Simply put, a day of controversy at York Futsal. The game between York and Team United Birmingham Futsal had just about everything the game could offer.
The first half was a cagey affair with both sides content to control possession and not really press the opposition. York didn’t get their first shot on target until 10 minutes when Daniel Pedras saw his drive well saved by the Birmingham keeper. A minute later saw the first controversial decision of the day. A brilliant turn from Robbie Bettson inside the penalty saw him hacked down by the defender. After much debate the referee awarded a freekick just outside the area, much to everyone’s amazement.
Two minutes later, Daniel Pedras stole the ball from the Birmingham defender, and ran through clear on the goal. The defender clipped his legs, sending him crashing to the floor, clearly a straight red, but the referee awarded only a yellow. From the resulting free kick, Martin Sowerby, saw his fierce shoot well saved.
On 14 minutes, the best move of the game saw Mychaell Da Silva back heel the ball into the feet of Jamie Bettson, only for the keeper to make another fine save. Another good York move, involving Michael Bulmer and Matt Overton, saw Daniel Pedras test the keeper from close range.
York keeper, Martin Michels, made his first save on 18 minutes when he pushed a drive round the post from the Birmingham forward.
Half-time: York Futsal 0 – Team United Birmingham Futsal 0
The second half started like the first with both teams happy to keep possession. On 24 minutes, York took the lead with a brilliant breakaway goal. York cleared a Birmingham corner and Robbie Bettson caught the Birmingham defender napping, stealing the ball, before laying it across to Matt Overton for a simple tap in.
On 28 minutes, a sloppy ball in the York defence saw the Birmingham player strive forward and finish neatly past Martin Michels.
The game turned on a moment of madness from the referee. Jamie Bettson caught the Birmingham player for a clear foul, the referee blew the whistle, the York players stopped but the ball rolled to a Birmingham player who scored passed a stationary Martin Michels. The York players set up for the freekick but to the whole crowd’s amazement the referee awarded the goal. Mayhem ensured with all the York players surrounding the referee, but he refused to change his mind, even thought he had clearly blown before the shot was taken.
Birmingham had a player sent off on 32 minutes when Robbie Bettson was blatantly body checked right in front of the referee. Playing against 4 players for the next 2 minutes, York just made several half chances but just couldn’t force the ball home.
Birmingham extended their lead on 37 minutes when another ball across the court was intercepted by the Birmingham forward, who gave Martin Michels no chance with a low finish.
With 2 minutes to go another moment of refereeing madness. The ball went out of play, clearly a York kick in, awarded by the nearest referee. But the opposite sides referee, who was unsighted overruled the decision and awarded the kick-in to Birmingham. The York players who had poured forward, saw a quickly taken kick-in from Birmingham catch them all out for Birmingham to score. More on pitch mayhem, with the York players surrounding both referees, and angry exchanges between both sets of players. After a long conversation between the referees, the goal was disallowed and the correct kick in awarded to York.
In the last minute of the game, great work from Daniel Pedras saw him beat the wide defender before firing the ball across the area for Mychaell De Silva to finish smartly. York pushed everyone forward and in the dying seconds, with the whole arena on its feet, Daniel Pedras saw his ferocious volley tipped over by the Birmingham goalkeeper.
Full-time: York Futsal 2 – Team United Birmingham Futsal 3.
In conversation afterward, when asked about the game Robbie Bettson said, ‘A feeling of frustration, I feel we played really well compared to our previous games especially at home. We played with a lot more intensity and I think we deserved to get something from the game.’
The final word is left to Head Coach Junior Roberti, who said, ‘This is my tenth season of national league and supporters booing referees’ decisions, I think that tells a lot.’
If you ever had doubts about coming to watch a futsal game, today was proof that the game is anything but boring!
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