Cherries stars return for charity match at Vitality Stadium

There were numerous ex-AFCB favourites and celebrities in action on Sunday <i>(Image: Richard Crease)</i>
There were numerous ex-AFCB favourites and celebrities in action on Sunday (Image: Richard Crease)

A HOST of former Cherries heroes returned to the Vitality Stadium to turn out for a charity match arranged by My Tribute on Sunday afternoon.

Over 6,000 fans turned out in support of Cherries’ Community Fund and the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.

Simon Francis, Steve Fletcher, Brett Pitman, Jimmy Glass, and Tommy Elphick, who all currently hold roles at the club, were joined by Shaun MacDonald in donning a Cherries shirt for the first time in quite some time.

Among the Cherries favourites were celebrities such as singer James Arthur, and Olympic sprinter Dwain Chambers.

The aptly named Redknapp’s Rovers, led by former Cherries boss Harry Redknapp, featured Glass, Elphick and Francis, as well as event organiser Calum Best, son of former Manchester United star George Best.

Ian Holloway was in the opposing dugout, with his Holloway’s Heroes consisting of Fletcher in an unusual position of centre-back, with Pitman leading the line ahead of MacDonald.

Jeremy Lynch opened the scoring, slotting the ball into the far corner one-on-one with James Jackson after a long ball over the top.

Jamie O’Hara blasted home a second for Redknapp’s Rovers from range shortly before the half-hour mark, with the former Spurs midfielder making it three six minuets later with another fine strike.

Pitman clawed one back, placing the ball underneath Glass after a driving run to make it 3-1.

An uncharacteristic slip at the back from Elphick allowed Pitman to pick up the loose ball and reduce the deficit to 3-2 before the break.

Love Island contestant Billy Brown added a fourth for Redknapp’s Rovers shortly after the break.

Unfortunately, the game was marred by injury, with Ash Hamlett stretched off to warm applause.

Eastenders’ Dean Gaffney supplied a sublime through ball for O’Hara to complete his hat-trick.

Fletcher was fouled inside the box in injury time, allowing substitute Sam Bailey to claw one back for Holloway's Heroes, rounding off the scoring at 5-3.