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Sunderland 2017

It was a grey and cloudy morning when the Stadium of Light hosted the first match of the day on Monday 15th May. Both sides were ready for the early kick off after a thorough warm up from Black Cats Legends Micky Horswill, Gary Bennett and Darren Holloway and it was the away side that were hungry for goals, as they came out of the match 0-9 winners. However the Home side showed a lot of fight and character throughout the game and played their part in what was a great game of football.

Date: Monday 15th May
Venue: (The) Stadium of Light
Sunderland AFC (Home) vs Sunderland AFC (Away)
Kick Off: 09:15 am
Legends & Managers: Micky Horswill, Gary Bennett, Darren Holloway
Match Officials: Kevin McKitterick, Adrian Holmes, Paul Burt & Robin Raymond

The Away side started confidently, going straight on the attack and putting pressure on the Home team’s defence.

And it was the Away side that almost clinched the first goal, after a hoisted through ball from captain Andrew Raisbeck found Ian Watson, the striker took a left footed shot on the half-volley but it hit the post and the Home side breathed again.

Another chance was then missed by the Away side, when Andrew Carrick’s pass across goal was met by Ian Watson, however the lively striker couldn’t quite apply the finishing touch on this occasion.

It was on the 13th min that the Away side found their goal, after a dangerous cross from Ian Watson fell invitingly to Andrew Raisbeck whose spectacular side-footed volley sailed into the net. The Away team certainly celebrated in style, recreating Manager Micky Horswill’s changing room #DiddlyDee warm up in the centre circle (0-1)! 

Then there was some good defending from the Home side’s Mark Feehan, whose vital interception prevented another chance for the Away side.

The Home side responded themselves and a powerful shot from Ryan Kearsley looked to be goal bound, however a strong catch was needed from Chad Pearson to deny the Home side.

A vital challenge was then needed from the Home side’s Derek McLeod to halt James Hewitt’s dancing feet in the box.

It had been an excellent opening half an hour and play continued to rage from end to end, however it was the Away side who increased their lead on 31mins. The goal coming about after a well timed pass from Kev Wright split the defence open and allowed strike partner Ian Watson to dispatch the ball confidently into the bottom corner (0-2).

The Home side’s keeper, Andy Adams, then had to pull of 2 quick fire saves, as he first had to deny Andrew Raisbeck with an outstretched leg, and then the follow up strike from Ross Adamson, which he caught comfortably.

An outstanding strike from Kev Wright then put the Away side 3 goals up, after he latched onto a loose ball and vollyed it first time with the outside of his boot, leaving the keeper stranded (0-3)!

Two more spectacular saves from Andy Adams again denied the Away side, after Adams had to quickly swat away a powerful effort from Kev Wright, then got down well to palm away James Hewitt’s shot with a strong hand.

Again, Andy Adams was called into action after a lung-busting run from legend Darren Holloway was only denied by Adams’ quick reactions and an outstretched leg.

The Away side then almost got their 4th goal after some good footwork from James Hewitt allowed him to pass the ball across goal to Andrew Raisbeck, however the midfielder fired his effort over the bar.

The ref’s whistle blew soon afterwards bringing to an end and entertaining half of football. It had been a good performance from both teams, but the Away side were creating more chances, and if not for the Home side’s keeper, the score could have been higher. Two very different plans for the teams at half time would be discussed.

Half Time: Sunderland (Home) 0 - 3 Sunderland (Away)

The Home side started the second half much more positively, with attacking intent in mind to get themselves back in the game.

A hammered free kick from Stephen Liddell nearly got the Home side their goal, but he was denied by the bar as the ball rebounded out of play.

Then at the other end a vital sliding challenge from Paul Old was required to keep the Away side at bay, as he was the last line of defence.

Despite the Home team’s efforts it was the clinical Away team who scored again. Ian Watson’s inch perfect cross was met by Dennis Smolenskij, who looped his header over the keeper and into the bottom corner on the 57th min (0-4).

