Futsal off to Roses flier

Junior Roberti’s side made a sensational start to life as part of the Roses tournament, comprehensively beating their Lancaster rivals in the Tent

York Futsal firsts
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Lancaster Futsal firsts
IMAGE: James Hostford

IMAGE: James Hostford

The York men’s futsal team made a dream start in their debut Roses appearance, as they thrashed their newly-formed Lancaster rivals 9-4 on Friday. Although the clash yielded no points for the White Rose as it was the sport’s first showing at Roses, the performance from Junior Roberti’s side was a statement of intent which suggests the future is bright in this tie for York.

The futsal club has been one of the most dominant at York for the last four years, following their exploits in Europe in 2013, as well as consistently superb campaigns in their BUCS competitions, FA National Futsal League and the FA Futsal Cup in 2014. However, the event had not appeared at Roses until this year, when the Red Rose formed their own side.

This match started with the characteristic buzz of an early Roses fixture, and it was York that were the better side from the off. Set up to get at their opponents, the White Rose exuded confidence and went ahead almost immediately after kick-off. Captain, Mahiko Konishi, scored from a free-kick on the right after a sloppy foul from the Lancaster man, to hand York the lead.

With the home side on top early on, Jack Revill then demonstrated skill as he turned brilliantly in possession, but the Lancaster keeper had his shot covered. However, despite being under the cosh, the Lancastrians were fired up for the occasion, and forced York keeper Mladen Sormaz into a save at feet in the fifth minute to keep the scores level.

As the game progressed, it was Lancaster that seemed to grow in confidence, and they began to enjoy the better of the referee’s decisions after the man in the middle received criticism from the travelling support. The Red Rose equalised with a scrappy goal in the 11th minute, before Sormaz pulled off a great reflex save shortly after.

York were struggling to switch play with the fluidity for which they are known, but were certainly still in the game and went close to edging their noses in front again as a second free kick from Konishi was blocked. The large gathering of York supporters inside the Tent didn’t have to wait long for the second goal however, as it came on fifteen minutes. Alex Hill was played through brilliantly, and he duly slotted home to make it 2-1.

Two soon became three as the affair became increasingly feisty, and Adam Southern capitalised on more slack tackling to convert from a close-range free kick. However, again Lancaster refused to lie down, and struck back almost immediately after some poor White Rose defending to reduce the deficit to a single goal. Revill then had a penalty saved for the home side, but Ewen Minter restored York’s advantage with a well-worked goal to make it 4-2.

York’s fifth came within moments as Oli Toseland fired home from distance with what was the goal of the day, before Minter grabbed his second from the penalty spot to put real daylight between the two sides. The match was then effectively ended as a contest shortly before half-time, as Raphael Yu struck into the top corner after the ball was squared to him from Konishi, to make it 7-2 to York. Lancaster hit back once more with a third of their own, but it was the home side that were very much in the ascendancy at the break.

Having been thoroughly outplayed in the first period, Lancaster were determined to shut York out in the second half, and set themselves up with a more rigid, defensive system. For the opening stages after the restart, they frustrated the White Rose, closing down quickly and aggressively. However, York’s eighth goal of the day came when Toseland did well to pick up the ball on the right and finished neatly.

Yu then saw a stinging shot bounce off the inside of the post to safety, whilst at the other end, Southern made a good last-ditch tackle after his defence found themselves in trouble. Lancaster once again seemed to be growing in confidence, and Sormaz was called upon to make a string of saves from set pieces which he did comfortably. However, the visitors’ fourth came after a period of sustained pressure.

Sormaz then almost scored himself as his bullish clearance forced his Lancaster counterpart into a save, before the Red Rose hit the woodwork on a further two occasions. York had the last laugh of the day though, as David Clarkson converted Tom Broderick’s cross to make it 9-4 a matter of seconds before the final whistle was blown.

Reflecting on a successful day of indoor football which saw both the women’s firsts and seconds sides take victory as well as the men’s futsal, York manager Junior Roberti told Nouse, “I’m really happy to have three games and three wins.

“We’re really happy to participate in Roses, in the last few years we’ve been away from this event so I’m very happy that Lancaster have accepted to play us, with the men playing futsal and the girls playing the indoor football and accept the rule changes that brings.

“As I’ve said to the players, they are only going to improve, so it’s very positive. We’ve got the points, we’re winning and for us it’s great to have an experience like that.”

Speaking about the futsal fixture in particular, Roberti was particularly happy with his side’s application. “We were a bit nervous in the first half, because playing at Roses where there’s a big crowd, we’re always going to be a bit nervous at the start.

“Lancaster thought that they could win the game, but my players know how to play in different situations and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m happy. We can play different games within the game. Even when they press us and have a bit more possession, we manage to maintain control and not concede goals, so that’s great.”

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