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Scotland 2013-14

With Hampden Park being used as a Commonwealth Games Venue in the summer of 2014, we were delighted to get the opportunity to host our 2014 Scotland International earlier than usual, with the match being played on Sun 17th November 2013. The game's format saw a Scotland Home side take on the Rest of the World's Away side, and the Tartan Army fans in attendance certainly had plenty to shout about, with the team in Dark Blue running out 8-4 winners. The game featured a few early Goal of the Season contenders, some cracking saves from both Goalkeepers and plenty more action besides and it was certainly a fitting opening to the Football Aid 2014 season.

Date: Sunday 17th November 2013
Venue: Hampden
Scotland (Home) vs Rest of the World (Away)
Kick off: 14:00pm
Legends: Danny McGrain, John Kennedy, Simon Donnelly and Pat Nevin
Match Officials: Tony Ventre, Tony Fullerton, Allan Burnett and Santino Ventre

Hampden Park ahead of Kickoff

Despite a chill in the air and a slight drizzle falling, overall the conditions were as good as could be expected in November. Both teams marched out the tunnel onto the hallowed Hampden turf with the stirring sound of the tartan clad bagpiper playing "Scotland the Brave" ringing in their ears and the Home team certainly lived up to the sentiment, attacking their opponents from the off!

Early Action at Hampden

The 1st chance of the game fell to Home No 6 Ashley Price, the big Midfielder latched onto a slightly rushed clearance from the Away Goalkeeper Allan Todd and fired a shot on goal; however his low effort just flashed past the near post. 

The Away side responded well though, with Legend Pat Nevin making plenty of incursions into Midfield from the Left Back position. However with the Home Defence being marshalled excellently by Michael Bange and Michael Clarke, the Away side couldn't find the right ball to create any clear-cut opportunities for their normally dangerous Strikers Terry Rickeard and Andy Harland.

The Home side responded well though and their persistence paid off when they took the lead after just 12mins. A short goal-kick from Away GK Allan Todd to No 10 Mike Burke was laid off 1st time towards No 7 Gary Hamill, however Home No 6 Ashley Price showed great desire to pressure the Away Captain into giving up the ball and proceeded to take everyone by surprise and hit a low effort 1st time at goal. The ball skidded off the turf, eluded Todd's despairing dive and nestled into the bottom left corner of the Away net (1-0).

Scotland 1-0 Ahead

And amazingly the side in Dark Blue doubled their lead within a minute of the restart! Home Centre Half Michael Bange played the ball down the left touchline towards Tyler Wilkins and the No 8 showed great skill to dummy the ball and continue his run to attempt to reach No 11 Brian Cassidy's back-heel. Away Full Back Jordan Kerr got there 1st though and played the ball back towards his GK, however much to his dismay his pass-back fell just short, allowing Wilkins to latch onto the ball on the left edge of the box, before wrong footing the Keeper and passing the ball into the empty net (2-0).   

The Away team responded well though and after receiving a lay off from Pat Nevin, their Captain Gary Hamill fired in a shot from 20 yards which just flew wide. However it was the Home team who scored next, and what a stunning goal it was as well! The impressive No 2 Darren MacLeod started the move by playing a lofted ball to No 11 Brian Cassidy, the Striker did well to turn away from the ROTW's Dave Buglass and dink it forward to Tyler Wilkins. The No 8's square ball eluded the No 9 Paul Cassidy, however Home Captain Steven Foreman arrived right on cue to thunder a rising right foot drive high into the top left corner (3-0), With just 15mins on the clock the Home team already had a 3 goal cushion, and what a strike it was as well, a definite contender for Goal of the Season 2014!

The team in Dark Blue threatened again shortly afterwards, but this time Paul Cassidy's looping header bounced away to safety off the crossbar. However it didn't take long for them to increase their lead, with 22mins on the clock Steven Foreman collected the ball on the right wing and played an accurate ball into the feet of Ashley Price, the No 6 showed great skill to turn away from the Away defence and make room for a strike, and his low hard effort from 25 yards took a slight deflection off an Away defender, before flying past Todd's dive into the bottom right of the goal (4-0).

