BWFC Legends Match: Team Kelly 2-6 Team McGinlay

  • May 14, 2016 | By Chris Mann
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Jay-Jay Okocha rolled back the years, as a team of Bolton legends organised by John McGinlay secured a 6-2 victory over Tony Kelly's opposition.

The charity fixture, organised in partnership between the Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Trust and Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, played to more than 10,500 fans at Macron Stadium, all of whom were granted the opportunity to see their heroes from yesteryear take to the field one more time.

But it was Okocha who stole the show, playing 45 minutes for each side and netting a hat-trick on an afternoon where he was up to his old tricks.

Many of the names due to feature in the match weren't confirmed until the day itself, but that hadn't stopped supporters from queuing outside turnstiles to such an extent that kick-off had to be delayed for almost half-an-hour.

Introductions for names such as Jussi Jaaskelainen, Jason McAteer, Alan Thompson, Keith Branagan and David Lee were met with cheer, while former defender Alan Stubbs was afforded a mixed reception from fans who are yet to forgive him for his controversial transfer away from the club 20 years ago.

Comedy duo Paddy McGuinness and John Bishop helped add to the entertainment, while lifelong fan Danny Jones, of pop band McFly, also got the chance to play alongside his one-time idols.

With the game clearly being played at a leisurely pace, it was Okocha who forced the first save of the afternoon when his low strike was kept out by Branagan.

Lee, showing every bit of the pace that made him a terrace favourite at Burnden Park in the 1990s, ran clean through on goal with six minutes played, but he somehow fired his effort over the crossbar with only Jaaskelainen left to beat.

The deadlock was broken just a minute later, as Scott Green got to the byline before standing up a cross that McGinlay headed past Branagan to give his team an early lead.

Kelly's men were level 60 seconds later, though, as Lee's cross from the right was powered home by the head of Fabian de Freitas, who left Jaaskelainen with no chance from close range.

The skills of Okocha left McGuinness on his backside shortly afterwards, much to the amusement of those in attendance, but it was Kelly's side who almost had smiles on their faces when, from the next attack, Lee was thwarted by Jaaskelainen.

With 25 minutes on the clock, an announcement over the stadium's public broadcast system saw supporters rise to their feet as Fabrice Muamba took to the substitutes' bench for McGinlay's team.

Muamba entered the action shortly after the half-hour, with fans affording him a heroes welcome as he came on in place of Ivan Klasnic.

Then, two minutes later, McGinlay's side took the lead for a second time as Muamba laid the ball off to Okocha, who picked out the top corner from 25 yards.

Okocha doubled his tally four minutes before the interval, breaking through some suspect defending before rolling past Branagan to make the score 3-1 to Team McGinlay.

There was then a moment of genuine appreciation, as both teams replaced their goalkeeper in the final minute of the half. Jussi Jaaskelainen left the field to be replaced by his son, William, while Keith Branagan also gave way to his son, Ritchie.

With Team Kelly trailing 3-1 at half-time, the decision was made to allow Okocha to switch sides.

That wasn't enough to stop Team McGinlay from adding to their lead within four minutes of the restart, as Sam Stubbs, son of Alan and product of the Wigan Athletic academy, smashed home a sublime half-volley at Branagan's near post.

Branagan got his revenge, denying Stubbs from the next attack, before chances for both sides saw Okocha and Michael McGinlay shoot wide of goal.

Team McGinlay were awarded a penalty on the hour after Muamba was brought down inside the box, but he saw his resultant spot-kick saved, much to the disappointment of the supporters.

After the match officials ordered a re-take, Muamba slammed his second penalty into the bottom corner to make it 5-1 to McGinlay's side.

Okocha struck a post as he looked to reduce the deficit for Team Kelly, but it was soon to be extended as John Thomas beat Branagan with a cheeky lob to make it 6-1 with 20 minutes to play.

Jaaskelainen returned to the action shortly afterwards, but this time in an unfamiliar forward role, and he almost made an instant impact as he latched on to a knockdown before firing against the post.

Thompson and Lee were both off target as the clock ticked into the last 10 minutes, before Okocha completed his hat-trick by netting a consolation for Team Kelly, slotting home in a one-on-one position.

Kelly thought he had pulled the score back to 6-3 in the latter stages, jogging the length of the pitch with the ball under his shirt before tapping it into the net, but the referee had already blown to allow treatment for an innocuous knee injury sustained by Klasnic.

Time was soon called on an entertaining afternoon at Macron Stadium, which ended with Team McGinlay running out 6-2 winners over Team Kelly.

There has been some speculation that the legends match could become an annual event and the early signs are promising, with fans leaving the ground with smiles on their faces - sometime that has become a rare commodity in recent times.

Team Kelly: K Branagan, Darby, McGuinness, Kelly, Coleman, A Stubbs, Reid, Lee, McCann, de Freitas, Holdsworth
Subs: R Branagan, Okocha, Sneekes, Whittaker, Cooper
Booked: McGuinness
Goals: de Freitas 8, Okocha 82

Team McGinlay: J Jaaskelainen, Green, Charlton, Faye, Winstanley, McAteer, Okocha, Jones, Thompson, Klasnic, J McGinlay
Subs: W Jaaskelainen, Curcic, Bishop, Thomas, M McGinlay, C McGinlay, S Stubbs, Muamba
Goals: J McGinlay 7, Okocha 34,41, S Stubbs 48, Muamba 63(pen), Thomas 68

Attendance: 10,759

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
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