Paolo Di Canio stars in Sheffield Wednesday colours – ref on the deck in Owls rout

You don’t expect to be writing about former Sheffield Wednesday players Paolo Di Canio, Chris Brunt and Des Walker in the same sentence – but here we are…

Saturday, 7th May 2022, 3:27 pm

It was all Wednesday in this year’s edition of the Eve’s Trust charity game, with some big-name former Owls turning out against their Doncaster Rovers counterparts at the Eco-Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

But the hosts were powerless to stop the likes of Tommy Miller and Sean McAllister, despite some excellent midfield work from Rovers legend, James Coppinger, and the charity game – for a great cause – ended 7-2 to Wednesday.

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The trust was set up in 2011 after Eve Merton, a Doncaster woman, who sadly passed away due to ovarian cancer, and they say their aim is ‘to help the people of Doncaster who are suffering with serious or terminally ill cancer’, adding that ‘the monies we raise will contribute towards patients & their families in fulfilling a dream or granting a wish, if only for a day.’

But even though there was a dearth of former professional talent, most of the goals were scored by non-players who have done their bit for the charity cause. Di Canio, Brunt and Co. did plenty of the heavy lifting, but Wednesday romped to a 3-0 lead at half time thanks to goals from Lee Pearson and Jamie Waugh.

Walker won plenty at the back, and Brunt grabbed a couple of assists before going off, but it was Di Canio who stole the show – dictating things from the middle, hitting the crossbar with a lovely dinked effort – and then getting booked for arguing over an offside call.

The ref then went down after the slightest touch from the Italian. Cue laughter from the stands – he must have seen that coming.

Paolo Di Canio and the referee had a joke on the field in the Eve's Trust charity game between Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster Rovers.

Rovers got off the mark in the second half through a tremendous Paul Bradley penalty, but Deon Burton – on for the second half – made sure it didn’t last long as he set Lewis Ellse free for his second goal of the half. His first, with the outside of the foot, was a lovely finish.

A string of good saves from Tom Crosby continued to keep Rovers out, and he certainly had his part to play in what was ultimately a comfortable Owls victory – The Wednesday Week’s Stevie Spence looked solid enough at the back after coming on for the second period as well.

3,153 tickets were sold for the afternoon, raising a good chunk of money for a great cause, and they certainly got their money’s worth – Martin Bradley made it 7-1 with 10 minutes to go as his effort cannoned off the crossbar and over the line.

Paul Bradley got his second of the day in the dying moments to make it 7-2, but it was just another consolation. Di Canio scooped Wednesday’s Man of the Match award, Coppinger got Doncaster’s, and there were plenty of smiles at the final whistle.

There was a goalfest as Sheffield Wednesday took on Doncaster Rovers in a charity game.

All for a great cause, and no doubt they’ll be back again next year.

Goals: P. Bradley (68, 88) - Pearson (3, 26), Waugh (34), Ellse (49, 71), McAllister (55), M. Bradley (81)