ATHERTON'S UFC world champion Tom Aspinall was among a host of famous faces at an event in aid of an autism charity in St Helens.

Stars from the sports and soap worlds alike were present for a charity football match.

A select sports stars squad went head-to-head with those from among the cast of popular long-running soap opera series, Hollyoaks, at FC St Helens’ home on Wednesday evening, May 8.

The charity match, organised for Autism Beaudon, a foundation that specialises in numerous non-prejudicial playgroups, as well as providing support groups for families that have children with autism was a roaring success, helping spread awareness and raise money.

Amongst the Sports Stars line-up was Dave Sargent organiser of the event, who previously played for Ashton Town. He had the proud accolade of captaining the side, having arranged the event for the cause close to his heart with his youngest child being on the autism spectrum.

Ex-Leigh rugby league player Mickey Higham was among those in the sports stars line-up.

Also, former Wigan Warriors captain and rugby league international Sean O'Loughlin took to the pitch.

Leigh Journal: Sean O'Loughlin at the start of the gameSean O'Loughlin at the start of the game (Image: Mark Gambles)

Meanwhile, UFC world champion Tom Aspinall, from Atherton, was also among the recognisable faces who were present at the event. 

Meanwhile, former Republic of Ireland international Anthony Pilkington was one of the players who stole the show, combining with former Wigan Athletic team-mate Gary Roberts to open the scoring inside five minutes.

That raised the roof and with 510 supporters out in attendance, there was a party atmosphere.

Leigh Journal: Hollyoaks' Nick Pickard pitchside Hollyoaks' Nick Pickard pitchside (Image: Mark Gambles)

However, Charlie Behane’s sublime solo run was concluded by an equally impressive finish that put the cat amongst the pigeons and, with that, the Hollyoaks team on level terms.

It wouldn’t be long until the Sports Stars restored their lead, with Pilkington being on hand for the simplest finish.

As the professional athletes looked to emphasise their superiority, they were pegged back once again - when Ashley Taylor Dawson showed composure to beat John Filan, making the scoreline 2-2 after just 15 minutes.

With the Sports Stars having led again via Luke Joyce’s tap-in, their quality shone through after the break.

Leigh Journal: Ex-professional Gary Roberts in actionEx-professional Gary Roberts in action (Image: Mark Gambles)

Pilkington grabbed the match ball, somehow breaking the Hollyoaks offside trap - before Roberts rounded off a five-star performance, with what was a lovely finish.

With that, there were heroes aplenty on the pitch - but those in the vicinity also did themselves, as well as Autism Beaudon, proud.

Match report courtesy of Liam McDermott. Photographs by Mark Gambles