The sun was shining when our Everton players stepped out onto the hallowed turf to kick off a big day at Goodison Park, with 2 x Everton games and an England International all set to be played. The Toffees are famed for being a family club, so it was fitting we had a Father and Son combo in both the Home and Away teams and exiled Liverpudlians travelling from as far away as Spain and the USA to complete a pilgrimage back home. The 1st game of the day was an extremely tight affair, with the Home team just edging the result 3-2, however the Away team could feel hard done by as their excellent performance deserved at least a share of the spoils.
Date: Saturday 30th May 2015
Venue: Goodison Park
Everton (Home) vs Everton (Away)
Kick Off: 10:00 am
Legends/Managers: Stuart Barlow & Jamie Milligan
Match Officials: Gary Dinsmore, Joshua Moorcroft & Joshua Smith
The Everton Away team kicked Game 1 off wearing the all Black change kit and playing from left to right. Both teams started the game confidently, passing the ball about crisply and it was clear we were in for a high quality game.
The Away team created the 1st opportunity when fullback Shane Boylan’s accurate long ball found Captain Sammy Kingston racing clear of the defence, the left midfielder slotted a left foot shot past the advancing Gerry Gavagan but much to his disappointment the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the keeper’s left hand post.
Everton Legends Stuart Barlow and Jamie Milligan were doing a great job of organising their defences and chances were at a premium. Both teams were playing a very high line and the offside flag was a familiar sight in the opening 15mins. However there was a chance for the Home team on 25mins when the Away defence failed to deal with a long ball from centre half Kristien Harrison, it fell to striker Steven Westhead and the big No 11 hit an early shot in the hope it would catch out the Away keeper Ian Gillespie unaware, however his effort from 25 yards bounced just wide of the right hand post.
The Away keeper Gillespie did well to cut out a through ball meant for the run of Gary Simmons and at the other end Stuart Green tested keeper Gerry Gavagan with a well struck effort from outside the area, however neither team could break the deadlock. The Away team came very close to doing so minutes later though when a great bit of play between Legend Jamie Milligan and Andrew Rowley played in fellow midfielder Sammy Kingston on the left side of the area, the No 8 fired in a great effort with his left foot which was well saved by goalkeeper Gavagan, the ball rebounded to Nick Medlicott and he smashed a shot goalwards, however Home Legend Stuart Barlow did brilliantly to block his effort from point blank range.
The Home keeper Gerry Gavagan made a towering claim from the resulting corner and quickly threw the ball out to his midfield, David Cashin picked up the ball and played a defence splitting pass for Sam Dickinson to run onto and the No 8 showed great skill and determination to shrug off a defender and coolly slot the ball past Gillespie and into the corner of the net with 35mins on the clock (1-0).
The Home side were buoyed by their opening goal and the same player had a chance mins later after great work from Barlow on the left, Dickinson’s shot was blocked and the ball fell to Mark McCormick 10 yards out, however the No 9 couldn’t keep his shot down and it flew over the crossbar.
The team in Black responded quickly and Steven Hughes went close with an effort from 20 yards out, however it just flashed past the right hand upright. They were encouraged by their efforts and on 44mins Andrew Rowley showed great skill to turn his man in midfield and play a ball forward to Mark Kingston, the No 9 fed his strike partner 1st time and Gary Jordan in turn found Steven Hughes in space 25 yards out, the No 16 cut inside onto his right foot and drilled a low shot past the goalkeeper Gavagan’s despairing dive and into the bottom left corner of the net (1-1).
The ref’s whistle blew seconds later with the teams all square at 1 goal apiece. It had been a very tight half of football with both defences looking extremely solid and both Managers were happy with their team’s efforts and were asking for more of the same in the 2nd half.
Half Time: Everton (Home) 1 - 1 Everton (Away)
The Away team were encouraged by their goal and 2nd half sub Nick Medlicott tried his luck from 20 yards with a volley, however the impressive Home keeper Gerry Gavagan dealt with the shot comfortably.
