The 2015 game at the Emirates was another enthralling encounter to add to the club's long history of entertaining games with Football Aid and the watching fans certainly got their monies worth with 8 excellent goals and plenty more action besides. The Home team ran out 5-3 winners, with Matthew Botley's hat-trick proving to be the deciding factor between the teams, however the Away team scored 3 great goals and created plenty of other chances and on another day they might have got more out of the game.
Date: Wednesday 27th May 2015
Venue: The Emirates
Arsenal (Home) vs Arsenal (Away)
Kick Off: 15:30 pm
The Arsenal Away team kicked off proceedings wearing the Yellow and Blue change strip and playing from right to left. The Home team looked the more threatening during the early exchanges. However it was the Away team who created the 1st real opportunity after just 3mins. Midfielder Max Barruw won a header in the middle of the pitch and after James Hatfield and Brett Driscoll exchanged quick passes the latter played in the sprinting No 6. Barruw met the ball perfectly, however he couldn�t keep his volleyed shot down and the ball cannoned off the crossbar and away to safety.
The Home team responded immediately and James Ord fed Matthew Botley on the edge of the area, the powerful No 7 forced his way into a shooting position and fired in a right foot shot, however Away Goalkeeper Adam Joyce was equal to his effort and expertly flicked the rising shot over the bar for a corner.
James Ord threatened next after being released on the right, he cut inside and fired a left foot effort goalwards, however Joyce collected the ball comfortably. However the Home team's pressure paid off and they opened the scoring soon afterwards. Matthew Botley collected the ball from his keeper Andrew Wood and hit a fantastic 40 yard pass that freed the pacy Gareth Barnbrook who was racing clear of the defence on the left, he looked up and squared the ball to strike partner James Ord and the No 11 made no mistake, side-footing the ball home from just inside the area. The Home side were ahead with just 12mins on the clock (1-0).
The Away team responded to their disappointment by forcing a couple of opportunities from distance for Salvatore Lepore and Max Barruw, however neither player could trouble the goalkeeper. When Captain David Nicolaides found Andy Constantinou with a pinpoint reverse ball over the top it looked like the No 7 was bound to score, however after chesting the ball down and turning the defender inside out his powerful shot was just off target and whizzed narrowly past the left hand post.
The Away team continued to push for a way back into the game and Away No 20 Salvatore Lepore looked destined to score when he latched onto a clever ball from Max Barruw and cut into the penalty area from the left side, however his attempt from a tight angle narrowly missed the far post. Away striker Redmond Lee was then presented with a great chance inside the area, however the No 9 couldn't keep his shot down and it sailed over the bar.
Great interplay between Salvatore Lepore and Simone Lucchini allowed the marauding left back to get a cross into the box, when it was collected and played back into the danger area Lepore met it with an acrobatic scissor kick, however he couldn't get a clean contact and his effort was saved by goalkeeper Wood. The keeper threw it instantly to Gareth Barnbrook who in turn played the ball to Andy Botley, the skilful No 10 turned inside and played a high ball forward to his son Matthew Botley, the rampaging No 7 showed great pace and power to scythe his way through the backline before side-footing the ball past Away keeper Joyce. Despite being under the cosh for much of the opening 30mins the Home team found themselves two goals to the good (2-0)!
The Away team weren't deterred by the score-line and Redmond Lee almost narrowed the deficit when he had a chance to score when he rounded the keeper and fired in a shot from a tight angle, however Gordon Scott did brilliantly to clear the ball off the line for a corner. Max Barruw floated the kick into the box and when it fell to Salvatore Lepore he hit a beautiful curling effort that looked destined for the roof of the net, however it smacked off the crossbar and away to safety.
At the other end a great back-heel by Jenk Sakalli released Gareth Barnbrook on the left, and when his shot from a tight angle was parried away by goalkeeper Joyce it looked as though James Ord was going to fire it into the net, however he snatched at the shot and it sailed wide. The Away team came right back though and finally got the goal their efforts deserved on 39mins. Simone Lucchini intercepted a pass on the left and played it 1st time to striker Brett Driscoll who was in space on the left, the No 11 looked up and picked out Andy Constantinou who was racing into the box, the No 7 met the pass perfectly and slid the ball low into the left hand side of the goal (2-1).
The Away team pressed for an equaliser and Brett Driscoll had a half chance on the left side of the area, however he was quickly closed down by the Home defence and the ref's whistle brought the half to an end shortly afterwards, with the Home team maintaining their narrow one goal advantage.
