On a sunny Thursday evening in Blackburn, the iconic Ewood Park was host to two sides battling it out in a competitive and entertaining game. With Rovers legend Kevin Gallacher returning to Football Aid 2017 and looking to make it back-to-back wins, it was another Rover legend, Chris Sulley and his Away team who came out on top. Both teams performed well defensively, particularly the Away side, and their defender’s display, nullifying clear-cut chances for the Home team, was a key factor in winning 1-3.
Date: Thursday 4th May 2017
Venue: Ewood Park
Blackburn (Home) vs Blackburn (Away)
Kick Off: 19:00 pm
Legends & Managers: Kevin Gallacher & Chris Sulley
Match Officials: Ben Wiseman, Joe Wareham, Dave Wolfenden
& Cole Collinge
The great weather was matched by a great start to the game, with both sides looking to make a good start and gain an early lead, with the first real chance falling to Away No 9 Keith Butler, after Away No.8 Neil Wall had accurately picked out the striker with a great cross, however Butler couldn’t quite get his volley on target much to the Home side’s relief.
12 mins played and the Away team looked to be on top, with Away No 5 Andrew Maltby unlucky not to score a sensational individual goal after intercepting the ball on the half way line, driving towards goal, dribbling past 2 players and smashing an effort on goal, however Home goalkeeper Pete Weymouth did brilliantly to deflect the ball onto the crossbar and prevent his side from conceding.
After creating some great chances, confidence in the Away players was sky high and on 20 mins, Away captain and No 11 Michael Gallagher skilfully weaved his way past the Home defence on the left byline and from a tight angle tried to squeeze his effort under the keeper, but the goal-bound effort was excellently cleared by Home No 4 Paul Old to keep the sides deadlocked.
The resilience of the Home team to keep out the Away side paid off as they went down the other end and took a surprise lead on 23 mins. It was Home No 11 Alex Smal who bravely headed home from close range after a deep free kick was floated towards the back post and headed back to the striker by Home No 7 Ashley Mason (1-0).
That goal didn’t see the Away head’s though and they were now looking to take one of their chances to get on level terms. With 27 mins on the clock Away No 2 Andrew Balmforth was in an advanced position with his side pressing high up the pitch, the full-back managed to dribble past two players on the edge of the box whilst looking for space for a shot, however his left foot effort just went over the bar.
The Away team continued to press hard for a equaliser, producing a fantastic attack on 29 mins, building up from the back with No 8 Neil Wall playing the ball central to No 9 Keith Butler, who turned to play in his captain Michael Gallagher with his back to goal on the edge of the box, the striker laid the ball off to the on-running Away No 6 Lucas Brian, however the midfielder’s low effort was well saved by the Home keeper.
Just as it started to look like one of those days in front of goal for the Away side, they were finally able to equalise on 32 mins, with their captain Away No 11 Michael Gallagher putting his side on level terms thanks to a fantastic delivery into the box by Away No 9 Keith Butler. The ball finding the feet of the captain inside the box, who slotted his close range finish beyond the keeper and into the roof of the net (1-1). Gallagher certainly celebrated in style, leaving the pitch and racing up the steps to share his moment of glory with his family in the Jack Walker stand!!
The ball was in the back of the Home net again on 38 mins. Away No 10 Keith Howe, who was on the edge of the a crowded box, played in a lovely weighted through ball to Away captain and No 11 Michael Gallagher, who cut inside onto his left foot and calmly finished. However the goal was adjudged to be offside, with only a matter of inches preventing the Away side taking the lead!
The referee’s whistle signalled half-time soon after with the score all square at 1-1.
Half Time: Blackburn (Home) 1 - 1 Blackburn (Away)
Going into half-time, the Home side would have been the happier to be level with their opponents, and a customary fiery team talk from playing legend Kevin Gallacher helped to give the Home side an improved start to the second half!
Despite this the 1st big chance of the half fell to Away No 7 Paul Hancox, the right mid stealing the ball off Home legend Kevin Gallacher deep in Home’s half, driving down the right byline and crossing into the awaiting Away captain No 11 Michael Gallagher. The striker’s attempted volley didn’t find the net and his 2nd attempt at goal was well saved by keeper Pete Weymouth and finally the ball was smashed over the bar by Away No 17 Andrew Thornhill. It was quite an escape for the Home team’s defence.
The returning Home No 1 Peter Weymouth made another great save on 67 mins, with last year’s Moment of the Match winner, Away No 17 Andrew Thornhill, playing in Away No 7 Paul Hancox, and with a great, low drilled effort looking to find the bottom corner of the net, another excellent save was made and the ball was parried out for a corner kick.
