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Blackburn Rovers 2014

The 2014 Football Aid fixture at Ewood Park took place on a clear evening in late April and didn’t fail to produce a cracking game of football. Both sides maintained a perfect defensive structure throughout the game and knew how to keep the ball well. The teams were separated by a single, yet fortunate, goal that denied the outstanding performance by Home goalie Tony Payne the clean sheet it deserved. Although only having one goal, the game did not fail to disappoint as there were plenty of chances for both sides but also plenty of sterling defensive performances across the pitch.

Date: Thursday 24th April
Venue: Ewood Park
Blackburn Rovers Home vs Blackburn Rovers Away
Kick off: 7pm
Legends: Glenn Keeley, Kevin Gallacher
Match officials: Ben Wiseman, Chris Haines, Nial Eaves and Dave Wolfendon

It was the Home side that got the game underway and the weather conditions were near perfect for a day of football. However; it was the Away side that pressed the Home team’s defence in the early stages. The best chance for them came with a nice spread of the play by No 11 Richard Caplan to the No 9 Kris Archer who managed to work it out well to the right where No 7 James Barton was in space. He took a well struck right-footed shot but unfortunately he dragged it just wide.

Just a min later and Barton had another great opportunity to open the scoring for his side. The Home keeper accidently scuffed his clearance which fell straight to Barton but his effort fell wide of the post again.

The Away team continued to stretch their opposition defence with nice, slick football. Again using the right wing, No 9 Kris Archer picked the ball up before playing a low ball into the box that found No 10 and captain Leighton Wright. Wright came agonisingly close to finding the net with his toe-poked effort but the Home goalie Tony Payne made an outstanding save with his feet to deny the centre-mid.

Finally, with 20 mins played, the Away side had their breakthrough. A lovely low through ball from centre half Lewis Mann released central midfielder Richard Legdon who cut into the box ready to cross it for a teammate. However; the Home side’s No 8 Eirik Aase had made a fantastic effort to get back and block it, sliding in front of Legdon’s attempt. Luckily for Legdon though, the ball took a slight deflection off Aase and into the net. Legdon then appeared to almost apologize to goalie Payne who had had such a great game up until that point and was beaten by a lucky bounce of the ball (0-1).

Instead of sitting back and trying not to concede another, the Home side went straight on the attack and came very close, only being denied by the woodwork. A lung-bursting run by No 8 Eirik Aase took him to the edge of the box where his attempt was blocked well by Away defenders. The ball then bounced up perfectly for team-mate Michael Kenny whose chipped effort came within 6 inches of the goal.

Just before half time the Home team came close again to levelling the score before the break. Another great run by Aase down the centre allowed the speedy winger to play the ball out to No 10 Simon Carter on the right, but his low shot went flying narrowly past the foot of the post.

This was to be the last chance of the 1st half and the teams went into the changing rooms on even terms as far as chances and possession was concerned. Both teams created good plays, with the early stages being dominated by the Away team but they were denied several times by Home goalie Tony Payne. However; the tides turned after the Away side had got their goal and the Home team took their turn to press their opponents coming very close to making it even. The teams could be happy with their performances and the lack of goals certainly didn't reflect on the quality of play.

Half time: Blackburn Home 0 - 1 Blackburn Away

At half-time in the Home dressing room, Legend and manager Glenn Keeley reminded the players that all they needed was one chance and that if they kept plugging away they would get the equalising goal they needed. In the Away dressing room, Kevin Gallacher told his players that if they re-shaped and re-grouped in the centre of the park they could get a grip again of the game and this advice spurred them on to turn the tide of the game away from their opposition.

The 2nd half was slower starting than the 1st with a midfield battle taking place for possession. The Away side’s Richard Legdon and Leighton Wright preferred to play the short game with small passes around the midfield while the Home side’s David Bolland and Simon Carter where trying to get the ball over the top and into their strikers.

The game became frantic as both sides pushed for a goal and the Away team had a dream opportunity to finish the game off thanks to a gift from the Home team. A miscommunication at the back saw the Away No 10 Leighton Wright through on goal but his low shot was denied by a superb save, yet again, by Home keeper Tony Payne.

Down the other end just moments later it was the Away goalie Ben Cirne who was called into action and he responded very well. A low cut-back from No 7 Dan Prochyra to the edge of the box for No 10 Simon Carter ended in a curling effort from the centre mid that Cirne got down to well and palmed it Away to safety.

With mins to spare the Home team desperately needed a goal and sent as many men forward as possible, this almost paid off for them causing the Away back line problems again. But it was the Home side who had their heads in their hands as a ball came in from the left by No 8 Eirik Aase but it flashed straight across goal with No 6 David Bolland coming closest to finishing it.

As the game drew to a close the Away team knew what they had to do and defended well to see out the game. They used the offside trap well, catching out the Home team’s attackers with a high line on several occasions. The defensive pairing of Paul Overy and Lewis Mann let nothing past and were very calm and collected on the ball and didn’t panic in the closing stages.

In the end the Away side saw out the game to win it by a single goal. On the day both sides were very even, sharing good spells of possession and the players made it very difficult to choose a man of the match from both teams. The central midfield players on both sides controlled the play with ease when in possession creating great opportunities for their strikers as well as getting forward themselves. But also countering this was the outstanding play of both goalies, with Home keeper Tony Payne making two game-saving one-on-one stops amongst other saves to keep his side in the game. The players left the field with little energy because of the effort they had given out in their performances on the pitch and received a deserved round of resounding applause from their excellent fans in the stand.

Full time: Blackburn Home 0 - 1 Blackburn Away

Man of the Match Home: Tony Payne
Man of the Match Away: Lewis Mann
Moment of the Match: Ben Cirne

Home Team: Tony Payne, Daniel Carroll, Glenn Keeley, Matthew Parkinson, David Bolland, Dan Prochyra, Eirik Aase, Michael Kenny (C), Simon Carter, Chris Wilkinson, Gary O’Hagan, Paul Old, James Hands, James Harris
Home Team Mascot: Tommy Walsh

Away Team: Ben Cirne, Oliver Clark, Kevin Gallacher, Lewis Mann, Paul Overy, Richard Legdon, James Barton, Harry Hall, Kris Archer, Leighton Wright (C), Richard Caplan, Harry Hall, Andrew Thornhill, Terry Rickeard, Adam Archer
Away Team Mascot: Zac Lyon