It was also great to see so many ex-players returning to the Club as well, many after long hard seasons for the own Club, and others dragged (!) out of retirement for this one-off special. It was fantastic to see the likes of Jimmy Glass, Ian Cox, Russell Beardsmore, Steve Robinson, Mark Stein and Steve Jones back at Dean Court wearing red and black. It also brough reminders back of what might have been if it had been possible to keep the 1998 squad together!!
The result (8-0 - Holmes, Hayter (2), C Fletcher (2), Geary, Saadi, Harvey) was irrelevant, but we were entertained throughout!!
Holmes got the scoring underway on 4 minutes with a simple tap in past Glass (he never was too clever on saving the easy ones), but the loudest cheers went up when the Wembley XI won their first corners of the match which (naturally) prompted Jimmy Glass to come charging forward in a Carlisle-esque moment. Needless to say, Moss decided to do the same when the Cardiff XI won their first corner!! Glass didn't get close to connecting with the ball, where as Moss did have a good effort beaten away!!
Steve Jones, not with a club anymore, was clearly well out of match practice as he was caught off side on several occassions, and was needing water as early as the 5th minute!! But he perservered despite the flag waving official, which prompted calls from the fans for the official to stick the flag somewhere personal!! It was only a friendly afterall!!
The scoring continued before the break with Carl Fletcher (22) and Jamie Hayter (42) netting before the break. In the meantime, Jimmy Glass also proved that he is still a great shot stopper as he pulled off some breath taking reflex saves to deny the Cardiff XI a greater lead before the half time interval.
Just after the break, Hayter added to his tally on the night just after half time, and then Carl Fletcher sent a rocket past Glass to make it 5-0 to the Cardiff XI on 51 minutes.
Then came a mass change as the entire first team departed to be replaced by the entire youth team!!
After the switch the Wembley XI had more of the game, but not enough to score any goals. Even the introduction of Rob Murray didn't stem the tide of goals! They did have chances, but Scriven was equal to them. The player who impressed me in the youth line up was Saadi (now released) who rounded off his evening with a goal on 65 minutes.
Glass was caught off his line when he went up for one corner as a long range punt towards goal did make its way in to the back of the net - something we noted that the first team tried and failed to achieve!!
During the mutitude of substitutions (many of which I couldn't keep up with), Jimmy Glass was taken off, and then tried to come back on as a forward. But the final change came in the final few moments as Bailey took himself off as Cherry Bear came on for an all too rare appearance. I wonder whether Cherry Bear now qualifies in the 0 (+1) club of players??? Answers on a post card please.
On a final note, we did spot that the Cardiff XI did finish the match with 12 players on the pitch!!!!
Cardiff XI: Moss, Purches, Broadhurst, Cummings, C Fletcher, Browning, Elliott, Stock, O'Connor, Hayter, Holmes
Wembley XI: Glass, Cox, Beardsmore, Warren, Smith, Sheppard, Bailey, Oldbury, Robinson, Stein, Jones
Andy Burton, Portsmouth
Pictures reproduced with kind permission of Michael Cunningham of Sporting Media