Date:Saturday May 5 2012
Wigan Athletic sent a squad of former players along to Simpson Playing Fields in Lowton last night, to face Golborne Sports Veterans in a benefit game in aid of a Motor Neurone Disease suffer, Angela Charles, Latics Legends came out on top in an entertaining game, included in the Latics squad were current first team coach Graham Barrow, current assistant boss Graeme Jones and unbelievably the man himself Roberto Martinez
Latics ran out 5-2 winners, goals from Neil Rimmer (2) Graeme Jones, Dave McMullen and a dazzling individual effort from Roberto Martinez proving too much for the Vets, who after falling three behind pulled the game back to 3-2 with goals from Andy Battersby and Rob Soppellsa only for the Latics to score two late goals.
Neil Rimmer and Ray Charles tussle for the ball
The game kicked off with Martinez stuck in traffic and not there at the start, but it didn't seem to worry the Latics, they raced into a three goal lead, the pick of the bunch being Dave McMullen's after the full back finished off a cracking move
Graham Barrow on the ball, Barry Knowles in the background
A large crowd were treated some good football from both sides in an open game but on the 20 minute mark all the attention was focused on a car pulling into the parking area at the side of the pitch, Barclays Premier League Manager of the Month Roberto Martinez had arrived, mobbed by fans, both kids and adults, Roberto signed every autograph and posed for every photo he was asked for as he made his way the 100 yards or so to the changing room, what a gentleman
Roberto on at half-time
Three goals to the good and the introduction of Martinez and it looked like the Latics would cruise to victory, not so, Golborne aren't highly noted as one of the top local sides for nothing, a great fight back saw the Vets pull the game back to 3-2, Andy Battersby's goal deserves special mention, a class finish with the Latics boss seeking out Battersby to shake his hand and comment 'That was a great finish' leaving Battersby on cloud nine
Rob Soppellsa then gave the Vets hope of a comeback when he prodded home, speaking to Vets skipper Ray Charles after the game about Soppellsa's goal, Ray said 'He's known as Soppellsa the toe bunger and thats what it was!'
The Latics stepped up a gear and Neil Rimmer made it 4-2, with the game entering the final phase Martinez picked the ball up in the attacking third, he waltzed round three defenders, leaving two of them, Ray Charles and Ste Kidd on their backsides, before drawing the goalkeeper and simply slotting the ball beyond in a goal not too dissimilar to that of Ricky Villa for Spurs in the 1981 FA cup final
Martinez on a mazy run
A fantastic entertaining evening, two teams enjoying their football, a crowd of supporters having a good time, all for a great cause
Roberto after the game with the Charles family: Ray, son and daughter Paul and Denise, son-in-law Andy Battersby
A massive thank you to Kevin Langley, the Latics Legends, Roberto Martinez and all who came to support, the evening was a great success with over £2,500 being raised
Latics and Proud
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Date:Saturday May 5 2012
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