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Norwich City 2012

Norwich City fans had lots of reasons to be happy this season after exceeding the expectations of many by finishing 12th in the Premier League. And there was more reason to be happy for the loyal group of supporters that were taking part in the 2012 Football Aid match on their hallowed Carrow Road turf.

This year's game included another fantastic array of legends for the players to Live the Dream with, top legends Dean Ashton, Darren Huckerby and Iwan Roberts and experienced Manager Peter Oldfield all putting every effort into making sure their respective teams performed to the best of their abilities.

It was the Home side that just had too much for the spirited Away team in the end, winning this thrilling encounter by 6 goals to 2. Goals by Chris Mullins (2), Dan Green, Steven Roberts, Nick Medlicott and Daniel Littleboy for the Home team proved to be too much for the Away side, with both consolation goals for the Away team coming from Tom Beales (2).  Both teams however did themselves proud in front of their loyal band of enthusiastic ‘On The Ball, City' supporters.

Date: Tuesday 15th May 2012
Venue: Carrow Road
Norwich City Home vs Norwich City Away
Kick Off: 10:00am
Legends and Managers: Peter Oldfield, Dean Ashton, Darren Huckerby and Iwan Roberts
Match Officials: Keith Greensides, Peter Vennibles, Nigel Warnes and Keith Greensides

Both sets of players came out of the tunnel to be greeted by a very vocal crowd and also glorious East Anglian sunshine. It was clearly a proud moment for all concerned as they had their chests out and knew that it was a very special moment following in the footsteps of many Norwich City clubs legends.

It was the Away team in Green shirts, White shorts and Green socks that got the game started, kicking from right to left but it didn't take long for the iconic Yellow and Green coloured shirts to get hold of the ball and create their first chance of the game. Within the first minute, Richard Johnson did well to dispossess Tom Beales on the near touchline and start a chain of very good passing from one side of the pitch to the other. Anthony Timbrell passed to Dan Green, who then knocked it to Norwich legend Darren Huckerby in the left back position, Huckerby, utilising his pace, was able to play a give and go before receiving it back to then push towards the far right corner. However the resultant cross, meant for Steven Roberts, was too close to Away goalkeeper Adrian Grainge who was able to collect.

The Away team started to string a few more passes together and in the 3rd min, won a dangerous free kick, Dan Green adjudged to have tripped Away striker Paul Quilter on the edge of the box after a quick attack from the Away side. However the free-kick, taken by central midfielder Steve Plunkett, had too much on it and flew straight over Home keeper Shaun Reynolds' crossbar, going out for a goal kick.

The Home team could feel a little hard done by in the 6th min not to have recorded an early goal on the scoreboard. In possession, on the near touchline, Steve Plunkett had received a pass from Legend Iwan Roberts - playing at Left Back - but Johnson did excellently to close down the space and dispossess the Away No 6. Plunkett put in a recovering slide challenge and the ball bounced directly into the path of Nick Medlicott who had a simple tap in to put the ball into the back of the net. However the referee had blown for a foul and play was pulled back for a free kick, allowing the Home team to clear up-field.

A great interception by Home No 4 Andrew Preston in the 9th min thwarted the next Away attack, the Centre Back getting a foot in ahead of Paul Quilter and able to carry the ball forward to pass to Anthony Timbrell. Timbrell played an excellent pass to Steven Roberts in behind the left back who was then able to pull it back for Nick Medlicott to take a strike. However great defending was a theme throughout the morning game, as Jon Hare did fantastically to get back and block the incoming shot at goal. Medlicott couldn't quite get over the rebound and hit it over the bar.

In the 11th min the ball was in the back of the net again, but this time for the Away team. Roberts took a quick throw-in on the near touchline to Henry Summers, who then returned the ball back to Roberts who was able to play in Mark Mills down the left wing. The ball was perfectly weighted, as was its return for the prolific former Canaries goal scorer Iwan Roberts to place it in the back of the net. However the assistant referee on the far-side had flagged Mills offside earlier in the move. 

