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It was one of those days at Kingston Park on Sunday afternoon (October 9) as Alan Shearer’s Newcastle Legends took on Keith Gillespie’s Manchester Select in a game in aid of the Alan Shearer Foundation.
Shearer rolled back the years by playing the entire first half, as did the likes of Steve Harper, who pulled off some blinding saves, along with cameos for that of Beardsley, Sellars and Fox; even the Manchester lads chipped in with Lee Hendrie showing his youthfulness and running the show, as did Gillespie who put in a great shift of his own.
It would be the former Newcastle number nine who would open the scoring during the first half as well. Showing his usual predator instincts following a cross from the left by flying wing-back, Joh n Beresford – he celebrated in usual style with arm raised, celebrating with the 6,001 fans who turned out.
Hendrie and Ritchie were proving to be a nuisance up front as well for Manchester, testing the Magpies defence as often as possible but Harper was having none of it, even diving full length, across goal, to tip away a brilliantly struck free kick from Hendrie.
Referee Barry Sweeney even got in on the act when he waved away a ‘controversial’ decision towards the end of the first half after Tino Asprilla went down under a challenge in the box but it was waved away
Shearer snuck in at the back post following a cross from Alan Thompson but the shot was punched away from six yards out by Kevin Pilkington but, following a few substitutions by both sides the first half finished 1-0 to the Newcastle Legends.
Shearer and Ferdinand led the Magpies out for the second half but they remained on the bench, Ferdinand prowling the touchline and shouting directions with a smile.
Within five minutes of the restart there was a special substitution. Late last year former Magpies goalkeeper, Pavel Srnicek, sadly passed away, and his brother Milan, who had been training with Sparta Prague, made an appearance and he was immediately called into action making a couple of easy saves with chants of ‘Pavel is a Geordie’ soaring around the ground.
It wouldn’t be long before the Manchester Select levelled though, Keith Gillespie finishing well amidst a cacophony of boos. Bez (of the Happy Mondays) scuffed a shot as Hendrie still proved to be a thorn before Fox fired over the bar from the edge of the box.
After more substitutions Jamie McClen restored Newcastle’s lead after a shot from Beardsley rebounded back out but Manchester were soon level again with actor Ralf Little restoring parity in the latter stages, again to ‘boos’ from the Newcastle faithful.
As both sides hunted what would have been a late winner there was time for a disallowed goal, and Ruel Fox to show off some trickery on the edge of the bod but it was to finish level at 2-2 and the cup was shared.
Afterwards Newcastle manager Alan Shearer said: “The game was played in high spirits and in front of a great crowd which is just superb for the Foundation.
“Harps did really well and can still do a fantastic job as he proved and it was just right that we got Milan (Srnicek) involved, it was good for him and he got a fantastic reception.
“As for me, I didn’t think I’d last that long but it was good fun and it was a great finish from me as well.”
The game though was all about the Entertainers, and raising money for the Alan Shearer Foundation and Shearer added his thanks, not only to the fans, but to the lads for travelling.
He said: “I’d like to thank everyone for turning up , including Tino, who’s come from Colombia, and Les, who’s travelled up from London, lads have come from everywhere but I’d like to thank everyone for getting involved.”