SYACL 7-a-side action restarts at Concord Sheffield.

After a gap of over 5 months, Concord Leisure Centre saw the resumption of competitive action in the South Yorkshire Ability Counts League, with over 4 hours of 7-a-side competition across the three artificial pitches on Sunday 11th April afternoon. It was as if the teams had never been away, and if the players were lacking any match sharpness, they hid it well, with 17 high-calibre matches played in terrific spirit and in a variety of weather conditions, including the occasional snow flurry, write Margaret Gregory and Colin Muncie for

The well-established Covid-19 protocols operated throughout the afternoon, with every player given a temperature check and a healthy dose of hand sanitiser on admission to the venue. Attendance was recorded in line with track and trace requirements, and the matches were expertly handled by Sean Wright and his referee colleagues.

Before the matches got under way, there was a minute’s applause as a mark of respect for the late Duke of Edinburgh.

Premier Division action saw City Knights Black extend their advantage at the top of the table to 5 points over Sheffield Black, with Sheffield Red in third. And Club Doncaster Titans (White) in fourth.

However, despite two battling performances, Derek Dooley Sheffield Kicks left Concord empty-handed after two defeats. Dooley coach Claire Cowlishaw takes up the story for

“In our first game against Sheffield Red, the team came up against a good side, but Lewis got injured and went off to hospital, and this knocked the lads’ confidence” Claire explained. [After a bit of a wait at A&E Lewis had no broken bones just a very swollen sternoclavicular (which is the front of his shoulder) they said he has got to rest it.]”

Claire continued, “we saw some great defending from Jack and Adam and some good saves by Dom. The game had some lovely passing and Elliott scored to boost his confidence to get a goal back for the lads but the second goal just didn’t come, despite some good runs up the length of pitch by Brad. The lads did well to say they have had a long time away from football through lockdown. I think all were pleased to get back to playing football even if it wasn’t a winning one.” 

“In our second game versus Sheffield Black, the Lads changed keeper and Nick went in showing some good saves but was not able to stop some super shots,” Claire told us. “Elliott and Brad had some great shots. In the second half Jack had a great run and scored a consolation goal.”

With one week of the League competition left, the Premiership table looks like this;

1City Knights Black651061516
2Sheffield Black632153211
3Sheffield Red613245-16
4Club Doncaster Titans White612335-25
5D. Dooley Sheffield United Kicks602426-42

Into The Championship.

It couldn’t be closer with Aston Swallownest Red and Bradford City Amber locked together on 15 points each and with identical goal differences.

Aston Red enjoyed two wins over Wheatley and Derek Dooley Orange. Wheatley Manager Chris Pow describes that first game. “Special mentions to Tony who turned 60 this year, and our man of the match Kieran in goal for putting in great shifts,” Chris told us, “Aston were always 2 or 3 yards in front though, and beat us comfortably. We enjoy playing against this level, and we are enjoying our time in the Championship.”

Claire Cowlishaw looks back on Derek Dooley Orange’s loss to Aston. “All the players were eager to get back to playing football,” Claire told www.southyorkshireabilitycounts “This was a hard match to start with, playing top of the league. The players put in a valiant effort but were beaten by the better team.”

Bradford City Amber (pictured) had back to back wins over a plucky Brunsmeer Awareness side. Coach Stefan Dubej was delighted with his afternoon’s work.“ Well done to the Ambers today,” Stefan told us.

 “Despite only having 6 players we won both games to keep in the running for the League title. In Game 1 we went into an early 3-0 lead, then in the second half let one in to take the score to 3-1. That’s the way it stayed until the final whistle. Our scorers were Mackenzie, Jordan and George.”

“In the second game I think they thought we were still playing the first game,” Stefan added. “We let one in and at half time were 1-0 down.” 

After an inspired team talk at half time by the coach we scored 3 goals in as many minutes to seal another victory, with our scorers George with 2 and Mackenzie.”

“Our Player of the Day was John Bigmore for all his amazing saves.”

Brunsmeer star Richard Brown gave us his side’s version of events. “It was a weak start from Brunsmeer as Bradford make it 1-0 in the first few minutes; then a couple of minutes later a goalkeeping mistake from Brunsmeer goalkeeper made it 2-0 to Bradford. A third followed shortly before half time.”

