On an emotional day at Kettering Town, Sands United hosted a Special XI including celebrities and a professional player and ultimately lost on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Sands is the stillbirth and neonatal death charity. They operate throughout the UK, supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby, working to improve the care bereaved parents receive, and promoting research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.
Hundred’s of fans packed into the arena and saw the Special XI race into a 2-goal lead and looked in a commanding position but Sand’s dug deep, and with two quick goals levelled the game up.
Special had the better chances during the second half, and saw a penalty saved but ultimately the game was decided on penalties.
Sands took the initiative but several saved penalties later, Special secure the win 3-2 on a thrilling and fun day for the hundred’s of fans in attendance.
Sands United Captain and Founder was pleased with the days outcome, “The success of today will never truly be known, it’ll be found by the parents who the money raised will help, and no amount of thanks for that will ever be enough. Every pound raised will go towards improving care, providing memory boxes, support groups and giving parents facing child loss the ability to make memories.
“To everyone involved in making the Sands United Charity Fun Day and Football Match a success our thanks is everlasting and we’re so proud and honoured to be supported by all the wonderful people we meet and hear from.
“Long live Sands United Men Feel Too United By Angels .”
Whilst organiser and Sand’s player Nick Hilliker added, “We was all very pleased with the day and how it went. The extreme heat made it difficult for both teams and a fair results of 2-2 was perfect, however peno’s had to be done!
“We are just doing the final count and hope raised over 4K for the charity. That money will go towards support other families with support for their loss.”
Fellow player Leon Gavin added, “Like always it was an honour to play for the memory of my son Nolan and all the other angles. It was made that bit special by having my two boys on my shin pads the two boys next two each other.
“Also having my family and second son there was amazing, it was his first time he has watched me play and what a game for it to be. Not every day your daddy gets to play against some of his footballing heroes in David Buchanan and Mark Richards. I remember the title-winning season like it was yesterday and having a few drinks with them after the game, now I’m on the same pitch of the madness and it was all for the cause that I am so passionate about for obvious reasons.
“I’m so thankful for all that turned up and made it such a spectacular day without the fans, partners and friends and family of the team Sands united wouldn’t be anything today and for that I truly thank everyone its been a blast and I loved every minute of it.”
On behalf of The Bootiful Game, we wish to add our thanks to Sands for making us very welcome, and had it not been for an unfortunate incident on the way home, this report would have been much longer.