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Newcastle United G1 2013

The first of Football Aid’s 2013 matches at St. James’ Park began mid-afternoon on a glorious day right at the end of May. It was our 1st time back at the impressive St James' Park stadium, after a break for a year due to the Olympic Football Tournament games, and the Magpie fans in attendance were all hugely excited to be returning to their Field of Dreams. The game itself was an absolute cracker, with two well matched teams producing an epic battle that saw the Home team comeback from 1-5 down at half-time to win an incredible match 7-5!

Date: Friday 31st May 2013
Venue: St. James’ Park
Newcastle United vs Newcastle United Away
Game 1
Kick off: 3:15pm
Legend: John Anderson
Match Officials: Robin Raymond, Adrian Holmes, Ian Carr and Stephen Dial

The Magpies supporters marched proudly out onto the St James' Park pitch in high spirits to start the match. After handshakes all round and team photos to preserve the memories of the game, the two Captains joined the officials for the pre-match preliminaries. The Away side, wearing Lime Green shirts, won the toss and chose to kick off, however the Home side, wearing the traditional Black and White striped shirts, were quick to take possession and dominated the early proceedings, working the ball round the pitch well and getting close to the opposition's goal. This early pressure paid off for the Home side after a pass from the right wing and was collected by Graeme Murray, the powerful Striker made no mistake with his 1st chance of the game, cracking a low shot into the bottom left corner to fire his Home side into the lead with just 5 mins on the clock (1-0).

The Away side looked to strike straight back quickly and they manoeuvred the ball well to get in a shot, however the effort was just tipped over the bar by Home Keeper Eddie Richardson. The Away side kept driving forward and one of their chances resulted in a corner which was sent perfectly into the mass of players in the box before Away No 5 John Moran rose well to meet the ball and send a powerful header into the back of the net (1-1). The scores were all level again after 21 mins.

The Home side were looking to follow the example of the Away team and come back immediately, however their counter attack was stopped and the ball was quickly sent back up the other end. Away No 8 Thomas Aplin then carried the ball into the box trying his luck, but his shot was saved in superb fashion by Keeper Richardson, however the rebound was collected by Michael Dalton 20 yards from goal, the No 9 (who was fresh from scoring 5 in our Leicester City game!) turned with the ball and fired a stunning, swerving shot from 20 yards out that eluded the Home Keeper's despairing attempt to save it (1-2). Home Keeper Richardson did well to get a hand to the powerful shot; however he couldn't prevent it ending up in the top left corner of the net.

The Home side were pushing to get back on level terms but their efforts were being repelled by the Away defence. Then on 30 mins the Away side went charging down the other end and worked the ball into space in the box, No 6 Stephen Dobson sent a great pass into the middle which Michael Dalton met powerfully with his head and his effort wrong footed the Keeper and ended up in the back of the net (1-3). Dalton then celebrated in style by having a pile up next to the goal and rolling on the ground!

Both teams continued to exhibit excellent passing skills, retained possession well and probed the opposition defence, but It wasn’t until a mistake was made by the Home side that the Away side were able to increase their lead. A pass forward by the lively No 4 Tom Berj should have been blocked by a Defender, but it made it's way through to No 9 Michael Dalton who carried the ball all the way into the box, ran round the Keeper and slid it into the goal for his hat-trick (1-4). The Away side were now 3 goals clear in the 37th min.

Unfortunately for the Home team, with only 2 mins until half-time, another defensive lapse allowed the Away team to increase their lead further still. Another forward pass should have been blocked but instead came off a Home Defender’s boot and went spiralling back before being picked up by Tom Berj. The No 4 charged forwards, beat another Defender to the ball and dodged a pair of tackles from the Keeper and a third Defender before sliding the ball into the back of the net (1-5). 

The Referee's whistle brought the half to and end soon after, with the Home side unable to reply. The Away side had just edged the game so far and were well clear, however the Home team's performance suggested they weren't to be discounted and their fans still held out hope they could claw their way back into the game in the 2nd half.

Half Time: Newcastle United Home 1 - 5 Newcastle United Away

The atmosphere in the changing rooms was decidedly different as the Home side had a serious discussion with Legend John Anderson as to how to reverse their fortunes and the Away side revelled in their lead without being too complacent. Rejuvenated and hydrated, the two teams strode out onto the pitch to continue the battle.

The Home side had evidently been inspired by their half time team talk and immediately pushed forward. They created a number of chances but weren’t quite able to finish them off; however they were gifted the perfect chance soon after when a late challenge in the box on No 10 Aidan Moore by Away Captain Neil Wharton resulted in a penalty. This was then coolly put into the net by No 17 Carl Stewart, reducing the deficit to 3 goals (2-5).

The Away side tried to extend their lead but some great keeping by Eddie Richardson kept the ball out of the net. The Home side replied and nearly scored again when No 9 Graeme Murray beat a Keeper and got off a shot, but the ball was stopped on the line by a Defender and then cleared by No 15 Neil Gallagher. However Murray made no mistake moments later, a cross into the danger area went high off a Defender’s head and Graeme Murray was perfectly placed to head the ball into the net and claw his side back to within 2 goals with 56 mins on the clock (3-5).

The Home side continued to press the Away team but were denied time and again by a combination of Keeper Daniel Lloyd (making his 5th appearance of the season) and the Away defence. They couldn’t hold out forever though, a pass forward to No 6 Calum Murray allowed him the space to go all the way into the box and with the Defenders unable to get a challenge on him he slotted the ball into the bottom right corner, dragging his side to within 1 goal on 61 mins (4-5).

Not long after the Home side struck again, and this time to equalise! A lovely chipped ball forward found Graeme Murray in space behind the Home Defence and he showed his excellent striking instincts, firing his shot into the bottom right corner of the net to level the scores on 68 mins (5-5).

The Home side continued to dominate and they charged forward in search of the winner. A long pass to the Right Wing was collected well and passed into the middle, where No 14 Dean Stott’s shot was blocked. However the rebound was hammered Home by Graeme Murray for his hat-trick (6-5). Amazingly having been 1-5 down at half-time the Home side found themselves ahead with just 17mins to go!

Both teams then had their chances and the Away team were certainly not giving up, however the Home team put to bed the Away team’s hopes of a draw when they went two goals up with only mins left. No 10 Aidan Moore sent a long pass down field which was collected one again by Graeme Murray. The deadly No 9 sprinted downfield and smacked the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the box for his 5th goal of the game (7-5)!

The game ended shortly after with evident disappointment for the Away side, however the Home team were buoyant after an incredible 2nd half comeback had seen them score 6 un-answered goals to claim the win against all the odds.

Full Time: Newcastle United Home 7 - 5 Newcastle United Away

Man of the Match Home: Graeme Murray
Man of the Match Away: Michael Dalton
Moment of the Match: Carl Stewart

Home Team: Eddie Richardson, Adam Canning, Patrick Johnson (C), Mark Wilks, Calum Murray, John Duffy, Baljinder Singh, Graeme Murray, Aidan Moore,
Jamie Reid, Dean Stott, Andrew Patterson, Ian Carr, Carl Stewart
Manager: John Anderson
Mascot: Kieran Richardson

Away Team: Daniel Lloyd, Neil Wharton (C), Tom Berj, John Moran, Stephen Dobson, Shaun Porritt, Thomas Aplin, Michael Dalton, M. Muzakkir Ali, Michael Newberry, Chris Jefferys, Neil Gallagher, Mark Fletcher, James Pomeroy
Mascot: Matthew Newberry