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Reading 2013

The Reading 2013 match was the final game of the Football Aid season and the spectacular thriller of a match certainly ended the season in fantastic style. After a brilliant 2nd half comeback from the Home side, the scores were all square with only seconds to go and a draw looked like it was on the cards. However the game was fittingly settled 6-7 in the Away team's favour by an excellent finish from Terry Rickeard, who was making his record 11th appearance in FootballAid13!

Date: Friday 7th June 2013
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Reading Home vs Reading Away
Kick off: 12pm
Legend: Lawrie Sanchez
Match Officials: Peter Munt, David Cox, Glenn Mitchell and Les Broude

Both teams were packed with experienced Football Aiders, with the Home team's Enright, Canning, Wilkins, Wakefield, Feehan, Richardson and Harland and the Away's McLeod, Blocksage, Waterfall, Retsinas and Rickeard all having made appearances in Football Aid 2013 already, and with the warm sun breaking through the clouds the scene was set for a perfect end to the Football Aid 2013 season.

After receiving team-talks from Manager Lawrie Sanchez the teams marched out onto the pitch and shook hands with the opposition before posing for their team photographs. The coin toss was duly won by the Away side and the team wearing Yellow with blue trim elected to kick-off. Despite this it was the Home side that had the more notable start as they pushed forward looking for an early goal. The Away side however, soon rectified this state of affairs and they came very close to scoring themselves, however on this occasion they weren’t quite able to breach the defence.

Both teams were coming close in the early exchanges and Home No 11 James Comerford's shot almost broke the deadlock after it hit the woodwork before being cleared, however it was the Away side who were to take the lead soon after. No 8 Philip Hornbrook sent an excellent cross in from the left and when the ball wasn't fully cleared by the Home defence it rebounded to Away No 5 Gary Hockey, who made no mistake from close range, hammering the ball into the net and putting his side into the lead after just 19 mins (0-1).

Both sides were looking dangerous and the chances were coming thick and fast in the early stages, however Goalkeepers Nick Enright and Martin McLeod were both equal to the task and pulled off a number of important saves early on. They weren’t able to keep the attacking players out forever though and it was the Away side who broke through once again mins later. Midfielder Steven Hornbrook played another great through ball to No 9 Jack Comerford and the Striker showed great composure to finish expertly with the outside of his right foot past the outrushing Nick Enright (0-2).

The Home side were not to be out done though and struck back a few mins later. A long pass up field was intercepted by the Away Keeper Martin McLeod, however his attempted clearance was charged down by No 11 James Comerford and the Striker finished calmly with his left foot into an open goal to reduce the Away’s lead to just the 1 goal in the 25th min (1-2). The Away side then had another fine opportunity to go further ahead in the form of a penalty for an accidental handball in the box. No 11 John Cook stepped up confidently, however despite striking the ball cleanly, his shot was just too high and grazed the top of the bar as it cleared the goal.

The Away side's disappointment didn’t last long though and when No 15 Chris Hayman played in No 9 Jack Comerford on the edge of the box on 41 mins, his powerful drive from 20 yards evaded the despairing dive from the impressive Enright, putting his side 2 goals clear again (1-3).

The Away team were to strike again just 2 mins later, some brilliant attacking play from No 11 John Cook down the left was followed by a clever square ball to Captain Michail Retsinas and the No 10 comfortably finished the move off at the near post (1-4). The Away side had lengthened their lead to 3 goals in the 43rd min and the task for the Home side to get back into the game looked ominous!

The Away team attempted to increase their lead further in the final minutes of the half, however Home No 1 Nick Enright was equal to anything they threw at him and the half ended soon after with the Away side enjoying a comfortable looking lead.

Half Time: Reading Home 1 - 4 Reading Away

After a rousing team-talk from their Manager Lawrie Sanchez the Home team turned up the heat after the break though and quickly created the 1st chance of the half. No 20 Andrew Harland was fouled just outside the box, but his well struck free kick was straight down the Keeper's throat. The Home side continued to smother the opposition though and their sustained pressure paid dividends. The marauding Fullback Wayne Richardson went on a run and after beating a number of defenders he passed the ball to teammate No 9 Elliott Ford, the Striker's shot deflected off the head of a defender and came back to Richardson, who volleyed the ball straight into the opposite corner (2-4). The Home side were now only 2 goals behind in the 53rd min.