Third time lucky, and the ball managed to find the back of the net again and this time it counted via a converted penalty kick on 17 mins. At the edge of the box with the Away defence not clearing their lines, Chris Mullins drilled a shot towards goal. Unfortunately for Jon Hare, the ball struck him on the arm and ricocheted away from danger. However the referee had no choice but to point at the spot and Home No 8 Chris Mullins converted the opportunity. There was no stopping the penalty as it was rifled into Adrian Grainge's top left corner. (1-0)

In the 25th min the Away team's No 7 Mark Mills was dispossessed after persistent work by Medlicott on the far touchline, supported by Huckerby on the edge of the box. Huckerby was able to skilfully drag back the ball and set up Richard Johnson just inside the area. Unfortunately Johnson's side footed attempt agonisingly curled the wrong way and away from goal, going out for a goal kick. The Away team were riding their luck now as the Home team were clearly in the ascendancy.

The Home team went close again on 28 min, a long ball from Andrew Preston to bypass the midfield, knocked it into space on the left wing for Darren Huckerby to use his pace again. Hucks was able to beat the defender and draw out the Away keeper on the edge of the box then unselfishly rolled it back to present a goal scoring opportunity to Steven Roberts. However another fantastic piece of defending by Away No 4 Shaun Howes allowed him to collect the ball from the Home Striker and move away from danger.

A great save by Adrian Grainge after a shot by Nick Medlicott on the edge of the box occurred a minute later, as the Home team were really testing the defenders as they searched for a two goal cushion. Timbrell with excellent passing ability again to create the opening for his teammate.

On the half hour mark the two goal cushion did eventually arrive, after the Away team left danger man Huckerby too much time and space to carry the ball from the left wing, cut in and attack the heart of the Away defence. A give and go with Steven Roberts, on the edge of the box, returned the ball back to the flying winger. Huckerby then took the ball across the defender on the six yard box before playing a reverse pass for No 10 Dan Green to side foot his shot, through the legs of both Jon Hare and Adrian Grainge, and into the net from close range. (2-0)

Although they were being pinned back into their own half the Away team did very well to contain the Home attack until half time, keeping the score to 2-0 so that they could re-group and hopefully get back into the game.

Half-Time: Norwich City Home 2-0 Norwich City Away

There was to be a goal fest in the 2nd half, with a further 6 goals hitting the back of the net. The team talks were clearly about getting more shots on target and trying to play free flowing, attacking football. The downpour of rain on the Carrow road pitch increased the speed of the game as the ball was now zipping off the top of the surface.

The Home team were denied by the post after 52 mins, with Chris Mullins challenging for the ball with Thomas Evans on the edge of the Away team's box, and the ball managed to find its way through the defence and into the path of the alert Nick Medlicott, who was able to round the advancing keeper Adrian Grainge, but he was forced too wide of the goal to get a shot in. Medlicott was then able to look up and pick out Chris Mullins, who headed at goal but saw his effort rebound back off the post.

The next goal of the game wasn't long in coming, Roberts did really well to chase the ball and keep the pressure on the Away team's stretched defence. After a great piece of skill on the edge of the box, he was able to beat his man and pull back a cross at the touchline and the eagle-eyed referee deemed a slide challenge by Evans, just before the pull-back was a foul and pointed to the spot. Steven Roberts converted the penalty with a cool finish, side footing his effort to the keeper's left. (3-0)

55 mins in and determined to get the Away team back into the game, Beales picked up the ball in the centre of the pitch before unleashing a great strike from 25 yards out, but a great diving save by Shaun Reynolds stopped the effort from going in.

2 mins later and another Away chance almost pulled a goal back as the Away team were starting to become more confident with their possession and attack the Norwich City Home team. Receiving Steve Plunkett's clever cross Paul Quilter was unable to direct his effort goal-wards on the edge of the 6 yard box, after being put under pressure from Andrew Preston and Home Captain Michael Georgiou-Holden.

