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West Ham Game 1 2014

The 1st Football Aid fixture of the day at The Boleyn Ground was a very tight game that saw the sides equally matched, fighting it out to the end for a draw. The 1st half saw most of the action, with five of the six goals, however, the 2nd 30 mins provided plenty of chances and lots of quality play. At both ends of the pitch the teams were equally matched with the attackers finding it difficult against the tight defences and great goalkeeping. In the end, there was no winner which was a fair result on the balance of play and provided those watching Hammers fans with a very entertaining spectacle.

Date: Tuesday 13th of May 2014
Venue: The Boleyn Ground
West Ham Utd (Home) vs West Ham Utd (Away)
Game 1
Kick off: 10:00 am
Match Officials: David Joseph, Terry Turner, Gavin Holleran and Kadir Nazif

The Home team got the game underway wearing the famous Claret and Blue kit shooting from left to right. However, it was the Away team who came closest to scoring first after winning a free-kick on the edge of the box. Winger Fabio Miraglia floated a high ball in that was challenged by both teams. It was the Away No 6 Sam Denne who managed to get to the ball ahead of everyone else powering a header against the woodwork.

It was up to the Home team to respond after some sustained pressure by the Away team and No 9 Steven Foreman came closest. The forward received a chipped ball from his attacking partner Roberto Donay at the edge of the box. Foreman collected it on his chest before swivelling and driving a low, powerful shot at Away goalie Bradley Ambridge. However, the keeper was equal to it, pulling off an outstanding save with his feet at point blank range.

After coming so close with his early chance, Away No 6 Sam Denne didn’t squander his next opportunity. With 25mins gone the centre mid was played in by a delightful threaded pass from his partner in midfield Gary Grainger. Denne collected the ball on the run and then slotted the ball between goalie Paul Whitlock’s legs to open the scoring for the day (0-1).

8 mins later and the Away team enjoyed a stroke of fortune to double their lead. Down the right wing, No 7 Fabio Miraglia was causing the Home team’s defence problems and he whipped in a cross that wasn’t dealt with. Inside the box there were 3 Away attackers, almost like predators, waiting to pounce on the ball and get a goal for themselves. Trying to cover for his fellow defenders, full back Gian Antoniazzi tracked back into the box but the ball deflected off the No 2 and into his own goal (0-2).

Winger Fabio Miraglia was causing all the problems for the Home team’s defence. The No 7 made another mazy run, teasing midfielder Charlie Jones with his constant change of direction. As he cut inside, Jones couldn’t take anymore and worrying that a shot was on the way brought Miraglia down which resulted in a penalty and a chance for the winger to get a goal to show for all his efforts. Miraglia stepped up to the spot but keeper Whitlock guessed the right way, and did exceptionally well to push the ball up over the bar.

It wasn’t long however, before the Home team had rightfully got themselves back into the game on 38mins through their No 9 Steven Foreman. The ball was passed around nicely in midfield from No 8 Nick Poling into centre forward Roberto Donay. The No 11 played a nice pass into Foreman who was at the edge of the box and the big striker buried it into the bottom right corner (1-2).

Just a couple of mins later the same players were involved again for the Home team as they equalized just before half-time. Initially, No 10 Thomas Salter played it into Steven Foreman but the No 9’s touch took it away from him. Fortunately for him, centre mid Charlie Jones won it back, playing it to winger Nick Poling who played in Foreman one-on-one. The result was never in doubt, the centre forward doing what he does best, poking the ball beyond the keeper into the far corner (2-2).

The Home team thought that would be it for the half and they would’ve had the momentum going into the break but it wasn’t to be as the Away team struck back on the stroke of half-time. In the box, No 11 Scott Harris pinched the ball off of the centre half before playing it nicely back to his strike partner Matt Dynan. Dynan then, unselfishly, laid it off for the on-rushing No 10 Gary Grainger who drove the ball hard into the roof of the net (2-3).

