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Chelsea 2018

Our 2018 match at Stamford Bridge was eagerly awaited by all in attendance and our Chelsea players certainly didn’t disappoint, providing their watching fans with an 11 goal thriller and a contender for game of the season! The Away team took the honours 5-6, with hat-trick hero Mitch While proving to be the match winner, however the Home team pushed them all the way and the fact that the brilliant goalkeepers Smollet and McGinness earned the Man of the Match awards will give an indication of the amount of chances we had at both ends!

Date: Thursday 10th May 2018
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Chelsea (Home) vs Chelsea (Away)
Kick Off: 19:45 pm
Manager: Pat Nevin
Match Officials: Peter Munt, Spencer Brewer, Steve Worsley & Oliver Kaya

It was a warm and sunny evening in West London and conditions were perfect as our Chelsea players marched up the tunnel steps and out onto the immaculate Stamford Bridge turf. 

The teams had received a pre-match briefing from former Blues Legend Pat Nevin and they certainly seemed to respond to his expert advice with quick passing and some good movement early on. The Away team, wearing the Grey change kit, started brightly and the pacy No 11 Mitch While had an early opportunity on the break, however he played the ball just too far in front of himself and the Home keeper Ronnie Smollet did well to race out of goal and dive on the ball. 

At the other end the Home Captain David Furletti had a half chance from a cross, however his left foot effort went just wide. Minutes later his strike partner Stuart Lewis raced clear and lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper’s head, however he also saw his effort bounce narrowly wide of the right hand post. 

It had been a hectic start to the game and with just 8mins on the clock the Away team opened the scoring. Mitch While raced clear of the defence on the left and squared the ball for Paul O'sullivan, who had done well to find space in the box, and the No 8 did the rest, side-footing the ball home from 6 yards to give his side the lead (0-1). 

The Home side came roaring back and when a through ball was deflected up into the air and fell into the path of David Furletti, the striker looked odds on to score, however his fiercely hit volley was miraculously saved by the left hand of Away keeper David McGinness. The Away team broke up the field immediately through danger man Mitch While, the tricky striker jinked past a couple of defenders and fired an effort on goal from close range, however Home keeper Ronnie Smollet was equal to his effort and somehow tipped the ball onto the post.

With 20mins gone the Away team doubled their lead and the goal was almost a carbon copy of their opener! Mitch While skipped clear on the left wing again and squared the ball for Paul O'sullivan and the left mid made no mistake with his finish, opening up his body and side footing the ball into the right side of the goal (0-2). 

The Home team weren’t discouraged by the setback and the lively Stuart Lewis timed his run perfectly to latch onto a lobbed through ball, the striker unleashed a powerful left foot volley but David McGinness produced another world class reaction save to tip the ball round his left hand post. However with 27mins on the clock the Home team got their reward for their excellent attacking play. Stuart Lewis found Nathan Sette with a defence splitting pass on the left hand side and the No 8 ran into the area and unselfishly squared the ball for his Captain David Furletti, the No 9 side footed the ball home comfortably and celebrated in style with a Tim Cahill style boxing celebration at the corner flag! (1-2)

It was a brilliant open game and both No 8s had decent chances in quick succession, however neither Sette or O'sullivan could find the target and O'sullivan was thwarted for a 2nd time soon after by a brilliant point blank stop from Smollet. 

However with just 5mins to go until half-time Nathan Sette made no mistake with his next opportunity. The left mid cut in field at the halfway line and played a clever one-two with Stuart Lewis to beat the offside line, then raced in on goal and side footed the ball past the keeper to even up the scores(2-2).    

The Home team sensed an opportunity to go into the break with a lead and their Captain Furletti went agonisingly close to doing. The No 9’s initial header came off the base of the post and when he followed up to poke the ball home his effort was somehow clawed away by the Away keeper David McGinness.

However it was the Away team hit back and broke up-field to re-take the lead on 44mins! The pacy Mitch While broke clear on the left hand side again and squared the ball into a dangerous area in the box and defender Andrew McGrory was on hand to cap a fine display by smashing the ball high into the net from 10 yards out (2-3).

The referee blew for halftime immediately afterwards, bringing to an end a fantastic 45mins of football! Both teams had attacked with relentless energy from the opening whistle and it was only thanks to the brilliant goalkeeping skills of Smollet and McGinness that we only had the 5 goals so far!

Half-Time: Chelsea (Home) 2 - 3 Chelsea (Away)

The players returned to the field suitably refreshed after the break and there was certainly no let-up in the attacking efforts, with Mitch While increasing the Away side’s lead just 2mins after the break. The pacy striker had played provider in the 1st half, but this time he didn’t need his teammates, ghosting past 3 defenders in the centre of the field and racing clear of the defence before slotting the ball calmly past the keeper (2-4).     

