The final game of Football 2019 was an extremely tight contest throughout, with nothing to separate the teams throughout. The Stoke City Home team thought they had grabbed the winner with 8mins to go but a late strike by the Away No 9 Ian Watson earned his team a deserved draw. The entertaining contest was played in a great spirit throughout and was a fitting way to end our 2019 season of games.
Date: Wednesday 6th June 2018
Venue: The bet365 Stadium
Stoke City (Home) vs Stoke City (Away)
Kick Off: 18:30 pm
Legends & Managers: Denis Smith, John Ruggiero, Andy Griffin & Gareth Owen
Match Officials: Ian Dabbs, Michael McLoud, Jake Wild & Philip Taylor
The final game of Football Aid 2019 kicked off in the same glorious sunshine we’d become accustomed to throughout our season of matches and it was the Away team in purple who started the brighter in the early moments, as a driving forward run by their No 5 Callum Borowski on the counter attack saw him play in Ian Watson on the right, the No 9 looked up to see his strike partner and captain Kev Wright in space for a shooting opportunity, but his side-footed strike was well saved by the Home keeper Richard Marsh.
The Away team continued to impress and they deservedly took the lead with 15mins gone and it an impressive goal as well! No 8 Gary Jones picked up the ball on the left flank and brought it forward and with no defensive pressure on him, the midfielder opted to shoot and he somehow managed to chip the ball over Home keeper Richard Marsh despite him barely being off his goal line. What a a miraculous and spectacular opening goal! (0-1).
It could have been 2 goals to the good for the Away team soon after when a clearance from the Home keeper Richard Marsh fell to Terry Rickeard, the midfielder’s header was beautifully cushioned down by No 10 Sam Cunningham to set up a long range effort, however his strike took a slight deflection and went out for a corner kick.
Having yet to create chances at the other end of the pitch in the game so far, the Home team’s No 7 Aidan Peaty went for an audacious strike from range, but the ball went wide of the Away keeper Daniel Lloyd’s near post as the Home side continued to work hard to create an opening for a goal and get back into the game.
Away No 10 Sam Cunningham looked lively throughout the 1st half and drove forward from midfield once again before playing in Kev Wright, who on the half turn with a defender on the edge of the box, opted for the shot which was well saved. Home No 5 Johnny Thomson then defended the situation well, coming across quickly to prevent No 10 Sam Cunningham firing in the rebound.
Back came the Home team and after a corner kick by Away legend Gareth Owen was floated towards the far post it was met by a powerful headed effort by Home No 4 Gary Thomas, after the initial effort was blocked the ball fell to Home No 10 Nathan Moore who struck his left foot effort beyond the defenders and goalkeeper to give his side a much-needed equaliser just before half time (1-1).
A late chance in the first half for the Away team to regain the lead came after a long free kick was floated into the box from the right, the ball was cleared by Gary Thomas into the path of Away legend Gareth Owen, however he was prevented twice by an excellent double save from the Home keeper Richard Marsh.
Soon after the whistle went for half-time with the teams all square at 1-1 goal apiece. It had been a very tight game, with defences on top and it was going to take something special from the attackers to break the deadlock in the 2nd period.
Half-Time: Stoke City (Home) 1 - 1 Stoke City (Away)
The Home team started the 2nd half brightly and No 17 Stephen Jenks did well down the left channel to keep the ball in play on the by line, before cutting it back to Home No 10 Nathan Moore, the midfielder cut inside onto his right foot and unleashed a powerful effort that ricocheted off the crossbar, the diving Away keeper Daniel Lloyd was pleased to see the ball had stayed out of his net.
The Away team will have been pleased to have introduced James Gasson who immediately was making an impact as a brilliant whipped, in-swinging cross from the left from the No 17 was almost headed in at the far post by Away No 10 Sam Cunningham, however Home keeper Richard Marsh did brilliantly to keep out the effort from point blank range.
Once again, super sub James Gasson was involved for the Away team, and this time he played in No 19 and captain Kev Wright who managed to beat the offside trap and ran through one on one with the goalkeeper Richard Marsh, but unfortunately the striker put too much power on his shot and his effort went just over the bar.
The number of chances being created by the Home team was on the up from the first half, and with less than a quarter of the match to go their No 11 Alex Talbot made a clever forward run down the right flank and with the Away legend Gareth Owen defending in front of him, the forward opted to wait for support from Home No 10 Nathan Moore, however his cutback to No 11 Alex Talbot was agonisingly missed on the stretch.
Their pressure told and when Home legend Andy Griffin was given time and space on the edge of the box it cost the Away team dearly, the power on his well struck shot from range was too much for the Away keeper Daniel Lloyd and all of a sudden it was the Home team taking the lead with 8 mins to go (2-1).
With the Home team thinking they were home and dry the Away team dramatically struck back in the 88th minute! The equalizer came from the Away team after a huge kick from the Away goalkeeper Daniel Lloyd was brilliantly flicked on by Away No 17 James Gasson into the path of Away No 9 Ian Watson, the striker proceeded to run in behind on the left wing and cheekily went around the on-rushing keeper Marsh and scored into an empty net to tie the game up with time running out (2-2).
That late finish by the Away team sealed a draw as the full-time whistle blew on a game which both sides had spells of dominance over each other. The Home team showed resilience in the 1st half to hold out and snatch an equaliser just before half time whilst the Away team’s late equaliser was nothing short of deserved after their continual creation of chances throughout most of the game.
A big thanks to Stoke City FC, all our players and of course Potters Legends Denis Smith, John Ruggiero, Andy Griffin & Gareth Owen for their fantastic support on the day!
Full-Time: Stoke City (Home) 2 - 2 Stoke City (Away)
Man of the Match Home: Richard Marsh
Man of the Match Away: Sam Cunningham
Moment of the Match: Gary Jones
Home Team: Richard Marsh, Andy Griffin, Gary Thomas, Johnny Thomson, Chris Howell, Aidan Peaty, Byron Carey, Jozef Barton, Nathan Moore, Alex Talbot, Andy Evans (C), Johnny Thomson, Gary Jones (2nd half), Stephen Jenks
Home Manager: Denis Smith
Home Mascot: Ethan Howell
Away Team: Daniel Lloyd, Adam Canning, Gareth Owen, John Vint, Callum Borowski, Terry Rickeard, Dennis Smolenskij, Gary Jones (1st half), Ian Watson, Sam Cunningham, Kev Wright (C), Chad Payn, David Brown, Ben Leeson
Away Manager: John Ruggiero
Away Mascot: James Gasson
Match Report written by Sam Bettany
The photographs in this report were taken on staff mobile phones on the day. A full selection of 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFTER MATCH FEEDBACK
“Just to say a big thank you once again for organising such a fantastic event. One of the best experiences ever! The venue, the game, the lads, the pitch, the legends, everything was perfect.
100% doing it again next year and think I'll be going for a different venue(s) and a centre midfield spot. Can't wait to see what's on offer in 2019. Had a good chat with Tommo and Jonesy who are obviously regulars and I think I might have picked up the bug!”
“Thanks to all the lads playing tonight and to Football Aid, I really enjoyed the game!”
“@FootballAid cracking year with Football Aid again this year. Until 2019!”