York’s Futsallers can take away some valuable lessons from this week’s BUCS Championships in Sheffield, producing an excellent team effort and valiant performances in all their games – and very nearly turning the championships on its head in the process.
York were faced with the same challenge as last year – how to overcome two established sides and an unknown in their group. This year, it was student sport powerhouse Bath and a direct Imperial College side who stood in the way of a historic Championship berth.
York’s tournament began in the best possible manner, dominating Imperial in a 5-1 rout. With Danny York opening the scoring with under five minutes on the clock, York settled in and began to chip away at their opponents. With further goals from debutant Alex Reid, Dom Henney and a double from Alex Tringham, York ran out comfortable winners. The one-sided scoreline only told half the story, with the York defence and stopper David Ambrozejczyk in particular having to make a number of key saves in order to maintain the cushion.
With Sheffield Hallam stunning Bath 4-2 in their first group game, the second group match could have sent York through with a game to spare. In what was an excellent game of Futsal, York were made to work to almost the last kick of the game. 4-3 down with under a minute to go, York switched to using a flying goalkeeper to create pressure on Hallam and it finally told at the death. A pass to the right touchline found Ash Daly with enough space to get the shot away and find the left corner, salvaging a battling point.
A win against Hallam would have seen York progress to the Championship – instead they would face a strong Bath team, looking for a response to an unusually slow start. In a game where a draw would have sent Bath home, they ran out 6-2 winners over the White Rose, meaning York finished third and dropped into the Trophy.
An unkind draw saw York take on Marjon, a University with formidable football and futsal prowess. To York’s credit however, they had the advantage over their sport scholarship counterparts and raced into a lead after another excellent finish from Daly.
This lead was, however, to be fleeting – Marjon’s equaliser coming from a sparingly used, but equally fundamental attacking position in futsal – the goalkeeper. The stopper produced a strike of majestic quality to drag them level and another quick Marjon goal against the run of play had York playing catch-up. With the black and gold having the lion’s share of possession almost until the final whistle, all that stood between them and a comeback was a man of the match performance from the Marjon stopper.
An equaliser did finally come York’s way, again at the death of the match, with Dom Henney showing a predatory instinct to smash home a fumbled shot. Yet cruel twists seem to have plagued York this season and, much like the FA Qualifiers at the beginning of the year, it was a goal with under five seconds to go that would beat them – a quick Marjon counter saw them turn the ball home with almost no time remaining.
Despite a slightly disappointing end to their BUCS run, York can take plenty of positives from the past year in particular, almost reaching the heights in BUCS of the established first team of 2009. Whereas in 2009/2010 they lost nine first teamers to graduation, they will lose only four for 2010/2011, creating a backbone for 2010/2011,which could well be the biggest season in York Futsals twelve year history. With rumours of BUCS league finally coming to fruition and another shot at FA League Qualification in the pipeline, York will look to push the limits of what they can achieve as a team – helping lead York to the BUCS points and hopefully( whisper it quietly) be in contention for silverware they desperately crave.