Feb 12th 2023 matchday

Fantastic 7-a-side matches for spectators at Concord Sports Centre

Just one point covers top three in the Premier Division

Sheffield FC (White) edge closer to League One glory

It’s testimony to how well all of our South Yorkshire Ability Counts League participants have developed over the years that the standard of football at our matchdays gets better and better almost every week. Sunday’s 7-a-side matchday at Concord Sports Centre was no exception, as our spectators, parents and carers were lucky enough to see some really exciting, closely contested games as the season heads towards a thrilling finale in March.

Discipline and respect scores were also very good, with the major issue being the number of players who were blue-carded for running on to adjacent pitches to collect match balls which had gone out of play. Maybe a quick reminder to your players, coaches….it’s all about player safety. 

Best wishes too to Will, the Aston Red keeper who took a knock making yet another great save in the game with Barton Inclusive. He’s fine and we hope to see him back between the posts next month.

As always, www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com had our investigative reporters across all 16 games at Concord on Sunday; they had plenty to write about, so Website Editor Margaret Gregory pulled out all the stops to summarise the action.

In the Premier Division on Pitch One, match referee Sean Wright got the action under way as Sheffield FC Blue took the points with a win over City Knights Black. Knight’s Sharon Lavender watched the game;

“Our first game was against Sheffield FC Blue,” Sharon reported. “We had 6 players against 7; they challenged us in the first half by them scoring 3 against us, but we pulled together in the second half stopping all their opportunities, so the final score was 3 – 0 to them.”

Sheffield FC Blue edged a 3 – 2 win against Aston Swallownest Red who fought back from 2 – 0 down, before Barton Inclusive took a 3 – 0 win over Aston Swallownest Red.

City Knights Black were back in action against Sheffield FC Red again covered by Sharon from City Knights. “We again had 6 players against their 7,” she told us, “and in the first half we worked together well at the back with Macca and Connor and Michael our Keeper, only letting through 2, but preventing many more!”

“In the second half they broke through our defence again. Chris, Jordan and Sam kept pushing the ball down into the opposition’s half trying their best, but it was tough having just 6 players; but they held their own and kept it at 3 – 0”. 

“We are proud of them for playing their best! Thank you to Sheffield FC for giving us 2 good games, thank you to Sean for refereeing, thank you to all that came to support us, and thank you for all that helped on the day.”

A big crowd watched a fantastic last game in which Barton edged Sheffield Red by 2 – 1 in another game of high skill, great passing and excellent teamwork. It had been a great day for Barton.

Barton Manager Rich said, “In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have asked for a better day today. I’m smiling because all the lads are smiling.” Congratulations to joint Players of the Day Andy & Reece.

With each club having played eight games, it couldn’t be closer in the Premier Division. Sheffield Blue and Barton Inclusive have 16 points, with Sheffield Red just one point further behind as we head into March. Aston Swallownest Red have a win and three draws, and City Knights (Black) still have a say in where the final honours end up.

Six games in the Championship on Sunday, and it was a cracking pair of opening matches  between Brunsmeer Awareness and Derek Dooley Red. The first finished level at 1 – 1 and Brunsmeer took the points with a narrow win in the second.

SYorks ACL’s Claire Cowlishaw, coach at Dooley, watched both games.

“The Reds played both their games against Brunsmeer, and they were very even, competitive games with some good football by both teams,” Claire reports. “The first game was end to end with some good goalkeeping by our stand in goalie Dom, some good passing in the middle from Adam, Jack and Lewis but it went wide. Brunsmeer took the lead, but the heads didn’t go down and they kept trying. There were some good runs down the wing from Aiden, but the cross went wide. Then Lewis got the ball in and dribbled around 2 players and his shot went in bringing it back to a draw. This was how it ended due to some good saves from the Brunsmeer goalkeeper.” 

“They had a 5-minute break and the second game got under way at the same speed,” Claire went on. “There was some great passing between Stephen and Lewis and Jack, but the ball went wide. Then Brad shot wide and had another saved but a mistake at our end let Brunsmeer in and they took the lead. They kept trying and working together but it ended up in a loss.”

“Well done, a very good afternoon from the lads.”

Next up, Club Doncaster Titans (Whites) drew with Bradford City (Amber) Titans Head Coach Martin Taylor gave us his summary of the game. “Titans start on the stronger foot and started taking control of the game,” Martin explained. “We had plenty of chances, but the Titans could not finish; we hit the post, put it wide you name it we did it, we just could not put it in the back of the net. Then the chance came – Titans won a penalty. Up stepped Phil and put the ball away into the back of the net, making it one nil to Titans. Titans kept their foot on the game and Bradford battled on looking for the equaliser, and also Titans were looking for the winner. Then the second goal of the game came along. Unfortunately, it was to Bradford and they equalised with two minutes to go and that’s all that game ended at 1 – 1 draw -a well-deserved point. Unfortunately the three points should’ve been Titans all the way!”

In match four, referee Brian Eaton had his work cut out to keep score as Rotherham United Community Sports Trust traded goals in a thriller, eventually won 6 – 3 by the team from the New York Stadium.