A few minutes later While played provider again, this time playing in his strike partner Javier Arraiz on the penalty spot, however the No 9 was rushed into his shot by the advancing Ronnie Smollet and his effort bounced back off the post and away to safety. The Grey side kept up the pressure and it needed a combination of another great save from Smollet and the goalpost to deny Adnan Ghani!

The pace of the game was starting to take its toll on the players and gaps were appearing at both ends of the pitch and it was no surprise that the lightning quick Mitch While’s would take advantage of this extra space at some point and sure enough on 63mins he increased his side’s lead even further. The striker was found with a perfect through ball by defender Daniel Green and he sprinted clear of the last man and coolly chipped the ball over the keeper and into the net (2-5).  

Mitch While was having the kind of Stamford Bridge debut fans can only dream of and he went on to complete his hat-trick on 66mins! The No 11 ran onto a clever through ball from Javier Arraiz and drilled the ball, low past the keeper’s despairing dive into the bottom corner of the net (2-6).

However the Home team weren’t giving up yet and their own pacy No 11 Stuart Lewis bagged a well deserved goal after a fine run and finish on 68mins and you could see by his emotional knee slide celebration how much it meant to him to score at the Bridge! (3-6)

The Zola like striker was causing no end of problems for the Away team and Lewis looked like narrowing the Home team’s deficit a few minutes later, however his goal-bound effort from 15 yards was bravely blocked by Carlos Lopera. 

The Home team were determined to get something from the contest and with less than 5mins left they got their 4th goal. Goalkeeper Smollet launched a mighty free-kick up the field which Captain Furletti did well to latch onto, the No 9’s well struck volley was brilliantly saved by keeper McGinness however his save fell into the path of John Loughran and the midfielder slid the ball home from 6 yards out (4-6).

The Away defence were tiring now and a great through ball from Stuart Lewis found Jimmy Artuso in acres of space, the tireless No 10 ran clear on goal but saw his well hit shot saved brilliantly by MOTM David McGinness. However once again the ball fell kindly for the Home team and this time it was No 17 Craig Simpson who was on hand to score with another follow up finish from close range (5-6).

The Home team pushed for a late equaliser, however their comeback was to fall just short and the Away team held on for a narrow 5-6 win. It had been a pulsating encounter, with the players serving up a feast of entertainment for their watching fans and the teams received a standing ovation from their loyal fans as they walked off the hallowed turf at the end of the game. 

Huge thanks again to Chelsea FC, Pat Nevin and all our players for their fantastic support on another special night for Football Aid. 

Full-Time: Chelsea (Home) 5 - 6 Chelsea (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Ronnie Smollet
Man of the Match Away: David McGinness
Moment of the Match: David Furletti

Home Team: Ronnie Smollet, Kevin Watts, Alan Jope, Simon Beard, Paul Evans, Daniele Dussoni, Nathan Sette, David Furletti (C), Jimmy Artuso, Stuart Lewis, John Loughran, Kevan Makin, Bill Sullivan, Craig Simpson
Home Manager: Pat Nevin
Home Mascot: Fabrizio Dussoni & Ilaria Di Francesco

Away Team: David McGinness, Malcolm Green, Daniel Green, Andrew McGrory, Benjamin Mercer, Carlos Lopera, Paul O'sullivan, Javier Arraiz, Adnan Ghani (C), Mitch While, Danny Stewart, Peter Mulholland, George Allison, Simon Beard (H5)
Away Manager: Pat Nevin
Away Mascot: Aadam Ghani

Match Report written by Simon Farnan

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: info@mattnuttallphotography.co.uk

If you'd like to order a DVD of the match please contact – Chillpics' Shane Wilkinson, Freelance Cameraman & Photographer on Tel: 07789 500569 or E-mail: swchillpics@gmail.com

"I wanted to write and thank you for last night. Although playing with a very restricting thigh strain, I had a blast. I explained the experience to my wife as being number 1 on the bucket list of all bucket lists but she still didn’t get it - but I do and I am thankful for the opportunity. Please also pass on my sincere thanks to all at Football Aid, they do an amazing job."
Simon Beard – Home Team No.5 
"I had an incredible time at Stamford Bridge – thank you."
Stuart Lewis – Home Team No.11

"What an amazing experience. Once in a lifetime! Great time."
John Loughran – Home Team No.14

"Wow!! Thanks for the memories."
Kevan Makin – Home Team No.15

"Dream come true – thank you so much!"
David McGinness – Away Team No.1

"Awesome evening playing at Stamford Bridge for @FootballAid could not recommend the guys highly enough for how well they put the evening together."
Benjamin Mercer – Away Team No.6