Despite the one sided looking scoreline, the Away side were very much still in the game and they looked like they would get themselves on the scoresheet when Andy Harland pounced on a slight mistake by Ashley Price to run in on goal, however he couldn't get enough on his effort with the outside of his right foot and Home Goalkeeper Phil Collings was able to gather easily. However they did get the goal their efforts deserved shortly afterwards. With 28mins on the clock No 20 Andy Harland stole the ball off Home Legend Simon Donnelly and set up Away Legend Pat Nevin on the edge of the box, the winger made space for himself before hooking a low shot back across goal with his right foot, the ball bounced just in front of Home GK Phil Collings and unfortunately for the big No 1 squirmed under his body and into the net (4-1).

Both sides were playing some excellent passing football at this stage and it was no surprise that another goal followed soon afterwards. Simon Donnelly pounced on the ball in Midfield and sped towards goal before finding Paul Cassidy in space on the edge of the box with a beautifully angled ball with the outside of his right foot. The Home No 9 took one touch with his right before curling a fantastic left footed effort high into the top left hand corner of the net (5-1). With 30mins gone, the Home side were 4 goals to the good again.     

It was a pulsating encounter at this stage, with the play raging from one end to the other and it took a couple of good saves from Away GK Allan Todd, 1st from Brian Cassidy's clever lobbed effort and then from Steven Foreman's strike, to keep his team in the game. At the other end Andy Harland went close after collecting a good ball into the box from Kevin Banks, however his near post effort was well saved by Phil Collings.  

That was to be the last real chance of the 1st half and the referee blew his whistle for halftime, with both teams leaving the pitch to a rousing round of applause. The crowd had clearly enjoyed the excellent entertainment on display.

Half Time: Scotland (Home) 5 - 1 Rest of the World (Away)

Home Manager John Kennedy was clearly a happy man, and encouraged his team to keep up their excellent standards and keep playing the way they had been doing. In the opposing dressing room Pat Nevin and Danny McGrain did an excellent job in raising the spirits of the evidently disappointed Away team, advising their forwards to find more space in the wide areas and encouraging them to take advantage of the fresh legs they had coming on for the 2nd half.

And the Away side certainly headed his words, instantly forcing a couple of corners and almost grabbing a goal straight away. Dave Buglass' low shot from an Andy Harland's cutback looked destined for the goal; however Phil Collings somehow got across to the effort and saved brilliantly with his right knee!

It was all the Away team at this stage, and when Andy Harland swung in another dangerous corner, his strike partner Terry Rickeard rose well to glance it goalwards, however Home Legend Simon Donnelly was there to hook it off the line. And Home GK Phil Collings came to the rescue again moments later, saving brilliantly with his legs again, this time from Gary Hamill's effort from 10 yards.

The Scotland Team Defending a Corner

Despite all the pressure from the Away team, surprisingly it was the Home side who increased their lead on 53mins! The Away side failed to clear their lines and Home No 9 Paul Cassidy turned provider this time, finding Simon Donnelly in space on the edge of the box. The former Scotland International showed his class, controlling the ball easily and wrong footing Todd in the Home goal to score easily with his right foot (6-1).

However the Away team hit back almost immediately, with 55mins gone Pat Nevin played a clever ball into No 15 Graeme Barr's feet, who in turn fed fellow sub Craig Rodger and the No 17's clever 1st time pass found Andy Harland free on the left hand side of the box. The deadly striker made no mistake, with his composed right foot finish ending up in the back of the net, in-off the far post (6-2).

Andy Harland Makes It 6-2

The Away team reduced the deficit further on 60mins, and it came about in slightly bizarre circumstances as well. No 14 Andrew Rodger played a corner into the box, which Simon Donnelly did well to win with his head, however his clearance back towards the corner flag ran along the byline and went straight back to Rodger. It sounded like the Referee's whistle had blown and everybody stopped play, however after a brief pause play was waved on again and Rodger played the ball back into the danger area and No 15 Graeme Barr rose above Donnelly's challenge to glance the ball into the net (6-3).   

