Thrilling match raises money for charity
Last Saturday morning, footballers who have performed at the top level of the English and Australian game graced the fields of The King’s School in North Parramatta, Sydney to raise money for charity.
The annual football (or soccer, as many Australians incorrectly insist on calling it) match between representatives from English clubs Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace featured former professionals lining up alongside supporters. Oh, and our very own editor made an appearance for the Brighton team too!
Lining up on the Brighton side were former Albion, Sydney FC and Adelaide United player Paul Reid and former Albion, Sheffield Wednesday, Brentford and Adelaide United player Lloyd Owusu.
Money raised from the event went towards the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund. What’s that? Well, named after Robert Eaton, a Brighton fan who died in the twin towers attack in 2001, the charity (REMF) was founded to raise money through an annual football match in Sussex between fans of two rival English clubs, Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace. The charity has grown to the point where there are all manner of fundraising events each year across Sussex and as far away as Australia. Overall the REMF has raised over $200,000. The money gives a helping hand to underprivileged junior football clubs in the UK and US, as well as football-related charity projects in Africa and Albion’s powerchair football team. Recently a large donation was made to Worthing United Youth FC, in memory of Matt Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, who died in the Shoreham Air Show disaster.
There was a fantastic turnout on the day and those who made the journey were treated to an absolute roller-coaster of a match. Palace scored the opening goal, only for Brighton to fight back strongly and take a commanding 3-1 lead. The third goal was a beautiful curling free-kick from Lloyd Owusu. Palace pulled one back just before half-time to set things up nicely for the second period.
It was hotter than ever by now, as mad dogs and Englishmen battled the midday sun. The Albion goalkeeper brilliantly saved a penalty (just one of many incredible stops he made) but Palace still asserted their authority and were 5-3 up with just a couple of minutes to go. As the fifth goal went in, the Palace bench raced onto the pitch to celebrate what seemed like a certain victory. It would be their first ever win in the annual fixture. All they had to do was see out the final few moments.
However, within a minute, Lloyd Owusu’s goal made it 5-4 and then, with almost the last kick of the game, Owusu’s cross was buried by Paul Reid, who wheeled away jubilantly. It was a dramatic denouement and proved to be the last action of note, as the referee’s whistle signalled the end of a thrilling 5-5 draw.
Afterwards, both sides and their supporters shared drinks and a barbecue, while Paul Reid and organiser Steve Longly drew the raffle. Over $1500 was raised for REMF on what was a really fantastic occasion.
Our editor’s legs still ache.
Find out more about REMF here.