Both teams had maintained their defensive solidness from the 1st half and play was confined to the central areas of the pitch, however a great bit of skill from Sammy Kingston almost saw the Away team take the lead for the 1st time. The No 8 received a pass wide on the left and brilliantly flicked the ball past his marker in one movement and raced clear of the defence on the left wing, he looked up and saw his Dad, Mark in space in the box and drilled a low cross towards him, however the pace of the cross meant Kingston senior couldn’t quite get his effort on target and the ball flashed just past the far post.
Captain Sammy Kingston continued to threaten and he went close with a left foot effort from 20 yards a few mins later, however goalkeeper Gavagan did well to hold onto his shot. The lively No 8 was in fine form and when he collected the ball wide on the left, 25 yards from goal, there didn’t appear to be any danger, however Kingston drilled a fierce low shot that Gavagan only just managed to tip round the post. Moments later the big keeper did brilliantly to claw away a dangerous looking cross from the same player.
The team in Black were growing in confidence and a great passing move involving Milligan, Hughes and Jordan found Andrew Rowley in space on the edge of the area, however he dragged his shot wide of the target. Soon afterwards the ball fell to Gary Jordan on the right side of the area, however his 1st time shot with the outside of his foot looped up and rebounded off the top of the crossbar to safety.
The Home team deserved a lot of credit for keeping in the game despite the Away team’s pressure and on 75mins they shocked the team in Black by going up the pitch and taking the lead! A free-kick was awarded 25 yards out and Legend Stuart Barlow stepped up and floated a great ball into the danger area, James Drury rose above the Away defence and nodded an excellent header into the net from 8 yards out (2-1).
The Away team were desperate to get back into the game and poured forward in numbers from the re-start but the Home team kept them at bay and pushed forward themselves. The impressive defender Kristien Harrison found Steven Westhead wide on the right with an excellent cross-field pass and the striker played the ball into the danger area, the ball was only half cleared and James Drury played the ball square to his striker Mark McCormick, the No 9’s made no mistake from 15 yards out, guiding a right foot shot to the left of the keeper and into the back of the net (3-1).
After controlling so much of the play the Away team were shell-shocked to be 2 goals down, however they responded immediately and got themselves a goal back on 80mins. The ever dangerous No 10 Andrew Rowley turned smartly in the midfield and floated a perfectly judged ball into Sammy Kingston and the Away Captain controlled the ball expertly on his chest and volleyed the ball 1st time just inside the near post (3-2).
At the other end James Drury raced clear of the defence and fired in a left foot shot from the left side of the area, however the ball narrowly missed the near post and found the side netting. The Away side pushed for an equaliser but the Home defence held firm and the ever energetic Stuart Barlow created an opportunity with a great run and cross at the other end, however the Away defence cleared the danger. Back came the Away team and opportunities fell for Hughes and Kingston, however neither player could take advantage and the chances went a-begging.
Despite all their efforts the Away team couldn’t get the equalising goal and when the referee’s whistle blew for fulltime it was the Everton Home team that were celebrating a narrow 3-2 win. It had been a high quality encounter right from the off, with slick passing and great attacking play, countered by some resolute defending and excellent goalkeeping from both sides.
Full Time: Everton (Home) 3 - 2 Everton (Away)
Man of the Match (Home): Gerry Gavagan
Man of the Match (Away): Gavin Pipe
Moment of the Match: Steve Hughes
Home Team: Gerry Gavagan, Adam Gaggini, Stuart Barlow, Kristien Harrison, Alessandro Pommella, David Cashin (C), Robert Bowker, Sam Dickinson, Mark McCormick, Gary Simmons, Steven Westhead, James Wilson, Anthony Feeney, Mark Wilson, James Drury
Home Mascot: Michaela Gavagan
Away Team: Ian Gillespie, Shane Boylan, Jamie Milligan, Stuart Green, Gavin Pipe, Craig Burke, Mark Reilly, Sammy Kingston (C), Mark Kingston, Andrew Rowley, Gary Jordan, Jason Guy, Nick Medlicott, Steven Hughes
Away Mascot: Reegan Boylan