Our 2015 game at Old Trafford proved to be another memorable encounter in the club’s long Football Aid history, with the Man Utd players serving up a feast of entertainment for the watching fans in the stands. The game ended 6-2 to the clinical Home team, however the Away team played their part in an enthralling end to end game and if it hadn’t been for a few excellent saves by the Home keeper the final result might well have been much closer.
Date: Wednesday 27th May 2015
Venue: Old Trafford
Man Utd (Home) vs Man Utd (Away)
Kick Off: 10:30 am
Legends/Managers: Denis Law, Denis Irwin & Clayton Blackmore
Match Officials: Andy Winnard, Luke Watson, John Macrae & Terry Connolly
The atmosphere was electric as the Man Utd players took to the stage at The Theatre of Dreams with the Champions League theme tune ringing in their ears. However they were fortunate to have Legends Denis Irwin and Clayton Blackmore alongside them to calm their nerves and after the pre-match pleasantries the Home team kicked off the game playing from left to right.
They started quickly as well, probing the Away defence for an opening right from the off and the Home team’s early pressure forced the Away defence into a slack pass along their backline, No 8 Andrew Roylance was onto the ball like a flash and he surged into the left side of the box and expertly chipped the ball over the onrushing keeper Frank Burns and into the net to open the scoring after just 2mins (1-0).
The Home team were full of confidence now and when Oliver Donne released Fergus McAteer down the right with a great long ball the winger cut the ball back inside to Graham Whitworth, the ever dangerous striker tried his luck from 25 yards, however his curling effort was just wide of the far post.
The Away team responded to their early disappointment and pressed the Home side back into their own half, and Clayton Blackmore went close to equalising after he attempted to catch the Home goalkeeper Carl Wallis off his line with a quickly taken free-kick, however the big stopper was equal to the effort and back-pedalled quickly to claim the ball under the crossbar.
The play was raging from end to end now and both teams were making full use of the immaculate playing surface and proceeded to play the ball about confidently. The Home team created the next major chance when goalkeeper Frank Burns was dispossessed on the edge of his area, the ball was played to striker Graham Whitworth inside the area and he did well to evade the keeper’s despairing dive, however just when the No 9 looked like doubling his team’s lead Away No 5 Stewart Campbell put in a bone-crunching block tackle and cleared the ball to safety.
The Home team pressed again and when Away keeper Burns charged out of his box to attempt to clear the ball with his feet he miscued and allowed Fergus McAteer to latch onto the ball wide on the right, the No 7 looked up and fired an effort goalwards, however that man Stewart Campbell was on hand again to make another brilliant clearance. The danger wasn’t over though and the ball fell to Andrew Roylance who jinked past a defender and fired a shot at goal, however the ball crashed off the right hand upright and away to safety. The Home team kept up the pressure and Jay Eaton did well to win the ball back and feed Roylance on the left, the No 8 picked out Graham Whitworth inside the area and the striker fired a left foot effort towards goal, however with the keeper beaten the ball cannoned off the left hand upright and it was cleared away by the desperate Away defence.
The Away team were on the ropes now and Anthony Williams tested Burns soon afterwards with a fine strike from the edge of the area, however the keeper did well to hold onto his powerful effort.
However much to everyone’s surprise it was the Away team who got the next goal. Ian McGillivary forced a corner on the right and floated a high ball into the box himself, the Home keeper Carl Wallis couldn’t claim it and big defender Stewart Campbell towered above everyone else to powered a header into the net (1-1). With 34mins on the clock the scores were now even!
However the Home team responded immediately and when No 7 Fergus McAteer was bundled to the ground by Clayton Blackmore’s trip they were awarded a free-kick a few yards outside the area. Richardson cleverly played a quick pass to McAteer on the edge of the area and the winger raced into the right side of the box and fired a cross towards the back post, Andrew Roylance was quick to react and he met the ball perfectly and bulleted a header into the empty net (2-1). With 36mins on the clock the Home team were deservedly back in front.
The Away team roared back into the game though and both teams were probing for openings, however it was the Home team who created the next big chance. Captain Fergus McAteer dribbled inside before looking up and playing a clever reverse ball that played in Graham Whitworth, however the No 9’s attempted chip was just too high and the ball sailed over the bar.
That was to be the final opportunity of a breathless opening 45mins, and the referee’s whistle brought the half to an end with the Home team narrowly ahead 2 goals to 1. In the changing rooms at half-time Denis Irwin asked his team for more of the same in the 2nd period and encouraged them to use the ball over the top to take advantage of the Away team’s high defensive line. In the Away dressing room they identified the Home side’s danger men as No 11 Wayne Richardson and the ‘Jimmy Johnstone’ like winger Fergus McAteer and they hoped that by nullifying that pair they could clip the Home team’s wings.
Half Time: Man Utd (Home) 2 - 1 Man Utd (Away)
With the half time substitutes providing much needed fresh legs for the teams, the game started at a great pace and the Home team’s impressive centre mid Oliver Donne tried his luck from distance less than a minute after the re-start, however Away keeper Frank Burns plucked his effort out of the air confidently.
The impressive No 1 was called into action soon afterwards when Ben Cobbett freed Wayne Richardson on the left, however Rico’s net-bound shot was kept out brilliantly by the left hand of the diving Burns. The energetic McAteer was next to threaten, however he lost his feet at the crucial moment when he looked destined to score.
