MILE OAK Football Club paid tribute to former goalkeeper Matt Grimstone on an emotional day at Chalky Road on Saturday.
Matt and Worthing United team-mate Jacob Schilt, both 23, died in the Shoreham Airshow crash last week when on their way to play for United.
Matt was a popular member of the squad at Mile Oak, where he spent five years. He played for Mile Oak’s successful youth team, who won their league in 2010, before he also played for the first team.
Mile Oak and opponents Lancing both wore ‘Grimbles 1’ t-shirts during their warm-ups on Saturday, before there was a minute’s applause.
Wreaths were laid in front of the main stand by Mile Oak manager Anthony Whittington and Lancing boss Richard Whittington, before a minute’s silence. Members of Mile Oak’s youth team who played with Matt and Worthing United and AFC Shoreham players then released 23 orange and black balloons.
Oak made the game donation-only and £1,500 was raised. Mile Oak will donate the money to Matt’s family and some to the emergency services, with a number of firemen at the game.
A crowd of 210 were at the match and Anthony said: “It was a very emotional day and the build-up and warm-up was very difficult.
“Up until kick-off, everyone’s thoughts were with Matt but once the football started we tried to concentrate on that, although it was difficult.
“There were a lot of people at the game and we didn’t want to make any money out of the day, which was why we made entry donation-only and all of the money taken will go to charity.”
Mile Oak started the Sussex RUR Cup tie, which they lost 2-1, slowly and Lancers created a number of chances before they went ahead four minutes before half-time through Richard Greenfield.
Alex Bygraves doubled the visitors’ lead on 58 minutes, before Jude McDonald pulled a goal back on 69 minutes.
Oak could have levelled in the final five minutes but Matt Maskell side-footed over from ten yards.
Anthony said: “They had a lot of possession in the first half and could have scored three.
“In the second half, we were excellent and dominated possession and could have taken it to extra-time.”
Richard knocked his brother Anthony’s Mile Oak side out of the competition and said: “It was a really emotional day for both teams after the events at Shoreham the previous week.
“For us to play a part in that was nice for all involved with the club and I thought we handled ourselves really well.
“I was particularly impressed with the attitude of all my players throughout the day.”
MILE OAK: Stenning; Gillingham, Lansdale, Hall, McDonald; Watts, Maskell, Pulling, Wedge-Bull; Curd, J.Whittington. Subs: Arnold (Whittington 65), Garrod (Pulling 70), Loughlin (McDonald 75), Dine, Hilliard.
LANCING: Fidler; Mills, Fenton, Bygraves, J.Spinks, Hendy, Greenfield, Rouane, Williamson, O’Callaghan, Fair. Subs: Sharman, Westlake, A.Spinks, McHale, Adams.
The Sussex football community will come together on Sunday to support Worthing United when they play their first game since the tragic deaths of Matt and Jacob.
The Mavericks host East Preston in the FA Vase, with a 5pm kick-off, and the game will be the club’s first since Matt and Jacob died in the Shoreham Airshow crash.
Just under 1,000 tickets were made available and the kick-off is at 5pm so anyone who played with Matt or Jacob on a Saturday or Sunday is able to attend.
Mavericks boss Nigel Geary admits it will be an emotional day and said: “It’s been hard thinking about the game, especially as Matt was always the first person I text when I sent out details for games or training.
“I don’t know how everyone will be on Sunday. When you look at where they sat in the changing room, you don’t know how you’re going to react or be on the day.
“We’ve got a minute’s applause and we know it’s going to be emotional.”
A few tickets are still available for Sunday’s game. United will be selling tickets at their Lyons Way ground tonight and tomorrow (7-10pm) and all day on Saturday. Any queries, call United vice-chairman Mark Sanderson on 07968 856183.
To donate to Jacob and Matt’s memorial donation fund online, visit www.gofundme.com/bh2pr7dm
Steyning Town will donate their share of the gate receipts from their FA Vase home match against Wick & Barnham on Saturday to Worthing United’s memorial fund.
The match at The Shooting Field kicks off at 3pm and entry is £4 for adults and £2 for juniors. A minute’s silence will be held before the match.
Steyning are using the match as an opportunity to show their support for their footballing neighbours.
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