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Norwich City 2014

The 2014 Football Aid fixture at Carrow Road was a fantastic, evenly matched game that was ultimately decided with the last kick of the ball. In the 1st half both teams created some great chances but it was the Home team who went into the break with a slight advantage thanks to a late goal from Simon Baillie, 1 of his 4 goals on the day. The 2nd half initially saw a very exciting opening period where the Home team extended their lead to 2 goals; however they were caught out with 3 late goals and a winner for the Away team from Retsinas. At both ends of the pitch there was top quality play on show, which was certainly reflected in the 11 goal score-line! 

Date: Monday 19th May 2014
Venue: Carrow Road
Norwich City (Home) vs Norwich City (Away)
Kick off: 10:00 am
Legends: Adrian Forbes, Mike Milligan and Peter Oldfield
Match Officials: Richard Owen, Peter Venables, Raymond Green and Keith Greensides 

The Home side got the game at Carrow Road underway, wearing the famous Yellow and Green strips. However after less than 4 mins their opposition had found the net. Striker Andrew Harland squared the ball across the box and the Home centre half smacked it against Away centre forward Christopher Pidgeon. The ball rebounded up and was clawed away by Home keeper Kevin Butcher into the centre of the box. However centre mid Sam Flint pounced on it, smashing the ball into the net (0-1). 

Five mins later the Away team’s sustained pressure almost paid off again as they came the closest they had since their opening goal. No 20 Andrew Harland was played in through on goal but his shot was saved majestically by goalkeeper Kevin Butcher low down to his left. As it rebounded out, luckily, the Home centre half Jon Hare was there to get it clear. Even though the game was heating up, there was still time for a laugh and a joke as the Football Aid cameraman fell into a mini goal on the touchline as the ball went out of play!

Less than 20 mins after going behind the Home team had a reply courtesy of forward Simon Baillie. The No 11 was played through by a defence-splitting pass from winger Dave Wheatley. Baillie carried the ball, evading centre half Andrew Spanton’s tackle before coolly tucking it under Allan Todd’s body into the bottom right corner of the goal (1-1).

It wasn’t long either before the Home team had scored again, from another quick ball from midfield to attack that ended with a cool finish from wandering centre half Sam Bennett. A pinpoint pass with the outside of the right foot of Dave Wheatley found the run of the centre half perfectly, after he'd ventured up the pitch, and the No 5 belied his defender's status and displayed a striker's finish as he slotted it into the bottom left corner to give his team the lead (2-1).

Understandably the game slowed up a bit in the hot conditions, before the Away No 20, Andrew Harland, was involved again, getting the goal his performance thus far had deserved. He picked up the ball 40 yards from goal, driving towards Legend Adrian Forbes. But the full back couldn’t stop him, Harland kept going, taking the ball into the box before rifling a stunning effort into the roof of the net to level the scores with 38 mins played (2-2).

As half-time approached both team were pushing for the goal that would give them the momentum going into the break and it was the Home team that got the goal on 44 mins! Home centre half Riccardo Ruffo spread the play out to winger Mark Mills before the No 7 played a chipped through ball into centre forward Simon Baillie’s path and the clinical striker took it down well before opening up his body to stroke the ball home (3-2).

This was the last action of the half as the ref brought play to an end with the Home side having a slight advantage over their opponents. It was a half where both sets of attackers had the spotlight as some quality passes and finishes made the game exciting for those watching. However, the score-line could’ve been a lot higher had it not been for both defences and in particular goalkeepers Kevin Butcher and Allan Todd. Going into the break, both sides knew that whoever could control the hotly contested midfield would win the game.

Half Time: Norwich City (Home) 3 - 2 Norwich City (Away)

At the break the Home side were upbeat and believed that there were more goals in the game for them because they had a lot of possession in midfield, but Legend Adrian Forbes warned them about not pushing forward too much in case they were caught at the back.

And 5 mins into the 2nd half the teams were level again, thanks to a lovely worked team goal from the Away side. The move started with centre forward Christopher Pidgeon spreading the play to winger Ricky Johnson. The No 7 then played it back inside to John Day who snuck a perfect ball into the run of Pidgeon and having cut it back to striker Andrew Harland, the No 20 was in a perfect position to score, which is exactly what he did, firing the ball into the bottom left corner (3-3).

