SYACL Five-a-side action is back at last!!

Goals galore at Goals Sheffield.

After two successful 7-a-side matchdays at Concord Sports Centre, the Goals Centre in Sheffield was the venue for the eagerly-awaited restart of the 5-a-side League yesterday afternoon (18th October) writes Margaret Gregory for

It turned out to be another fantastic afternoon of football. The only thing missing was the usual crowd following all the teams, with spectators not permitted and clubs restricted to two officials. Hopefully, it will not be too long before we can welcome parents and carers back to watch the action. 

Matches were played on pitches 7 and 5 with the adjacent pitch 4 used as a secure area for each team ‘bubble’.  All the participants were temperature-checked before entering the venue – everyone was fine – and all clubs submitted full ‘track and trace’ contact details.

Photos of all the match action are across in the gallery.

The 5-a-side League comprises two Divisions this season, with five clubs in each. Each club played twice yesterday, with five ten-minutes-each-way fixtures.

In the Premier Division, the early leaders are Bradford City Fuchsia, with two wins in back-to-back clashes with Club Doncaster Titans Blue. This was a closer game than the score suggests,” admitted Bradford coach Jaimie Dorward, “but we put our chances away whereas Doncaster Titans didn’t!” The team played really well together, with lots of passing; Jemma and Anna did really well in defence; Ksenija made some great saves; Katy Greenwood scored four, Elle scored 2 and Anna one.”

Titan’s Coach John Hibbert takes up the story. “Our heads weren’t in it in the first game. We made too many mistakes; we didn’t come back when we lost the ball, and we didn’t play as a team as well as we can. We didn’t spread out, so we could try to stretch the other team or give ourselves space and time on the ball – so we lost.”

“On a positive note Ash scored on his debut and Steph scored as well,” John added, “and Nakita provided the assist for Ash’s goal.”

After a more promising start to the second game, Bradford again ran out winners in a high-scoring clash. Here’s John again. “To start with we were good, and we dominated the first-half and were winning 2-0. However, in the second-half we let our guard down; we stopped passing and started to bunch up; our communication wasn’t up to its usual standard.”

“My job – when we get back to training – is more passing drills; being stronger on the ball; giving ourselves time on the ball so we can make a pass or get a shot on goal and taking a few seconds on the ball to make the right decisions.”

Bradford coach Paul was pleased with another win.  “The team was 2-0 down and the Doncaster keeper was making some great saves, but we came back to win 5-3,” he told us. “The team played really well together and Ksenija again made some great saves and there were lots of defending to do to make sure we won the game. Katy scored another four, and Ellie got the other. Our star player was Ksenija.” 

Wisewood are close behind Bradford Fuchsia after a win and a draw on Matchday One. Derek Dooley White were Wisewood’s opponents in the opening game. Claire, the City Knights coach, was pretty happy with her team’s first outing. “This was their first match after a lockdown and back playing together again and in a Division that has been condensed from three leagues to two,“ Claire told us. “The team made a good start against Wisewood and showed good passing between players.  Shaun, our goalkeeper saved us, and we earned a good draw against a very good team.”

Wisewood ran out winners in their second game of the afternoon, this time against City Knights Red. Sharon from City Knights gave us her take on the match. “Our first match of the season was against Wisewood,” Sharon told us. “I would like to say well done to Mark, Gary and Jack on their debut match. This was a tough match and my lads did their best; Gary made some great saves, and we tried several times to score, but it just didn’t seem to work on the day! The lads gave their all and that is all I can ask.”

The other game in the Division featured Derek Dooley White and City Knights Red, and it was Knights who took the three points, leaving their coach Sharon delighted with the win. “This was more of an equal game,” she reported. “The boys pulled themselves together and went full pelt out there with a passion to win. Jack assisted Chris and he smashed it in the net; then not long afterwards Chris assisted Jack who put it in the back of the net. In the second-half Mark stayed strong at the back, and Jordan, Kieron and Marcus played well too. Gary did great in goal.”

“Well done to all the players – I’m proud of you!” said Sharon, who also had a word of thanks for referee Sean Wright. “Thank you to Sean, our referee.”

Dooley coach Claire was philosophical in defeat. “This was a good match against another good team,” she admitted. “The lads started to talk to each other, and it was another good game by our goalkeeper Shaun – but they just let in the winner at the end.”

So, after the first round of 5-a-side fixtures, the Premier Division table looks like this:  

1Bradford City Fuchsia22002026
3City Knights Red21011103
4Derek Dooley White201112-11
5Club Doncaster Titans Blue200202-20

   In the First Division, Derek Dooley Blue are setting the early pace, winning both their games.  Their first match over on Pitch 5 saw them overcome City Knights White and their coach Claire enjoyed the win. “This was a great game and end to end, where we found the luck was with us this afternoon, as it seemed to be each shot went in,” she told us, “The team worked well with a couple of new players (Jordan and Paul) added to the team and both scoring goals. The man of the match was Ryan, in goal, with some great saves. Ben scored first with a lovely shot, then City Knights managed to get one past Ryan to equalise. The team didn’t let their heads go down but kept trying with good communication from the solid defender at the back, Cody. Paul and Fallon scored a hat trick…but there’s no receiving the match ball in this League!!!” 

