On Tuesday 16th May, the home of the England National Football teams played host to the inaugural Briggs Equipment Sales Team vs Suppliers charity football match. The fixture, organised by National Account Manager Stuart Long, was in aid of the mental health charity, Mind and at the time of writing has raised over £7,000.
The game was played in four 20 minute quarters, to understandably help manage the workload on the players, and started in a cagey fashion with neither side able to fashion a decent goal scoring opportunity. From early on, a familiar pattern formed with Briggs Sales adopting a methodical, possession based game, with Mike Parkin, Stuart Long and Dan Bovingdon providing the control with experienced target-man, Scott Frankham as the outlet. Meanwhile, the Suppliers Team, who were showing an impressive level of cohesion considering they had met for the first time that day, were intent on launching quick counter-attacks to try and catch out the Briggs backline.
Whilst the first quarter didn’t see much in the way of goal-mouth action, the deadlock was broken early into the second as Stuart Long fired home a wonderful 25 yard free-kick that whistled past the ‘keeper who could only stand and admire. The free-kick was won after diligent work from Tom Bowen who drew a clumsy tackle from the defender that gave referee, Harrison Edgley no option but to award the foul.
After the goal, Briggs Sales began to visibly tire, and the Suppliers began to grow in confidence as the half-way mark approached. Several excellent saves from Phil Hardware in the Sales Team goal and defensive interceptions from Matt Turner helped repel the Suppliers attack and preserve the one goal lead heading into the interval.
Half-time: Briggs Sales 1-0 Suppliers.
The momentum built by the Suppliers in the latter stages of the second quarter continued into the third, with sustained pressure on Hardware’s goal. Just three minutes after the break the pressure finally told and the Suppliers grabbed a well-deserved equaliser after a well-worked move resulted in Sam Long from Battery Services sweeping home with a confident finish.
The confidence from the equaliser was evident in the Suppliers’ play for the rest of the third quarter as they begun to turn the screw and look for the winning goal. However, Briggs Sales remained a threat on the counter and they were inches from taking the lead after Aaron Shaw hit the crossbar and Nathan Hancock was unable to divert the rebound goal wards, hitting the post.
It was all to play for heading into the final 20 minutes, but it was the Suppliers who found the winner through that man Long who doubled his tally with a sublime curling finish into the top corner from 20 yards. Despite plenty of pressure and endeavour, Briggs Sales were unable to create a notable chance in the remaining minutes and the Suppliers held out to claim victory.
Stuart Long, National Account Manager and event organiser, commented: “What a brilliant day and I can’t thank everyone enough for their support and helping us raise over £5,000 for Mind.
“It’s been a few months in the making, but to see it al come together at such an iconic venue is fantastic and the feedback we’ve had from Suppliers and colleagues has been extremely positive. We’re hoping that the event will continue to grow year on year and become a brilliant opportunity for us to raise valuable funds for Charity.
“The game itself didn’t go our way, but congratulations to the Suppliers and I’m sure we’ll be back stronger next year!”