9th April 2023 presentation

Curtain comes down on S Yorks ACL season at Concord

Incredible finish to Premier Division sees Sheffield Blue lift the title-just!

Deserved Championship title goes to Rotherham United Community Trust

Sheffield White claim League One glory

Derek Dooley Orange win the Darren Warner Fair Play Trophy

Sheffield FC players chase Hillsborough half-time shootout on Twitter

After the snow resulted in the postponement of March’s fixtures, South Yorkshire Ability Counts League’s 7-a-side squads reconvened at Concord Sports Centre last Sunday to settle all of the outstanding issues in the competition. It turned out to be a fantastic afternoon of football, watched, as always by our handpicked http://www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com reporters.

It was a fine day, if a little cool, and despite it being Easter Sunday, there was plenty of support for the teams as the action started at 1.30 pm.

Luke Marsh and James Steers from Sheffield FC have been nominated for the half-time shoot-in at a future Sheffield Wednesday home game . If you wish to support them, follow sponsors @hostand stay on your Twitter account, and retweet using the hashtag #hostandstay. We’ll keep you posted as the nomination progresses.

It was always going to be a tough battle for the Premier League crown, with three clubs very much in contention going into the final day. Two of the contenders, Sheffield Red and Sheffield Blue fought out a goalless stalemate in the first game of the afternoon; the third contender, Barton Athletic also drew their opening match with Aston Swallownest Red.

Sheffield Red then seized the initiative with a good win over Aston Red before Sheffield Blue took a crucial win over Barton Athletic, then took a point in a goalless stalemate with Aston Red, who were proving to be a real fly in the ointment on this final day.

Barton’s win in the last game of the season over Sheffield Red was decisive. Sheffield Blue were champions, by just one point over Barton, with Sheffield Red a point further behind. Congratulations to all three clubs on a magnificent final day, and to Aston for playing a vital part in the outcome.

Sheffield Blue received their trophy and medals from SYACL Chair Mike Stylianou and referee’s secretary Sean Wright, with Barton fully deserving their runners-up award. Congratulations to both clubs, and to all our participants, including the absent City Knights Black for a wonderful season!

In the Championship, Rotherham United Community Sports Trust were favourites going into the final day with Bradford City Amber and Club Doncaster Titans White giving chase with just the six final day games left.

In the first game, there was a narrow win for Titans White over Derek Dooley Academy Red, watched by Titans coach, Martin Taylor.

“The game with Derek Dooley Red started end to end and both teams battled and battled,” Martin reports. “It was an entertaining game to watch; if it wasn’t Titans putting the pressure on it was Derek Dooley putting the pressure on. There was one minute left before halftime – just time for one last push by Titans. The ball fell to Liam who looked up and saw the goal and went for it and it found the back of the net. The keeper picked the ball out of the net,  kicked it to the halfway line, the player put the ball on the spot to restart and the referee blew the halftime whistle!”

“In the second half the game started and finished end to end with both teams battling to the end, but Derek Dooley could not find the equaliser, so 1 – 0 victory to Titans.” 

Dooley’s Claire Cowlishaw watched the same game.

“In the first game v Doncaster, the game was end-to-end with some great saves by Nathan. The team took some time to get back into playing together,” Claire admitted. “Aiden shot wide, there was a great run by Jack, but a great save kept them level. The second half saw an unfortunate pass from Nathan that was intercepted, and they took the lead. Some great defending on Adam keeping it to 1 goal.”

Dooley stayed on Pitch 2, and this time took on Bradford City Amber. Here’s Claire again, “In our second game against Bradford, the team started this game better. There was some good passing from Nick which he passed to Jack and then on to Aiden, but it was saved. The game was end-to-end with some good footwork from Brad who shot over. There was a lovely passing from Adam to Jack to Stephen and back again but shot over again. Jack sent a ball up front and Aiden took it down and scored. Elliott came on and the lads were passing better and some great runs by Jack and passes up front and Aiden scored again. Well done to everyone on the last league games.”

That 3-2 win for Dooley saw Titans White next on Pitch 2, this time to face Brunsmeer Awareness. “ This was another end-to-end game and both teams played excellent football,” Titans Martin Taylor reports. “It looked like it was going to go in at the break all level, but after a beautiful run down the right side by Danny Grubb,  he crossed it in, and it fell inch perfect for Liam’s head and ended up in the back of the net. That shocked us all  because Liam normally cannot score with his head!”

“Titans went into the halftime break 1 – 0 up,” Martin continued. “In the second half Titans kept the pressure on; they were trying everything to get the second goal, but it wasn’t coming. Then I decided to do the most bizarre thing. I pushed Keith Parker into midfield where he was commanding the ball. The ball fell to Keith and Keith shot the ball with some power and it went straight through everyone to go into the back of the net, making the scoreline 2 – 0 to Titans. I was pleased for Keith to score with it, being his final performance in the  7-a-side league before he leaves us at the end of the season. The final score ended up as a 2- 0 to the Titans.” 

“It was a brilliant day at the office for the Titans White boys,” Martin summed up. “I’m so proud of them all – well done boys!”

By this time, Wheatley Wanderers and their customary travelling support had arrived at Concord and their heroes were quickly in action against league leaders Rotherham.

