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Arsenal 2018

Football Aid 2018 at The Emirates had all the ingredients for a great game of football; warm, sunny conditions, a perfect pitch and two fantastic Managers David O’Leary and Pat Rice and the players certainly didn’t disappoint, serving up a feast of football for the watching fans in the stands! The impressive Home team came out on top 5-3 in the end, but both sets of players went home happy at the end of another special day for all the Gunners fans involved.

Date: Thursday 10th May 2018
Venue: The Emirates
Arsenal (Home) vs Arsenal (Away)
Kick Off: 10:00 am
Legends & Managers: David O’Leary & Pat Rice
Match Officials: John Ferns, Peter Giggins, Gordon Manning & Ross Murphy

Our Arsenal players were bathed in glorious sunshine as they walked out the tunnel onto the immaculate Emirates pitch. Their Managers David O’Leary & Pat Rice had given their rousing pre-match team-talks and it was all down to the players to produce the goods now!

The Home team started strongly and Captain Shahin Chamanzar had an opportunity to open the scoring early on, however his header from Robert Fullam’s pinpoint cross flashed just past the frame of the goal. The Away team, wearing the all Blue change strip responded well and almost opened the scoring when Home No 16 Jack McMillan’s attempted clearance dropped from the sky and bounced off the post and bar, Michail Retsinas tried to force home the rebound from close range but the ball rolled narrowly past the left hand post. 

The Away team’s energetic high pressing was causing the Home team problems and it led to the opening goal with just 8mins on the clock. Adam Canning intercepted a pass in midfield and raced towards the box, No 7 David Large returned it back into Canning’s path and the flying fullback made no mistake, firing the ball low past the keeper into the far corner of the net (0-1). 

The Home retaliated and forced a corner which Joe Gladstone did well to meet with his head, however his glancing effort went narrowly wide. The play was raging from end to end now and both defences were being regularly tested, however they had been marshalled well by Managers O’Leary and Rice and their policy of keeping a high line was coping well and catching the opposition attackers offside. 

Approaching the half hour mark the Away team’s Robert Green tested the Home keeper with a long range free-kick, however Mustapha Pour Dara was equal to the task and he confidently punched the ball over the bar. 

The Home team were causing problems with their pace in attack and when striker Scott Riddell raced onto a through ball with 36mins gone, he looked all set to level the scores until he was scythed down by Adam Canning. However the No 9 picked himself up and expertly despatched the penalty low past the diving Away keeper (1-1). 

The Red and White team were buoyed by their leveller and within 5mins they were ahead. The ball was played out towards Jack McMillan on the left wing and the tenacious midfielder did well to win a 50-50 challenge. The midfielder looked up and saw his Captain Shahin Chamanzar in space and then played a pinpoint pass into the striker’s feet and the No 11 did the rest, expertly sliding the ball home with his left foot from 6 yards out (2-1).  

The Away team came roaring back and Robert Green showed great footwork to create an opportunity inside the area, however his effort on goal was well saved again by Home keeper Mustapha Pour Dara. The Away team were desperate to grab an equaliser before half-time however it was the Home team who increased their lead on 44mins. A high clearance put Tom McNally under pressure and struggling with the overhead sun the No 5 couldn’t get enough on his attempted pass back, Scott Riddell raced onto the ball and unselfishly squared it for his strike partner Shahin Chamanzar who side footed the ball home from 10 yards (3-1).

The referee’s whistle blew soon afterwards, with the Home team going into the break with a two goal advantage. The Away team could count themselves unlucky though and were confident they could turn things around in the 2nd half.  

Half-Time: Arsenal (Home) 3 - 1 Arsenal (Away)

It was the Home team who started the 2nd period on the foot though and the dangerous looking Joe Gladstone ran clear of the defence and tested the Away keeper Matt Cresswell from the right side of the box, however the No 1 made a great save at his near post. Joe Gladstone wouldn’t be denied for long though and just 2mins after the break he increased his team’s advantage. The energetic Robert Fullam raced clear on the right hand side and stood up a perfect cross and Gladstone did the rest, powering the ball into the net with his head (4-1).

