A TEN-YEAR-OLD who dreams of becoming a professional footballer received a guard of honour after scoring the winning goal following a year long battle with cancer.

Brandon Bannister received a heroes’ return to Bowers and Pitsea Youth Football Club before the senior men’s team first home match of the season.

Originally doctors thought Brandon had a hernia after a lump was found in his groin.

However tests revealed he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The schoolboy was immediately rushed to the children’s specialist hospital Great Ormond Street in London where his chemotherapy treatments began.

Brandon was a keen footballer, playing for Bowers and Pitsea Youth Football Club where he had been the top scorer in the team. He was also selected to train with the Chelsea Development Centre.

Chairman of the youth club Colin Keeble said: “Brandon responded well to treatment and he would watch his team play via Facetime from his hospital bed, the more he began to feel better, the more vocal he became during these calls.

“In April, Brandon’s team reached the cup final and thankfully he was feeling up attending the match and was like a little Jurgen Klopp on the sidelines shouting instructions and cheering his teammates on to cup success.”

In August, he received the all clear and he returned to training the same week.

Mr Keeble added: “This young man is a real star and a true fighter and has already faced more adversity in the last year than many adults face in their lifetime.

“Brandon played in a tournament with his team at the start of September and scored four goals on the day including both goals in a 2-0 win in the final.”

The team presented him with a special award at the official unveiling of the new 3G playing surface at the Len Salmon Stadium along with West Ham legend Julian Dicks.

He said: “No-one likes to hear what’s happened to him.

“But he has come through it, which is a great thing.

“He seems a very humble little lad and, by all accounts, he is a fantastic player.

“Hopefully he keeps going and one day he will be playing in the Premier League.”