The Away team were to get the goal their improved play deserved shortly afterwards though. Dean Ashton, in an unfamiliar left back position was able to win back the ball in the 58th min and pass to Steve Plunkett. A quick pass from Plunkett set off Tom Beales who was able to carry the ball and pass down the far right wing before driving into the area. Beales remained unchallenged before taking the opportunity to hit a right side footed effort under the keeper and into the far corner of the net. The Away team were now getting much more of possession and they started to pin back the Home team for the first time in the game. (3-1) 

A fantastic example of this was in the 65th min with a moment that Away No 10 Henry Summers will surely never forget. On the near touchline, Huckerby collected the ball in the left back position before looking up and rocketing down the left wing as he had done in the 1st half to great success. However buoyed by his team's improved second half performance, Summers was able to get across Huckerby's path and perfectly time a slide challenge to stop the Home legend on the half way line.  

The Away team were a completely different side in the 2nd half, and another fantastic tackle by Shaun Howes on the edge of the box denied Nick Medlicott a clear route on goal and helped keep the Away team's comeback on track. There was another challenge between the two players 2 mins later, but this time Medlicott was able to get a shot away. It took a close range save from Adrian Grainge, throwing his left hand to instinctively deflect the ball away from goal, to again keep the Away side in with a fighting chance.

However after 72 mins the Away team's revitalised defence was eventually breached, after Steven Roberts picked up the ball just over the half-way line before sliding a fantastic through ball to split the defence and find the lively Nick Medlicott. The Striker got a quick shot away, which seemed to catch the keeper out as it went into through his hands and rolled over the line for the Home team's 4th (4-1)

The Away team almost responded instantly only a minute later with Thomas Evans able to thread a ball past Darren Huckerby on the near touchline to Mark Mills, who was able to run down the right wing and put in a pin-point accurate cross to the incoming Away attack. However Andrew Preston did enough to pressure the shot and goalkeeper Shaun Reynolds pulled off an instinctive save with his feet to deny a clear goal scoring opportunity.

The Home team's 5th goal came in the 83rd min after another penetrating run by Huckerby. Picking up possession just over the half way, Huckerby was able to run at the defence unchallenged before perfectly weighting a pass to Daniel Littleboy who had enough time to side-foot a low shot past the keeper and into the back of the net from just outside the 6 yard box. (5-1)

However 2 mins later, Away legend Dean Ashton helped his team to register another goal. Able to push possession over the half-way line from the left back position, Ashton clipped in a perfectly weighted ball to Tom Beales on the edge of the box. The left midfielder had the composure to take a touch then produce a clever chip over the advancing keeper from 8 yards out, into the back of the net. It was an exquisite right footed finish by the lively No 8. (5-2)

With 87mins on the clock Dean Ashton could have pulled another goal back. After a great reverse pass by Mills inside the area, Ashton took a few touches on route to the goal before side footing his shot narrowly wide of the post. Defenders Littleboy and Andrew Preston did really well to pressure the Norwich City's legend.

The final goal of the game was an instant reply to Ashton's near miss. The Home team strung a few passes together and unleashed Steven Roberts down the left wing. Roberts was then able to pick out the advancing run of Chris Mullins on the edge of the box, and from 12 yards out the Left Midfielder fired his shot past the keeper and into the back of the net. (6-2)

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

Following the match, former club legend Peter Oldfield, who was the winning Home Norwich City Manager, enthused about his team's impressive victory "...Thoroughly deserved, we played very well boys, knocking it about. Brilliant! Good bit of marking at the back as well...well played...well done...Fantastic!!

Full-Time: Norwich City Home 6 - 2 Norwich City Away

Man of the Match Home: Anthony Timbrell
Man of the Match Away: Tom Beales
Moment of the Match: Jason Powell

Home Team: Reynolds, Powell, Huckerby, Preston, Georgiou-Holden (C), Johnson, Timbrell, Mullins, Roberts, Green, Medlicott, Green, Georgiou-Holden, Littleboy, Mullins
Home Mascot: Elouise Littleboy

Away Team: Grainge, Evans, Ashton, Roberts, Howes, Hare, Plunkett, Mills, Beales, Skipp (C), Summers, Quilter, Plunkett, Whitmore, Evans, Beales
Away Mascot: Tom Plunkett