Thrills galore at sunny Concord as SYACL sees 7-a-side return to League action

As so many photos were taken on the afternoon they are on the previous post entitled: – 7-a-side action is underway again in SYACL.

This narrative is all the action as reported by team managers/coaches/SYACL correspondent.

It was a thrilling return to competitive action for the seven-a -side Divisions of the South Yorkshire Ability Counts League at Concord Sports Centre in Sheffield yesterday, write Margaret Gregory and Colin Muncie for

There were goals, thrills, great saves and crunching tackles on all three pitches as the players got back to business for the first time since the start of the year.

Every team – players and officials alike – complied fully with the comprehensive protocols put in place by the SYACL ahead of the matches. Every player had a temperature check on arrival; track and trace contact information were provided by all the clubs; and a one-way system had been introduced to minimise occasions where social distancing was not practicable away from the field of play. The procedures worked well during the afternoon; the only missing ingredient was spectators, and we all hope to see families, carers, and friends back at pitch side when it is safe for them to return.

The action started just before 1.30 pm and finished just before 5.00 pm on what turned out to be a sunny – if cold – Sunday afternoon.

In the Premier Division, the early leaders are City Knights Black with a win and a draw in two tough battles with Sheffield FC Black. Sheffield’s Scott Gregory told the website that these were “two closely fought and competitive Premier League games between Sheffield FC Black and City Knights, which resulted in a share of the points in the first game, and Knights winning by the only goal in the second game. It was great to be back playing again, with both games played in good spirit. For Sheffield FC, Carl Rennie and James Steers were on the scoresheet.”

Hot on the heels of City Knights are Club Doncaster Titans White with two draws on matchday one and Titan’s Darren Warner takes up the story. “In our White team’s first game, we started off sluggishly with Derek Dooley Sheffield United Kicks leading the tempo. We were caught out a couple of times through fast powerful breaks. It took a couple of substitutions to steady the ship, which then gave us the momentum, scoring our first from a lovely cross from Richard for Azza to head over the ‘keeper and into the net. This then spurred us on and with some beautiful passing Danny got the chance to slot it past the keeper to equalise 2-2.” 

“In our White team’s second game against Sheffield FC Red, we started well in what was a close game for both teams.” Darren continued, “we took the lead half-way through the 1st half when Azza capitalised on the keeper blocking a shot and it dropping to Azza’s feet for him to slot it past the keeper. Sheffield FC Red didn’t give up though and put us under a lot of pressure; which eventually paid off as they equalised from a lovely long distance shot firing past our keeper to end the game level at 1-1.”

Sheffield Red and Derek Dooley Academy Sheffield United Kicks are also on the two-point mark. In addition to their draw with Club Doncaster Titans White, Kicks also shared the points with Sheffield Red. Sheffield Black have that single point from two clashes with the League leaders.

Premier Standings after Matchday One are: –

1City Knights Black21102114
2Club Doncaster Titans White20202202
3D.Dooley Academy Sheffield United Kicks20202202
4Sheffield Red20202202
5Sheffield Black201112-11

In the Championship, it’s Aston Swallownest Red and Bradford City Amber who share the early advantage as both sides won both their games.

Bradford won both encounters with Wheatley Wanderers, who had such a successful season in League One last term. Wheatley’s Chris Pow summed up both games for the SYACL Website. 

“Having gained promotion last season, we came up against a very good team today,” Chris told us. “We had a disastrous start, with a few of our players unable to play, but showed signs of improvement in the second half of our first game against Bradford City Amber.” 

“In the second game, we started off vastly improved, and led the game twice. Frazer scored both goals, but we conceded a late goal and were unlucky to come away without a point.”

Bradford’s Paul Jubb gave us the Bradford perspective on a successful afternoon.  “Today saw the start of the South Yorkshire Ability Counts 7 a side Championship League,” Paul told us. “The Ambers – who have dropped down a league to the Championship – won their first game against Wheatley Wanderers despite playing with 5 men most of the game!

“In the return fixture the Ambers started with 5 players, but Wheatley Wanderers took a 2-1 lead, so we had to bring on the 2 other players and managed to win 3 – 2 in a closer game.” Paul continued, “Jordan Pounder was the Man of the Day scoring in both games, and George Rhys, Henry Waudby and James Williams also hit the target.”

Aston Swallownest Red delighted coaching staff James Scally and Nathan Fox with a six-point haul from two wins against Brunsmeer Awareness and Derek Dooley Orange, and they share the early lead in the table.

Brunsmeer Awareness and Derek Dooley Orange shared the points after a 1-1 draw, so both sides finished the day on one point each.

Championship Standings after Matchday One as follows: –

1Aston Swallownest Red22002026
2Bradford City Amber22002026
3Brunsmeer Awareness201112-11
4Derek Dooley Orange201112-11
5Wheatley Wanderers200202-20

In Division One, which is made up of six clubs, Bradford City Blue lead the way after two wins.

“The Blues who have dropped down a league to League 1 won their 1st game 3-1 against Aston Swallownest Blue,” Bradford’s Paul Jubb told us. He continued, “Ethan McLaren and Dale Smith [with two] scored the goals – they were spectacular ones too!”

“In the return fixture the Blues went down 1-0 due to some bad marking up in defence, but in the 2nd half a goal from Luke Baxter and two more screamers from the Blues, Man of the Day, Dale Smith sealed another 3 1 win!”

“A big thank you to Mark who plays for the Diamonds and helped out the team after three players dropped out!” Paul added.

In hot pursuit are Club Doncaster Titans Red after they started their season with a win and a draw on Matchday One.  “It was a great start for our Red team getting off to a 2-0 win over new boys Bradford City Clarets,” Doncaster’s Daren Warner told the website. “The first goal coming from a Bradford City goalkeeping slip, providing our striker a with a golden opportunity to put us 1-0 up. Bradford were chasing the game then and it gave us the opportunity to score our second.” 

“I didn’t see their second match as I was watching our White team,” Darren explained, “but I understand it was a great close game ending in a 1-1 draw with City Knights Blue.”

Here’s Bradford’s Paul Jubb on the first seven-a-side matchday for his Claret side, “The Clarets – who have moved up from the 5- a- side Premiership Division lost their first game 2-0 against Doncaster Titans Reds. The lack of playing together as a team made it hard.”

“In the next fixture against City Knights they again went down 2-0 almost immediately,” Paul told the Website, “but this time – by sticking together as a team and not letting their heads drop – they came back to draw the game 3-3 with goals from Stuart Thirkill, Eddie Ratcliffe and Tyler Halstead who was Man of the Day.”

“A big thank you to Lou Rushworth and Katy Greenwood for managing the team!” Paul added.

Two draws for City Knights Blue sees them on two points in the table, above Bradford City Claret on one point. Aston Swallownest Blue and Sheffield FC White will be anxious to get off the mark on Matchday 2.  

Division One standings after Matchday One as follows: –

1Bradford City Blue22002026
2Club Doncaster Titans Red21102114
3City Knights Blue20202202
4Bradford City DFC Claret201112-11
5Sheffield White00000000
6Aston Swallownest Blue200202-20

A word of thanks to our brilliant referees – Sean Wright, Gary Barlow, and Jack Duke on a successful restart for the SYACL.

Next up, it’s the turn of the 5-a-side clubs to get back to playing action. Stay tuned to www.southyorkshireabilitycounts for the latest news, features, and reports. 

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