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West Brom 2018

Our West Brom players were thrilled to march onto the hallowed Hawthorns turf for the 1st Football Aid contest since 2015 and the game was certainly worth the wait, with the Baggies fans serving up a feast of goals for the watching fans! The Home team ran out 7-1 winners thanks to 4 goal hero Alessandro Marazzi, however the game was closer than the score-line suggested and both teams gained enormous enjoyment from the exciting encounter, played in great spirit throughout.

Date: Tuesday 8th May 2018
Venue: The Hawthorns
West Brom (Home) vs West Brom (Away)
Kick Off: 14:00 pm
Managers: Graham Williams and Micky Fudge

The game kicked off in glorious sunshine, conditions that the Football Aid team were to get used to in the sun soaked month ahead! The certainly teams took advantage of the excellent pitch as well, playing the ball around to feet right from the opening whistle.   

Defences were on top early on, with neither side able to carve out a clear-cut opportunity. The Home team’s Simone Lucchini tried his luck from distance early on, however his left foot effort was just wide of the target. However with 21mins gone the Home team took the lead with a brilliantly worked team goal! The ball was played out from the back to Pascual Ciampi on the right, the No 14 played it inside to Marco Isola who played it short to Salvatore Lepore in the centre circle, the No 20 stepped clear of his marker and played a brilliant, no look, reverse ball through the defence for Isola to run onto and the midfielder sprinted clear of the defence and expertly chipped the advancing keeper to open the scoring for the Baggies Home team (1-0). 
The Away team responded and fired a couple of dangerous looking crosses into the opposition penalty area, however the Home team’s defence stood firm and repelled the threat. The White and Red shirted Away team created another half chance soon after when Charles Hanson linked up well with No 9 Ian Watson, however the striker’s shot from the edge of the area was bravely blocked by Home centre half Andrew Balmforth.

The Away team were gradually gaining the upper hand at this stage, however the well organised Home defence continued to hold firm. Back came the Home team and another clever reverse pass from Lepore almost played in the pacy Alessandro Marazzi, however Away keeper Gonzalo Rioja did brilliantly to race out of his goal and save the ball at the midfielder’s feet. 

At the other end the Away team pushed again for an equaliser and a flashing header from a corner by Francisco Centeno almost found the goal, however the ball went narrowly past the near post. Salvatore Lepore the tested the Away keeper with an effort from distance, however his well struck shot flew just wide of the goal. With seconds to go in the half, the dangerous looking Alessandro Marazzi raced clear of the defence and unleashed an effort from outside the area, however his shot was just too high. 

That was the final chance of the opening period and the whistle went with the Home team enjoying a narrow 1-0 lead. Despite the low score, both teams were playing well and creating plenty of chances and the watching fans were hoping for more of the same, but with a few more goals, in the 2nd half. 

Half-Time: West Brom (Home) 1 - 0 West Brom (Away)

The spectators certainly didn’t have to wait long for a goal to cheer, with the Baggies Home team doubling their lead just 5mins after the break! A long clearance from keeper Ambrosi found the head of striker Kristien Harrison and he glanced it perfectly into the path of Alessandro Marazzi, the Italian midfielder raced away from the last man and expertly dinked the ball over the advancing keeper left footed (2-0). 

The pacy of Marazzi was causing the Home defence all sorts of problems and when he raced away from the defence again soon after he looked odds on to score again, however his attempted chip with the outside of his right foot went narrowly wide. The Away team almost got a goal back when the impressive Away Captain Adam Taylor raced onto a through ball, however the No 7 couldn’t get enough on his left foot effort and Ambrosi saved comfortably at the near post.  

However with 63mins on the clock Alessandro Marazzi scored his 2nd of the game to increase his side’s advantage and it was midfield dynamo Salvatore Lepore who was the creator again. The No 20 intercepted a pass on the right and played a perfectly judged through ball for Marazzi to run onto, the No 27 just got to the ball ahead of Away keeper Rioja and made no mistake, side footing the ball into the net from just inside the area (3-0).