Wheatley’s Chris Pow summed up the game.

“We started well but got caught on the break. Our stand-in keeper did his best, and we got one back late on. We conceded a couple more though.”

After that 3-1 defeat, Wheatley stayed on pitch 2 to take on Bradford City Amber “We started strong again, but tiredness and low morale let us down in the end,” Chris admitted. “It had been a tough season and we had given our all. We gave them a good game at least.”

Rotherham United Community Sports Trust sealed a well-deserved title win with a closing win over Brunsmeer Awareness to clinch the Championship Trophy and their winners’ medals. Bradford City Amber edged second spot after that fine win over Wheatley, so congratulations to both sides on their excellent seasons, and to Titans White, Brunsmeer and Dooley Red on finishing within a couple of points of second.

Wheatley battled hard all season and were a credit to themselves and their supporters.

In League One, Sheffield FC White had clinched the title after an excellent season, but second place was very much up for grabs. Titans Red and Aston Swallownest Blue got the action under way with a hard-fought 1-1 draw, watched by Titans Martin Taylor and John Hibbert.

“The game started very feisty,” John reported. “Both teams had chances to take the lead, but somehow the deadlock could not be broken and if it wasn’t Titans putting the pressure on, it was Swallownest putting the pressure on. Then came the lucky break Titans scored from a brilliant goal by Jeff Allen and it’s a goal which was worth waiting for. Titans went in the half-time break 1 – 0 up. Then, in the second half, you could see Swallownest getting stronger and stronger, looking for the equaliser, and unfortunately it came. So, I rallied the troops up in true Titans fashion and they fought hard and strong to keep it 1 – 1 at full time.”

Titans Red stayed on Pitch 3 and after a short break took on Derek Dooley Orange.

Titans John Hibbert watched the game. “We started slow allowing them to score first then we got lucky when we got a free kick  and Callum Hibbert took the free kick and scored,” John told us . “Then we started to get a foothold in the game but  with one minute left, they scored again. It was too late for us  to do anything, so we lost 2 – 1.”

“I would like to say a big well done to Jeff Allen for playing in a new position,” John and Martin Taylor explained. “Not only did he do well but scored a goal as well ;so, Jeff give yourself a big pat on the back; and a big shout to all the red team for actually playing like a team – there was some good passing from all the players.”

Claire gave www.SyorksACL.com Dooley’s perspective on the game. “The team had only 7 players so were in for a hard afternoon,” Claire explained. “They were without their influential coach Nathan, but Richard stepped up to give them the support and amazing skills on the pitch. The first game was against Doncaster, and we started well with solid defending from John and some good runs from Jamie Lee, who passed up to Believe who toe-poked the ball into the net to give them the lead. The game was end-to-end, and Titans equalised. Second half saw a couple of shots from Gregg but went over. Richard sent a shot up to Jamie Lee who scored a lovely shot to take them into the lead, winning the first game.”

Next up, Dooley Orange faced Aston Swallownest Blue.

Here’s Claire’s take on the game. “The second game was even, with Dean commanding the midfield, John having some good runs up the field, solid defending from Richard, Believe had 4 shots but all went over. Aston took the lead and got a second, the boys didn’t give up and John got a goal back – but they ended up losing for the first time against Aston.” 

Title-chasing Sheffield White took three points in the next game against Titans Red, watched by John Hibbert. “We knew this game would be tough because this team has been a bogey team all season. We started well keeping the score down. Sheffield scored with a goal line scramble making it 1 – 0. Then, in the second half we decided to gamble. Unfortunately, the gamble did not pay off and Sheffield got two quick goals but like true Titans we battled on to the end and final score was 3 – 0 to Sheffield.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Hibbert for standing in as coach for the second game today, and also myself for managing the other side,” Martin Taylor told @SYorksACL. “ Our first team coach, Dan Hall, was ill and unfortunately could not make it today. So, get well soon mate your team did you proud – and I mean proud.”

A win over Aston Blue took Sheffield White into a triumphant final game with Derek Dooley Orange, watched by Claire Cowlishaw. “The last game was against the champions Sheffield FC and the lads kept going even though they were second best,” Claire told us. “They did get a consolation goal from Believe but were beaten by a very good side.”

So, congratulations to Sheffield FC White on an excellent season, and the players and coaches received their trophy and medals from Chair Mike Stylianou and Referee’s Secretary Sean Wright. Congratulations to Dooley Red on second place, with Aston third and Titans Red fourth. An excellent season from all our clubs.

There was another deserved award for Derek Dooley Red to add to their League One second place – they were chosen as winners of the 7-a-side Darren Warner Fair Play Trophy, awarded for their excellent conduct during the season, and selected by Sean and our match officials.

Dooley’s Claire Cowlishaw was delighted. “They did amazing finishing second in the league, so they had a medal, and also winning the Darren Warner Fair play award for the season. Well done everyone who has been involved throughout the season,” she said.

With the 7-a-side League season now complete, the teams look forward to their Divisional Trophy at Concord on Sunday 14th May. 

The open-age 5-a-side teams compete for their own Divisional Trophy next Sunday at Goals Centre, Doncaster, and we’ll bring you pictures and reports from that at our website-www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com – and our Twitter feed @SYorksACL.