“A good, enjoyable afternoon…”

First, let me point you to the new Gallery page we have added. We had so many action shots from the games, rather than leave any out, we have grouped them into little slideshows.

Another superb display of SYACL 7-a-side football.

Matchday Two [Sunday 11th October 2020] of the South Yorkshire Ability Counts League 7-a-side competition was every bit as competitive and exciting as Matchday One, featuring 18 thrilling fixtures on a cold but dry afternoon at Concord Sports Centre in Sheffield, writes Margaret Gregory for the SYACL website. It was, as SYACL Referee Co-Ordinator Sean Wright put it, “a good, enjoyable afternoon of reffing.”

All of the squads complied with the League’s Covid-19 protocols, submitting contact details, and passing a temperature check on arrival at the playing area. The players got straight into action at 1.30 on the three pitches; a busy fixture programme made prompt kick-offs essential, but Sean and his fellow referees Tim and David kept the action flowing throughout the afternoon.

In the Premiership, City Knights Black lead the way with a three-point advantage over Sheffield Black. Knights won both of their back-to-back clashes with Derek Dooley Sheffield United Kicks (Red).

Claire from Derek Dooley takes up the story. “The Red team had two matches against their arch rivals City Knights giving the team a lot of work, with no substitutes. There was good linking up between Brad, Rhys, and Elliott but the shot went wide, while strong defender Jack had a run and broke the deadlock at 6 minutes. Heads were up; City Knights had lots of shots, but fine saves by Dom and great defending by Jack and Adam kept them out until just before half time when Knights made it 1-1.”

“The second-half saw a cruel deflection, taking the ball into the net,” Claire told us. “We were behind; but credit to the team they kept going to the end, having some shots, but defending more often.”

The quick turnaround worked against Derek Dooley Red, as Claire explains. “The second game started straight away, and the team were tired and unfortunately, let a goal in. Dom saved a penalty but couldn’t get to the rebound before it went in; the lads heads went down, and they started to tire. The second half saw a change to the goalkeepers as Rhys had pulled his thigh and could not run enough; so, Dom showed his skill at running down the pitch, but no more goals came. We saw some really solid defending by Jack, Adam and Nick.”

Doncaster Titans White started their afternoon with a ‘home’ defeat to Sheffield FC Black.

“We started the match off well with a great cross from Danny Grubb to set up Liam Taylor for his first goal of the season,” Titans’ Darren Warner reported. “Sheffield FC Black didn’t give up though and were quick to equalise. This then caused us to make some rash decisions going forward which ultimately cost us a couple of goals; Sheffield FC Black went in to half-time with a 3-1 lead. We made a few changes at half-time and started to get a foothold back in the game with a goal from Asten Quinton who was unselfishly set up by Dan ‘Pharos’ Davis, but this was to be the final action of the game.”

Titans White turned things round in their second game, this time with Sheffield Red. 

“We started this match a little sluggishly and invited Sheffield FC Red to attack us, which cost us the first goal and Sheffield taking advantage with their pressure,” Darren admitted. “It took an injury and a few second-half substitutes to change the game in our favour. We controlled the play in the second-half and this pressure then went on to pay off with two goals from Asten who was superbly set up by some good football and forward thinking from Chris Flanaghan and from Archie Brook – who went on a good run, taking on a couple of challenges to fire home his first ever Titans goal to win us the game 3-1.”

City Knights stay ahead of the pack with those two wins in their back-to-back matches with Derek Dooley Sheffield United Red, and in the battle of the Sheffield clubs, it was Sheffield Black who took the honours with a win in one of the last games of the afternoon.

After the two matchdays, the Premiership standings are as follows:    

1City Knights Black431041310
2Sheffield Black42113217
3Club Doncaster Titans White41213305
4D. Dooley Sheffield United Kicks402224-22
5Sheffield Red402224-22

In the Championship, it is a tight race between Aston Swallownest Red and Bradford City Amber who met twice on Sunday, both teams taking one win each. A win and a draw for Bradford City Amber, therefore, as coach Paul reports. “It was another great day at the Concord Centre in Sheffield.”

Paul told www.southyorkshireabilitycounts.com. “The Ambers won their first game against Aston Swallownest Red, but lost the return fixture. It was already a top of the table clash, and the Ambers, with only 7 players had a hard game against a physical Aston team. It was a really close match, but George Dubej was the hero with a late winner!”

“The second game was a different story,” Paul explained. “Aston Swallownest made the most of the extra players available and won, with Rhys Shields scoring a consolation goal for the Ambers. John Bigmore in goal was the player of the day.”

For Derek Dooley Orange, a draw with Wheatley Wanderers was followed by a win over Brunsmeer Awareness. Dooley Orange Coach Carol reflected on both games, “the Orange team started against Wheatley with a new player Josh S and a few different players. Resident goalkeeper Nathan was back and he made some outstanding saves. The team were much better in communicating with each other and it was a good even match. Good work between Aiden and Josh R resulted in a good goal.  At half-time we were winning 1-0, but Wheatley started the stronger in the second-half and scored the equaliser. The game was end-to-end and Wheatley took the lead. With two minutes to go, Josh R had a shot saved and Brad was there to put it in, so the match ended in 2-2 draw. It was a good game.”

