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Blackburn Rovers 2006

Football Aid Championships, Wednesday 10th May, Ewood Park

Blackburn Rovers (Home) 5 Blackburn Rovers (Away) 2

Rovers Home produced a superb display to outclass Keeley’s Away side in the Blackburn Rovers leg of the Football Aid championships.

Gallacher’s Home side wasted no time in going straight at the Away squad, applying pressure early on in the game. Their determination was finally rewarded in the 15th minute when after a bit of a goalmouth scramble, striker Clarke managed to tap the ball in past keeper Ball.

Gaining confidence Home enjoyed a long spell of possession accumulating in a dangerous attack down the left wing. Midfielder Currie just failed to reach the resulting cross, giving Away’s defence the chance to finally pitch the ball up field.

Legend Keeley decided to take matters into his own hands and surged forward in a counterattack of his own. Whilst neatly bypassing two defenders, his effort at goal lacked pace and was easily gathered by Home’s keeper.

Undaunted, Keeley instigated another forward move seconds later, this time using the skills of midfielder Hart. With time and space on his hands, he drilled his shot straight at the vigilant Home keeper who just managed to hold the ball.

With only minutes before the break, Home took control once more with the formidable Waldie racing down the right wing. Catching Away’s defence firmly on the back foot, he carried the ball towards goal before confidently letting rip with a left foot screamer that flew into goal.

However, after doubling their lead, Home took their eye of the ball and Away swiftly took advantage. After some beautiful forward play, forward James Carr slammed a sizzling strike past Home’s keeper, giving the team hope for the second half.

With Away back in the game, the second half kicked off at a furious pace. Keeley’s men tested the keeper from the first minute with a great run down the left wing but their failure to find that telling final ball proved to be Away’s undoing.

After a good 15 minutes of the ball richoting around midfield at a high rate of knots, Home finally pressed forward with substitute O’Donnell scoring the goal of the match. From the edge of the area, he calmly sent a cracking curving ball towards goal, which whipped past Ball’s fingertips into the back of the net.

This proved to be the turning point of the game and four minutes later, Away’s woes worsened when Waldie ran on to a perfect through ball. Hammering home his second of the game, he strengthened Home’s formidable lead to 4-1.

Despite Away pulling back a goal with a penalty in the 70th minute (cleanly taken by Smedley), it was Home that were to have the final word with O’Donnell once more starting off a fantastic move in his own half. He carried on running and when the ball was played forward he headed into the path of Ball to drive home from the edge of the area.

It capped off a thoroughly impressive performance from a commanding Home side with the final score 5-2.

As Lee Hanlon commented after the game, “The whole occaision was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. The Football Aid team had the organisation down to a tee, which enabled myself to relax and soak in the atmosphere. I was impressed with the tour of the stadium, which included having a sneak preview of where the directors sit, and that was when I clocked the pitch for the first time. It looked like a carpet and then my adrenaline was pumping, I just wanted to get my kit on and get out there.”

“Walking into the changing room, I loved the way the shirts were organised in numerical order with shorts & socks folded. It all seemed too much for me - I was in awe. I had a little nosey around the changing room and came across 3 or 4 white pen boards, which had details of tactics penned by Mark Hughes for the game against Man City a few days earlier. To me, it looked like a Chinese puzzle!!”

“To play alongside Kevin Gallagher was out of this world, I certainly learned a few things from him as I was left centre back. We won the game 5-2 with a well-rounded team performance and that was topped off with myself being presented Man of the Match, brilliant.”

“Would I do it again? Definitely, I'm going to do this every year and experience as many top flight stadiums as possible at the same time I know my money is going top a fantastic cause. Once again thank you very much.”