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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Memorial match for stalwart Jeff

PLAYERS paid a fitting tribute to local football stalwart Jeff Wadsworth with a memorial match at Furness Building Society Stadium.

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MARK OF RESPECT: Players and officials line up for the Jeff Wadsworth Memorial football match at Furness Building Society Stadium submitted

Two select teams, made up of players from all the North Western Senior Football League clubs, took part in an exciting game that was eventually decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Jeff, who was a keen player, manager and supporter, died two years ago, aged 65, leaving a massive hole in the football community. At the time of his passing, he was treasurer of the NWSFL.

Local referee Dave Keenan and Neil Martin, the NWSFL secretary and manager of Wheatsheaf FC, took charge of the two teams, one wearing black and yellow stripes and the other donning pink.

Some of Jeff’s relatives also got involved, while match referees from the local leagues played on both Saturdays and Sundays, officiated proceedings.

Martin’s pink team took an early lead through an excellent strike from Rams Head’s Martin Clarke. They continued to dominate and would have scored more had it not been for the heroics of black and yellow team goalkeeper Stewart Hunter.

At the other end, pink team goalkeeper Matthew Pearson – dropping low to his right and managing to punch the ball over the bar – kept his side ahead with the save of the game.

At the start of the second half, Jeff’s grandson, Bobby, replaced Pearson, while Jeff’s son-in-law, Dave Thompson, took over from Hunter. Also introduced was Jeff’s grandson, Cameron Doyle, who made an instant impact with a shot into the bottom corner. The black and yellow team made a couple of changes and Andrew Whiteford, of Barrow Wanderers, beat the offside trap and smashed the ball home to pull a goal back.

League top-scorer Danny Keenan then levelled matters with a fine finish, before bagging his second to put the black and yellow team 3-2 up.

The game looked set to end that way until Zak Gill fed Yates’s Utd striker Adam Morris, who equalised, with just seconds remaining.

The black and yellow team won the resulting shoot-out 3-2, with man-of-the-match and British Legion full-back Luke Hunter scoring the decisive penalty.

Organisers would like to thank Barrow AFC for the use of their facilities, Brian White and Paul Kell for setting the wheels in motion, Jeff’s family and friends, Martin (Wheatsheaf FC) and Mark Zuniga (British Legion) for providing the kits, Darren Gardner and Liam Oliver for officiating and Keenan for taking up the role as the other team manager.

Players who took part: British Legion: Luke Hunter, Stewart Hunter, Zak Gill, Robert Loughran; Wheatsheaf: Darryl Martin, Daniel Kidd, Brandon Haughin, Conner Bone; Vickerstown: Danny Keenan, Gerry Quigley, Mario Heighton, Jay Rutherford; Barrow Wanderers: Kyle McCormack, Ste Jones, Sean Derby, Andrew Whiteford; Yates’s FC: Danny Logan, Zak Collie, Charlie Shaw, Mark Treen; Yates’s Utd: Adam Morris, Conner Freel, Joe Bradbury, Chris Porritt; Rams Head: Adam Carswell, Martin Clarke, James White; Castle House: Liam Crawford, Matthew Pearson, Seth Storey, Matt Dawson; Not attached: Dave Thompson, Bobby Wadsworth, Cameron Doyle.

* Any new teams looking to enter the North Western Senior Football League for the 2012/13 season should contact Neil Martin on 077434 28859.

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