'For granddad': Leeds youngster scores last minute winner and touching celebration during emotional match

A determined Leeds youngster scored a last minute winner in an emotional grassroots match just days after his beloved granddad died - before a touching celebration in his honour.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 9:50 am

Eight-year-old Archie Birdsall lost his granddad Paul, 60, on June 25 following a long illness.

Paul used to watch Archie play for his team Wortley Juniors from the sidelines every week.

When Archie heard news of his passing, he was "devastated" and didn't want to play a planned match against Rothwell Juniors at Farnley Cricket Ground on June 27.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Archie Birdsall with his trophy and left, with granddad Paul.

However, Archie changed his mind on Sunday morning and was determined to do his granddad proud and "score a goal for him".

In an entertaining match, Archie had many chances but "was trying to hard to score", his other granddad Jason Sanderson, 54, told the YEP.

As the match was entering its last moments, Archie came off the bench with just seconds to go.

The team were awarded a penalty and despite having missed an earlier one, Archie purposefully picked up the ball and headed to the spot.

Archie Birdsall scored a last-minute penalty for Wortley Boys at the weekend, days after his Grandad Paul Birdsall, sadly passed away, to clinch the win 3-2. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe

He fired the penalty home - "nearly putting a hole in the net" - before pulling away and looking to the sky in tribute to his granddad.

Jason said there was "not a dry eye" on the touchlines - with many of Archie's family and friends in tears at the emotional scenes.

His goal secured a 3-2 win for his team and Archie was awarded the Man of the Match trophy.

Jason said his whole family were so proud of him.

Archie Birdsall

He said: "Archie went to the game and promised his dad he would get a goal for his granddad.

"He is a fiery player and really wanted to get it but it was just one of those days, he was trying a bit too hard.

"He really wanted to get the goal.

"The team were awarded a penalty in the first half but the keeper saved it and we all thought it was just not going to be.

"When he took the second penalty, his whole demeanour changed.

"He was determined, he had no fear at all.

"Archie hit it so hard there was almost a hole in the net.

"There was not a dry eye in the house.

"Everyone was in tears. I am ex military but I had tears streaming down my face too.

"It was such a big moment.

"It was meant to be."

Archie idolises Leeds United and England hero Kalvin Phillips - who also used to play for the same football team.

He was even given a shirt by the midfielder following a successful Championship promotion campaign.

Jason added: "Kalvin is his hero.

"He used to play for Wortley too so the lads have seen him around before, they all look up to him.

"When Leeds won the Championship they had t-shirts made and Kalvin gave his to Archie.

"Archie has been watching the matches at my home for the tournament, he loves watching Kalvin play.

"Football is his life.

"He has told me he will buy me a Lamborghini when he plays for Leeds United one day, as he has seen Kalvin has one."