The Away side then got their 5th goal on 72mins, effectively putting them out of sight. A fantastic diving save from Andy Adams denied Kev Wright but the keeper could only push the ball into the path of the oncoming Ross Adamson, who scored with a poacher’s finish and slotted into the empty net after 72 mins (0-5).

Dennis Smolenskij’s pass then cut open the defence, leaving a 2-on-1 with just the keeper to beat. The on fire striker Ian Watson made no mistake, finishing coolly to get his second of the game with 76 mins gone (0-6).

Then an upfield clearance from Chad Pearson and a delicate pass from Ian Watson sent Dennis Smolenskij on his bike, and the pacy No 23 jinked past the keeper and passed the ball into the net for his second of the game on 78 mins (0-7).

Another fine save from Andy Adams as Ross Anderson’s powerful strike was put behind for a corner in the 88th min. However from Dennis Smolenskij's resulting corner, the Away side got their 8th goal when the ball rebounded kindly to Andrew Carrick who smashed the ball in from close range (0-8).

Another 1-on-1 for the Away side and another save from Andy Adams to deny his side conceding again.

The Away side kept pushing until the end and managed to squeeze in another goal just before full time, Kev Wright unselfishly passing the ball across goal for Ian Watson to slide it into an empty net and score his hat trick in the 91st min (0-9)!

The ref’s whistle went seconds later with Watson’s hat trick capping a fine team performance. The Away side were dominant throughout and played a great game, though a lot of credit goes to the Home side, who showed excellent character throughout the match and created some good chances themselves.

Huge thanks to Sunderland AFC for allowing us to host our 1st game at the impressive Stadium of Light since 2007. Thanks also to our Black Cats Legends Micky Horswill, Gary Bennett and Darren Holloway for the enthusiasm and insight they shared throughout the day.

Full Time: Sunderland (Home) 0 - 9 Sunderland (Away)

Man of the Match Home: No.6 Ryan Kearsley
Man of the Match Away: No.10 Ross Adamson
Moment of the Match: No.11 Kev Wright

Home Team: Andy Adams, Derek McLeod, Gary Bennett, Paul Old, Mark Feehan, Ryan Kearsley, James Petty, Baljinder Singh, Stephen Liddell, Stephen Leighton (C),
Shay Leighton, Barry Maclure, Adrian Riley, Andrew Larkin, Robert Kidd
Home Manager: Micky Horswill
Home Mascot: Grace Hansom

Away Team: Chad Pearson, Alan Quilter, Darren Holloway, Colin Griffiths, Kevin Banks, Andrew Raisbeck (C), Andrew Carrick, James Hewitt, Ian Watson,
Ross Adamson, Kev Wright, Peter Clough, Brett Rodgers, Alan Quilter (A2), Dennis Smolenskij
Away Manager: Micky Horswill
Away Mascot: Emily Carrick

The photographs used in this report were taken on staff mobile phones. A wider selection of fantastic Official Photographs are available from Matt Nuttall Photography. To order just visit or contact Matt on T: 07793 818021 or E:

If you'd like to order a DVD of your game please contact – Chillpics' Shane Wilkinson, Freelance Cameraman & Photographer on Tel: 07901 590723 or E-mail:


"Great day at another amazing stadium! @FootballAid just keeps getting better! ⚽"
Derek McLeod - Sunderland AFC Home Team No.2

"Another well organised game. Well done to Simon and the team. We had a warm welcome also from all at Sunderland and it was a pleasure to play for Micky Horswill, I will be using his “diddly de” in our next seasons warm up. Pity the game was a little one sided but that's how it goes, the main thing is enjoying the day of which I did despite my injury."
Robert Thorpe - Sunderland AFC Home Team No.4

"Today @KearsleyRyan dreams came true played at @SunderlandAFC & got MOTM from legend Gary Bennett! #dreamscancometrue thanks @FootballAid"
Ryan Kearsley - Home Team No.6

Match report by Joshua Brimble.