However, the Home team were straight back at their opponents, crafting a great goal themselves after 55 mins. Legend Adrian Forbes dealt with the danger at the back before playing a long ball to the centre of the park where centre half Sam Bennett had found himself. The No 5 played a beautiful slide-rule pass for forward Simon Baillie who completed his hat-trick in style smashing a low shot across the goalie into the bottom left corner (4-3).
The Home team didn’t stop there though, with the knowledge of how even the sides were they knew they would need a bigger lead if they wanted to win. Working the ball down the left wing on 59 mins, centre half Sam Bennett picked the ball up in a perfect crossing position. His ball in seemed to float over everyone, the Away defenders turning anxiously to see who it would fall to and there was centre forward Simon Baillie lurching at the back of the line to power a fantastic header into the far corner of the net for his 4th of the game (5-3)!

As the game entered the final 15 mins the chances slowed up as the Home team were quite happy to hold the ball up in midfield waiting for an opportunity rather than forcing one. They almost scored as well when centre forward Simon Baillie slide tackled Away goalie Allan Todd but the keeper managed to get the ball before teasing the striker as to where he was going then clearing it down the pitch.

Minutes later, the Away team came very close to pinching a goal back as they pressed their opponents. A long ball forward found the run of speedy striker Andrew Harland who tried to chip the Home goalie Kevin Butcher but the keeper managed to claw the ball away. The ball rolled towards goal but luckily centre half Jon Hare was there to put it out of play.

And again, the Away team came close but were denied by keeper Kevin Butcher's great diving save. Harland squared the ball across to winger Neil Wharton on the edge of the box who fired a high shot that was heading for the top right corner but he was denied by a great leap from Butcher who palmed it away.

However all the pressure eventually paid off when the Away team won a penalty with just over 7 mins left to play. No 16 Wharton played a neat ball into the box for the run of John Day and the centre mid’s cut-back came up and unfortunately hit Jon Hare on the arm as he came over to cover for his team. Centre forward Christopher Pidgeon smashed the ball low to the left corner but it was somehow saved brilliantly by Kevin Butcher. The rebound, however, fell perfectly into the path of Pidgeon who slid in to tuck it home (5-4).

The Away team didn’t back down either, and the scores were level with just 4 mins left to play. Centre mid John Day picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and picked his head up looking for a pass, but couldn’t see any movement ahead of him. Day therefore decided to power towards goal, shrugging off the Home team's defenders before poking a low shot under the goalie into the bottom right corner (5-5).

Within the space of 10 mins the Home team had lost their 2 goal lead and unfortunately there was worse to come when the Away No 17 Michail Retsinas scored winner in the 90th min… Initially, Andrew Harland was through on goal but his effort was stopped on the line, the rebound falling to his centre forward partner Christopher Pidgeon. The No 9 was stopped in his tracks but again the Home side couldn’t get it cleared, Neil Wharton picked it up at the edge of the box and took a low curling shot that Butcher did well to palm out, however lurking at the back post was Retsinas who smashed the ball high into the net, much to the Home side’s disbelief (5-6). 

This was the last action of the game; it had been a truly thrilling end to a very evenly matched affair, with the Away side just edging the win thanks to a stunning late rally. Both sides scored some impressive goals, but for the Home team it was Simon Baillie who ran the show in attack with a 4 goal haul, finishing off some lovely moves created mainly by midfielders Andrew Wood and Dave Wheatley. In the 2nd half, the Away team showed great determination to get back into the game after going two goals down early on, and it was centre forward Andrew Harland who was prominent in their comeback, leading his side valiantly to the win. Overall the game  was one for the attackers but throughout both sets of centre halfs - Jordan Chenery, Sam Bennett and Jon Hare for the Home team along with Andrew Spanton and Riccardo Ruffo for the Away team - were confident on the ball and in their defensive play and kept the scores down. Both sides received a deserved round of applause from the watching Canaries fans as they left the pitch and will have great memories from what had been a special occasion. 

Full time: Norwich City (Home) 5 - 6 Norwich City (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Kevin Butcher 
Man of the Match Away: Andrew Harland
Moment of the Match: Simon Baillie

Home Team: Kevin Butcher (C), Adam Canning, Adrian Forbes, Jordan Chenery, Sam Bennett, Andrew Wood, Mark Mills, Dave Wheatley, Steven Foreman, James Gerken, Simon Baillie, Tom Darkins, Jon Hare, Chris Capes, Mark Maguire
Home Manager: Peter Oldfield
Home Mascot: Alex Foreman

Away Team: Allan Todd, Terry Brown, Mike Milligan, Andrew Spanton, Riccardo Ruffo, Sam Flint, Ricky Johnson, Steven Gale, Christopher Pidgeon, John Day, Andrew Harland (C), Liam Bailey, Riccardo Ruffo (A5), Neil Wharton, Michail Retsinas
Away Mascot: Emily Pidgeon