Seven-a-side Cup and League drama at Concord Sports Centre as Ability Counts League welcomes spectators back to matchday action.

After the fantastic start to the season that the newly-formed Junior Leagues provided at Goals Doncaster two Sundays ago, this Sunday saw the open-age 7-a side teams return to action at Concord Sports Centre. Once again, the weather was kind; as in Doncaster, families, carers, and supporters were able to support their teams for the first time since March 2020. The passion, energy, commitment and skill of all the players was plain to see as the three 7-a-side Divisions got off to a fast start, write Margaret Gregory and Colin Muncie for www. southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com. with thanks to Howard Toll from Bradford for his excellent pictures.

The afternoon included five County Cup first round ties.

Bradford DFC Amber played Brunsmeer from the League below them in the County Cup game in a very tight game. Bradford Manager, Paul Jubb told us, “after missing a few chances in the first half, Bradford eventually got the winner in the second half thanks to a great goal from man of the match Rhys.

“Sheffield FC White (League One) lost 1-0 to Aston Swallownest Blue in the County Cup in a very close contested game,” reports Sheffield’s Scott Gregory. “It was an unfortunate error by one of our players that separated the teams in the end.”

Derek Dooley Red team started their County Cup campaign against Premiership side Sheffield FC Red; Dooley’s Claire Cowlishaw told SYACL.com. “It was a short run, and not much fun for the lads.”

Sheffield FC Red’s Scott Gregory was delighted, however, “SFC Red (Premier) played sensational football to progress in the Cup. We got off to a flying start and controlled the game with pace.”

Wheatley Wanderers exited the County Cup at the first hurdle, but only after a brave display against City Knights Black. “We came up against a top team today and did not disgrace ourselves,” admitted Wheatley’s Chris Pow. “We learned a lot from this game, and Justin did particularly well in goal.”

In the Premier League, Bradford City Amber found the going a little tougher in their first Premier League match against Sheffield Reds, Paul Jubb told us. “The Ambers have just moved up to the Premier League and had a couple of players missing, so found it hard against a very good Sheffield Reds team who won easily on the day. Our Man of the Match was Henry who defended well and never gave up.”

Reds Scott Gregory was again a happy man after the game. “We started the League game with Bradford with confidence and played with freedom with positive forward play. Clinical finishing with a solid defensive performance, was Scott’s assessment.”

In their final fixture of the day, Bradford City Amber came up against fellow-promoted side Aston Swallownest. “Both these teams got promoted from the Championship last season, Ambers going up as Champions after a close play off game,” Paul reminded us. “ Aston Swallownest took a three goal lead in the first half and were by far the better team; the Ambers did pull a couple of goals back in the second half; both from Man of the Match Jordan – but the game was already won.”

“Sheffield FC Red’s League game with City Knights was a cagey affair and with both sides cancelling each other out. Defences came out on top with chances at a premium,” Scott told us.

“Meanwhile, Sheffield FC Blue played Club Doncaster Titans twice and came out on top in both games 3-0 and 2-1. Sheffield FC controlled the first game from the whistle, going 2-0 in the first half with goals from Aaron Ambler-Bennett and Ben Wittenberg,” Scott Gregory reports. “The second half quickly saw Sheffield FC go 3-0 up with another goal from Aaron. The game was played in good spirits as always, competitive but fair.”

“The second game was a much tighter affair with Sheffield FC having one man less for the whole game.” Scott went on, “Doncaster took a deserved lead in the first half for SFC to peg them back with a breakaway goal near half time from Aaron Ambler-Bennett. The second half was also tight, but SFC pushed hard for the 3 points and were rewarded with a crackerjack of a goal from Ben Wittenberg in the last moments of the game to win 2-1. Again, game played in good spirits across both teams.”

City Knights Black played their first League fixture of the new season against Aston Swallownest Juniors Disability Red. Here’s how City Knight’s Sharon Lavender saw the game. “It was a good match, our players started well and finished great; they communicated well and produced a great match. Aston Swallownest played really well considering it was one of their first matches in this League, they gave us a good game. We started off well with Asa smashing one in to make it 1-0, well done Asa Wilson, great goal!! Not long after Ant took the ball from one end of the pitch with focus and determination and ended up smashing it in the net at the other end, well done Ant West, great goal!! Well done lads; some great defending and attacking, and Michael Moxam you did some great saves.”