After already making a great impact from the bench, Away No 17 Andrew Thornhill grabbed a deserved lead for his side in brilliant style on 70mins. The skillful left mid scoring a beautifully floated, curling effort which looped over the keeper and defenders on the goal line into the top corner. The Moment of the Match winning goal coming after the initial corner taken by Thornhill was headed off the bar (1-2).
The attacking threat of the Away team had been strong all game and it didn’t look like stopping soon. Great work by Away captain Michael Gallagher down the left on 72mins allowed him to pick out Away No 10 Keith Howe free in the box in space, however the centre mid’s close range one on one effort was hit just wide of the post.
The Home side were under the cosh now and were struggling to create much going forward. With the Away side pushing forward at every opportunity the Home had a lot of defending to do, with Home No 1 Peter Weymouth once again pulling off a fantastic save to keep his side in the game! This time it came after a storming run down the left by Away No 2 Andrew Balmforth allowed him to pick out Away No 8 Neil Wall in space, however the left mid’s effort was brilliantly saved again by Weymouth.
The Home team weren’t having much luck in the attacking end of the pitch and their luck ran out in defence as well with 87mins on the clock….the otherwise impressive Home No 4 Paul Old tried to clear an in-swinging corner by Away No 17 Andrew Thornhill at the front post, but he only ended up heading the ball into his own net in unfortunate fashion. The own goal firmly securing a hard fought victory for the Away team (1-3).
The remainder off the game was played out without any further goal action and the referee brought an end to an action packed game full of great goals, fantastic saves and great defensive and attacking displays. With the Away team’s impressive 2nd half performance earning them a well-deserved 1-3 win.
Once again a fantastic evening of football which wouldn’t be possible without the fantastic continued support from Blackburn Rovers to give fans an unforgettable time playing at Ewood Park. Another huge thank you to all our Rovers fans and especially the playing legends Kevin Gallacher and Chris Sulley for their participation in helping to create such a special event.
Full Time: Blackburn (Home) 1 - 3 Blackburn (Away)
Man of the Match Home: Ashley Mason
Man of the Match Away: Andrew Maltby
Moment of the Match: Andrew Thornhill
Home Team: Peter Weymouth, Thomas Purser, Kevin Gallacher, Paul Old, Kevin Thompson, William Allsop, Ashley Mason, Grogan Jake, Warren Jackson, Danny Cheng (C), Alex Smal, Callum Wignall, Christian Preston, Gareth Pearson, Ian Grant
Home Mascot: Ashton Leadley
Away Team: Matthew Holt, Andrew Balmforth, Chris Sulley, Aaron McGarry, Andrew Maltby, Lucas Brian, Paul Hancox, Neil Wall, Keith Butler, Keith Howe, Michael Gallagher (C), Scott Mitchell, Robert Coar, Christopher Pickles, Andrew Thornhill
Away Mascot: Rebecca Holt & Phoebe Wall
A wide selection of fantastic Official Photographs are available from Matt Nuttall Photography. To order just visit www.footballaidphotos.com or contact Matt on T: 07793 818021 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to order a DVD of your game please contact – Chillpics' Shane Wilkinson, Freelance Cameraman & Photographer on E-mail: email@example.com
AFTER MATCH FEEDBACK
"Another great night at Football Aid, great event. Really enjoyable again. Will have to see what the GoPro brings this year."
Ben Wiseman - Match Official
"Gutted to have been on the losing team but leading out the team on Ewood Park was a great experience even if the result wasn’t... even more miffed that my hamstring playing up again after the England session and could hardly run but great night all the same."
Daniel Cheng - Home Team No.10
"Last night was a great game with some great people at Ewood Park with a deserved win. The highlight though was walking Phoebe (Mascot) onto the pitch."
Neil Wall - Away Team No.8
"Had the best night of my life thanks hurting today but well worth it can't wait to do it again thanks @FootballAid @kevingallacher8"
"Fantastic event, so privileged I can take part."
Keith Howe - Away Team No.10
"First time tonight and I absolutely loved it. Incredible atmosphere."
Lucas Brian - Away Team No.6
"Unbelievable as always. Living The Dream at Ewood Park."
Andrew Thornhill - Away Team No.17
"Amazing event. A dream come true!"
Callum Wignall - Home Team No.14
Match Report written by Sam Bettany (@bettany_sam)