West Ham United 6-5 West Ham United All-Stars
Author: Matthew Kirk. Published: 28 March 2016 at 6:18pm
Mark Noble Testimonial
Mark Noble enjoyed one of the greatest days of his career as a sell-out crowd saw West Ham United beat a West Ham All-Star squad 6-5 in a thrilling Testmonial match at the Boleyn Ground.
It was an occasion to remember for Noble and his family as he celebrated an unforgettable career at the Hammers dating back 12 years – with all the proceeds being split between charities DT38 Foundation, Richard House Children’s Hospice and Help for Heroes.
The 35,036 fans who turned out to honour their Canning Town-born hero were treated to eleven goals, including a sensational overhead kick from Dean Ashton and strikes from Noble himself, Paolo Di Canio and even goalkeeper Adrian!
The All-Stars opened the scoring on 13 minutes when Jack Collison played the ball into Craig Bellamy and he fired a clinical finish high into the net.
Noble, who had been denied by David James just moments before, got his name on the scoresheet on 25 minutes when he weaved his way into the penalty area tucked home.
One of the most amusing parts of an entertaining afternoon soon followed on 27 minutes when Adrian ran the length of the field – aided by a team of blockers – and fired the ball past a helpful James.
The No13 was mobbed by his team-mates and the members of the All-Stars on a day when smiles were more important than victories.
West Ham made it three on 36 minutes when Manuel Lanzini played Alex Song through on goal and he made no mistake with a rare goal.
Noble could have added his second of the game on 40 minutes when a great West Ham move ended with the skipper curling against the base of the post.
The captain turned provider on 43 minutes as he raced to the byline and cut the ball across for Diafra Sakho to score from six yards.
The All-Stars pulled a goal back on 47 minutes when Marlon Harewood burst clear down the right and crossed in for Ashton. The forward was denied by Raphael Spiegel – who also made fine saves from Bellamy and Ashton – but Teddy Sheringham followed up to score.
West Ham made it five when Marcus Browne’s cross fell to Sakho and he fired the ball past Walker. The scorer then pulled a mobile phone out of his shorts and entertained the crowd by taking a selfie with Browne, Song and goalkeeper Jimmy Walker!
After the unfortunate Harewood was denied by an offside flag, the goal of the day arrived on 75 minutes as Ian Bishop played the ball in for Ashton to launch himself into the air and arrow a scissor-kick into the bottom left-hand corner of Spiegel’s net.
The England man added a second from Kevin Keen’s cross a minute later to make it 5-4, before Di Canio made the crowd even happier by racing past Chris Powell and beating Walker with a low shot.
As time ran out, substitute Taylor Tombides paid the ultimate tribute to his older brother Dylan when he also got on the scoresheet with a clever chip over the goalkeeper.
The game then finished with a penalty shoot-out, which ebbed and flowed before finishing deadlocked at 7-7. Highlights included Adrian blasting his spot-kick high into the stand after ripping off his gloves, Ludek Miklosko saving from Di Canio and Noble’s old friend Robert Hatton saving no fewer than three penalties!
All in all, it was a fantastic day to be part of the West Ham family, and surely one that Noble and his family will never forget.
West Ham United: Adrian (Spiegel 29, Hatton 76), O’Brien, Tomkins (Pike 46), Reid (A Ferdinand 65, Dobson 85), Cresswell (Dobson 58, Collins 81), Song (Short 76), Obiang (Noble 65), Noble (Browne 46), Lanzini (Di Canio 65), Antonio (Sinclair 65), Emenike (Sakho 22, Diangana 58, Carroll 81)
West Ham United All-Stars: (First Half) James, Ward (Dailly 15), R Ferdinand, A Ferdinand, Dicks (Gabbidon 15), Downing (Sinclair 15), Collison, Parker (Di Canio 15), Benayoun, Bellamy, C Cole
West Ham United All-Stars: (Second Half) Walker (Miklosko 81), Lomas (Powell 58), Dailly, Upson (Blewitt 65), Gabbidon (Keen 65), Bowyer (Cohen 77), Collison (Moncur 51, Bishop 65), Harewood, Etherington, Sheringham, Ashton (Tombides 77)
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)