SYACL 5-a-side’s Thrilling Finale at Goals Sheffield

Premiership and Championship titles go down to the wire.

Phew! If you thought that last week’s final 7-a-side matchday wasn’t exciting enough, Sunday saw a fantastic conclusion to the 5-a-side Leagues.

When the final matches in the Premiership and Championship kicked off just after 4 pm, four sides were still involved in the battle for glory; but when all was said and done, Wisewood had clinched the Premiership crown with a win over plucky Bradford City Fuchsia; and in the Championship, Bradford City Emerald lifted the trophy after a nerve-wracking battle with Derek Dooley Blue, with Emerald’s win over Spartans clinching a vital three points, writes our SYACL Website editor Margaret Gregory.

It had been almost 5 months since the 5-a-side teams had been in competitive action, but the guys and girls certainly made up for lost time, with 6 brilliant games in each Division.

As with the 7-a-side match days, the SYACL again took time out to pay tribute to Club Doncaster Titans founder and our League Secretary, the late great Darren Warner. Darren’s wife Sharon, sons Cameron and Jordan, and Cameron’s partner were special guests for the afternoon. The squads and officials heard tributes to Darren from Chairman Mike Stylianou, Referee’s Secretary Sean Wright and City Knights star Mark Boyes; the League also made a small presentation to Sharon.

The inaugural Darren Warner 5-a-side Fair Play award, nominated by Sean and his fellow referees, went – fittingly – to Club Doncaster Titans (Blue) with Sharon presenting the Shield to skipper Cameron Mounde and his team. [below]

The rain stayed away for the final afternoon, with the first four teams arriving at 1pm for temperature checks, hand sanitiser and social distancing in their squad bubbles. Referees Sean and Tim Savage oversaw a lively start to proceedings.

In the Premier League, title-chasing Wisewood DFC got off to the perfect start with wins over Derek Dooley White and Club Doncaster Titans Blue. Dooley coach Claire Cowlishaw summed up that first game for

“The first game against Wisewood saw Dooley Whites come up against a very solid team, seeing the play one end to the other with some super goalkeeping from Shaun. The team were talking to each other and all had shots saved by the Wisewood goalkeeper, a lovely shot saved by Mo, followed by a goal for Wisewood.

“The lads kept going,“ Claire told us. “They showed perseverance against the eventual Division winners.” 

Dooley’s next fixtures saw them win one, then lose one against Club Doncaster Titans (Blue) “The next two games against Doncaster Titan Blue, showed the team spirit with the boys becoming tired as they gave it their all,” Claire reported. “We saw good passing and shots by Kieron, goals for Jordan and Tom in the first game; but in the second game Doncaster come out the winners. The season has been hard for the lads after the Leagues were condensed to two with them playing in a higher division, but they didn’t give up and had the resilience to keep going to the end. WELL DONE!”

Bradford City Fuchsia (below) were delayed in arriving at Goals Sheffield, and in their two games they found themselves up against Wisewood. Bradford’s Paul Jubb set the scene for

Bradford City Fuchsia

“Fuchsia went into the games knowing they had to win one of the two games against a strong Wisewood DFC,” Paul said. “Unfortunately, our keeper Ksenja was unable to attend. This meant changing the team that had previously won all of their games.”

“The first game ended Bradford DFC 0 – Wisewood 6,” Paul told us. “The ladies struggled to get settled against a Wisewood side that were throwing everything at them.
Wisewood managed to score 3 goals before half time then another 3 in the 2nd half.
Anna made some great saves in goal but Wisewood had some powerful players. They were marking up well which made it hard for us to even get shots on target and pass the ball.”

“In the second game, the result was Bradford DFC 2 – Wisewood 6,” Paul reported. “The second game was just as hard; changing keepers didn’t seem to have much effect.
We began to find our feet more in this game but again Wisewood managed to score goals early on which made it hard for the ladies to come back.
The ladies did start passing the ball better and getting more shots away & Katy managed to score 2 goals but it was not enough to stop Wisewood.”

Paul was delighted by the performance of his side. “The all-ladies team did amazingly well to come second at the end of a strange season, where they played most of their games with only 5 players.”

The results meant that Wisewood clinched the title by four points from Bradford Fuchsia, with Dooley White third and Titans Blue fourth, although for Titans there was a significant consolation in winning the Darren Warner Fair Play title.

Paul was generous in his tribute to Wisewood. “Well done to Wisewood DFC for winning the league title!!” he told us.

Congratulations to Wisewood DFC (below) and all the teams for a tremendous season, with the Final table as follows:

Wisewood dfc
2Bradford City Fuchsia640242212
3Derek Dooley White611425-34
4Club Doncaster Titans Blue610515-43

Into The Championship, then, and an even more exciting end to the season. Derek Dooley Blue made a fast start with a win over Spartans, as Dooley Coach Claire explains;

“The first game against Spartans was a tight match which see-sawed to a Dooley win, with shots from Fallon; Ben scored a penalty and Shaq scored, which saw his loud celebration as he ran the length of the pitch!”

Spartans followed up that first game with another battling display against Club Doncaster Titans Yellow. Spartans coach John Hunt summed up the two games.

 “In the early part of the afternoon Spartans narrowly lost their first couple of matches against Dooley Blue and Titans Yellow by the odd goal. They were fortunate that their keeper Jake was in terrific form and prevented their opponents from scoring more goals.”

Derek Dooley Blue were on a title charge, and kept the pressure on with two wins over Titans Yellow.