Wheatley’s Chris Pow agreed. “It was a cracking game against a team we’ve played against loads of times,” Chris told us. “We went behind, then took a well-deserved lead until near the end, but conceded late on. Good fun.”

Derek Dooley Orange were quickly back in action, this time against Brunsmeer. “There wasn’t much time to rest before the second game against Brunsmeer,” Carol told us. “Orange started strongly again, and Stephen had a shot saved – even with a broken boot! This was another even match, and just before half-time there was good work between the two Josh’s who passed to each other, going down the pitch and Josh R scored. In the second-half, we showed more lovely passing between the players and there was a great save by Nathan to save the win.”

Elsewhere, there was an excellent first win for Brunsmeer Awareness in their other match with Wheatley Wanderers. Wheatley’s Chris Pow felt his players tired in the second half of the game but gave credit to Brunsmeer. “We held off Brunsmeer until half-time but our small squad was at a big disadvantage,” Chris told www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com  “We had no substitutes today and ended up losing against a talented team.”

The Championship table looks like this after two match days:

1Aston Swallownest Red43013129
2Bradford City Amber43013129
3Derek Dooley Orange41213305
4Brunsmeer Awareness411223-14
5Wheatley Wanderers401314-31

In Division One, it was a busy afternoon with the six sides involved in eight games. When the dust had settled, Bradford City Blue enjoyed a six-point advantage at the top of the table after two wins. Here’s Paul, the Bradford coach to give his take on the two games. “In the first game, the Blues won 3-0 against Doncaster Titans,” Paul explained. “There was some really good football from the Blues, with all the goals coming in the first-half. Although the Blues played well in the second-half, they couldn’t beat their ‘keeper. The player of the game was Bradley Toll, and the goals came from Ethan McLaren, Luke Baxter and Dale Smith.”

Darren, from Doncaster Titans Red, gave the other side of the argument. “Not the start we wanted,” Darren admitted. “We got an early shot off that brought a brilliant save from Brad in the Bradford goal. Bradford broke and penalised us on the counter-attack to score the game’s first goal. We were chasing the damage from that point, but to no avail. It wasn’t to be our day.”

“Bradford played some excellent football and got us on the counter attack every time with some beautiful two/three touch football,” Darren told us. “The game ended 3-0 but, we finished the game strongly.”

In the back-to-back re-run, it was Bradford City Blues who again took the points. “Again, the Blues played some really good football,” Paul told the Website. “The players passed the ball really well which resulted in the goals being scored from open play. The player of the game goes to Ethan, and the goals came from Tim Fawthrop (2), Dale Smith and Luke Baxter.

Darren felt that his Titans Red team put in an excellent performance in that second game. “After a great start we were really unlucky once again against Bradford City Blue,” he said. “Daniel Fitzpatrick scored a brilliant goal.”

Bradford City Claret played out two hard-fought draws with Sheffield FC White, as Paul explains.  “Despite only having 7 players on the day, the Clarets took the lead through a well worked goal, with Eddie Ratcliffe crossing in for Ben Robinson to score, only for Sheffield FC to quickly equalise to make it 1-1 at half-time. We again took the lead in the second-half through a similar goal, this time from Andro Malivuk, who scored after a cross from Tyler. Then – with the last kick of the game – Andro Malivuk unfortunately scored an own goal to make it 2- 2.”

“The second game was similar,” Paul told us. “A cross from Eddie Ratcliffe and again Ben was in the right place for Clarets to take a 1-0 lead. With Clarets looking like they were going to win their first game of the season, a mix up from Steven Jowett, passing the ball to the other team, meant the game finished 1-1. Our star player on the day was captain Tyler Halstead.”

“Well done to all the teams,” Paul summarised. “The Blues have a 100% record so far.”

Elsewhere in Division One, Aston Swallownest Blue traded 1-0 wins with City Knights Blue, and Titans Red shared the points in a draw with Sheffield FC White. “It was a brilliant well-balanced game,” Darren told us. “Both teams played some lovely football – but neither team could convert their chances.” City Knights Blue shared a stalemate with Sheffield White.

The Division One table is as follows:

1Bradford City Blue440040412
2City Knights Blue51313306
3Club Doncaster Titans Red512223-15
4Sheffield White40402204
5Bradford City Claret403134-13
6Aston Swallownest Blue410313-23

The 7-a-side teams will be back in action on Sunday, 8th November, again at Concord Sports Centre. Next week, assuming there is no change to current Public Health restrictions, it will be the turn of the 5-a-side teams to get back into League action at the Goals Centre in Sheffield.

In the meantime, www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com would like to thank our guest reporters Claire, Paul and Darren.

Check the Website for the latest features on the League and the latest news on the 5-a-side restart.

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