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Newcastle United 2007

Football Aid Championships, Monday May 14th, St James Park

Newcastle United (Home) 4 Newcastle United (Away) 3

NUFC regular Robert Tait scored the winner in a nail biting battle that marked Football Aid’s first return to St James Park in 3 years.

It was a promising start for both teams, the wet under foot conditions troubling neither side as they pressed for goal.

Trevor Walker enjoyed the first real attempt of the match, his strike screaming over the bar in the first few minutes of play, prompting Away manager Mick Martin to call for his team to “tighten it up a bit”.

Duly noted, Martin’s men responded with a surging run by James Green down the right. However, as he fast approached the 15 yard box, a rough challenge halted the move causing play to swing downfield.

Cooper came close in the 12th minute, his shot skimming wide of the post while Dean Thorpe’s powerful header 5 minutes later, climbed just over.

Their continual pressure paid off after 19 minutes, Cooper getting his goal with a cheeky shot into the left hand corner to make it 0-1.

However, it took the Home team – with Peter Beardsley in defence – only 3 minutes to find the equaliser, midfielder Dawson scoring in style or ‘Beckham-esque fashion’ as one spectator noted.

But barely giving the noisy crowd time to draw breath, Martin’s men pulled ahead again seconds later, James Green lobbing a goal of the season contender into the back of the net from the near corner.

With the fans on the edge of their seats, Beardsley’s outfit pushed forward straight after the restart, this time Walker sending a pinpoint cross to Wilkinson, perfectly placed in front of goal to level the scores once more.

At 2-2, the Home team’s confidence soared and fired up from a dangerous looking Beardsley – who was terrifying the Away defence with his pace and silky skills – attacked hard for goal. But a dramatic save from Craig in the 38th minute and an interesting call by the referee in the 41st kept the scores level going into the break.

The second half was every bit as heated as the first, the Home side building on their earlier momentum and snatching the lead through a Robert Tait strike in the 55th minute. The midfield magician bagged a second swiftly after, prompting the Away side to change tactics in an effort to get back into the game. In a daring move, out came Craig from goals to be replaced by defender Marsh, with the hardworking keeper slotting into the centre half position.

It proved to be a wise move, Marsh working hard to keep a clean slate and Craig relishing his role as an attacking defender. After a period of constant pressure, Away pulled one back thanks to great forward play and skipper Newport finishing the move with finesse, much to the delight of the rowdy crowd. But despite their best efforts to nab the all important equalizer in the dying minutes, Home’s defence held on to make the final score a closely contented 4-3.

Man of the Match: (H) Neil Cornish (A) Iain Craig

Home: P. Medley, M. Orange, P. Beardsley, K. Stott, P. Thoburn, M. Dawson, D. Mount, T. Walker, N. Cornish, R. Tait, S. Wilkinson, D. Wilkinson, M. Miah, S. Ibrahim.

Mascot: Bethany Cornish

Away: I. Craig, J. Green, B. Kennedy, D. Marsh, D. Traynor, M. Clyne, D. Cooper, S. Newport, R. Thorpe, D. Thorpe, M. Sales, J. Kevan, Barclays, Barclays

Mascot: Olivia Traynor