14 May 2017 v Liverpool FC Vets
t’s matchday and everyone is up for this. Playing at Liverpool’s Kirkby Academy, wives, girlfriends, and 2 children, all turn up with their men to take in these stunning surroundings. With the meet time set at 12 noon everyone arrived to discover kick off had been put back to 2:45 pm but that didn’t matter. Long lost friendships were rekindled, new ones made as everyone took advantage of the delay. There was even time for a presentation of RAF Colours to our Ambassador Geoff Hancocks for his contribution to RAF Football over many years, and hopefully, for many more to come. The highlight of the pre-match for me though had to be every person there singing “Happy Birthday” to Tim Steel as his TWO birthday cakes were brought out by Tash and Francesca (the two children). The irony here being...Tim didn’t turn up (good excuse though).
And it was onto the match. The RAF had been given 2 dressing rooms, the Carragher and the Owen as a total of 19 had declared themselves fit to play.
The RAF kicked off playing a 4-1-4-1 formation and with the managers and coaches words of “keep the ball” still ringing in their ears. It wasn’t long however before this tactic drew the LFC defence forward as the RAF played the ball about in midfield and defence and once that had happened, with a quick ball over the top, Gaz Seddon outran the last man and finished, cooly nutmegging the keeper who, promptly got up and shook Seds hand!! 0-1 RAF.
There was some nice football being played by both sides but the RAF lads were creating the better chances and it came as no surprise when Seddon again got on the score sheet in the 17th minute with a volley after a great build up down the left that doubled the lead. 0-2 RAF.
Both teams saw chances come and go although the RAF defence were keeping the LFC boys to shots from outside the box which invariably were high or wide whilst the LFC keeper was making save after save with his legs. In the 38th minute however, Kenny Hemlin decided if you can’t go under him, go over him and lobbed a beauty in after a superb diagonal long ball from Darren Robison. 0-3 RAF and that’s how it stayed till half time.
The RAF made numerous changes at half time but the tactics were to be the same. However with 51 minutes on the clock a break down the left saw the LFC player swing in a cross. Jon Letch stuck out a foot to block but the ball flew off him and into the back of the net. 1-3 RAF.
Scott Taylor who began the game in goal had to be substituted at half time due to a pulled calf muscle and Robo took the gloves and proved he’s not just a master of the long ball with a stunning save in the 54th minute when tipping a shot over the bar. Goalkeeping made to look easy!!
After 61 minutes, the RAF got their fourth goal of the game when Seddon ran down the right and slid in a great ball to Glyn Stockport who tapped in to make the score 1-4 RAF.
Both sides seem to take their foot off the accelerator then, probably due to the amount of hamstrings and calf muscles that were going, and settled into pass and move games. Once again, chances came and went and it wasn’t until the 83rd minute that the RAF got on the scoresheet again when Russ Edwards jinked his way into and across the box to finish in style. 1-5 RAF. Just two minutes later, LFC showed that they had learnt from the RAF and scored a goal identical to the RAF’s third...a lob over the keeper, 2-5 RAF and that’s the way it stayed.
The RAF FA family have come a long way in this last 12 months and today’s result and the manner in which it was achieved are testament to that. Manager Matt Beattie and the rest of “Du Management” are doing a great job in building a solid foundation that everyone involved with can be very proud of.
Thanks to Steve Hollis and all the boys at LFC. To the ladies and children that turned up to support. Well done to Hanksy on his presentation, to the girlies for taking care of the cakes, to John Bones for his debut as photographer and to anyone else I’ve failed to mention.
**I will edit this document with the players and management on duty when I get my list back. (Left it in another bag that I don’t have with me currently
and YES, I’m sure Macca will fine me for that)