Knight’s coach Steve felt that his team were overpowered in the game. “It was a fair result,” he admitted. “City Knights maybe deserved more, but in the end, fitness was a big factor.”

Dooley Blue also took all three points in their second match, against Spartans. “This was another good game, end to end and some lovely passing between the players,” Claire told the website. “Paul started the game, scoring again, then Jordan set him up for the second. The Spartans got back into the game with a great hat trick from Jake taking them into the lead. Dooley started to get back to the passing and talking to each other, which saw another three goals by Jordan and Paul, the Man of the Match.” 

“Great refereeing from Brian, with lovely banter from the team,” Claire concluded.

Spartans coach Darren Sharp agreed that it had been a great game. “Our match with Derek Dooley Blue was also a cracking match, “Darren told us. “Both teams traded goals late into the second-half and despite a hat trick from Jake and terrific defending by Sam, Dooley deservedly won it. The return to competitive matches was much enjoyed by all the Spartans players.”

Spartans had earlier been involved in a thrilling draw with City Knights White. Spartans coach Darren gave us his version of events. “There was much to look forward to today for Spartans who were involved in 2 closely contested matches,” he told us. “Against City Knights White and in an end to end match, our scorers included Matt and Jacob with a stunner from Oliver (his first competitive goal).  It was a terrific display by the keeper Paul to ensured they started the new season with a draw.”

Knights coach Steve agreed. “It was a good game; I thought fitness was again an issue, but I felt City Knights battled all the way and were maybe unlucky not to come away with more.”

The Division One action had started earlier with back to back clashes between Bradford City Emeralds and Club Doncaster Titans Yellow. Emeralds – with birthday girl Gemma in great form in goal – won the 1.40 kick off, watched by Titans coaches Darren Warner and John Hibbert.  “Bradford City Emerald scored two early goals in the first five minutes,” John told us, “Doncaster Titans Yellow fought back with a goal just before half-time from Paul to make it 2 – 1 to Bradford City Emerald. The second-half started like the first-half – fast and furious – and Bradford scored again, making it 3 – 1. After some lovely football from both sides, Doncaster Titans Yellow scored again to make it 3 -2 thanks to a lovely goal from Barney. It was unforgettable!  Bradford City Emerald broke away and scored to make it 4 – 2 and that was how it finished.”

“Well played to both teams in a close game.”

Bradford’s Paul Jubb watched the action unfold. “The Emeralds played really well in the first game and won 4- 2 thanks to two goals from Alyssa, one from Simon and an own goal. The Titans got a couple of goals back, but the Emeralds were in control of the game.”  

In a quick-fire rematch, the points were shared. “After that close first game between the two clubs, we had to start again, but this time Doncaster Titans Yellows started the stronger team,” coach John told “Both teams played more lovely football and both keepers pulled some brilliant saves off to keep it at 0 – 0. After some lovely football by Doncaster Titans the first goal come to us and it was scored by Christian making it 1 – 0.”

“In the second-half there was more lovely football,” John went on. “Bradford City were looking for the equaliser and Doncaster Titans looking for the winner. But unfortunately, Bradford City got the equaliser to make it 1 – 1 which was the full-time score.  After the Bradford City goal there was a lovely piece of football by Doncaster Titans which started from Brad (keeper) who passed to Paul who passed to Christian who passed to Barney who shot it just wide of the post. I was so proud of each and every one of them.”

Bradford coach Paul agreed that this had been a much closer affair. “The second game was a different story – Titans scored almost from the kick off to take a 1-0 lead,” Paul reported. “Gemma Fletcher made a few saves. Katrina then scored to make it 1-1. We totally dominated the second-half, but we couldn’t get that all important second goal. We must have had 10/12 shots, but the game ended a frustrating 1-1. Our star player was Gemma Fletcher.”

After the five Division One 5-a-side matches, the table after Match Day One is as follows;

1Derek Dooley Blue22002026
2Bradford City Emerald21102114
3City Knights White201112-11
4Club Doncaster Titans Yellow201112-11
5Spartans FC201112-11

There was a special presentation during the afternoon to Sam Firth who is leaving his role as Disability Football Development Officer at Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA. Sam played a huge role in the development of the SYACL and will be greatly missed.

After Darren Warner had presented Sam with a commemorative plaque as a token of our gratitude, the teams also made their own presentations to our great friend.

Sam later tweeted “I’m honestly overwhelmed by this today; I really wasn’t expecting it. It’s been an honour to work with these amazing people for the best part of the last decade in different capacities.”

“Thank you for the memories to all the volunteers, players, parents & carers at the @SYorksACL

Matchday Two of the 5-a-side League takes place at Goals Sheffield on the afternoon of Sunday, 15th November. In the meantime, 7-a-side competition is back on the 8th November, again at Concord Sports Centre. will be there to report on all the action. You can also join our growing band of Twitter followers @SYorksACL.

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