Argyle Legends vs Hector Christie XI 2009
It was a much changed Argyle Legends team that travelled to Appledore to fulfil a long standing promise to Western League Legend Hector Christie.
Shorn of no less than 12 players due to a combination of injury, illness, holidays and a staff development day at Plymouth Argyle, the Legends were delighted to give debuts to Mark Edworthy, Peta Balac and Owen Pickard. Supplemented by guest players Martin Parker and Brett Balac (son of Peta) a keenly fought game was anticipated.
The game kicked off in front of a healthy looking crowd and it was the hosts who made the early running. Prompted by Gary McAllister the former Leeds, Liverpool and Scottish international, Peta Balac was the busier of the two goalkeepers saving well from Kevin Hill and Hector Christie. With Mark Edworthy and Darren Garner becoming more influential the Legends went close to opening the scoring in the 17th minute when a header from Brett Balac went narrowly wide. The game was now fairly even with the evergreen Gordon Nisbet and lively Mark Damerell both in good form. In the 30th minute Peta Balac rolled back the years with a tremendous block from an onrushing home forward. From the resulting corner Balac made another fine save,diving low to his right to push the ball behind for a corner. One minute later it was the turn of the home goalkeeper to deny Darren Tallon with a brilliant save.
The hosts went ahead in the 32nd minute when Hector Christie scored from close range after springing the Legends offside trap. Six minutes later it was 2-0 to the home side, when Balac and Tallon collided leaving the home forward with a simple tap in. Matters got worse for the Legends when Christie made it 3-0 with a header following a cross from the right. The half ended with no further goals.
The second half started with Owen Pickard replacing the injured Steve Davey and he joined Jason Jones up front with Brett Balac moving to the right wing and Mark Damerell continuing wide on the left. Five minutes into the half the Legends had to adjust even further when Darren Tallon hobbled off to be replaced by Gordon Nisbet, returning to the fray after a well earned rest. The Legends were still reorganising, when the home side made it 4-0 in the 52nd minute. With only pride left to play for Mark Damerell reduced the arrears in the 55th minute with a shot from just inside the home area. The Legends were having most of the play with Leigh Cooper having a shot cleared off the line in the 62nd minute. Owen Pickard fired narrowly over in the 65 minute and also hit the upright with a header in the 72nd minute. The Legends continued to have the better of exchanges but were caught out when a quick breakaway saw Hector Christie complete his hat trick in the 82nd minute. In the final minute of injury time the home team gave the result a flattering look with a 6th goal.
After the game it was announced that the game had raised £700 for Hector which he is giving to a charity dedicated to keeping GM Crops out of Britain. A terrific gesture by a man who may well lose his sight in one eye following a freak football accident.