The Away side looked to extend their lead again when a long pass forward found No 11 John Cook, he fired the ball past Enright in goal, however his effort went just past the post. The Home side replied in earnest though and charged back up the Away end. No 9 Ford took the ball down the left wing and then chipped it into Harland in the box. His pass was cut out by the Home defence; however they could only give the ball to Home No 7 Paul Wakefield, who proceeded to hammer the ball low past the keeper and into the bottom right corner of the net (3-4). The Home side were only 1 goal behind now with 59 mins on the clock.

The Home side continued to push their advantage and on 63 mins they poured forward again. A long ball was chased down by No 11 James Comerford on the left and he carried the ball into the box before passing across the face of goal to Home Captain Matt Blair, who poked the ball home to level the scores (4-4). The Away side appealed angrily for an offside, and after a video review it did look close, however the Official's decision stood and the game was all square with less than 30 mins to go.

The Away side hit back though as started to put pressure on their opposition again and after a Home attack broke down in the 67th min the Away side intercepted the ball and sent a long pass down field. It was latched onto by No 11 John Cook and after a clash with the Keeper the ball broke free and the Striker wasted no time in putting the ball into the open goal (4-5). It was no less than the excellent Cook deserved and he will have been delighted to have banished the memories of his 1st half penalty miss!

The Away side continued to press in attack and they increased their lead after a great bit of play between Michael Retsinas and John Cook. A great flick in the box from the Away No 10 found Cook in space and he struck the ball nonchalantly with the outside of his foot past Enright and into the opposite corner (4-6). The Away side were now two goals ahead again in the 74th min.

The Home side were not to be out done though and they struck back mins later to close the gap to just 1 goal again. No 16 Donato Del Rosso picked up a loose ball and charged forward. He then beat a defender before sliding it past another two defenders to James Comerford. The Striker took his time before finishing comfortably with his left foot from a tricky angle (5-6).

And incredibly the Home side were to grab an equaliser soon after! A slack pass back to the Keeper McLeod allowed the ball to be gathered by James Comerford and instead of shooting from a tight angle he passed the ball to Andy Harland and the tall Striker made no mistake from close range, firing into the goal from close range (6-6). It looked like the No 20's strike would be the last of the season and he celebrated in style, performing a unique goal celebration with a piece of red cord he had stashed on his person!

With the scores level again, the big question was would either side be able to grab a winner to settle the tie? Both teams were desperate to come out on top in what had been an incredible game. So desperate in fact that an Away player was yellow carded for handball that prevented a Home attack. 

However it was to be the Away side that prevailed in the end, and on the balance of play it was probably a fair reflection of how the game had gone. With time running out a lovely through ball found No 14 Terry Rickeard in the clear and the man playing in his 11th game of FootballAid13 showed his class to slot the ball left footed past Enright and into the corner of the net for his 11th goal of the season (6-7)!

The courageous Home side simply didn't have the time to stage a come-back this time and Rickeard's strike turned out to be the final goal of the game as well as the season. With 13 goals, a penalty miss, yellow cards and quality saves from both Keepers the 2013 game at the Madejski had everything and with it being played in the right spirit from the 1st min to the last it proved to be an extremely fitting end to a hugely enjoyable season.

Full Time: Reading Home 6 - 7 Reading Away

Man of the Match Home: Nick Enright
Man of the Match Away: Lee Waterfall
Moment of the Match: Terry Rickeard

Home Team: Nick Enright, Adam Canning, Simon Phillips, Tyler Wilkins, Matt Blair (C), Paul Wakefield, Ben Greenwood, Elliott Ford, Terry Jones, James Comerford, Mark Feehan, Wayne Richardson, Andrew Harland
Manager: Lawrie Sanchez

Away Team: Martin McLeod, Andrew Blocksage, Stuart Green, Garry Hockey, Steven Hornbrook, Lee Waterfall, Phillip Hornbrook, Jack Comerford, Michail Retsinas (C), John Cook, Terry Rickeard, Chris Hayman, Donato Del Rosso, Domenico Colella
Mascot: Josh Arnott