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Blackburn Rovers 2013

The 2013 Football Aid fixture at Ewood Park took place on an unusually warm and sunny early May evening and proved to be an exciting spectacle for all those watching. The match was a 6-goal thriller, ending in a 4-2 victory for the Home team and included a hat trick from Italian Striker Gian Marco Serra, who'd travelled from Sardignia to play in his 3rd Football Aid match. Despite seeing the Home team race into a 3-0 lead at half time, the Away side refused to let their heads go down and battled every minute of the match, ensuring a competitive game throughout and keeping the result in doubt right up to the final whistle.

Date: Thursday 2nd May 2013
Venue: Ewood Park
Blackburn Rovers Home vs Blackburn Rovers Away
Kick Off: 7:00pm
Legends:  Kevin Gallacher and Glenn Keeley
Match Officials: Ben Wiseman, Michael Haley-Jefferson, Mark Errington and David Wolfenden

It was the easily recognisable Blue and White shirts of the Home team that kicked off the much anticipated Football Aid fixture at Ewood Park and they almost immediately set about trying to break down the Away team’s defence.

After just two mins the Home team managed to get a shot on goal. An in-swinging cross from the left wing found Ian Blake in space in the box but his strike was unable to beat Away GK Daniel Lloyd’s right leg and the ball ended up out for a throw-in. This was just the first of a string of impressive saves the Away No 1 was to make on the night.

Four mins later, a good pass through the centre of the park forced Cottrell to put the ball out for a corner to the Home team. The corner went to the front post and found the head of the Home team’s centre-half Michael Astin but his shot went wide of the post.

On the 6 min mark the Away team had their first sniff at goal, Legend Glenn Keeley beating his man and giving the ball to Michael Fleming whose left-footed shot curved from right to left but was caught by the Home GK David Hughes with relative ease.

The first breakthrough on the scoreboard came 9 mins later. A searching ball from the right wing by Gallacher was met expertly by the head of Gian Marco Serra and the ball flew into the left-hand side of the net to give the Home team an early advantage (1-0).

The team in Blue and White then set about trying to add a 2nd to their tally and almost did so on the 14th min when Cottrell lost the ball on the edge of his own box, under the challenge of Marco Serra, and the ball rolled to Leigh Collett who only managed to slide the ball wide of the right post, before picking up a knock from Lloyd in the process.

The resulting goal-kick was taken quickly and misplaced back pass from Adam King played the pacey Des Bird through on goal. However his shot flew over the bar for a Home team goal-kick.

The 16 min mark saw another opportunity for the Home team to pull two ahead. Some composed play in the centre of the pitch by their Legend Gallacher gave Blake the time to play a nice ball through to No 11 Collett, who controlled the ball well, but once again his shot went narrowly past the post.

Shortly after on the 18th min, a quick free kick from well inside the Home team’s own half found Gian Marco Serra clean through on goal and he made no mistake with his finish, placing it neatly into the bottom right corner of the net. (2-0)

Just 3 mins later and Leigh Collett had another chance to get his name on the score sheet. A good header through from Ian Blake gave the Striker a shot at goal just inside the box but his effort was thwarted by Lloyd.
A couple of mins later the Away team had an opportunity to get one back. A great piece of dribbling on the left wing from two-time Goal of the Season Winner James Gilmour landed at the feet of Alan Pilkington, the Midfielder laid the ball back to Steven Diggory but the No 11's strike failed to find the net and instead sailed over the crossbar.

Despite the pressure from the Away team a quick counter-attack from the Home team saw them grab their third goal of the evening. Stuart Green failed to control the ball as it came down from the goal-kick and his unfortunate back pass gifted Gian Marco Serra all the time and space he needed to slot the ball into the net for the first hat-trick of the Football Aid 2013 season. (3-0)

On the 31st min the Away team came agonizingly close to pulling a goal back. More impressive dribbling from Gilmour going from the right to the left hand side of the box gave his team a free-kick in a dangerous position. It was Gilmour himself who took the set-piece and his curling strike narrowly failed to find the net, but instead it rattled off the crossbar and the danger was cleared by the Home team defence.

Two mins later it was Gilmour again getting in on the action. This time he collected the ball just inside the 18-yard box, cut inside onto his right foot and fired a shot at goal. Unfortunately for him his strike was straight at Home GK Hughes who held the ball well.

With 36 mins on the clock the Home team carved out a good chance to extend their lead to four goals when Right Midfielder Ian Blake used his physical presence to shunt a defender off the ball and play a low cross across the face of goal which was met by the boot of 3 goal hero Gian Marco Serra. However his shot from point blank range was stopped by an excellent reflex save from Daniel Lloyd and the ball went out for a corner.

