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Bolton Wanderers 2012

Bolton Wanderers welcomed Football Aid to the Reebok Stadium for another highly anticipated morning of football. Players arrived at the magnificent stadium with huge smiles on their faces, knowing they were an hour away from gracing the hallowed turf, managed by Bolton legend Keith Branagan, who spent 8 years at the club, playing over 215 games. Conditions were perfect; the sun was shining, the pitch looked excellent and the fans were making a lot of noise from the Bolton "Royal Box". It had all the ingredients for a great game of football!

Sunday 20th May 2012
Bolton Wanderers Home vs Bolton Wanderers Away
Kick Off: 11.00
Legend: Keith Branagan
Match Officials: Mat Scholes, Tom Ruck, Danny Walsh and Sam Hindle

The Home team wearing the famous White and Blue strips got the game underway and initially it was a scrappy affair with neither team able to settle. Unfortunately within the first 5 mins Football Aid's senior citizen Maurice Lawson took a full force clearance in the face. However the longtime supporter showed true character as he was patched up and continued in the game.

Both teams were nervous in possession, and it was 8 mins before the 1st half chance was created. Simon Gold's diagonal cross found the head of right back Craig Purnell, and his powerful header from outside the area looped towards the goal but James Donnelly did very well to tip it over his bar. The corner was met by the free head of Dalton but he couldn't steer his header on target.

No 1 Donnelly was called into action again when two defensive errors could have opened the scoring. Firstly, a foul throw allowed the Home side to get the ball in the box, and then a poor header fell to centre midfield Simon Gold. The No 6 powered his left foot shot straight at the goalkeeper who parried the ball away to safety.

With 14 mins played it was the Home team who opened the scoring, Simon Gold, Carl Byron and Phillip Kay showed how easy football is. The 3 linked up well with first time passing down the left, leaving the defence for dead before a drilled ball across the box was clipped over the keeper by Kevin Scott. (1-0)

However, a moment of magic stunned the crowd. From a goal-kick centre midfielder Phil Norris gathered the ball, weaved past one defender and found himself driving through on goal. The No 6 then executed a perfect chip over the onrushing goalkeeper. It was a special moment in the match as he blew his kisses to a loved one in the stand. (1-1)

The Home team snatched control of the game, with the play was going through the creative Phillip Kay. The left midfielder's pin-point pass set up striker Byron but Donnelly was on hand again to keep the scores level.

Football Aid regular Alex Smal showed some excellent link up play throughout the half, coming close on several occasions; he was proving to be a real handful for the Home defence.

With 10 mins to go until half-time a terrible back pass could have cost the Away side. As Dalton pounced, the left winger carried the ball into the box. But the goalkeeper stayed big as Dalton picked his bottom right, however somehow Donnelly managed to tip the ball round the post. A wonderful save!

Minutes later, it was round 2 of Dalton v Donnelly. Simon Gold created the chance with his through ball, and in the exact same position Michael Dalton picked the same spot but this time he found the corner. As he ran to the corner flag picking it up like a sniper rifle, he shot fellow team-mate and friend Shaun Porritt. That's a proper celebration for Soccer AM! (2-1)

Half-Time: Bolton Wanderers Home 2 - 1 Bolton Wanderers Away

As the teams swapped ends it was the Away side that restarted the game as they searched for the equaliser. However, it was the Home team that created the first chance in round 3 of Dalton v Donnelly, with Donnelly coming out victorious. Dalton was on the end of Durrant's cross but Donnelly produced another top class save to protect the score line.

The Home team looked to increase their advantage with a fine through ball from Captain Corkery-Waldie, putting Dalton through on goal. However, Donnelly couldn't hold the ball and Carl Byron coolly rolled the ball into the net. The striker celebrating in a similar style to the famous Robbie Keane, cartwheel/forward-roll/pistol! (3-1)

The pressure of the Home team created another glorious chance on 60 mins as Durrant's first time pass split the defence. Kevin Scott was unfortunate to see his first shot saved but luckily enough his second attempt crept past 3 defenders and into the net. (4-1)

A few mins later the Home team was on the prowl again with attacking full back Adam Courtliff bombing down the right channel. The No 2 crossed the ball low and hard into striker Carl Byron and the No 11 twisted and turned away from 2 defenders before firing his shot into the top corner. (5-1)

However the Away team got some rewards for the continued efforts they put in when Smal won a penalty. The No 11 was wiped out by the otherwise impressive Rob Gold who could have no arguments about the decision. Alex Smal adjusted his socks and his low effort sent the keeper the wrong way. He was elated/relieved the ball found the back of the net to claw one back. (5-2)

With only 15 mins remaining, the Home side put the game out of reach as Michael Dalton started and finished a fine move. The No 17 played the ball wide for Byron to pick out his continued run, floating a glancing header into the top right hand corner. (6-2)

With time running out Alex Smal could have had another from a Lawson cross but to the keeper's relief it went wide.

The ref blew his whistle for full time, ending a cracking 8 goal encounter and the fans showed their appreciation of the players' excellent efforts with a rousing response from the stands as the players left the pitch.

Full-Time: Bolton Wanderers Home 6 - 2 Bolton Wanderers Away

Man of the Match Home: Rob Gold
Man of the Match Away: James Donnelly
Moment of the Match: Phil Norris

Home Team: Jonathon Warburton, Adam Courtliff, Rob Gold, Tony Scott, Simon Gold, Paul Durrant, Phillip Kay, Kevin Scott, Michael Corkery-Waldie (C), Carl Byron, Shaun Porritt, Tony Scott, Eric Lamb, Michael Dalton
Manager: Keith Branagan

Away Team: James Donnelly, Craig Purnell, Dan Green, Graham Ashton, Phil Norris, Maurice Lawson, Owen Sargent, Steve Mitchell (C), Kris Archer, Alex Smal, Andrew Greenwood, Craig Purnell, Gareth Evans
Manager: Keith Branagan