The Away team had their dander up and Terry Rickeard almost helped to reduce the deficit further mins later. Craig Rodger found him in space with a clever disguised pass on the left edge of the box; however the No 9's low cross towards Andy Harland was expertly cut off by Home No 4 Michael Bange. Their Captain Gary Hamill created a chance for himself soon after with some neat footwork, however his well struck effort was just too high.

Then a great counter from Graeme Barr and Craig Rodger helped to free up Terry Rickeard on the edge of the box, his cut back found Andy Harland on the 6 yard box however Phil Collings did brilliantly to save with his feet again. And Collings was at it again from the resulting corner. This time he produced a spectacular save with his left hand to keep out a point blank diving header from Away No 10 Mike Burke and thankfully for the team in White, Ashley Price was there to hook the ball away to safety.

Despite further chances falling for both sides it was the Home side that increased their lead on 75mins. Ashley Price's clever reverse goalkick to Simon Donnelly started the move, Paul Cassidy received Donnelly's pass and his excellent 1st time through ball found his Brother Brian in acres of space. The No 11 powered towards the box but was unceremoniously upended just inside the box by Away No 16 Alan Graham's sliding challenge. Ashley Price stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake, scoring his hat-trick with a low shot to the keeper's left (7-3).   

Ashley Price Scores from the Spot

There were more goals to come as well, with the next one another early contender for the Goal of the Season! With 83mins on the clock Andrew Rodger found Graeme Barr from a throw in on the right side of the box and the No 15 proceeded to play it inside to No 4 Dave Buglass 25 yards from goal. The Defender took one touch to control the ball, then proceeded to fire a rocket of a shot into the far side of the goal, giving Collings no chance in the Home goal (7-4)! 

The Away side had a great chance to grab another goal when Pat Nevin broke away and released Mike Burke on the halfway line, however tiredeness got the better of the No 10 and he hooked his shot wide from distance with players either side of him calling for the ball. However the Home side snuffed out all thoughts of a late comeback with a decisive 8th goal in the 87th min. Gordon Esler played the ball towards Steve Foreman on the edge of the box and after a challenge from Dave Buglass, the ball fell to Home No 9 Paul Cassidy. The Striker steadied himself and powered a left foot effort high into the top left corner of the goal for his 2nd of the game (8-4).     

Phil Collings Pulls Off Another Great Save

There was still time for Phil Collings to pull off another brilliant point blank save from Andy Harland in the dying minutes, however Cassidy's stunning strike was the final piece of decisive action, with the clinical Home side running out worthy winners. However huge credit should also go to the Away team as well for an excellent 2nd half comeback that perhaps didn't quite gain the rewards it deserved. All in all it was a fantastic start to the Football Aid 2014 season and if the rest of the games prove to be half as entertaining, we're surely in for a hugely enjoyable year!  

Full time: Scotland (Home) 8 - 4 Rest of the World (Away)

Final Score

Man of the Match Home: Phil Collings
Man of the Match Away: Graeme Barr
Moment of the Match: Steven Foreman

Home Team: Phil Collings, Darren Macleod, Simon Donnelly (Lgd), Michael Bange, Michael Clarke, Ashley Price, Steven Foreman (C), Tyler Wilkins, Paul Cassidy, Gordon Esler, Brian Cassidy, Gary Wilson, David Beaton & Paul McMaster
Manager: John Kennedy
Mascot: Lewis Wilson Hughes

Away Team: Allan Todd, Jordan Kerr, Pat Nevin (Lgd), Dave Buglass, Marc Cameron, Kevin Banks, Garry Hamill (C), Robert Aitchison, Terry Rickeard, Mike Burke, Andrew Harland, Andrew Rodger, Graeme Barr, Alan Graham & Craig Rodger
Manager: Danny McGrain
Mascot: Robbie Aitchison