It didn't take long for the Home team to find their scoring form again, or so they thought. The corner went to the back post and the ball ended up in the back of the net via the head of Leigh Collett. However the referee adjudged that the ball had looped out of play from the corner so the goal didn't stand.

That corner proved to be the last piece of goalmouth action in the 1st half, and the Home team marched into their changing room the happier of the two sides, after making the most of their chances to go into the break with 3 goal cushion.

Half-Time: Blackburn Home 3 - 0 Blackburn Away

The 2nd half was kicked off by the Away team, who were still looking to get their first goal and reduce the Home team's advantage. And their Legend Glenn Keeley’s team talk seemed to work, as his team were passing the ball well and looked composed in possession.

However the first chance the Home team got at the opposite end, they took! Starting from the back the Home side played some crisp passes and before long Ian Blake found himself with a shooting opportunity in the box thanks to the lay off from the No 10 Tyler. Blake's shot was well saved but the rebound fell to David Tyler, who calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the net, giving his team an unassailable looking 4 goal lead. (4-0)

Despite the efforts from the team in Dark Blue to get back into the game it took until the hour mark in the match before the next major scoring opportunity arose. James Gilmour - who was enjoying an epic tussle with Legend Kevin Gallacher, who had switched to the Right Back position to counter the treat – went from inside his own half right to the Home team’s goal-line. After beating four players he put in a dangerous cross which was met by Des Bird, who'd made a well timed run into the box, but the Striker couldn't quite get over it and his header went well over the bar. With every min that went by without the Away team scoring it seemed increasingly unlikely that they'd be able to overturn the four-goal deficit.

Three mins later and again the Away team came close to scoring. This time a cross by Diggory from the right side swung in towards the goal and came crashing off the post. Bird was unable to direct the rebound towards the net and the ball went out for a goal kick.

Despite the mountain the Away team had to climb they finally pulled a goal back in the 69th min. The ball bounced back to Steven Diggory on the left hand side, after he had put in a corner to the near post, and he whipped the ball back into the danger area and it found the head of Defender Gary Thomas at the back post who nodded it over goalkeeper Hughes and into the net (4-1).

On the 72nd min the Away team struck again, reducing the lead to just two goals. A couple of mins earlier GK David Hughes had picked up a knock and had to be replaced and when Gary Thomas controlled the ball in the box after a corner, the substitute GK was powerless to prevent Tommo's shot, which gave him his 2nd goal of the evening (4-2).

The Away team were now looking like they could inflict more damage on the Home team’s lead and they almost scored again in the 76th min. A cross from Gilmour failed to find its intended target and the ball was headed clear, but only as far as Andrew Thornhill, lurking 25-yards out. After taking a touch to set himself he unleashed a left-footed strike which looked to be going over the bar, but it dipped at the last moment and forced a good save from the Home team’s GK.

Despite the pressure from the Away team, the Home team felt they had managed to add to their lead in the 78th minute and put the game effectively out of reach of the battling Away team. Home Left Back Pier Andrea Serra put in a dangerous low ball across the six-yard box to his brother Gian Marco, who placed the ball into the back of the net. However the goal was ruled for offside, much to the dismay of the Home team and Gian Marco Serra who thought he had scored his fourth goal of the night!

The Home team almost scored again in the 82nd min when Adam King did well inside the box, beating a defender and cutting onto his right foot before testing Daniel Lloyd. However the No 1 showed why he was to be voted MOTM, as he stood up to the challenge and blocked the shot well.

There was to be no more scoring in the game and the Home team finished the match with a two-goal lead. On paper it looked like a comfortable victory, however the Away team refused to give in and continued to cause problems for the Home team right up to the final whistle, providing a thrilling encounter for all those in attendance.

Full-Time: Blackburn Rovers Home 4 - 2 Blackburn Rovers Away

Man of the Match Home: Michael Astin
Man of the Match Away: Daniel Lloyd
Moment of the Match: Gian Marco Serra

Home Team: David Hughes, Pier Andrea Serra, Kevin Gallacher, Michael Astin, Adam King, Chris Wilkinson, Ian Blake, Alan Weighill (C), Gian Marco Serra, David Tyler, Leigh Collett, Simon Moore, David Bolland, Pier Andrea Serra, Matthew Johnson
Home Mascot: Sophie Marie Tyler

Away Team: Daniel Lloyd, Steve Hession, Glenn Keeley, Stuart Green, Andrew Cottrell, Alan Pilkington, Billy Eckersley (C), Michael Fleming, Des Bird, Peter Lewis, Steven Diggory, David Edge, Gary Thomas, Andrew Thornhill, James Gilmour
Away Mascot: Christopher Johnson