“Our second game was against Sheffield FC Red,” Sharon told us. “The players pulled together and supported each other, there was some great defending and Michael Moxam made some great saves; there were some long runs, and some great effort was put in. Steven Gould supported well and did some great runs down the wing. Asa Wilson, Ant West, Chris Senior did well getting the ball up front going for goal, having so many chances their keeper did some great saves. Nice defending by Gavin Foster and Daniel Purdy, Michael Moxam kept us in the game. You all should be proud guys you played really well. We are proud of you. Thank you, Sheffield FC, for giving a great match, which finished 0-0.”

So, after two games, the early pace setters are Sheffield Disability FC Blue with a one hundred percent record. City Knights Red and Sheffield FC Red [Disability] share second place on 4 points, Aston Swallownest sit in fourth, above Bradford City Amber and Club Doncaster Titans, both of whom will be looking to get off the mark next month.

PosTeamPWDLGDPTS
1Sheffield FC Blue (Disability) 220026
2City Knights Black 211014
3Sheffield FC Red (Disability) 211014
4Aston Swallownest Juniors Disability Tea 210103
5Bradford City FITC Disability Amber 2002-20
6Club Doncaster Titans FC (Adult) White 2002-20

In the Championship, Bradford were represented by their Blues, and they got off to the best possible start against Derek Dooley Orange, as Manager Mark McLaren explains. “The Blues ran out deserved winners against Derek Dooley Orange with two great counter attacking goals from Luke and Dale; although we had Man of the Match Bradley to thank for a brilliant save at 1-0.”

Here’s Dooley’s perspective on the game, from Claire Cowlishaw, “Derek Dooley Orange started their game against Bradford well with a lot of pressure put on the goal keepers, some good shots and saves, Brad F had 2 good shots saved but Bradford broke, and they got a corner and scored. They battled hard in the second half, but could not get past the Bradford Goalie who kept them in the game. So, they lost the first game, but they weren’t down hearted and rallying words from Coach Nathan helped them to prepare for the second game against Barton.”


Meanwhile, in their next tight game the Bradford City Blues lost to Derek Dooley FA. Mark McLaren told us, “we missed 3 or 4 good chances to have equalised or even gone on to win the game. Luke was the Man of the Match. Our star man for the day was goalkeeper Bradley making some amazing saves to keep his team in the games.”

Manager Claire Cowlishaw set the scene ahead of the new season for Derek Dooley FA and Derek Dooley Orange.” This season the teams have had a reshuffle and so are learning to become a new team with new team mates, though they are good friends on and off the pitch.”

Claire then summarised the game with Bradford Blue. “Derek Dooley FA’s first game in the League was against Bradford City Blue,” Claire told us, “and was a good even match of football. Both goalkeepers played well to save the shots with the Bradford goalie having bit more work to do saving good shots from Aiden and Elliott. Then there was a good pass by Adam up front to Jack and he managed to beat the goalkeeper, breaking the deadlock.”

Derek Dooley Orange then took on League newcomers Barton Inclusive. “The game against new team Barton was more even and some good football, passing and talking between the team. We were without our main man up front Brad F, who sprained his ankle in the first game. Nathan F did some good saves, and we went up front and Jamie Lee scored. There was a good shot from Josh saved. Barton had a man injured who had to come off for treatment, so we took a man off to equal it up as they had no subs. Barton equalised with a lucky shot between Nathan’s legs. Both teams back to 7 players and Barton scored again. Unfortunately, we lost both our games, but not downhearted as we all had great fun.”

You can find full reports on Barton’s 7-a-side fixtures elsewhere at http://www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com.


After the first week of fixtures, then, and with Doncaster Deaf Trust FC due to re-join the League on Matchday Two, it’s the new kids on the block, Barton Inclusive, who are making the early running with those two wins sealing an impressive start to life in the SYACL.


Derek Dooley FA and Bradford City Blue are already on their heels, and Brunsmeer will be keen to get off the mark next month at Concord.