The Away team were on the ropes, however they responded well and Ian Watson got them back in the game on 67mins. Kev Wright did well to win the ball in midfield and found his strike partner with a great through ball and Watson did the rest, expertly chipping the ball over the advancing keeper and into the back of the net (3-1)

It was end to end stuff now and both defences were being stretched to the limit, and when a great attacking move led to a good opportunity for Away No 6 Javier Arraiz at the back post he looked odds on to score, however Ambrosi made a great low save to deny him.  

Back came the Home team and the unstoppable striker Alessandro Marazzi got his quick fire hat-trick on 71mins! Another great through ball from Lepore found him in space on the left and Marazzi cut across goalkeeper Rioja and side footed the ball just inside the near post (4-1). 

It was harsh on the Away team, who had fought hard to maintain contact with the clinical Home team. The Red and White’s weren’t despondent though and John Denley did well to create a chance for Kev Wright, however the striker’s effort from 10 yards was beaten away by Ambrosi. Wright turned provider moments later, feeding Watson at the near post. The striker turned his defender well, however his shot narrowly grazed the top of the crossbar.

However with 79mins on the clock the Home team sealed the win when striker Kristien Harrison raced onto a long clearance and side footed the ball home (5-1).

A few mins later worse was to come for the luckless Away team, with Alessandro Marazzi scoring his 4th of the game and his side’s 6th goal on 83mins. Salvatore Lepore again with the assist, intercepting a pass in midfield and releasing Marazzi with a perfectly judged 1st time ball. The on fire Italian striker did the rest, nonchalantly chipping the ball over the keeper with the outside of his right boot (6-1). 

With time running out, the Away team pushed for a late consolation, however in doing so they were leaving space at the back and Kristien Harrison took full advantage on 89mins, racing onto a through ball from Elia Ruzzoli and comfortably side footing home his 2nd goal of the game (7-1).

The ref’s whistle went soon afterwards and the Home team celebrated their win in style with their Manager Graham Williams, the last Albion captain to lift the FA Cup. 

It had been a brilliant game throughout, with both sets of players giving their all and providing fantastic entertainment for the watching fans. Huge thanks again to West Bromwich Albion, Managers Graham Williams and Micky Fudge and all our players for their brilliant efforts on the day.  

Full-Time: West Brom (Home) 7 - 1 West Brom (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Alessandro Marazzi
Man of the Match Away: Charles Hanson
Moment of the Match: Marco Isola

Home Team: Simone Ambrosi, Adam Canning, Bruno Isone, Andrew Balmforth, Marco Isola, Simone Lucchini, Elia Ruzzoli, Kristien Harrison, Antonio Isola, Salvatore Lepore, Pascual Ciampi, Jack Scullion-Stevenson (C), Alessandro Marazzi
Home Manager: Graham Williams
Home Mascot: Renee Pugh

Away Team: Gonzalo Rioja, Liam Scrivens, Robert Scrivens, Charles Hanson, Javier Arraiz, Adam Taylor (C), Carlos Lopera, Ian Watson, John Denley, Kev Wright, 
Luis Vasconez, David Brown, David Scrivens, Francisco Centeno
Away Manager: Micky Fudge
Away Mascot: Elliot Taylor & Teddy Denley 

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

"Another great Football Aid day, pitch was in immaculate condition and a happy home team ran out 7-1 winners, though it was a close game for the first 60 mins. Top day with some quality lads, thanks to the lads from Italy who came over and were excellent to play alongside once again. Even got an Italian style celebration at the end!"
Andy Balmforth

"I just wanted to say Thank You for yesterday. It was a great day. Overall the day was incredibly positive and myself and the Mascot Elliot had the best day."
Adam Taylor

"We got beat but a phenomenal day and the Italian lads were superb, great experience!"
Kev Wright