjoyed their day to the maximum were two top Rovers legends; Tony Parkes and Kevin Gallacher, who were as enthusiastic and vocal as ever throughout the evening's proceedings.

Date: Tuesday 8th May 2012
Venue: Ewood Park
Blackburn Rovers Home vs Blackburn Rovers Away
Kick Off: 7:00pm
Legends:  Tony Parkes and Kevin Gallacher
Match Officials: Ben Wiseman, Dave Blanchard, Michael Haley-Jefferson and Mark Errington

The Away team, sporting yellow shirts with black, black shorts and yellow socks kicked off the game. Both teams started with a very quick tempo and were both trying to get hold of the ball to get their early touches.

A long ball by Home No 10 Peter Lewis, caught the defence out on four mins, with the Home striker Aman Chahal chasing the ball, but it took great anticipation from the Away keeper Robert Ashworth to thwart the danger and pass the ball back to his defence to clear. 

It was still frantic 10 mins into the game, as both teams were pushing for the early goal, but both sets of defenders were on top and limiting shots on target. A left footed cross from Brian O'Driscoll on the far touchline to switch the play found the head of Chris Jamieson just on the edge of the 6 yard box, but Jamieson couldn't generate enough power and the effort tamely found the hands of Away keeper Ashworth.

2 mins later the ball did find its way into the back of the net after some neat play by Lewis and Chahal, combining just beyond the half way line, before Lewis played a great through ball to Chris Jamieson, who was able to beat the offside trap and knock the ball past the advancing Ashworth. However the eager Chahal made sure the ball crossed the line but was in an offside position when he did so, and the assistant linesman on the far side rightfully flagged for offside, disallowing the goal. It was a warning from the Home team, even though they had started the game more brightly.

The Away team then had their first real threat on goal after 14 mins. A good pass by Away captain Lamb, gave Justin Vaughan the chance to flick it past Neil Aspden and run into the box. A delicate turn beat an incoming slide challenge, before he picked out midfielder David Wilkinson on the edge of the box. Wilkinson didn't quite get enough behind it and the ball skewed into the path of Ben Leslie, who managed to get a shot away which went through the keeper's legs, but Andrew Evans was on the line to clear the ball away. The ball continued to cross back and forth across the box, but there was no one in the box to finish the crosses.

The Away team were now starting to get more into the game, and a minute later, after great passing by Kevin Banks to Chris Best just inside their own half, a pass by Wilkinson through the defence found the pacey Justin Vaughan. As with the Home chance earlier on, the goalkeeper anticipated well and managed to clear the ball before Justin Vaughan could get a shot away.

Home keeper Ben Wake had to be alert again on 17 mins, after danger man Vaughan did excellently to pressure the Home defence and dispossess them before finding Lamb. Flying winger Lamb, who was running into the box at speed, unleashed a fantastic strike that was going into the near top corner, but Ben Wake stretched to knock the ball out for a corner kick.

Continued pressure from the Away side, created another chance shortly after, in the 20th min. After great work down the near touchline by Lamb, he found the feet of Chris Best who had the confidence to take on two defenders, turn inside and then fire an effort from the edge of the box. The ball was dipping but the keeper had his goal well covered and the effort went over the bar for a goal kick.

The first goal of the game arrived after 22mins and came after a great ball from Wilkinson, just inside his opponent's half, split the defence and found David Traynor, who was able to control the ball and play a short pass to Justin Vaughan who was coming in from his opposite wing. The Away striker used his pace well before he rifled in a right footed shot from just inside the box into the keeper's bottom right corner. Vaughan celebrated with the famous Shearer-esque, one hand in the air celebration, towards the cheering spectators. (0-1)

Stuart Green could have given his side a two goal advantage on 26 mins. After more great passing down the right wing, Vaughan found Green in space but his right foot shot curled the wrong way past the top corner. It would have been a fantastic team goal for the Away side.

It was a moment to forget for Home keeper Wake and his defence in the 39th min, when the Away team were gifted a second goal just before half time. Wake's goal-kick, could only reach half-way into his own half and with the defence looking the opposite direction, the ever alert Lamb was able to control the ball and instantly play the ball back into the danger area. The defence tried to track back and close down Ben Leslie, but a quick pass to Vaughan on the edge of the box then found Eric Lamb and he was able to smash it into the roof of the net through the arms of the despairing keeper at the near post. A clinical finish from last year's Goal of the Season contender. (0-2)

Great defending by Captain Andy Bellamy and Peter Lewis just after the restart was able to keep the Away team at bay for another few minutes but on 41 mins a classic counter attack produced the game's next goal. The move was started by a quick ball from goalkeeper Ashworth to Green, who then found Chris Best on the half-way line, the No 10 then played a long cross-field pass to the left wing to James Gilmour, who had pace to burn and was too quick for the Home defence. As he got closer to the edge of the box he unleashed an unstoppable left footed strike, almost ripping the back of the net. It was another Ewood Park moment to remember for last year's Goal of the Season winner! (0-3)