Match five saw Titans (White) back in action, and after the preceding goal glut referee Brian oversaw a goalless draw between them and Wheatley Wanderers. As always, Wheatley brought a fantastic group of supporters who must have been happy with a point in that first game.

Titans’ Martin Taylor gave us Titans perspective on the game. “Both teams started like they wanted to win the game. It was end to end with both teams having chances to go in front. But once again Titans could not finish. Both teams played in a spirit like every game of football should be played, and both teams played  some good football. It was an entertaining game to watch and it’s a pity it ended in a 0 – 0 but saying that there was a winner and that was the game we call football!”

Chris Pow reported, WW 0 – 0 Doncaster Titans

Wheatley played an awesome game of football with plenty of chances. Our defense was taking care of any threat from Titans and we came close to scoring a deserved winner.

WW 0 – 1 Rotherham 

We again played well, with the goal coming from our mistake. It was a hard fought game but played fair. Both sets of players congratulated each other after full time.

In the last game, Rotherham, who under coach Chris have made a fantastic start to life in the SYorks ACL, took the points in another terrific game with a battling Wheatley Wanderers, this time with the only goal of the game.

So, after eight games each, it’s another incredibly close battle at the top of the table. Rotherham lead by just one point from Brunsmeer Awareness, with Bradford Amber just another point behind, and Dooley Red four off the top. Titans White are just two points further back, with Wheatley on four points in their first Championship season. Fantastic stuff !

So, onto League One on Pitch Three, and it was a warm welcome to our new referee Phillip, taking the whistle for his first SYorksACL afternoon. Phillip had six round-robin fixtures to control, and in the first, Club Doncaster Titans (Red) edged Aston Swallownest (Blue) in a cracking opening match, watched by Titans coach Dannyl Hall. “Game 1 started out end to end with attempts from both teams, and the game was predominantly going Titans way,” Dannyl reported.  “In the 2nd half and no team had broken the deadlock until Callum Ward crossed a beautiful ball in for Dan to get the slightest of head touches to break the deadlock, making it 1 – 0 Titans just before the final whistle. Titans Red 1 Aston S 0.”

You can see pictures of Dan celebrating his fantastic header in the picture gallery!

In game two, Aston Blue stayed on for a close encounter with Derek Dooley Orange watched for us by Claire Cowlishaw.

“The Orange team had 3 games and were without their player/coach Nathan, but the lads didn’t let him down,” Claire told ww.syacl.com.  “They started against Aston, which was an even game and some great saves from Shaun kept them in the game. There was some solid defending from Clark and John, with Richard in the middle keeping the team together. Jamie Lee had a great run down the wing, but the ball didn’t reach Gregg due to some good defending from Aston. A lovely pass over to Gregg went wide. A really good save from Shaun with his feet, he passed out to Richard who sent Jamie Lee on his way, and he scored. Good team performance saw them keep the lead.”

Next, Titans Red faced Sheffield FC White. The Sheffield team took the points with a 3 – 0 win, to the delight (not) of Titans’ Dannyl Hall! “In our second game, against Sheffield FC,  I can’t say much about this game but the only thing I can say is I think we were robbed!

Titans Red 0 Sheffield 3”

After Aston Swallownest (Blue) had slugged out a super 1 – 1 draw with Sheffield FC (White), Titans (Red) were back in action in a goalless draw with Derek Dooley Orange. Titans Dannyl Hall felt much better about the match. “In our third game v Derek Dooley, it was a great game all around with no malice and both teams had several chances,” he explained. “Even when 2 Titans players were sin binned for walking onto another pitch, Derek Dooley should have taken advantage, but Titans held their own all game.”

Dooley’s Claire Cowlishaw watched the same game.  “The second game was against Doncaster, this was another even game with chances at both ends. There was some good play in the middle by Aiden and Richard and up to Gregg but went wide. The game was end to end but all the shots went wide at both ends. John and Clark worked well together at the back and lovely passing between Dean, Aiden and Gregg. Solid tackles going in saving the day.”

The last game of the day saw Sheffield FC (White) take the points against Dooley Orange. Here’s Claire from Dooley; ”Not much rest, they were straight up for the last match against the top team Sheffield FC. This game started well with some good runs from Jamie Lee and solid defending by John and Richard. Sheffield came strong and scored past Shaun. They kept going but shots were saved.”

“A good day for the Orange team with a win, draw and loss,” Claire summed up.  “But a great team effort with all working together as a team and playing with smiles on their faces. 

In League One, Sheffield FC White has a seven point lead going into the final round of matches in March. Ever-improving Dooley (Orange) are chasing, with Aston (Blue) and Titans (Red) doing well on eight and six points respectively.

Stand by for a thrilling last day in the 7-a-side Divisions next month at Concord.

Thanks to our referees Sean, Brian and Phillip, to our brilliant match reporters Sharon, Martin, Claire and Dannyl, and to our editor Margaret.

We’re back next week with the Open-age 5-a-side Matchday from Goals Sheffield next Sunday.www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com will be there.