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Everton Game 2 2012

It was a glorious evening at Goodison Park stadium when the 29 proud Evertonians marched out onto the hallowed turf. Football Aid regular Stuart Barlow was back to pull on that treasured Blue's jersey, with Stuart's time at the club best remembered for  the winning goal in an FA Cup fifth round replay win again Premiership Southampton in the 2000-01 season. Wearing the club's colours the players proudly marched out onto the pitch receiving a warm welcome from the visiting fans, the stage was set for a dazzling game of football.

Monday 14th May
Everton Home v Everton Away
Match: Game 1
Kick Off: 18:45pm
Legends: Stuart Barlow
Match Officials: Gordon Johnson, Keiron Jones, Liam Ockleshaw and Harry Fishwick

The Toffees Home team, wearing the traditional Blue, white, and blue got the game underway and the match started at a frantic pace, with both teams desperately trying to gain a foothold in the game.

The crowd didn't need to wait long for a goal though, a poor clearance from the Blue's defence landed at the feet of John Jessop, and the forward perfectly slotted the ball through into the path of young American based fan Mike O'Reilly. The skillful No 7 unselfishly squared the ball across the 6 yard box for a simple tap in for Captain John Cotton to open the scoring. (0-1)

The Away team wearing the Golden tops looked threatening as their pass and move approach overwhelmed the Blues, however Captain Martyn Gowing showed some neat trickery in the middle, playing a great ball down the left flank. After continuing his run into the box it looked like he was brought down in the box, but the referee waved the No 9 to his feet. Questionable decision?!

The Blues showed true determination even when pinned back in their own box and the counter attack football caught the Away side off guard on several occasions. An incredible cross-field pass from Darren Whitfield over the head of Stuart Barlow perfectly landed at the feet of winger Robert Paul. The ball was crossed into the box finding the head of Caine Baldock-Apps but his effort drifted over the bar. The No10 possibly should have leveled the scoring.

Similar to the situation above another cross was delivered into the 6 yard box, the keeper was flat footed, and No 9 Gowing was unmarked but he couldn't generate enough power behind the header. This was the best chance of the game for the Home team so far and Gowing would have backed himself to do better there! However the Blues were at least starting to create some chances but just lacked that clinical edge.

It was the Away side that extended their lead next following a delightful move down the left side after some instant passing from Dave Cockram and Dave O'Reilly, who was able to thread an exquisite ball in behind the Blues defence. No 11 John Jessop pulled the struggling centre half across, leaving John Cotton in acres of space to slot the ball past the helpless keeper Kay. That's Cotton's second of the game! (0-2)

Following that the Home keeper was left shocked as his goal kick instantly came back to haunt him. No 6 Keen leapt like a salmon, heading the ball between both centre halves and John Jessop got his reward. Taking his first touch round the goalkeeper and slotting the ball home with his left foot. It was a comfortable lead now for the Golden side. (0-3)

At the other end of the pitch, goalkeeper Michael Kelly came under real threat from the driven Blues side determined to pull one back. After hitting the post, saving a goal line scrimmage, and pulling off a wonder save by tipping Home Striker Gowing's shot round the post, Kelly will have counted himself lucky not to have conceded.

As the floodgates opened, it was the Away side that kept pilling on the pressure asking too many questions of the Blues defence. After a poor corner, Jessop and Cotton linked up well sending big No 8 David Cockram through. Beating two defenders he powered his shot low and hard into the keeper's left hand post. A fantastic strike to open his account and give his side a 4 nil lead. (0-4)

It wasn't long before the Golden boys increased their lead further. An intercepted poor pass allowed Cockram to set his strikers on their way. Cotton had a simple ball across to John Jessop to slot the ball into the far corner. Cotton and Jessop were proving to be a handful for the Blues defence. (0-5)

The Home side went on the ascendency in search of foot-hold in the game and it paid off just before half time. Caine Baldock-Apps found himself in some space just outside the box and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner. It was a wonderful strike to give the Home side renewed hope going in at half-time. (1-5)

The goal brought an end to an exciting first half of action; with both teams creating plenty of chances but it was their clinical finishing that gave the Away side a comfortable lead.

Half-Time: Everton Home 1 - 5 Everton Away

As Stuart Barlow swapped sides and pulled on the Home jersey for the second half the Blue's came out the tunnel fired up for the second half. However, it was the Away side who immediately seized possession and looked eager to get another goal and it didn't take long for them to open the 2nd half scoring. Mike O'Reilly, who was tormenting the Blue's defence all evening, fired across a delightful cross and 2nd half sub Gary Stewart stamped his mark on the game by making a tremendous run in front of the defence to volley the ball into the corner. (1-6)

No 17 Stewart was making an instant impact on the game and shortly after he picked up a stray pass and teed it up nicely for John Jessop. The No 11 showed composure to curl the ball over the stranded keeper to complete his Hat-trick. "Jess" was showing real class today! (1-7)

No one could question the commitment from the Blues as they battled to get back into the game. After conceding 2 early goals they started putting the Away side under severe pressure, picking up loose passes and working the ball around the edge nicely. Several chances, with at least 2 clear cut, went by...perhaps it would have been a different story if they had had Jelavić up front...

Despite the pressure from the Home team the Away team created a chance at the other end, a break away from Mike O'Reilly found him through on goal but the far post denied him. However not long after, Father and Son Dave and Mike linked up well, with deadly striker John Jessop pouncing on Mike's spilled shot, lobbing the ball over the marooned goalkeeper for his 4th goal of the game. (1-8)

It was apparent that the Home side were gaining in confidence despite the score line, and it wasn't long after that they were on the attack again. Moving the ball at pace down the right hand side No 7 Robert Paul got his head up and spotted Captain Martyn Gowing on the penalty spot. His glancing header into the far corner was unstoppable and the celebration was certainly memorable, as the Captain proceeded to shadow box with the corner flag, Tim Cahill style. The Blues were delighted by their well deserved goal! (2-8)

There seemed to be no end to the attack from the Home side as they desperately sought another goal and their persistence paid off after a slack kick from the keeper fell kindly into the path of Robert Paul. His pace enabled him to burst past the last defender and he powered his shot across goal. Despite picking up cramp at the same time he still managed to celebrate with his team mates. (3-8)

It was arguably a tale of two halves where the score line wasn't a total reflection of the match. Even though the Away side deserved their victory after an impressive 1st half, the Blues showed true grit and determination throughout the 90 minutes but just couldn't take their chances as clinically.

Overall, the game was a delight to watch for the fans high up in the Main Stand and must have been thoroughly enjoyably to play in as well.

Full-Time: Everton Home 3 - 8 Everton Away

Man of the Match (Home): Caine Baldock-Apps
Man of the Match (Away): John Jessop
Moment of the Match: Martyn Gowing

Home Team: Malcolm Kay, Phil O'Rourke, Stuart Barlow (2nd half), Trond Olav Olsen, Kevin Banks, Paul Henderson, Robert Paul, Darren Whitfield, Martyn Gowing (C), Caine Baldock-Apps, Andrew Chambers, Anthony Timbrell, Peter Griffin, Kevin Murphy, Michael Lavers.
Manager: Stuart Barlow
Mascots: Kai Gowing

Away Team: Michael Kelly, Paul Kelly, Stuart Barlow (1st half), Stein Sherlock, Alan Schumacker, Thomas Keen, Mike O'Reilly, David Cockram, John Cotton (C), Dave O'Reilly, John Jessop, Thomas Dyer, Philip Kelly, David Cockram, Gary Stewart.
Manager: Stuart Barlow
Mascots: Ellis Cockram