There was a welcome return of the Paul and Mark Ledbury Memorial Match after it was cancelled due to the pandemic last year. 

The brothers who died in 2012 and 2017 were both stalwarts of Ledbury Town sides in the 1980s and 90s. Paul also played for Pegasus, Worcester City and the Three Nuns. 

The result of the match at the New Street club on Sunday was Paul and Mark’s Players 3, Ledbury Town Veterans 2. 

Club spokesman Chris Ponter said “Thanks go to Sharon Gladwin and her family for organising another special local event, club chairman Pete Boyle and all at Ledbury Town Football Club for again hosting the occasion, Robert Powell for advertising the event, DT Wallers Butchers and Jock Boyle for providing the food and barbecue, Jamie Onions for running the bar, youngster Noah Jones for doing a superb job refereeing the game, and to everyone who donated to the fantastic range of raffle prizes available that day as well as everyone who attended the match for helping to make it such a special event after a two-year absence.” 

Mrs Gladwin said: "What a brilliant day. Thanks to everyone that came down to Paul and Mark's memorial match. A big thank you to all of the players and to all of Paul and Mark's friends who used to play football with them for turning up as well. It was so lovely to see you all and it means so much to me.”

The Paul and Mark’s Players were: Andrew Lancett; Jamie Gladwin; Scott Roberts; James Loader; Ashley Jones; Joe Gladwin (captain); Kenny Gwynne; Nick Bolton; Ben Ledbury; Robbie Colwell; Dwayne Tyndale; David Butcher and James Goode.

Facing them, the Ledbury Town Veterans were: Terry Bramley; Grant Hathaway; Neil Davis; Ade Jones; Tim Bullock (captain); Neil Gardiner; Nick Blakeway; Ian Merrick; Joel Skyers; Kai Davis; Alistair Holder; Scott Roberts; Pete Boyle and Steve Kirby.

The goalscorers were Ben Ledbury (15 min, 25 min), Nick Blakeway (40 min, 65 min) and Scott Roberts (82 min free kick).

The star players were Andrew Lancett and Nick Blakeway and the referee was Noah Jones. The game was enjoyed by 120 spectators. 

Match report by Chris Ponter:

A winning free kick from seasoned defender Scott Roberts gave Paul and Mark’s Players a 3-2 victory to mark the long-awaited return of the popular Paul and Mark Ledbury Memorial Match, hosted by Ledbury Town Football Club at New Street for the first time in two years in memory of two fondly-remembered local footballers after the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to last year’s event. 

Paul and Mark had strong connections with Ledbury Town FC having played for several of the club’s teams in the past, and it was the side featuring ex-players who had played football with them over years gone by who first took the lead on this occasion playing against the current Ledbury Town Veterans side, as Ben Ledbury found the net twice during the opening 25 minutes of play. 

Current reserves assistant manager Nick Blakeway pulled one back for the Veterans, playing in a more outfield position as opposed to his usual place in goal after finishing a Joel Skyers effort on the rebound just before the interval, before the goalkeeping coach and Vets’ man of the match that day struck again twenty minutes later to make it two goals apiece. 

Roberts’ winning spot kick then sailed over the wall and into the net to see victorious captain Joe Gladwin and sister of Paul and Mark Sharon Gladwin hold the trophy aloft in front of 120 spectators under the hot Sunday afternoon sunshine at Ledbury Town’s historic ground. 

Andrew Lancett, star player for Paul and Mark’s team for a remarkable shift in goal that afternoon, made the first of many great saves at around five minutes in, before Kai Davis missed a chance in the box for the Veterans through failing to connect with a great ball fed into the box from the near wing. 

Dwayne Tyndale then forced a corner ball for Paul and Mark’s side against Neil Gardiner on the touchline, with the set-piece being struck by Blakeway over the head of Lancett. 

After Paul and Mark’s squad saw an offside decision go against them on the quarter-hour mark of play, the white shirts quickly gained retribution when prolific striker Robbie Colwell crossed the ball to Ben Ledbury, who fired home his side’s opener. 

Gardiner struck the ball wide from twenty yards out at seventeen minutes in as Ben Ledbury completed his brace by taking the ball round the opposing defence and slotting it past Vets keeper Terry Bramley, before Colwell nearly made it 3-0 to Paul and Mark’s Players when he struck the bar off the rebound from a good effort from Nick Bolton which rattled the far post. 

A further great save from Lancett saw both sides briefly retire for a much-needed drinks break under the hot late summer sunshine, before Ben Ledbury put the ball over the bar under pressure from current reserves manager David Butcher in the box. 

Skyers’ effort off the post was then put away by Blakeway to reduce the black and white shirts’ goal deficit come the half-time break, before the second period began with Colwell firing wide as a potential goal from current Ledbury Town FC chairman Pete Boyle for his Veterans side was disallowed on the grounds of being scored whilst in an offside position. 

Lancett then made the save of the game to deny a threatening Skyers strike, before a series of corner set-piece opportunities for the Veterans ended with the busy Paul and Mark keeper eventually managing to seize the ball before Blakeway struck again to level the score for the first time since the start of the game. 

Bolton would have come close to getting himself on the scoresheet himself just in time for his birthday the following day if not for his 70thminute 25-yard effort just skimming the top of the woodwork, before another further fine save from Lancett was followed by the Ledbury reserves regular putting another ball over the bar. 

Steve Kirby then nodded a corner ball clear for the Vets, and after Lancett made a risky yet worthwhile move in coming well off his line to deny James Dean a chance at the target, Tyndale crossed the ball back downfield while under pressure from Grant Hathaway but with no white shirts being present in the box to receive it as the seconds ticked away for either side to find the winner. 

Bolton missed a further golden chance to score in the box as the game entered its final ten minutes, with Roberts going on to seal the deal with his superb free kick as Skyers was foiled by James Goode back upfield. 

Lancett managed to again claim the ball under pressure from the black and white shirted attackers by now desperately seeking a second equalizer, with Colwell being able to continue playing after suffering an injury in midfield with five minutes to go as Paul and Mark’s squad went on to claim the win in time for the event’s fifth anniversary next year.