The University of York’s men’s futsal club has made it through to the semi-finals of the futsal FA Cup which will be played in London, qualifying in second place of the quarter-final mini-league after a comfortable 6-4 against the Baltic Alliance on Sunday.
York’s opponents are based in Leicester, but refer to themselves as the Baltic Alliance as they are made up of entirely Eastern European players. The match started in a characteristically high-paced manner, with the Alliance looking dangerous down the left but with the Black & Gold also looking threatening.
The first goal came after York had a good spell of possession and playing brilliant futsal; the ball fell for man-of-the-match Rob Hiza, who scored a great goal in off the post.
This seemed to set York up nicely, but Jonny Sim also had to pull off a handful of good saves. The away side managed to grab an equaliser out of nowhere, with their keeper sending a powerful shot from far out into Sim’s net.
The Alliance then took the lead against the run of play with a scrappy shot which found its way past the York defence. Nevertheless, the home side responded brightly and Alex Tringham’s good cross was bundled in by Shin Murata to equalise on the stroke of half time.
In the second period, York started brightly and Tringham had a powerful shot well saved by the keeper. The away side had no substitutes, and York took full advantage of this to tire their opponents out. After some excellent build-up play, Alli Arnarson broke and squared the ball to the onrushing Tringham, who slotted home to make it 3-2.
Hiza was running the show at the back, and York looked comfortable in possession and most likely to score next. Indeed, just moments later, Maurizio Polverini and James Briars tested the keeper, who was wearing no gloves, with stinging shots, before Briars slotted home into an empty net with the keeper stranded in no man’s land.
Sim then almost got in on the action, but his goal kick rattled the crossbar of his opposite number and went out for a goal kick at the other end. A nice team move soon resulted in York extending their lead, as Polverini passed the ball to Mark Howarth, who found the net.
The Baltic Alliance pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining after a scrappy ball found its way past Sim at the back post, but York restored their advantage almost immediately as Damian Miranda’s threaded ball was slotted home by Hiza.
Alliance got the last laugh in the closing moments as a ball fizzed across the area and was bundled over the line, but it was not enough and York made it through to the semi-finals from a game which, in reality, they never looked like losing.
After the match, delighted York manager Junior Roberti told Nouse, “There was some really hard work in the quarter-final league, but these boys showed that they can do it against the best teams in the country.
“We’ve played different games with different situations, including today against a good side. We worked hard, got the three points and we’re going to travel to London to play the semi-finals now.”