Half Time: Arsenal (Home) 2 - 1 Arsenal (Away)
The Home team looked invigorated by the introduction of their half-time substitutes and started the 2nd half quickly, pressing the Away team back into their own half and it didn't take long for them to increase their lead. Gareth Barnbrook did well to win the ball midway into the opposition half and layed it off to Robert Fullam, the midfielder slid a through ball to James Ord who was racing into the danger area, Away GK Adam Joyce came rushing out and saved bravely at the feet of the striker however the ball rebounded straight to Matthew Botley and the deadly No 7 smashed the ball into the un-guarded net (3-1). With 51mins gone the Home team were 2 goals ahead again and looking in command.
The Away team responded well though and the lively No 17 James Hatfield tested Andrew Wood with a powerful strike from the left side of the area, however the keeper was equal to the effort and he tipped it over the bar easily. Fellow midfielder Russell Godfrey was next to test Wood a few mins later, however his well struck shot was straight at the keeper and he saved it comfortably.
Back at the other end Matthew Botley had an opportunity when he was set free on the right side of the area by Robert Fullam, he hit a powerful shot towards the near-post however Adam Joyce got down brilliantly to palm the ball away with his left hand. James Ord had another opportunity soon afterwards, but he couldn't keep his left foot shot down. However the team in Red and White did indeed increase their lead right on the hour mark. Matt Gibbs intercepted a pass on the left wing and showed fantastic skill to nut-meg the full back before wrong footing the final defender and calmly stroking the ball inside the far post (4-1).
The game looked dead and buried now, however the Away team showed excellent spirit to fight back immediately. The ever dangerous James Hatfield picked up the ball and raced clear of his marker on the left side, he cut inside and fired an effort goalwards, the shot took a slight deflection off a defender, bounced off the post and in off the back of the despairing keeper Andrew Wood and into the net (4-2).
With 62mins on the clock the Away team were right back in the game and they pushed for another goal right after the re-start. That man Hatfield created the danger again with a run and cross from the left side, Andy Constantinou met the ball perfectly and his rising shot flew towards the top corner, however Andrew Wood somehow got his hands to the ball and parried it over the bar for a corner. What a save!
The Away team continued to throw bodies forward, however despite the siege the Home centre halves Gordon Scott and Kristien Harrison were keeping the team in Yellow and Blue at bay. Their resistance couldn't last though and a sweeping passing move from the back involving Lucchini, Preston and Russell Godfrey ended with the ball being rolled to Andy Constantinou 25 yards out. The No 7 looked up and smashed a low shot past the helpless Wood and into the bottom right of the goal (4-3). With only 20mins left the Away team were back within one goal of the Home team!
The game had been played a blistering pace up until now and the size of the Emirates pitch was starting to take its toll on the players and tiredness certainly played a part in the next goal. The impressive defender David Preston hadn't put a foot wrong until he tried to play a square ball across the backline which Matthew Botley intercepted, the clinical No 7 raced into the box and smashed a perfectly placed low shot past the helpless keeper to notch an impressive hat-trick (5-3).
The Away team continued to press, however the Home team's 5th goal seemed to have killed their spirits a little and it looked a big ask for them to get back into the game. A final pair of chances fell 1st for Away No 17 James Hatfield and then for Home No 14 Robert Fullam, however neither player could capitalize on their opportunities and the referee's whistle brought and absorbing contest to an end soon afterwards. The Arsenal players had provided fantastic entertainment for the watching Gunners fans, and they were rewarded by a deserved, loud round of applause when they left the pitch.
Full Time: Arsenal (Home) 5 - 3 Arsenal (Away)
Man of the Match (Home): Andrew Wood
Man of the Match (Away): David Nicolaides
Moment of the Match: Matthew Botley
Home Team: Andrew Wood (C), Melvin Jacobs, Kristien Harrison, Gordon Scott, Joshua Jacobs, Matthew Botley, Jenk Sakalli, Gareth Barnbrook, Andy Botley, James Ord, Robert Fullam, Alex Orange, Matt Gibbs
Home Mascot: Olivia Ord
Away Team: Adam Joyce, Simone Lucchini, Glen Phillimore, David Preston, Max Barruw, Andy Constantinou, Salvatore Lepore, Redmond Lee, David Nicolaides (C), Brett Driscoll, Russell Godfrey, Ceri Evans, James Hatfield