There was huge excitement in the DW Stadium on the morning of Sun 10th May, as our Wigan Athletic players prepared to kick off the 1st ever Football Aid game at the stadium. The watching crowd weren't to be disappointed and were provided with 12 fantastic goals to cheer. The Home team ran out 8-4 winners in the end but both sets of players could be hugely proud of their efforts.
Date: Sunday 10th May 2015
Venue: The DW Stadium
Wigan Athletic (Home) vs Wigan Athletic (Away)
Kick Off: 10:00 am
Legends/Managers: Neill Rimmer & Joe Parkinson
Match Officials: Niall Eaves, Dave Wolfenden, Matt Phillipson & Philip Hewitson
The Home team, playing in Blue and White stripes, kicked off the match in glorious sunshine and started the game well, playing the ball about the pitch confidently. They continued to press the opposition defence, and Italian midfielder Salvatore Lepore was involved in many of their best attacks in the opening stages.
However the Away defence, led by Legend Joe Parkinson and central defenders Gary Jones and Darran Murphy, were holding them at bay and the team in Yellow and Blue fought back to take the lead on 15mins. Away No 9 Adam Reid had already threatened with a couple of early chances, however when the ball was played to him inside the box by No 7 Nick Seddon the striker made no mistake, turning away from his defender before rifling a low shot past Home keeper Simone Ambrosi (0-1).
The Home team responded well though and intricate passing play between their midfield and attack created a chance for Lepore on the edge of the box, however his effort from distance was wide on this occasion. The skilful No 20 wasn't to be denied though and when the ball was played back to Salvatore Lepore by No 9 Joseph Winstanley he curled a fantastic lob from 25 yards into the top corner! With 27mins on the clock the scores were all square again (1-1).
The impressive Forward Joseph Winstanley was looking a danger every time the Latics Home team attacked and it wasn't a surprise when the big No 9 got the goal that put his side ahead. The goal came after 37mins when he was found in space with a fantastic pass from Salvatore Lepore, the pacy attacker drove into the box and slid home a perfect root foot finish from 15 yards, giving goalkeeper Ryan Wood no chance (2-1).
The Home team were in the ascendancy and they took advantage of their dominance to increase their lead on 43mins. Winstanley raced onto a through ball and showed his awareness to pick out No 7 Michael Knight who was free inside the area, the midfielder made no mistake, smashing the ball home right footed (3-1).
The Away team weren't giving up though and they responded with a couple of attacks themselves, however the intricate passing play between Home midfielders Lepore and Isola was carving open opportunities at will and when another attack forced a corner on the right it was swung into the danger area by Knight. Simone Lucchini challenged the goalkeeper bravely and when the ball dropped to Neil Lukins the Captain forced the ball home from a couple of yards out (4-1).
The whistle went for half time with the Home side on top after their clinical end to the half. In the dressing room Legend Neil Rimmer was very pleased with his troops and encouraged them to get the ball to the Italian midfield trio of Isola, Lepore and Pineider as much as possible, as their understanding and movement off the ball was causing the Away defence all sorts of problems.
Half Time: Wigan (Home) 4 - 1 Wigan (Away)
The Home side continued where they left off and started the 2nd half strongly, with substitute Terry Rickeard trying his luck from distance. His effort was just wide though and Lepore was also out of luck when he rounded the keeper soon after, the midfielders snap shot flying narrowly wide.
The Away side's attacking trio of Reid, Taylor and Clyne were coming into the game more now though and their clever exchanges threatened on the break. However despite their pressure it was the Home side who increased their lead on 55mins. A through ball from Rickeard was intercepted by defender Gary Thomas, however the big stopper stumbled slightly under pressure from Joseph Winstanley and by the time he recovered his footing Winstanley had raced clear on goal. The clinical No 9 made no mistake with his finish, firing home a low shot that gave Wood no chance in the Away goal (5-1).
And worse was to follow for the Away team on 56mins! Pineider's clever pass found Winstanley in space and the striker played in Terry Rickeard, the No 14 raced in on goal and he expertly executed a trademark chip when Wood came flying out to narrow the angle (6-1).
The Away team weren't giving up though and they got a well deserved goal back on 61mins. Dave Taylor floated a cross to the back post area and Adam Reid outjumped GK Ambrosi to head the ball into the empty net (6-2).
The Away team were back in the game and when Dave Taylor floated in another cross just 2mins later it somehow found its way into the goal at the near post! On closer examination it looked like goalkeeper Ambrosi's punch had rebounded off the back of the heels of Marco Isola, so this one will have to go down as an owngoal (6-3).
The Away team had their tails up and were determined to get themselves right back into the game, however the closest they came in this period was an effort from Taylor from distance that flew too high. The Home team responded well though and when a well worked corner found that man Joseph Winstanley on the edge of the box, the deadly striker made no mistake, rifling home a powerful low shot to put his side 4 goals ahead again with under 20mins to go (7-3).
The Away team weren't giving up yet though and when the Home defence failed to clear a cross floated into the box by Gary Jones No 11 Mark Clyne was onto it in a flash, controlling the ball before despatching it into the roof of the net from 8 yards out. With 75mins on the clock the game could easily have gone either way now (7-4)!
The Home team game roaring back and Terry Rickeard almost got on the scoresheet with a rasping drive from 25 yards, however the ball flew just wide. Up the other end Adam Reid raced clear and looked a certainty to score his hat-trick, however he was denied by a brave diving save from the advancing goalkeeper Simone Ambrosi. The keeper was called into action moments later when Dave Taylor raced clear, however the Italian pulled off another "Buffon" like save to deny the No 10.
Another great chance for the Away team presented itself with less than 10mins to go when Gary Jones was felled on the edge of the area. Striker Adam Reid stepped up and placed the ball low and to the left of Simone Ambrosi, however the keeper made a fantastic finger tip save to deny the Away team!
With 88mins on the clock it was the Home team that were to have the last say, and it was that man Joseph Winstanley again on hand to provide the finish. Salvatore Lepore won the ball on the right side of midfield and played a diagonal ball towards the attacker, a defender intercepted the ball and it flew high into the air and unfortunately for the Away team it fell straight to Winstanley who made no mistake from just inside the area, side footing a clever volley into the right hand corner of the net (8-4).
The referee's whistle brought the game to an end moments later and it ended up with a fine win for the Home team. Their 4 goal hero Joseph Winstanley had been their main man, however it was a great team performance that had earnt them the win. The Away team could be proud of their efforts as well, however on the day they just couldn't take enough of their chances to put the Home team under enough pressure. All in all it had been a fantastic 1st game at the DW stadium for the watching fans, and the teams received a huge round of applause when they left the pitch.
Full time: Wigan (Home) 8 - 4 Wigan (Away)
Man of the Match (Home): Joseph Winstanley
Man of the Match (Away): Adam Reid
Moment of the Match: Salvatore Lepore
Home Team: Simone Ambrosi, Daniel Abraham, Neill Rimmer, Simone Lucchini, Neil Lukins (C), Marco Isola, Michael Knight, Ady Ethelston, Joseph Winstanley, Christian Pineider, Salvatore Lepore, Terry Rickeard, Ady Ethelston, Richard Shannon, Isola Antonio
Home Mascot: Oliver Shannon
Away Team: Ryan Wood, Craig Murphy, Joe Parkinson, Gary Thomas, Darran Murphy, Jonathan Meehan, Nick Seddon, Marcus Todd (C), Adam Reid, Dave Taylor, Mark Clyne, Kevin Banks, Jonny Heald, Gary Jones, Martyn Fisher