However the Home team’s pressure paid off with 49mins on the clock, Denis Irwin found Oliver Donne in midfield and the No 10 slid a perfect pass into the feet of Wayne Richardson who was racing clear on the left, the No 11 cut inside Home defender Ian Blair and just when it looked like he was going to shoot he completely wrong footed the No 4 and keeper Burns and cut back again to his left before slotting the ball into the empty net. It was a fantastic bit of skill and an excellent goal (3-1)!
The Away team fashioned a chance of their own on the right side of the area, however Lee Griffith’s goal-bound shot was expertly plucked out of the air by Carl Wallis. The team in White continued to push forwards and Away No 9 Leighton Wright tried his luck with a snapshot on the turn, however his left foot effort was just too high.
The Home team responded immediately though and when the influential figure of Wayne Richardson picked out Fergus McAteer with a searching ball down the right channel the No 7 pounced on the ball and raced clear of Legend Clayton Blackmore, just when it looked like he was going to score he was scythed down by the former Red Devils left back and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. With Captain McAteer off the field receiving treatment he selflessly allowed his striker Graham Whitworth to take the kick and the No 9 made no mistake, sending the keeper the wrong way and calmly slotting the ball into the net to put his side 3 goals to the good (4-1).
However the Away side weren’t lying down and they fought their way back into the game on 72mins. No 7 David Phelan picked up the ball on the right side and played a great ball to release Lee Griffiths, sprinting clear of the Home defence, the striker latched onto the ball and slid it past the onrushing Carl Wallis into the empty net (4-2). The No 11 celebrated his strike in style, with a fantastic solo knock-out celebration which saw him end up on the Old Trafford canvas!
The Home team were made of resilient stuff though and they responded to the body blow immediately! The tireless McAteer found Ben Cobbett in space on the left and the left mid’s excellent effort looked destined for the top corner until it was brilliantly clawed away by Frank Burns, however Wayne Richardson just got to the ball before it went out of play and skillfully beat a defender before expertly picking out Graham Whitworth in space 6 yards from goal, the striker made no mistake and swept the ball home 1st time to increase his side’s lead again on 77mins (5-2).
The deadly striker was desperate to score his hat-trick now and it almost came minutes later. Oliver Donne picked out his Father Brian - racing down the right wing - with a perfectly judged long ball, the No 2 played a fantastic 1st time cross into the box which found the head of the in-rushing Whitworth, however his attempt flashed just wide of the left hand post.
The Home team were well on top now and it took two fantastic diving saves in quick succession from Man of the Match Frank Burns to deny them. The 1st came when Ben Cobbett fired in a high shot from the left side of the area, and the 2nd was even more impressive, with the No 1 somehow getting a hand to keep out a goalwards effort from Wil Corker from close range. The Home keeper Carl Wallis wasn’t to be outdone though and he was called into action himself moments later when Kavi Hewavitarne jinked past a couple of defenders and smashed a shot towards the top corner of the net, however the big keeper flung himself to his right and palmed the ball away to safety.
However with both teams tiring it was the Home side who bagged the final goal of the game. A quick passing move involving Irwin, Corker and Donne saw the ever dangerous Wayne Richardson released on the far side of the pitch, the No 11 raced into the box and evaded the last ditch efforts from the keeper and an Away defender to stop him and when he found himself with an open goal at his mercy he unselfishly offered up the chance to Ben Cobbett and the No 17 took the opportunity with glee, side footing the ball into the net from a few yards out (6-2).
The Away side pressed forward again though and a cross from the left found the head of Lee Griffiths, however Wallis did brilliantly again to save his effort comfortably. At the other end Fergus McAteer and Brian Donne both had chances to increase their side’s lead, however the 1st effort from a free-kick was just too high and the 2nd was beaten away by the impressive goalkeeper Burns. Fergus McAteer was still a threat and when he broke away with 2mins to go he looked like getting the goal all his excellent efforts deserved, however his lobbed effort from 25 yards flew just wide of the goal.
That was to be the final opportunity in what had been an incredible end to end affair, the impressive Home team ran out deserved 6-2 winners, however the Away team certainly played their part in a hugely entertaining game and both teams received a rousing reception when the left the Old Trafford pitch moments later.
Full Time: Man Utd (Home) 6 - 2 Man Utd (Away)
Man of the Match (Home): Jody Rushworth
Man of the Match (Away): Frank Burns
Moment of the Match: Stewart Campbell
Home Team: Carl Wallis, Brian Donne, Denis Irwin, Jody Rushworth, Jay Eaton, Anthony Williams, Fergus McAteer (C), Andrew Roylance, Graham Whitworth, Oliver Donne, Wayne Richardson, Wil Corker, Paul Kenyon, Ben Cobbett
Home Mascot: Gabriel Feigin & Johnny McAteer
Away Team: Frank Burns, Adam Canning, Clayton Blackmore, Ian Blair, Stewart Campbell, Jeremy Chua, David Phelan, Ian McGillivary, Leighton Wright, Darren Pearson (C), Lee Griffiths, Jason Flannery, Jack Churchill, Kavi Hewavitarne, Marc Huddleston
Away Mascot: Lewis Hollingworth