“A much more spirited performance from Brunsmeer in the second made the final score 3-1 to Bradford,” Richard added.

“In game 2, it was a much stronger starting performance from Brunsmeer and in the first few minutes Brunsmeer took the lead and into half time at 1-0,” Richard explained. “Bradford started the second half brightly and got the equaliser a few minutes after the restart; they quickly made it 2-1 and then a 3rd followed shortly after, to make the final score Bradford 3-1 Brunsmeer.”

 In the final game of the day, there was a crucial victory for Derek Dooley Orange in a hard fought contest with Wheatley Wanderers. Here’s Claire from Dooley; “This was a more even match and lovely football played with lots of passing between the players. We applied lots of pressure and Stephen broke the deadlock to give the Orange team their second win of the season.”

Wheatley Manager Chris Pow agreed that it had been a close battle with little between the sides. “An early injury and a small squad held us back today, but we put a good game in against old rivals Dooley’s,” Chris said. ”They scored a well-engineered goal, but we had a few good chances ourselves.”

With just one week of League action left, it’s all to play for in the Championship. The table looks like this:

1Aston Swallownest Red650151415
2Bradford City Amber650151415
3Derek Dooley Orange62224408
4Brunsmeer Awareness611425-34
5Wheatley Wanderers601516-51

Congratulations to Bradford City Blue, (pictured below} who have clinched the Division One title with a week to spare. Coach Danny Johnson was absolutely delighted.

“League 1 Champions 20/21!! Well done to the Blues who won both their games today to clinch the League title for the 2nd time in 3 years!” said Danny.

“In Game One, between Bradford City Blues and Sheffield Whites, the first half ended 0-0 with both teams playing well to keep the score that way. Then the second half kicked off and Bradford managed to score the first goal with a good run through the middle from Ethan to pass it to Luke who slotted it home. Bradford scored again with a quick kick in from Luke who passed it to Dale who scored.”

“Then the third goal went in, marked with a bit of confusion whether the ball went over the line for a goal kick or not, but with the ref not blowing his whistle Bradford managed to squeeze it through the defence and a little touch from Tim took it past the keeper; 3-0 was the result of that game. In Game 2, between Bradford City Blues and Sheffield Whites again the first half finished 0-0,” Danny told “Neither team could find a way through to get that first goal, with very good play from both keepers.”

“The second half kicked off, but still no team could get the ball between the goal posts,” Danny went on, “then out of nowhere Luke played a great pass from the edge of the pitch to Dale at the other side, who controlled it well, and with a great strike of the ball scored. The game ended 1-0 to Bradford.”

“Player of the day was Ethan“ said Danny. “He was outstanding today; well done to all the players and teams today it was a really good day.”

It was a tough day for the other Bradford team in Division One, Bradford City Claret (below), who suffered two narrow defeats.

 Coach Paul Jubb admitted that it had been a frustrating afternoon. “It was a bad day for the Clarets today!“ Paul told us. “We lost 4-0 then 3-0 to Aston Swallownest Blue. The Clarets started off with 3 players missing, from beating the Blues in their last game. Mark and Simon came to help out on the day but 7-a-side is a step too far for them to compete in.”

“In the first game it seemed that every time Aston Swallownest had a shot, it went in; and they deservedly won 4-0” Paul told us. “In the second fixture I felt we were the better team and should have been 3-0 up, but we didn’t put our chances away. Again Aston Swallownest scored with every attack, to complete a frustrating day.” 

Paul did enjoy one particular moment from the afternoon. “The highlight of the day for me was Aston Swallownest’s player/manager James Scally’s Ronaldo free kick & celebration,“ Paul admitted. “ I loved it!”  Unfortunately there is no picture of that!!!

So with one League match day left, the title may have been decided, but there’s still a tight battle for second place in the table:

1Bradford City Blue870171621
2Aston Swallownest Blue840444012
3City Knights Blue724154110
4Club Doncaster Titans Red822435-28
5Bradford City Claret813447-36
6Sheffield White705235-25

The final round of the 7-a-side League fixtures is set for 9th May, again at Concord Sheffield.

For the latest news and reports, visit or follow the League on Twitter @scacl.

And finally, a few more shots from the afternoon.

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