It was four just before the break and the goal came after a very similar build up to the goal minutes earlier. A quick release ball by Ashworth found Gilmour on the left wing, and he had the time and space to look up and play a pass down the line to Justin Vaughan. The No 11 was then able to cut inside and use his pace to get to the edge of the box, play a give and go with Ben Leslie then open up the space to hit a right footed shot across goal, which hit the inside of the post and found the back of the net. (0-4)

The half time whistle couldn't come quick enough for the Home team, who were hanging on at this stage in the hope of keeping the score line within reach for a 2nd half comeback.

Half-Time: Blackburn Rovers Home 0 - 4 Blackburn Rovers Away

The second half started as the first finished, with the Away team eager to add to their tally and after keeper Ben Wake rolled the ball out to Peter Johnson half-way in his own half, Chris Best did excellently to dispossess the 2nd half sub and lob the keeper from 25 yards out. It was another fantastic strike by the Away side, who were really punishing the Home side for not taking their early chances in the game. (0-5)

The Home side did get the ball down in the 56th min and start to pass the ball about with more precision, and this gave them more confidence to attack the Away defence. Captain Andy Bellamy started the move which got his team on the scoreboard, carrying the ball out from the back and passing to Chris Jamieson in the centre of the pitch. The No 7 took advantage of the space afforded him by the Away team and was able to pick out the run of Aman Chahal. The Home No 9 adjusted his feet well to get in front of the advancing Robert Ashworth and he knocked it past the keeper and into the corner of the net. (1-5)

After soaking up the Away team's attacks well, it was the Home side that produced another goal in the 69th min. After some great defensive work by Lewis, Jamieson was able to pick up the ball and give it to Johnson. The midfielder, seeing a gap between the centre half and the left back, played a great ball for Luke Wild to chase. Wild did exceptionally well to get to the edge of the 6 yard box before pulling it back for Aman Chahal to side foot it into the roof of the net. The Away team, looking a bit shell shocked, could see the newly found confidence of the Home team. (2-5)

5 mins later and the Away team showed their attacking threat again, and it was the result of a route one ball by goalkeeper Ashworth. He received the ball from a near touchline throw-in taken by David Traynor and played a long pass to just over the half way line, which was then flicked on by the commanding Ben Leslie into the path of goal hungry Justin Vaughan. The clinical striker was able to beat the last line of defence and round the keeper on the edge of the box, before calmly curling the ball into the back of the net. (2-6)

The game was now stretched, as the frantic opening stages had clearly caught up with the players and the ball was in the back of the net again soon after. A clever through ball by ever present legend Kevin Gallacher found Chris Jamieson on the right wing and the right midfielder was able stretch his legs and beat the defence to get to the touchline, before squaring the ball across the 6 yard box for Aman Chahal to record a memorable second half hat trick. (3-6)

Even after all the quality entertainment the players had served up there was still more to come, and the goal of the game was scored by James Gilmour in the closing stages of the half. Gilmour picked up a loose pass deep into his own half, then utilised his pace to knock it past three Home players before driving into the box and finishing with a left footed chip over the keeper into the far corner. It was a great individual goal and surely a contender for Goal of the Season from last year's winner! (3-7)

The Home side weren't finished though and they were to score the last goal of the game. After receiving the ball direct from the kick off, Andrew Thornhill was able to run the length of the centre circle un-challenged before passing long to the right wing for Jamieson to collect. Jamieson was able to just get past David Traynor, before playing a dangerous ball into the box which found Andrew Thornhill - who had continued his run into the box - and he took a few touches and blasted it low underneath the keeper and into the back of the net. (4-7)

The referee's whistle blew shortly afterwards, bringing to an end an incredible match which resulted in a deserved win for the impressive Away team.

Full-Time: Blackburn Rovers Home 4 - 7 Blackburn Rovers Away

Man of the Match Home: Andy Bellamy
Man of the Match Away: James Gilmour
Moment of the Match: Robert Ashworth

Home Team: Wake, Evans, Gallacher, Bellamy (C), Aspden, O'Driscoll, Jamieson, Singh, Chahal, Lewis, Wild, Johnson, Thornhill, Percy, Williams
Home Mascot: Kate Thornhill

Away Team: Ashworth, Green, Clyne, Banks, Wilkinson, Lamb (C), Traynor, Leslie, Best, Vaughan, Gilmour, Banks, Green, Heckingbottom
Away Mascot: Kate Banks & Molly Banks