Wrexham v Sheffield: Paul Mullin wears ear defenders alongside mascot for autism awareness
While Wrexham's FA cup clash with Championship giants Sheffield United ended in a thrilling 6-goal tie yesterday, it was striker Paul Mullin's gesture before kick-off that earned him widespread praise.
Seven-year-old Harry Evans, who has autism, was chosen to be a mascot with his younger brother Tomos.
Dave Evans, Harry's dad, told ITV Wales his son has always wanted to be a mascot and was "so excited" when he was selected.
Mr Evans said, "I was trying to get tickets myself to go, and I had an email from Wrexham a week before the match saying they’ve both been selected as mascots."
"I told the organiser and explained that Harry has slight autism, I asked them if it was ok to wear ear defenders, and they said it was absolutely fine."
The top goalscorer was widely praised when he was seen to step out onto the field wearing the defenders to help make Harry "feel comfortable" and raise awareness of autism.
"I didn’t know Paul would wear them too. It was really, really nice", Mr Evans added.
"They can’t tell you until the day which player they would be with, but we had a feeling Harry might have been with Paul because of what he announced last week."
The sweet moment comes after Mullin's son Albi was diagnosed with autism.
Mullin had also dedicated the pair of boots he wore for the game to his son, sharing a photo on Twitter of the shoes emblazoned with his name.
He said, "Albi being autistic doesn’t mean nothing he’s a happy and healthy boy no different to anyone else! Just a few hurdles in his way that am sure he will clear!"
Mr Evans added that having the opportunity to escort Mullins onto the pitch had "made Harry's day".
Mr Evans said he thinks autism is "not talked about enough" and is glad the Wrexham striker is helping bring more awareness to the condition.
The heartwarming gesture also earned praise from Wrexham co-owner and Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds calling him "Super Paul Mullin".
One fan described the club as one that "really cares". "Being able to move between a special seating area and the sensory room means my boy Gabriel and his brothers can come to football. Something I never thought we'd be able to do. What a club", his tweet said. Another described him as "super player super dad".
Sheffield United may have been 71 places ahead of non-league side Wrexham, but the dramatic FA Cup Fourth Round clash ended in a 3-3 draw.
Mullin, one of the FA Cup's top scorers this year, netted Wrexham's third goal of the game.
Wrexham now have to play Sheffield United again to try and secure their hopes of making it through to the next round of the tournament.