Droylsden and Ashton United were honoured to share the Tony Downes Memorial Trophy after the EVO-STIK League clubs met in the annual fixture to remember a local hero killed in Afghanistan.
The EVO-STIK League clubs fought out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Butcher’s Arms on Saturday before collecting the trophy from the proud parents of the Grenadier Guardsmen Neil ‘Tony’ Downes.
Killed in Afghanistan in 2007 at the age of 20 only a year after completing a tour of Iraq and three years after joining up, the soldier grew up with his parents Sheryl and Ronnie at the King’s Head pub which is only a stone’s throw away from the EVO-STIK League North club’s home.
The Bloods have staged the memorial match every year since the death of the local lad a decade ago when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by a roadside explosion. In October 2015, The Greater Manchester Pension Fund’s new headquarters in Manchester was named Guardsman Tony Downes House.
Using his Twitter account @bryanpace1, Droylsden secretary Bryan Pace expressed the club’s pride at being involved again on the tenth anniversary of his loss near Sangin in Helmand province and thanked the Robins for playing their part on and off the pitch.
The Bloods secretary tweeted: “Fab day remembering a top lad, proud to be a small part of it, and thank you Ashton United for contributing to a great day.”