It was definitely a game of three halves for the Vintage Clarets as they ran out 2-1 winners against St. Theodores Old Boys at Burnley Belvedere FC in support of Mick Ennis with goals from Roger Eli and Brad Maylett.
Around 1500 people turned out on a sunny Lancashire afternoon to show their appreciation the teacher affectionately known as “Mennis” who is currently receiving treatment for cancer.
The game was played as three periods of 30 minutes with a different team from Teds playing in each with Dean Stowe pulling back a late goal for the old school boys.
The first chance fell to Teds with Nick Palich sliding in at the near post and Chris Pearce showed that he still had a sense of humour by shouting:”yes” as he failed to connect with the delivery.
It didn’t take the former pros long to take the lead. Paul Weller headed the ball in the box and Graham Lancashire saw it cleared off the line twice before it dropped to Eli who saw his header lob in to the far corner.
Weller was again in the thick of the action after a quarter of an hour when he saw his free kick hit the wall and five minutes later he leapt like a salmon only to see his header saved.
However, the resulting corner fell to Maylett who doubled the lead.
Pearce was again up to mischief when he charged up the field for a corner and hounded the Teds keeper just before the first break.
The second period was a quieter affair.
Jamie Hoyland spurned a golden opportunity when his header went close. Graham Lancashire was on hand to console him. When I say console, I mean laugh.
Manager John Deary gave veteran’s debuts to Alex Kevan, Lee Roche, Jason Heffernan and Dennis Hill.
The final third saw the big guns rolled out for the Ormerod Road school boys. Manchester United’s Class of ’92 starlet Chris Casper was joined by former Claret John Mullin and his brother and Accrington Stanley legend Paul.
The pressure was immediately piled on from the Mullin brothers with wave after wave of attack culminating in Stowe slotting the ball in the far corner despite a valiant Phil Eastwood challenge.
I suppose it was win, lose and draw for both teams but there can be only one winner and that was Mick Ennis who was able to attend for part of the game.
The game was played with a superb spirit and there was little for professional football league referee Graham Salisbury to do.
Following the game there was an action with some amazing pieces of memorabilia donated from far and wide. Jimmy Anderson had donated a signed England cricket shirt. There was a Manchester United shirt signed by Angel di Maria and signed Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs photos.
Man of the moment, Danny Ings who was actually in attendance, donated his shirt from the Stoke City game as well as a pair of his orange boots.
But my favorite lot of the evening was a signed picture of Bertie Bee rugby tackling that streaker against Preston North End.
Well over £2000 was raised from those sales alone. Who said there was no money in Burnley?
It really was a terrific event and thanks must be given to all those who organized it.
All of us at NNN send Mr Ennis our very best wishes.
Vintage Clarets: Pearce, Ishy, Atkinson, Eastwood, Harrison, Hoyland, Lancashire, Cartwright, Weller, Mumby, Eli
Subs: Kevan, Maylett, Roche, Heffernan, Hill, Deary
Pacific Finance MOTM: Jamie Hoyland
Team 1: Heys, Palich, Clarke, Perry, Taylor, Horne, Woodfield, Fogarty, Dugdale, Stowe, Finn
Team 2: Garnett, Byrne, Bentley, Byrne, Cole, Ennis, Geogheghan, Boyle, Cole, Berry
Subs: Palich, MacMahon
Team 3: Anderson, Dugdale, Collins, Casper, Walsh, Bridge, Mullin, Bridge, Mullin, Stowe, Horrocks
If you would like to donate direct to Pendleside Hospice and include gift aid as a taxpayer, please do so at the following website: www.justgiving.com/mick-ennis