The Home team had an opportunity to increase their lead even further when a great ended with Robert Fullam with space inside the box, however the Irish midfielder’s side foot effort was just too high and flew over the crossbar. At the other end Michail Retsinas raced onto a long ball and lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper, however his clever effort bounced agonisingly wide of the far post. The Home team hit back and it needed a brilliant reflex save from Away keeper Matt Cresswell to deny Scott Riddell from close range. 

The Away keeper was having an excellent game and he sealed his MOTM award soon afterwards with a brilliant penalty save. Paul Seales was overly physical in an attempt to win the ball from Joe Gladstone in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Gladstone stepped up himself and struck the penalty low and hard, however Cresswell flung himself to his left and beat the ball away.  

The Away team were determined to get something from the game and they got their reward for their attacking efforts on 71mins. A free-kick was floated to the back post and David Large was on hand to fire the ball low into the net with the outside of his left boot (4-2).

The Home team’s Jack McMillan was proving to be a constant danger on the break and the classy midfielder got the goal his performance deserved with 15mins to go. The midfielder racing onto a through ball from Riddell, selling the keeper a dummy and side footing the ball home (5-2). 

The heat was starting to take the toll and gaps were appearing in defence and with 83mins on the clock the pacy Adam Canning took advantage to race clear on the right wing, his cutback found Gareth Lawrence and the No 9’s goal bound effort was handled in the box by Home centre half Douglas Beswick. The defender had been a rock up until then and it was just about the 1st mistake he’d made! Lawrence stepped up confidently and smashed the penalty low and hard past the diving keeper to narrow the deficit (5-3). 

Despite a few late efforts the Away team couldn’t add to their goal tally and the final whistle blew to confirm the win for David O’Leary’s Home team. It had been a tremendous end to end encounter and both teams were given a rousing reception by their supporters high up in the stands as they left the field.  

We’d just like to say a huge thanks again to Arsenal FC and The Arsenal Foundation, all our players and of course to our celebrity Managers David O’Leary and Pat Rice. 

Full-Time: Arsenal (Home) 5 - 3 Arsenal (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Douglas Beswick
Man of the Match Away: Matt Cresswell
Moment of the Match: Jack McMillan

Home Team: Mustapha Pour Dara, Nick Wiley, Douglas Beswick, Phil Fisher, Robert Fullam, Joe Gladstone, Theo Wiley, Scott Riddell, Graeme Hawkins, Shahin Chamanzar (C), Jack McMillan, Aaron McMillan, Callum Burt
Home Manager: David O’Leary
Home Mascot: Gracie Fisher 

Away Team: Matt Cresswell, Adam Canning, Paul McHugh, Tom McNally, Kevin Watts, David Large, Robert Green, Gareth Lawrence, Tendai Motsi (C), Michail Retsinas, Jack Mitchell, Iain Meiklejohn, Arun Sharma, Paul Seales
Away Manager: Pat Rice
Away Mascot: Faye Canning

Match Report written by Simon Farnan

Official photographs are available to order from Matt Nuttall’s website here >> www.footballaidphotos.com. You can also contact Matt on Tel: 07793 818021 or Email: info@mattnuttallphotography.co.uk

If you'd like to order a DVD of the match please contact – Chillpics' Shane Wilkinson, Freelance Cameraman & Photographer on Tel: 07789 500569 or E-mail: swchillpics@gmail.com

"I would like to thank you and David again for all your effort in what was an amazing day - I had a great time and can’t thank you enough."
Shahin Chamanzar

"Top day at the Emirates. Thanks @FootballAid great stuff as always."
Paul Seales 

"Unreal day playing at the Emirates this morning courtesy of @FootballAid my team won 5-2 I had the pleasure of being managed by David O’Leary. Great catching up with Pat Rice again too!"
Graeme Hawkins