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Hearts 2006

Football Aid Championship, Sunday 23rd April, Tynecastle, att 150

Hearts 6 Hearts 4

Despite an early start; the Football Aid team were raring to go for the Hearts leg of the Football Aid championship on Sunday. The stunning weather added to both sides high spirits and after a thorough warm up led by the management teams of Scott Crabbe and Alan McLaren (Home) and Gary Mackay and Jimmy Sandison (Away), the game kicked off much to the enthusiastic crowd’s delight.

With both sides evenly balanced and determined to win, the first half proved to be a cracker with the goals flowing in for both sides. But it was the home side who were first to find the net after Cousen’s charge down the right wing. His perfectly placed cross found striker Adams’ left boot, who tidily pushed his shot past keeper Frew.

Only minutes later, Hearts Home strengthened their lead after finding Away’s defence napping. With Frew caught completely out of position, all they could do was look in on horror as substitute Page slot in Home’s second goal of the match.

Determined to make amends, Away rallied and crafted an assertive counter attack. Midfielder Gilroy powered past several defenders before sending a great pass into the penalty area. Striker Brash was onside to control the ball and sent a sizzling shot past keeper Butchard, making the score 2-1 after only 14 minutes.

As the intensity of the match increased, so did the tension, leading to mistakes from both sides. In the 16th minute, Home were awarded a penalty after keeper Frew, in an over eager attempt to make amends, fouled striker Adams. He coolly slotted past Frew from the spot and once more, Home lengthened their lead.

However, Away proved to be stubborn opponents and only minutes later, Adams brought down centre half Gardner with an aggressive tackle in the penalty box. Despite a shoulder injury, which would eventually remove him from the game, Gardner bravely stepped up to take the shot. He tapped it home easily bringing the Away team back into the game.

In the 45th minute, the match again seesawed in the Home side’s favour after Cousens fired the sweetest strike past Frew. However, in extra time, Away were handed a lifeline when keeper Butchard was unable to stop Gilroy’s sweeping shot making the score 4-3 at half time.

A brace of substitutions at half time breathed new life into Mackay and Sandison’s side and they piled on the pressure early on. Home were lucky not to concede a goal in the first minute when substitute Kane’s scorching strike hit the post and as Away grew in confidence, they threw everything at McLaren’s men. The turning point in the game occurred in the 5th minute when midfielder Cousens scored 2 own goals within as many minutes, handing Away the lead for the first time in the match.

From then on, Away were in cruise control. Hearts Home were unable to build on their first half performance, continually being closed down in the midfield by a stoic Away defence. In the 26th minute, MacKellar hammered in his first goal of the match to make the score 4-6 and substitute Harris put the Home team out of sight only minutes later, firing his strike inside Butchard’s near post.

Despite a comfortable lead, Away continued to press and in the final minute, striker Brash rounded off the day’s scoring when his well drilled shot blasted past Butchard into the bottom left corner of the goal. The final score 4-8.

Man of the match awards went to defensive dynamo Bob Skeldon and substitute Gavin Harris while the Whyte and MacKay ‘Moment of the Match’ went to the Homes side, Andrew Cousens for his stunning first half strike and selfless contribution to Away’s win!

As Kevin Clancey mentioned after the match, “Absolutely loved it! It was everything I hoped it would be and more! Just having that 1/2 hour warm upon the pitch would have done me! To then go on and play the game will live with me forever! Thank you again Football Aid for definitely the best Sunday morning I have ever had!”