As the half ended it was difficult to see any player that wasn’t tired after such an entertaining half of football. Some gorgeous play in attack was really the story of the half as Foreman for the Home side showed everyone how to finish off two team goals. For the Away side, it was winger Miraglia who caused the problems early on and their goals were spread out through the team which displayed the open game of football that it was. Without the goalies, however, the attackers would’ve had a field day and because of this the half ended with everything to play for.

Half Time: West Ham Utd (Home) 2 - 3 West Ham Utd (Away)

The Away team were in good spirits at the break because of the way they had played but also discussed how winger Miraglia could keep exposing the Home side’s left back and get in some early balls into the box, which would, in turn create goal opportunities. Across the corridor the Home team knew there was nothing in it and if they played it simple and got stuck in they could easily win the game.

After the Away team had got the game re-started it didn’t take them long to break through on goal via their main 1st half threat, winger Fabio Miraglia. The No 7 was rather fortunately one-on-one after a long ball wasn’t dealt with, but the Home keeper Paul Whitlock made a fine near-post save to deny him.

However, the Home team responded well, going straight down the other end of the pitch as they pushed for an equaliser and they got it thanks to substitute No 14 Sam Hunt. A long ball played into the run of winger Sam Rosevear saw the No 7 on the edge of the box. Rosevear, selflessly, cut it back to find the run of centre mid Sam Hunt who caught the ball sweetly hitting it high into the back of the net. With just over 30mins to play the teams were all square again (3-3).

Having regained the momentum, the Home team saw the chance to catch out the Away defence and almost had a winner mins later. A fast-paced run down the right side by forward Roberto Donay saw the No 11 get past several Away defenders. Donay cut into the box but his attempted curling effort was saved comfortably by goalkeeper Ambridge. Again, straightaway, Foreman had a chance to get his hat-trick. The ball broke to the No 9 after a block on Thomas Salter’s shot but Foreman’s effort was saved majestically by Ambridge.

However, the Home team almost gave the Away team the lead with a mistake at the back. A short clearance from keeper Paul Whitlock found Away No 10 Gary Grainger 25 yards from goal. The centre mid controlled it before taking a volley hoping to catch out Whitlock but the keeper just about controlled it in his grasp.

After 80 mins both teams were still level and this was thanks to the Home team’s last ditch defending. Away No 9 Matt Dynan was played in at the edge of the box but his initial sliding effort was saved on the ground by keeper Whitlock. The ball then bounced up and Dynan headed an effort towards goal which was then cleared off the line and away to safety.

In the dying mins, Dynan found himself alone on the edge of the box, waiting to take a shot on goal only to be denied at the last second. The centre forward initially turned his man, but after escaping was tackled at the last second by an incredible effort from No 15 Lewis Batten, a potentially game-saving challenge.

This was to be the last real chance and the referee brought the game to an end soon after, settling a game that couldn’t be decided in the last half an hour of play. After a rip-roaring 1st half of play, the teams entered the dressing rooms with everything to play for thanks to some quality finishing in attack. However, the 2nd half had a different story to tell as the defenders were the ones running the show as they shut up shop limiting the chances being created. In support were the 2 goalkeepers, Whitlock and Ambridge, who both did very well to separately save their teams at key points in the game. In summary the game was thoroughly entertaining, creating excitement and anxiety for all the Hammers watching on.

Full Time: West Ham Utd (Home) 3 - 3 West Ham Utd (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Steven Foreman
Man of the Match Away: Bradley Ambridge
Moment of the Match: Paul Whitlock

Home Team: Paul Whitlock, Gian Antoniazzi, Peter Cooke, Adam Bolton (C), Charlie Jones, Sam Rosevear, Nick Poling, Steven Foreman, Thomas Salter, Roberto Donay, Sam Hunt, Lewis Batten, Donato Del Rosso, Jon Rosevear
Home Mascot: Charlie Whitlock

Away Team: Bradley Ambridge, Kevin Banks, Chris Hayman, Warren Rowe, Sam Denne, Fabio Miraglia, Chris Ludlow, Matt Dynan (C), Gary Grainger, Scott Harris, Trevor Gorman, Lee Mills, Darren Barnard, Domenico Colella
Away Mascot: Joseph Grainger