Under the watchful eyes of Arsenal legends Liam Brady and Pat Rice, our Football Aid players played out a thrilling game at Arsenal's state of the art London Colney Training Ground. The Wednesday morning game ended in a 3-5 victory to the Away side in a closely fought battle.
Date: Wednesday 25th May 2016
Venue: London Colney Training Ground
Arsenal (Home) vs Arsenal (Away)
Kick Off: 10:00 am
Legends & Managers: Liam Brady and Pat Rice
Match Officials: Mark Mellor, Phil Draper, Peter Cruise & Thomas Jaggs
The Home Gunners kicked us off on a blustery morning in London and they soon took the lead in the 10th min. A lofted pass by Home No 20 Andrew Harland found No 14 James Hatfield free at the back post and he expertly slotted the ball home (1-0).
The Away side, wearing the Gold and Dark Blue change kits nearly found a way back into the game when the ball fell into the path of Away No 9 Andy Crawford, however the striker was quickly met by Home No 1 Scott Brinkley.
Chances kept coming for the Away team, No 7 Paul Seales broke free down the right and saw his low shot hit the post and bounce out, No 11 David Green tried pouncing on the rebound before he was shot down by the solid presence of Home No 1 Scott Brinkley.
Next there was a golden chance for the Away team, a long ball over the top by No 12 Colin Peacock fell into the path of No 9 Any Crawford who cheekily tried to lob the keeper who was backtracking rapidly. However, the ball was pulled back for a free kick around 30 yards out. No 6 Graeme Hawkins fancied his chances but the midfielder saw his effort go just wide of the goal.
The powerful Away No 7 Paul Seales broke free again and shrugged off his defender before putting a dangerous cross into the box. A goal-mouth scramble followed between 3 Home defenders and the Away attackers, but the ball was finally cleared away from the goal and the Home team could breath again.
That was the final significant action of an end to end 1st half. The Home team were holding on to their slim 1-0 lead despite the Away side creating quite a few chances of their own. Managers Brady and Rice had their work to do at half-time and they both tried to pass on as much of their expert advice as possible to their respective teams in the short period of time they had during the break.
Half Time: Arsenal (Home) 1 - 0 Arsenal (Away)
The Away team in the golden Arsenal change kit restarted the game knowing they had to get back into the game.
They nearly did just that soon after the re-start, when a deep cross by Away No 16 Joshua Landy caused confusion in the Home box, No 11 David Green found the back of the net with his effort however he was correctly adjudged to be offside.
Penalty! Away No 11 David Green picked the ball up and darted into the box before being challenged unfairly and winning a penalty. The pacy striker stepped up and comfortably slotted the ball home to bring the scores all even with 55mins gone (1-1).
The Home side responded well and soon after they nearly restored their lead. The ever dangerous No 20 Andrew Harland broke free and shimmied past the Away defence before trying to chip Away No 1 Mark Cleavely, the stopper pulled off a great initial save before Harland pounced on the rebound and fired the ball goal-ward, however the striker saw his shot cleared off the line by Away No 16 Joshua Landy.
However Home No 20 Andrew Harland made his next chance count, and he restored his side's 1-goal advantage again when he latched onto Home No 11 Barry Draper's cross from the left hand side in the 63rd min (2-1).
Another Penalty! This time for the Home side, as a last ditch challenge on Home No 20 Andrew Harland saw a penalty awarded to the Home team. The deadly striker stepped up and fired the ball straight down the middle and with 65 mins gone it was now (3-1) to the Home side.
The goals were flying in at both ends now and the Away team were next to strike on 68mins. No 9 Andy Crawford found space down the right hand side before wrong footing the goalkeeper and scoring a great goal to make it (3-2).
With injuries starting to take their toll the Home side were struggling now and the Away team were knocking on the door for an equaliser and Away No 10 and captain Robert Fullam saw his strong shot palmed away by Home No 1 Scott Brinkley.
That equaliser soon came in the 80th min, Away No 5 John Blount beautifully controlling and firing home a close range volley after another great cross by Away No 16 Joshua Landy (3-3).
It was to be a decisive change of fortunes for the Away side and they took the lead in the 82nd min when Away No 11 David Green found space and fired home to make it (3-4). His acrobatic backflip celebration was definitely a crowd pleaser!
The Home team were still battling hard despite their injuries, but the Away team were playing well and were just about on top at this stage and they sealed victory in the 86th min when Away No 10 and captain Robert Fullam latched onto a long pass into the box and finished the game off with only minutes remaining (3-5).
That was the last real action of the game and the Away team snatched a fantastic comeback victory against an injury-depleted Home side. Both teams served up a thrilling game with great goals and action throughout. Huge thank you to all the players and spectators for making Arsenal 2016 such a great event.
Also many thanks to Arsenal FC for allowing us access to the club's exclusive facilities at the training ground, and also to the two fantastic managers Liam Brady and Pat Rice who shared many a great memory of their time at Arsenal FC.
Full Time: Arsenal (Home) 3 - 5 Arsenal (Away)
Man of the Match Home: Augusto De Bartolo
Man of the Match Away: John Blount
Moment of the Match: Mark Cleavely
Home Team: Scott Brinkley, Adam Canning (C), Staph Leavenworth-Bakali, Martyn Barnett, Chris Hayman, Matt Hayman, Andrew Harland, Augusto De Bartolo, Barry Draper, James Hatfield, Ruan Tremayne, Lee Mills
Home Manager: Liam Brady
Home Mascot: Faye Canning
Away Team: Mark Cleavely, Nick Poling, Colin Peacock, John Blount, Graeme Hawkins, Paul Seales, Baljinder Singh, Andy Crawford, Robert Fullam (C), David Green, Graeme Hawkins, Joshua Landy, Anthony Tillett
Away Manager: Pat Rice
Match Report written by Matt Annis