Blackburn FC powered their way to the 2023 Star Tissue UK Football Championships.

It was only the second time in 17 years that a Blackburn side had triumphed in the tournament which had been dominated by Greater Manchester and Yorkshire sides in the past decade.

But it was heartbreak for Prestwich Marauders who lost out in the final the second year running despite coming through a tough victory against one of the pre-tournament favourites AFC Preston in the semi-finals.

The tournament was played over three weeks with eight sides from across the north of England taking part.

The Sunday final saw both teams go head in front of an expectant crowd cheering on both sides at Witton Park 3g pitches.

Prestwich have been, alongside Route One Rovers and Crompton Academy the most entertaining sides in recent years.

During their earlier two games they had began strongly and both times they had gone on to secure the win.  In the final though it was a different story, and it was Blackburn who were on the first foot straight away.

In Poole, Almond and Adams they had players who were already causing Prestwich big problems from the outset.  The first goal though was a bit of a fluke. 

A corner by captain Ayub floated its way into the back of the net to put Blackburn on the front foot.

Almond who was a handful in those opening sparring sessions should have been at least booked for literally pulling shirt off a defender’s back.

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Prestwich pressed early as they had done in previous gameas but failed to make that early breakthrough.

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Poole celebrates his second athe side's third goal

Prestwich did threaten as the first half wore on the normally lethal front three, led by the talented Jerome who had terrorised in the first two games appeared to have come up against a resolute four commanded by Latif, Owais, Inamul and Khan.

If the first goal was a tad lucky the second was pure genius as Poole found the ball in the Prestwich half and picked the one spot the keeper couldn’t get it.

On thirty minutes Mobeen Latif who had played several positions in the tournament went down with a dislocated shoulder going up for a brave clearance from a corner.

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The game was delayed and on resumption Prestwich pushed to get one back but found themselves again thwarted by some powerful challenges, from among others Ayub.

The captain had flown in from Barcelona and a holiday just to play the game and then we hear flew back on the same night.  He seemed to inspire his side to every block and tackle.

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Blackburn FC lift the trophy which was presented by Star Tissue UK Director Abid Ditta. The goalkeeper award went to Sameer Jamal and the player awad went to Curtis Poole.

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The third goal put the same to bed and it was that man Poole again who floated an exquisite free-kick into the top corner.

Prestwich did get one back, through the hard-working Moses, which lifted their supporters and for a moment they did look like they may launch one of their famous comebacks. But it was not to be.

Blackburn who in the semi-finals held off a valiant Bradford United fightback were not to be outdone on their home turf.

Blackburn later threw on Azeem Hafeji who alongside brother Kalim was the last member of the 2015 Blackburn side who won the cup.

Prestwich have reached two finals having only played in the last three tournaments. They have been entertaining and fluid throughout but in this final appeared to be one game too far.

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Blackburn FC players and fans celebrate at the final whistle

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The luck hasn’t always gone for Blackburn sides but here they didn’t need any as they held on to clinch the trophy for only the second time in 17 years.

Following the presentation the side celebrated with their still stricken midfielder who was being treated close by following his injury.

Mohbeen was eventually taken by away by ambulance which had arrived an hour later and as the game had come to a conclusion.

ALSO SEE: Team celebrates as ‘hero’ player is treated by paramedics