PosTeamPWDLGDPTS
1Barton Inclusive Football Club Barton at 220026
2Derek Dooley Football Academy Sheffield 110013
3Bradford City FITC Disability Blues 210103
4Doncaster Deaf Trust FC Black 000000
5Brunsmeer Awareness  1001-10
6Derek Dooley Football Academy Orange 2002-20

And so, to League One, and Bradford Clarets were soon in action against Aston Swallownest, “ who took a goal lead early on,” Manager Paul Jubb explained. “Ben pulled one back in a very close game, but the Clarets forgot the golden rule “play to the whistle” and lost out to a late winner from Aston Swallownest. Stephen was amazing in goal and deserved his Man of the Match accolade.”

Meanwhile, Wheatley Wanderers got their league campaign under way with a win over Club Doncaster Titans Red. “We came out with all guns blazing for this match,” Wheatley’s Chris Pow told Syacl.com. “Paul scored his first League goal and Sean got a brace. A good result against a spirited, good natured side.”

City Knights Blue kicked off their season against Sheffield FC White. Here’s Knight’s Sharon Lavender, “first of all I would like to say well done to Connor Nicholls, Ewan Hadfield and Sam Leary for their debut match, and welcome to your new club. Sam shone on his first match by smashing a goal in – well done Sam Leary! It was not long into the game, but not long after that Sheffield FC got one past us. It was a very tight game. Our defence tightened up and didn’t concede any more goals. Well done to Adam Wyatt for saving some great goals and Adrian Bingham for supporting in defence. There was some great runs by Kyle Hancock, Jordan Bratby and Connor Nicholls. Well done all, you played a great game. Proud of you! Thank you to Sheffield FC for giving us a good match.” The match finished level at 1-1.

Bradford Clarets took on Sheffield Whites in their next game. Paul Jubb from Bradford reports, “we were unlucky to lose against Sheffield Whites, who played some great football. A few missed chances and lapses in the defence cost us the game. Ian was Man of the Match and outstanding at the back making a number of last-ditch challenges.”

Sheffield FC White’s Scott Gregory gave Syacl.com his perspective. “Our League game with Bradford Clarets was one way traffic in the first half, with Clarets’ keeper keeping them in the game to keep the score level at half-time. The pressure finally paid off in the second half with goals from Matt Lyne and a second goal of the day for Danny Black to seal the win.”

City Knights Blue closed out their day with a narrow, thrilling defeat to Club Doncaster Titans Red.
“Straight from the start our guys were on it,” Sharon reported. ”Kyle with assistance from Jordan Bratby smashed a goal in, well done Kyle Hancock! Not long after that, Titans got a goal. Connor Nicholls was doing well in midfield getting the ball down to Jordan to pass to Kyle and he ended up smashing another goal in, well done Kyle Hancock! Unfortunately seconds before the whistle, Titans got a goal.”

Well, done Sam Leary, Connor Nicholls, Ewan Hadfield with it being your first match with us, you played well. Great support too from Warren Foster. Players you all should be proud of yourself because you tried your best, proud of you!

“Thank you to the referees and all that supported on the day.”

Final word – deservedly – goes to table-toppers Wheatley Wanderers and their Manager Chris Pow after their win over Aston Swallownest. “It was another great performance from new players Sean and Asten, and Josh played really well in goal. It capped off a great day.”

“It felt good to be back playing football.” 

Well said, Chris.

So, after one week it’s Wheatley Wanderers who head the table with maximum points from their two wins. Sheffield FC White are just behind on four points, Aston Swallownest on three alongside Doncaster Titans Red. City Knights Blue have that single point, with Bradford City Claret on nil points.

PosTeamPWDLGDPTS
1Wheatley Wanderers SYACL 220026
2Sheffield FC White (Disability) 211014
3Aston Swallownest Juniors Disability Team210103
4Club Doncaster Titans FC (Adult) Red 210103
5City Knights Blue 2011-11
6Bradford City FITC Disability Claret 2002-20

Attention now turns to the first round of 5-a-side fixtures, kicking off this coming weekend at Sheffield Goals Centre.

For latest news and reports, follow us here at http://www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com or via our Twitter and Instagram Accounts.

Remember, if you have any articles or features, you’d like to share with the League, please use the contact form on our website.

Thanks for all the photos, I decided to put them all at the end so as not to break the narrative?

It’s your website readers and it has been suggested that instead of all the reports being put on the blog page they should be put on the respective teams page. What do you think?

Photos better at the end or interspaced with the narrative?

Have you sent us any photos taken on the day?

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