Friends and family turn out to support good cause

Jamie O'Callaghan steers clear of The Legends Andy Walton at the charity football match in memory of Lisa Freeman
Jamie O'Callaghan steers clear of The Legends Andy Walton at the charity football match in memory of Lisa Freeman

A community has rallied round in memory of nursery nurse Lisa Freeman to help raise nearly £1,000.

The annual Lisa Freeman Memorial Charity football match once more went down a storm, with the friends and supporters of the Old Pond football team defying a break in at the pub to raise a record amount for the Cardiomyopathy Association.

Captains Gary Brook (Legends) and Paul Taylor (Pond) at the charity football match in memory of Lisa Freemand

Captains Gary Brook (Legends) and Paul Taylor (Pond) at the charity football match in memory of Lisa Freemand

The event was instigated in memory of Lisa who died in October 2005 aged 30 from the heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Since then the village of Hove Edge, and particularly those associated with the Old Pond and its Sunday football team have arranged this annual event.

The competitiveness of the match has gone up a notch year on year between the Old Pond football side and former players and special guests from the area making up the ‘The Legends’ who were managed by Trevor Dawson.

Referee Dave Ellis once more stole the show with a catchy new hair-do and he was called into action early on as Nigel Hunt predictably picked up a booking within two minutes for a late challenge.

Luckily Mr Ellis’ bookings only incurred a fine towards the charity pot.

Stricter than ever - referee Dave Ellis, at the charity football match in memory of Lisa Freeman

Stricter than ever - referee Dave Ellis, at the charity football match in memory of Lisa Freeman

Player manager Trevor Dawson admitted his playing days are long behind him, but started the match up front with a plan to play five minutes for The Legends. His four minute stay was a good effort before pulling up lame.

A couple of Legends on debut also impressed, with Granville Hall and Richard Monday rolling back the years, but it was Glen Lee in the middle of the park who was star of the show.

The former Halifax Town and Brighouse Town man once famously scored five goals past Pond in a cup final, and continued his mission to torment the club with some good midfield play.

Club chairman Russell Holmes was largely untroubled in the Legends goal, as the side with the higher proportion of greying locks produced an excellent first half performance. Captain Gary Brook was rock solid at the back, with Branwell Strafford using his reach to good effect in the challenge, while Andy Walton and Billy Bottomley covered the yards well further forward.

The best chance of the first period fell to Andy Dawson though, the Pond wide man ghosted in at the back post but uprooted the side netting rather than side footing home.

Charity football matches tend to conclude with final scores resembling cricket matches, so the 0-0 half time scoreline took all by surprise and highlighted how little either side wanted to lose.

The second half continued to be tight, and it took a controversial goal to allow Old Pond to take the lead. Player boss Richard Dawson knew little of the cross heading towards him as it smashed off his nose into the back of the net. Likewise, keeper Holmes had little chance of making a save as a garment of clothing had been pulled round his ankles by a Pond player away from the glare of referee Ellis.

Angered by this injustice, The Legends raced through the gears and forged an equaliser through another of their star men Michael Beckett. Having failed again in front of goal Andy Dawson had been banished to Pond goalkeeping duties - and within ten seconds was picking the ball from the back of the net.

Beckett, who had been thrown up front in a moment of tactical genius, strode clear and side footed past the newly installed keeper.

Beckett almost won it for The Legends, but his header clipped the bar and went over - so after persuading Mr Ellis that the older legs could do without extra time the match went straight to penalties.

Richard Dawson and Michael Martin confidently hit the net for Pond, while Gary Brook and Andy Walton used all their experience to coolly slot home in the pressure cooker atmosphere. Then came the first dramatic twist, as Jamie O’Callaghan failed to beat Holmes and The Legends had one hand on the shield.

Further spot kicks were dispatched by Darrell Holmes and Richard Monday, before The Legends lost their grip on winning back the famous shield.

Firstly, Beckett went from hero to villain as Briggs saved his penalty, meaning that Matty Ellis had to score following Paul Taylor’s successful conversion for Pond. The referee’s son fluffed handing the shield to Old Pond for a second successive year.

Back in Hove Edge, food was served for a small charge and landlord Richard Stevens and staff provided excellent support for the event. Chief organiser back in the village was Denise Dawson, who was grateful to all who gave up their time, particularly Sara, Harvety and Eleanor Holmes who were instrumental in selling raffle tickets in the Pond and beyond.

The days fund-raising now also involves a charity darts match - shock new champion Peter Riley who is more well known for pulling out of darts matches through boredom, rather than seeing it through, donated all his winnings to the charity.

The footballers always make a trip to the Dusty Miller during the day to thank them for their support of the event, and were greeted with a significant donation from the regulars presented by landlord Rob Wilde.

Thanks were also due to those who donated prizes. On top of individual donations Crow Nest Park Golf Club, The Sun Inn, Lightcliffe, Lightcliffe Tea Rooms, Sainsbury’s Tesco, Thaal Restaurant and Jon Richard hairdressing.

The organisers would like to thank Jifficlean and the Brighouse Echo.