Football Aid 2012 at Selhurst Park proved to be a very tightly contested game in front of an enthusiastic crowd, despite very wet South London weather conditions. The two teams struggled to break each other down with the two goalkeepers producing numerous acrobatic saves, but it took two moments of magic from the Away team's Benjamin Wilson and Nick Pitt to make the difference and give the Crystal Palace Away team a hard-fought 2-0 victory.
Date: Thursday 3rd May 2012
Venue: Selhurst Park
Teams: Crystal Palace Home vs Crystal Palace Away
Kick Off: 6:30pm
Match Officials: Val (Anekwe) Tusker, Freddie Collins, Keith Glover and Gordon Manning
After both team huddles came to a finish and the morale boosting team talks were completed, the Away team, wearing the yellow and green trim got the game underway. It was a very competitive start to the half with both teams passing the ball well and making sure their first touches were made early in the game.
It took 14 mins however for the first real chance of the game to occur. Intercepting a defensive pass by Adam Thorne, Nick Pitt attempted to round goalkeeper Peter Strutt, but the goalkeeper used his feet well and produced a tackle that any defender would have been proud of, with a last ditch slide challenge outside the area. It was a very important tackle to keep the game at 0-0.
A pass and go on the edge of the box with Thorne and Robert Mcloughlin produced another great chance in the 18th min for the Home side. It required a great piece of defending by Paul Sibley, enough to force the centre midfielder away from goal and put his effort into the side netting.
Thorne was clearly motivated for the game as he ran at the heart of the Away team's defence again, setting up Nick Edwards for another shot at the edge of the six yard box. However Edwards would have been disappointed with his weak shot and failing to test Terence Ford in goal.
The impressive Neil Topley for the Home side was slowly starting to control the centre of midfield with a few key challenges and through balls to test the defence of the Away team, but to no avail.
As the first half was coming to a close, mistimed challenges in the middle of the pitch and stray passes started to become more frequent. The weather and tiredness started to influence the flow of the game as neither team really created any more chances and were struggling to unlock both strong defences. The half time whistle came for both teams to assess their tactics and hope that their team would be able to convert their chances in the second half.
Half-Time: Crystal Palace Home 0 - 0 Crystal Palace Away
The second half started much the same as the first, with neither team really managing to take control. A half chance was created by the Away team's Benjamin Wilson who passed short to George Hardy who took a long range drive towards Strutt, but he was able to gather it easily.
However a stunning through ball by Nick Pitt in centre midfield to substitute Benjamin Wilson proved to be the bit of class that the game needed to create the game's first goal in the 50th min. Wilson was able to pick his spot and calmly slot the ball underneath Strutts' arms into the far corner. (0-1)
The goal really transformed the complexion of the game, as the Away team now had all the momentum and were looking for a 2nd goal to seal victory. Pitt turned provider again to set up Hardy for a long distance drive that caused the keeper to dive and cover the shot. Strutt was able to push the ball away from any danger as he was starting to become more and more involved in the game.
A defensive mix up in the heart of the Home defence in the 56th min almost led to the game's 2nd goal, goal scorer Wilson was able to adjust his body to stretch and have a strike at goal, but a great save from Strutt and a covering clearance by David Wells kept the score to 0-1 and the Home team in the game.
In the opposite goal Terence Ford had to be at his very best again in the 62nd min to keep out a fantastic strike from the edge of the box. The shot looked destined to find the roof of the net, but somehow Ford managed to get a right hand to meet the ball mid-air and tip it over for a corner.
Mark Campbell created a very good chance for the Away team 6 mins later, picking the ball up from Hardy inside his own half before beating two defenders, he was then able to play a precise through ball to Sibley who took a touch before striking across the goalkeeper, but to his dismay his effort went just wide of the post. The crowd were eager for the Away team's 2nd goal and they were proving a constant threat to goal at this stage.
The game's 2nd goal did arrive in the 75th min from another well worked passing move. Dean Sibley started the move in the centre of the park, before a great assist by Hardy, bursting from the centre of defence who then linked up play with No 11 Nick Pitt. Pitt showed great feet to control the ball and fire off a left footed strike into the roof of the net before any defender could react. (0-2)
The Away team didn't have it all their own way though, a great interchange from the hardworking Steve Walder and Neil Topley near the centre circle created an opening for Edwards to go clean through on goal. However Away Goalkeeper Terence Ford pulled off another save, denying a clear goal scoring chance.
Ford was at the rescue again in the 85th min, this time saving a close range drive by Edwards who was able to pick the pocket of defender and unleash a curling shot. Ford was able to punch the ball away from danger once again and help maintain a clean-sheet and a 2-0 victory for his Away team.
Full-Time: Crystal Palace Home 0 - 2 Crystal Palace Away
Man of the Match Home: Neil Topley
Man of the Match Away: Dan Shoubridge
Moment of the Match: Benjamin Wilson
Home Team: Strutt, Redmill, Wells (C), Windsor, Topley, Hutchings, Evans, Edwards, Thorne, Mcloughlin, Walder, West, Pullar
Home Mascot: Ben West
Away Team: Ford, Sibley, Shoubridge (C), Sibley, Fullam, Mcloughlin, Campbell, Hardy, Ross, Pitt, Fox, Hardy, Redmill, Wilson
Away Mascot: Oliver Shoubridge