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England Training Day 2017

The 1st event of the Football Aid 2017 season - the England Training Day at St George’s Park (SGP) - began at 09:30am with the players meeting in the Hilton Reception area. After a pre-event briefing in one of the England Team’s meeting rooms, the players walked to the Football Centre, changed into their England Training Kits and were guided through a thorough morning training session by FA coaches on the 11-aside indoor pitch.

After a healthy lunch in the England Team Restaurant the players changed into their England kits and were transported to the show pitch for their big 11-aside game. The players certainly put their well-honed skills to good use and served up a hugely entertaining game, which saw the Home team end up 5-0 winners. 

Date: Thursday 20th April 2017
Venue: St. George’s Park
England (Home) vs England (Away)
Kick Off: 14:30 pm
Match Officials: Mark Mellor, Thomas Mellor, Geoff Garnham & Andrew Stevens 

The playing conditions were excellent as the England (Home) vs England (Away) game kicked off the Football Aid 2017 season and the players certainly showed no ill effects from their morning exertions, with both teams attacking from the off. The Home team were 1st to threaten with the Italian trio of Fratini, Galasso and Pignotta combining well down the left side of the pitch, however the Away defence of Canning, Line, Thorpe and Watts were doing well to repel their attacks and their efforts were mostly from distance.

The lively Home centre forward Darren Winnard was a constant threat and he was proving a handful for the Away defence, but the No 11 wasn’t quite able to make the most of the opportunities presented to him yet. The Away team hit back themselves with some good attacking play by Scott Mitchell and Andy Balmforth, but the Home defence was being marshalled expertly by the classy Jon Dixon and clear chances were at a premium. 

With 25mins gone the score was still 0-0, but it had taken an unbelievable triple save from Away GK Matthew O’Regan to keep it that way! The pressure was beginning to tell though and the Home team broke the deadlock with 26mins gone. It was great play again from the Italian contingent with No 8 Pignotta beating 2 men down the left before cutting the ball back into a dangerous area, the Away defence couldn’t clear the danger and Fabrizio Galasso was on hand to fire the ball into the net to give his side the lead (1-0).

The Home team pressed further to increase their lead but the Away team defended well to keep the deficit to just the one goal and they also did their best to threaten on the counter attack as well.

The referee’s whistle blew for halftime with the score 1-0 to the England Home team. Both teams could be well satisfied with their efforts and their respective coaches were on hand to encourage them and give some expert tactical advice as they took on board their halftime refreshments.     

Half Time: England (Home) 1 - 0 England (Away)

The 2nd half kicked off with both teams determined to give it their all for the remaining 45mins. The early part of the half was similar to the 1st period with the Home team building the play from the back and looking to press forward at every opportunity. The Away team were battling hard to keep in the game though and they kept the deficit to just the 1 goal with the hour mark approaching.

However the Home team weren’t to be denied for long and they doubled their lead with exactly 60mins on the clock. No 17 Neil Phillips found himself with the space and time to get an effort on target and his excellent lob from outside the area was perfectly judged, giving Away GK O’Regan no chance (2-0)!

Within 3mins the team in all White were further ahead, and it was their striker Darren Winnard who got the goal his excellent attacking play deserved, with the No 11 firing home a clinical strike to increase his side’s lead again (3-0). 

The Away team’s defensive dam had broken now and the impressive Home side went further ahead on 67mins. This time it was their No 6 Patrick Tatam who showed great composure to finish off another good passage of play from his team (4-0).

The Away team did their best to get themselves on the scoresheet but their efforts weren’t to be rewarded and with just a minute to go it was the Home team that got the final goal of the game. Home CH Jon Dixon capping a fine MOTM display with a fantastic run and finish to wrap up the win for his side (5-0). 

The final whistle went soon afterwards, with the Home team ending up 5-0 winners. The game had been hard fought throughout though and both teams were suitably proud of their efforts as they marched off the pitch at the end of the contest. 

After a quick transfer by mini-bus back to the training centre the post-match presentations were completed in the England team room, with Jon Dixon (Home) and Paul Line (Away) collecting the Man of the Match awards and Matthew O’Regan receiving the Moment of the Match award. Our 1st ever England Training Day had been a fantastic success and as the players went their separate ways many of them vowed to return to do it all again next season!  

Full Time: England (Home) 5 - 0 England (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Jon Dixon 
Man of the Match Away: Paul Line
Moment of the Match: Matthew O’Regan

Home Team: Matthew Fellows (C), Terry Rickeard, Emanuele Fratini, Jon Dixon, Paul Oconnor, Patrick Tatam, Fabrizio Galasso, Marco Pignotta, Simon Buss, Danny Cheng, Darren Winnard, Neil Phillips

Away Team: Matthew O'Regan, Adam Canning, Paul Line, Kevin Watts, Robert Thorpe, Steven Halford, Michael Retsinas, Andy Davies, Scott Mitchell, Steven Westhead, Andrew Balmforth (C), Paul Seales, Colin Peacock


The photographs used in this report were taken on staff mobile phones. A wider 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: info@mattnuttallphotography.co.uk

“Just wanted to say what a great day I had at the England training day. I think it was one of the best Football Aid games I've been to (if not the most tiring!!)” 
Adam Canning

“Another well organised Football Aid day. I enjoyed the coaching in the morning with Alex who is the full time coach at Nottingham Forest for the academy. The afternoon which included a 90 min game proved the Home side was fitter than my Away side but superb displays by Paul Line and our keeper Matt O'Regan kept the score down to a 5-0 defeat.

Many thanks again to all for showing us around St. George's, what a massive complex and at least I can say I have trained on the same pitch as some of the world famous superstars like Messi and Neymar to name a couple. If I am fit enough I will be there next year, it was a pleasure to play with and against all the guys who took part and I wish I still had the pace of Fabrizio who even apologised for racing past me! Hope he is on my side in one of the games, yours in sport.” 
Bob Thorpe