The weather had been dull and damp all day and things hadn't changed by the time the 3rd Football Aid game at Anfield kicked off. However the poor weather did nothing to dampen the mood at the ground as the players were greatly looking forward to being able to play on such an historic ground as Anfield. Some of the players were understandably nervous, hoping that they could at least try to live up to the famous performances that the old ground had seen. They need not have worried though as the game was a fitting end to the day with both teams putting on an entertaining and enjoyable performance for the watching fans in the Director's seating.
Date: Thursday 22nd May 2014
Liverpool (Home) vs Liverpool (Away)
Kick off: 18:30pm
Legends: Alan Kennedy
Match Officials: Alan Butler, Steve Brand, Luke Butler
The pre-match interviews with the players showed just how privileged they felt to be playing at the famous old ground. Here they were Living the Dream, wearing the official strip and playing on the pitch. The excitement from this was evident in the game and the players gave their all right from the get go. The Home team won the toss and elected to start down the famous Kop end while the Away side kicked off.
The game started very evenly, both sides had some near chances but were never quite able to finish them off. One chance came when a long low pass forward found striker Gary Barnes who did well to manage to get off a shot under pressure, only for it to just go the wrong side of the post. The next chance came when No 10 Bill Thorne disrupted the Home team attack and passed forward to Gary Barnes who got another shot on goal, only to be denied by keeper Edward O'Reilly.
The Away side began to dominate and kept the ball down the Home end. It was mainly due to Captain and keeper Edward O'Reilly who was being worked hard by the Away strikers. In particular when right mid Leighton Wright received the ball forward and played a one-two pass with a teammate before thumping a shot at the goal. His dangerous effort would surely have opened the scoring had O'Reilly not leapt up to tip the ball over the bar.
Then came a fantastic passage of play that led to a goal but not in the way that might have been expected. A long ball forward from Legend Alan Kennedy landed right at the feet of Striker Gareth Anderton who didn’t even pause as he did a no look flick that landed perfectly at the feet of left mid Jonathan Cooke. Cooke then evaded three defenders and ran into the box with the ball where he upended by goalkeeper Sam Godsal which led to a penalty being awarded. Jonathan Cooke then slammed the ball past the despairing dive of Keeper Sam Godsall for the 1st goal of the game in the 32nd min (1-0).
The Away side would not let this stand however, and they found their equaliser on the stroke of half time. As the Away side looked to get the ball into the box right back and Captain Ian Evans received the ball and put a great cross into centre mid Christopher Fisher who managed to get his head to the ball and glance it past goalkeeper Edward O'Reilly and into the bottom left corner (1-1).
During the break the players relaxed after a tough 1st half and had any injuries tended to by the physiotherapists in attendance. All the while the teams discussed how they would break the drought in the 2nd half and highlighted key opposition players to look out for. Once tactics were sorted, and injuries were attended to, the players retook the field and carried on an excellent game.
Half Time: Liverpool (Home) 1 - 1 Liverpool (Away)
The 2nd half kicked off and the Away team immediately started to turn up the heat. Creating early chances on goal and surging forward. Striker James Cutler played a through ball into the box which found Strike partner Gary Barnes and the No 9 managed to chip the Keeper from only a few yards out. This put the Away side ahead for the 1st time in the 53rd min (1-2)!
Their 2nd goal in quick succession came less than two mins later when a miss placed pass back to the Home keeper Edward O'Reilly hit the post and came back. This meant that No 17 Ryan Mitchinson could run forward and walk the ball into the net unchallenged giving the Away team a 2 goal advantage in the 55th min (1-3).
The goals continued to arrive steadily during the 2nd half, much to the delight of the Away side, however to their credit the Home team never gave up throughout the match and continued to look for goals themselves. However the next goal came for the Away side as well, from a penalty conceded by Legend Alan Kennedy. No 9 Gary Barnes went down after a shove off the ball from Kennedy and the ref blew for a penalty and even awarded a yellow card. No 14 Cliff Greyler stepped up to take the penalty and blasted it confidently into the top right corner, leaving the keeper with little chance to even move. This put the Away team even further ahead in the 60th min (1-4).
While the Home side were making it close to the Away goal unfortunately they couldn't find the net and they were to go further behind on 77 mins. A long high ball forward was picked up by No 17 Ryan Mitchinson who then sent a good cross into the box. On the receiving end was right mid Leighton Wright who sent the ball past the keeper with a well placed header into the bottom left corner (1-5).
The last ten mins were tough on the Home side as the Away side went on to score a flurry of goals. The 1st came after 80 mins when a through ball was collected by Striker Gary Barnes, he carried to the edge of the box before finishing masterfully across goal into the bottom left corner (1-6).
The Home team had a couple of chances towards the end but were unable to hit the back of the net before game ended. However the Away side secured yet another goal after they were awarded a free-kick twenty-five yards out. No 11 James Cutler stepped up to take it and sent the ball into the box where everyone missed it except No 17 Ryan Mitchinson who bagged his 2nd goal of the game from close range (1-7).
The home team didn’t stop there though and after a ball played from the back was headed on by No 9 Gary Barnes, Ryan Mitchinson ran onto it and showed great skill to put in a low cross which found Leighton Wright, the No 7's powerful strike found the top left corner giving the keeper no chance, the midfielder's 2nd goal of the game coming in the 80th min (1-8).
The result was sealed with one final goal for the Away team on 88 mins when No 5 Alan Coleman sent yet another long ball forward which was picked up by Striker James Cutler. The No 11 made it into the box unchallenged before shrugging off Legend Alan Kennedy and slipping the ball past keeper Edward O'Reilly and into the back of the net (1-9).
The final whistle blew not long after with the score remaining 1-9 to the Away side. The Home team could be proud of their performance despite being on the end of an unfortunate result, the goals had been few and far between in the 1st half, with great defence from both sides however in the end the more dangerous firepower up front and the quality of their 2nd half subs made the difference for the team in White and Black. Despite the scoreline both sets of players had huge grins on their faces as they left the field, and could feel proud that their efforts had produced such great entertainment for the watching crowd.
Full time: Liverpool (Home) 1 - 9 Liverpool (Away)
Man of the Match Home: Gareth Anderton
Man of the Match Away: Leighton Wright
Moment of the Match: Edward O'Reilly (Home)
Home Team: Edward O'Reilly (C), Daniel Webb, Alan Kennedy, Dean Twyman, Michael Prince, Christopher Tench, Andrew Binks, Jonathan Cooke, Stuart Conroy, Daniel Parker, Gareth Anderton, John Blundell, Mark Feehan, Gerrard Kennedy, Adnan Meer
Home Mascot: Henry Cooke
Away Team: Sam Godsall, Ian Evans (C), Alan Kennedy, Shane Gunstone, Alan Coleman, Christopher Fisher, Leighton Wright, Jamie Lymer, Gary Barnes, Bill Thorne, James Cutler, Cliff Grevler, Craig McNaught, Chris Thurston, Ryan Mitchinson