Derek Dooley Blue

“The next games were against the Doncaster Titans Yellow and were good matches to watch with the players having fun. There were a lot of players running and shooting, a good run by Jordan then a super performance from Fallon with lots of timely defensive duties and each and every player giving 100%, even though some of the players were playing for the first time this year. The team won both games and this saw them at the top of the League.”

By this time, the delayed Bradford City Emerald had arrived at Goals Sheffield. Paul Jubb sets the scene for

“The Emeralds went into the games knowing they had to win one of their 2 games against Spartans DFC to win the League,” Paul explained. “We had heard that Derek Dooley had beaten Spartans in the first game and started to realise that they were the team we needed to worry about!“

Paul had good reason to be concerned.  “In the first game Spartans showed why they had won the League last season beating us 6-2! Gemma was amazing in goal, saving lots of shots, and Toby and Mark both scored consolation goals! My Assistant Stephen and I were in shock and couldn’t see how we could turn it round!”

The second game would be decisive, with Derek Dooley watching on.  “We had an anxious wait on the last game, a Spartans win would have given us the title and if Bradford won then we would be runners up to Bradford,” Claire from Dooley explained.

“The second game kicked off and Spartans started with a weaker team and we took our better players off to match up, “Paul explained. “Spartans went 1-0 up! Then Toby scored with a cool finish in his first game, playing out. Then Simon scored from distance to make it 2–1 and Toby got his 2nd to make it 3-1.” 
“Spartans got one back to make it 3-2 and then a bit of bad luck for the Spartans keeper made it 4-2 to City Emeralds,” Paul continued. “Mark scored an own goal to make it 4-3; it was a nervy end to the game and we were so happy to hear the final whistle, as one more goal from Spartans would have meant 2nd place! Gemma Fletcher was Player of the Day, making numerous saves in both games.”

“We are Championees, Championees for 2021, “ Paul was delighted to tell us, adding “Well done to Derek Dooley for pushing all the way to the final game!”

Spartans John Hunt summed up the two games with Bradford. “We were involved in back-to-back matches against Bradford Emerald. In the first match goals from Matt, Sam, Jacob and Paul secured a comfortable win for the Spartans.”

“However, the second match was very different,” John went on.  “Bradford Emerald held a comfortable 3 goal advantage in the second half and despite a late rally and 2 goals by Oliver, the Bradford defence held out for a deserved win.”

Dooley’s Claire was proud of her Dooley team, summing them up, “the team were ecstatic to receive a medal for second,” she beamed.

After a stunning final day, the Championship table finished as follows, with Bradford Emerald (pictured below) taking the title. 

Bradford Emerald
1Bradford City Emerald641152313
2Derek Dooley Blue640242212
3Club Doncaster Titans Yellow621334-17
4Spartans FC610515-43

So, the strangest SYACL season ever finished on a high; congratulations to all the winners and runners up, and to our amazing Committee – Mike, Paul and Sean – for keeping the action going in a safe environment for all our players and coaches.

We also take the time to think about the loved ones we have lost over the last months, including our own wonderful Darren Warner. The League sends our love to Sharon and her family.

Hopefully, next time we meet up, we’ll be able to welcome spectators back to our matches. In the meantime, stay safe and we’ll see you later in the year.

We finish with a letter from our Chairman and the replies from the League coaches/managers: –

  Having been a disruptive, frustrating and at times difficult past year for us all, I would like to thank all involved in helping to conclude another successful League season.

  Despite the many changes and challenges collectively we have safely made it possible for our players to participate in structured matches. We think we are the only Ability Counts League in the country – or amongst a very few – who have actually organised League matches for their teams this season.

  We were hoping to stage a divisional tournament for both the 5 & 7-a-side Leagues in July, that would only be possible if the Government removed all legal limits on social contact by that time, though as that is looking doubtful and unlikely, we cannot safely plan ahead.

The tournament will now instead be held next season, when it will be much safer for all teams to be at the venue at the same times throughout the day and we can then also welcome back and involve the teams who’ve been unable to participate this season.

Please affiliate your teams to the FA for next season before the AGM in early July and complete any outstanding safeguarding courses.

  On behalf of Darren’s family I’d like to thank all the teams for the compassion and consideration expressed towards them.

 Stay Safe and Best Wishes


The coaches/managers replies: –

Thank you for everything you have done and all the support you have given us and for keeping us safe.
Take care, keep safe

Warm Regards, Sharon Lavender

Secretary/ Manager, City Knights FC

Hi All, thank you for the email, it is really appreciated to be kept in the loop.
Social eyes Rawmarsh St Josephs FC are looking forward to re-joining the League in September and getting back amongst all our friends in this fantastic league.

Stay safe & see you all very soon

Regards, Claire Hobson [Social eyes Rawmarsh St Josephs FC]

Cheers Mike, well done to all the teams that played this season. You can be proud that you have given your players something to look forward to during a hard year! 

I know it’s kept my players going through out the pandemic, knowing they had League games to look forward to. 

Well done to Mike, Darren, the refs and everyone involved in keeping the League going.

Looking forward to seeing all the teams that unfortunately couldn’t play this season.

What a brilliant league we have!!

Thanks for having us! 

Paul & Jaimie & Everyone at Bradford City DFC.

Many thanks for this. Thank you for all your hard work to make it possible 

Claire Cowlishaw

Just to echo what Claire said, a big thankyou to Mike and everyone involved in running SYACL.

Kind Regards, Andrew Robson

Club Doncaster Titans,

AND FINALLY, more photos from the afternoon.

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