Saturday, 23 May 2015

Joseph's Goal Chairty Match: Latics Legends vs. Hollyoaks XI

22nd May 2015
Latics Legends vs. Hollyoaks XI
Joseph's Goal Charity Match
At Ashton Town F.C

What a great night at Ashton Town. ‘The Latics Legends’ just about squeezed past a Hollyoaks XI, 10-0 with Alan Mahon and Nathan Ellington scoring the pick of the goals. The original game, meant for the 8th May would have seen the Legends team up against the current Latics Development Squad, but because of a waterlogged pitch, the game was postponed until a fortnight later. Sadly, I was half-way to Ashton, my coat smelling like a wet dog, before I heard the news! With the Development Squad away for the summer by the new date, a team comprising of actors and crew members from the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks stepped in. Apparently the team play regular charity matches, so I was expecting an entertaining encounter between these young bucks and 40-something ex-professionals.

Former Latics manager Ray Mathias, assisted by Ian Kilford and Tommy Gore had the luxury of picking from a strong Latics squad, with most of the players barley a decade retied, not to mention Emmerson Boyce who had 2 years earlier, lifted the FA Cup. Early on, former Latics keeper John Filan, in between supping cans of ale given to him by supporters, made an incredible save for even a man half his age, as he flung himself across his goal to prevent Hollyoaks from going ahead. Clearly angry at Filan’s heroics, Hollyokas fired another shot over the bar – which ended up smashing the back window of an Ashton Town’s volunteer’s car! Whoops.

After taking a few minutes to impose themselves on the game (including an incident which saw Neil Roberts smashing a shot into somebody’s back garden), the Legends started to dominate the ball and not long after, Nathan Ellington’s shot was spilled by the goalkeeper, Roberto Martinez profited upon the rebound to put his side ahead. Everton manager Martinez then laid on the second for his assistant, Graeme Jones, before centre-back, Chris Kirkland (!) played a long ball forward, which Jones controlled and lifted towards the edge of the box where Alan Mahon volleyed it first-time into the net. The ball was past the goalkeeper before he even dived!

From then on, it was one-way traffic and after being 5-0 to the good at half-time, changes were made,
but Ellington was being the bullish forward we all remember – picking up the ball about 30 yards out, he slalomed his way past 5 defenders, bouncing off them, off the ground, off everywhere, before curling the ball past the goalkeeper. It was a fantastic goal, one that you saw coming after The Duke beat the 3rd defender and the others looked liked they didn’t fancy getting stuck in! Boycey moved upfront towards the end of the match and after laying a goal on for Stuart Barlow, he got one himself – volleying in from inside the box which brought the biggest cheer of the night. Boyce then laid another on for Barlow, with a superb backheel. 10-0 and it was a fine end to a great night. As soon as the final whistle sounded, Boycey was mobbed at the end of the match, on what was possibly his last involvement as a ‘Wigan player’.

A crowd of almost 2,000 turned up, over £6000 was raised and I met Nathan Ellington after the match. And it didn’t even rain! What a night.

The Latics team: John Filan, Emmerson Boyce (c), Chris Kirkland, Kevin Sharp, Mario Melchiot, Roberto Martinez, Alan Mahon, Jason Jarrett, Graeme Jones, Neil Roberts, Nathan Ellington.

Subs: Eric Nixon, Stuart Barlow, David Lowe, Neil Rimmer, Gareth Whalley, Ray Woods, Sean Clancy (player for AFC Telford, brother of Abi Clancy, wife of Peter Crouch – he scored too!)

Joseph's Goal Website