FUNDRAISING footballers have hit the back of the net to raise more than £1,000 for charity.

Haddington Town FC took time out over the festive period for a special friendly in aid of Back Onside.

Former Hibernian and Scotland striker Garry O’Connor, who is an ambassador of the good cause, refereed the match, which saw members of the amateur team’s squad come up against one another on January 5.

Matt O’Connell, chairman of the club, which was formed last year, said they were determined to help support the charity, which helps young people and adults who face mental health challenges.

He said: “We’re a club that was founded on the idea of bringing local guys together into a positive social and active environment.

“It’s well documented that the highest proportion of suicide across Scotland is men aged 18-35 and that’s something we hope to positively redress in our town by facilitating a great environment in which local guys can improve not only their physical but also their mental health.

“Our connection with the charity Back Onside was really born of their slogan, #SupportThroughSport, a powerful statement that really resonated with us.

“They’re a great charity who are doing a hell of a lot across the UK and so for us, a small amateur club barely nine months old, to play a small part in helping a charity who share our ethos was immensely rewarding.”

Haddington Town play on Sunday mornings in Division Two of the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur Football Association (LEAFA), alongside fellow county side Meadowmill.

The charity match, played at Knox Academy, finished 4-1 in favour of the ‘away’ Haddington Town team.

Libby Emmerson, founder and CEO of Back Onside, said: “We are beyond grateful for the support received from Haddington Town Amateur Football Club and guest referee Garry O’Connor.

“As a small charity with a huge clientele, community events such as the Haddington Town AFC charity match are key to raising funds and awareness so that we can continue to support those facing mental health challenges.”

Mr O’Connell thanked everyone for their support, with the match raising £1,151 – more than double the target.

He said: “Huge thanks to Libby Emmerson, FES FM and Garry O’Connor. We would also like to thank the local businesses who helped us: The Green, The Grain, Tyneside Tavern and Print Factory Scotland.”