IMG_0144Staff at Tesco Underwriting in Newcastle have kindly chosen us as their charity of the year and, last week, held a football match at St James’ Park to help with the fundraising.

Paul Ford helped organise the game and drafted this match report.

Our thanks to Paul, Andrew Affleck and everyone at Tesco Underwriting for their ongoing and enthusiastic support.

‘A game of 2 halves’

Last night saw the first game of the annual Tesco Underwriting Charity football match featuring Tesco Athletic versus Tesco United, held at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.

The generosity shown by our colleagues prior to the event was reflected in the healthy crowd that turned up to cheer the team on the match night. With the balls boys and girls in their place around the stadium the game got underway with cheering from the crowd.

Tesco United won the kick off and got the match off to a fast start with plenty of play seen in the middle of the park, Jonny Shurben come close in the early few minutes but pulled his shot wide across the face of the goal. Tesco Athletic got back into it with Sean Irving seeing a lot of the ball down the right. Athletic continued to put pressure on United which was nearly rewarded when Dan Greaves picked up the ball from Jonny Weatherley and turned his man only to shoot wide without working the United keeper Gus Poole.

IMG_0021Tesco United then got back into it push Athletic back, however, a great inception from Sean Rye started a counter attack for Athletic, Mark Lewis played a pass into Paul Ford who beat his man and managed to open the scoring by squeezing in a left foot shot past Gus Poole with only 8 minutes of the first half remaining.

It looked as it was going to go into half time with only 1 goal in it, however, following a free kick from Dan Ling the ball found its way to Sean Irving, Sean’s pass created a chance for Paul Ford who scored a 2nd to make it 2-0.

The 2nd goal led to the United management team Andrew Toward and David Clark nervously reaching for their note pads and franticly scribbling down notes for their half time team talk. The teams went into half time break with Athletic leading 2-0.

The second half saw United change to a more attacking 3-5-2 formation and it immediately had the impact the United management had wanted with United seeing more possession in the early stages.

IMG_0030United captain Damian McMenzie was linking well with Jonny Shurben to make chances but athletics’ keeper Calum Down was on his toes to cut out the United advances. United continued to press, with Ross Doran moving forward to support the attacks and Craig Wood taking a more defensive role alongside Declan Holloway and Stephen Fletcher.

The United attacks soon paid off with good play down the right by James Mobberley ending up with the ball at Ian Morton’s feet a few yards out for a tap in to bring United back into the game. Soon after the United goal Dan Greaves latched onto a quickly taken throw in to see him running towards goal, however, his shot went wide of the target.

With only a few minutes remaining United continued to press forward and their efforts eventually paid off when Ian Morton was played through one on one, the Athletic keeper Calum Down who was unable to stop the shot making the final score 2-2.

The draw was a fair score for the players and fans alike and I’m sure everyone will agree that the night was a great success.

IMG_0045Liz from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation kindly attended and presented man of the match to Dan Greaves of Tesco Athletic, the players with their medals and handed the TU Charity Shield to the team captains who will have to share the shield until next year’s game.

A massive thank you to Dawn Lowery, Karl Bryce, Julie Henderson, Kayleigh Elliott, Shaz Rayaz, Carol Gardner & Sarah Gardner all who helped on the match night and to all those who attended the game and supported the fund raising raffles, sweep stakes, sponsorship etc.