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Nottingham Forest 2016

A beautiful Friday morning awaited our Football Aid 2016 game at the fantastic City Ground, Home to Nottingham Forest. The groundsmen were out early doors to treat the playing surface and keep it at the high standard the 1st team are used to and our Football Aid players were in for a treat. They certainly made the most of the perfect conditions, serving up a great spectacle for the watching fans, with the Away team edging a close encounter 4-5.

Date: Friday 6th May 2016
Venue: City Ground
Nottingham Forest (Home) vs Nottingham Forest (Away)
Kick Off: 10:00 am
Legends & Managers: John McGovern & Craig Armstrong
Match Officials: Eathan Brookes, George Ford, Lewis Mackenzie & Brandon Mersh

More treats awaited the teams when John McGovern, captain of the famous back-to-back European Cup winning team from ’79 and ‘80, spoke to all the players and spectators about his time at the club. He even brought the European trophy along with him so everyone could get a photo with it, a perfect way to start the day!

The Home team kicked us off on the City Ground’s immaculate playing surface, but the 1st chance fell to the Away team when No 9 Marco Lombardi fed the ball to the feet of No 8 and captain Adam Johnson who dropped his shoulder and lost his man before forcing a great low left handed save by Home No 1 Mark Turner.

The Away side continued to press and they took the lead in the 10th min when No 20 Salvatore Lepore fired home a rebound on the edge of the box, giving his side the early advantage. (0-1).

It didn’t take long for the Away team to double their lead and in the 12th min No 9 Marco Lombardi latched onto a long pass before firing the ball past the keeper, making it (0-2).

The Home team were trying to drag themselves back into the game but the Away team were maintaining their strong start and there was a moment to remember for Away No 20 Salvatore Lepore when he cheekily nutmegged Craig Armstrong and broke away leaving the Forest Legend Craig behind him!

It was the Away team with the next chance when No 20 Lepore again skipped past his defender and forced the Home keeper Mark Turner into a smart save, with the No 1 clawing the ball behind him.

The Home team were gradually finding a way back into the game, No 10 Gavin Baxter trying his luck from distance leaving Away No 1 Simone Ambrosi to tip the ball over the bar. Another close chance came when Home No 4 John Vint struck a fierce free kick through the wall, but the impressive Simone Ambrosi was again equal to the effort and dived low to his left post to push wide.

But it was the Away side who scored next, No 20 Salvatore Lepore with an exquisite chipped effort in the 35th min making it (0-3). It was a moment of magic from the skilful Italian play maker and a definite contender for goal of the season!

The end of the 1st half came and a dominant Away team performance saw them go into the break 0-3 up. Would there be a way back for the Home side? The Home Legend Craig Armstrong spent the full 15 min break sharing his tactical expertise with his team ready for the 2nd half in the hope he could inspire a turn around. 

Half Time: Nottingham Forest (Home) 0 – 3 Nottingham Forest (Away)

The Away team, playing in Nottingham Forest’s all Yellow change kit kicked off the 2nd Half but the Home side came out the stronger of the two sides, knowing they had to chase the game.

The Home side’s strong start to the 2nd half paid off and they got their 1st goal of the game in the 55th min, Home striker Mark Clyne scoring a typical poacher’s finish to extend his excellent Football Aid scoring record (1-3).

However the Away team soon restored their 3 goal lead; Away No 7 Steven Hawkins showed great technique to score a fantastic long distance effort in the 65th min making it (1-4).

A hint of a comeback was starting to emerge from the Home team, firstly in the 72nd min when Home No 16 Steven Smith latched on to Playing legend Craig Armstrong’s pinpoint long ball before finishing powerfully with his right foot (2-4).

Two minutes later, Home No 16 Steven Smith got his 2nd of the game to make it (3-4) after finishing from the outside of the box from a No 7 David Willey assist. David travelled all the way from Canada to play at his beloved City Ground so to go back with an assist will make the day even more memorable!

The Home side were throwing everything at the team in Yellow and they would have equalised if it hadn’t been for the heroics of Away No 2 Ben Griffiths, who bravely headed Legend Craig Armstrong’s fierce shot which was destined for the top corner.

A tense final 10 mins were on the way with more goals yet to come. Firstly the Away No 14 Steven Halford did brilliantly to beat the offside trap in the 83rd min before slotting home and restoring the Away side’s 2-goal lead (3-5).

However, the Home side were not finished yet, a couple of mins later Home No 11 Mark Clyne scored another classic striker's goal after a miss-communication at the heart of the Away defence, meaning the score was (4-5) with just under 5mins to go.

But despite a late surge from the Home team, the game ended 4-5 to the Away side. A fantastic game where the Home side nearly produced a great comeback but the Away team’s attacking performance was just too strong. Both teams received a rousing round of applause when they left the field and they could both be extremely proud of their efforts.

Full Time: Nottingham Forest (Home) 4 - 5 Nottingham Forest (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Mark Turner
Man of the Match Away: Salvatore Lepore
Moment of the Match: Ben Griffiths

Home Team: Mark Turner, Matthew Barnsley, Craig Armstrong, John Vint, Kevin Robertson, Josh Clifford, David Willey, George Simpson, Roger Loasby (C), Gavin Baxter, Mark Clyne, David Traynor, Chris Lazenby, Steven Smith, Brett Davids
Home Manager: John McGovern
Home Mascot: Evelyn Davids

Away Team: Simone Ambrosi, Ben Griffiths, Simone Lucchini, Phil Ruff, Antonio Isola, Steven Howkins, Adam Johnson (C), Marco Lombardi, Marco Isola, Salvatore Lepore, Steven Halford, Kevin Holmes, Ben Griffiths (A2), Simone Brisotto
Away Manager: John McGovern
Away Mascot: Ellie-Mae Griffiths

Match Report written by Matt Annis