All-conquering London side claim fifth consecutive title as FA National Futsal League draws to a thrilling conclusion at Grand Finals in Barking's Sporthouse.
Leading into this weekend’s FA National Futsal League Grand Finals, anticipation was high with everybody expecting a special couple of days.
The magnificent Sporthouse in Barking was the venue for what many were calling the best Grand Finals line up to date, a real sign of the progress that English Futsal is making. Straight from the kick-off on Saturday morning, it was clear that this was going to be a special weekend.
The entire weekend was a superb advert for the game and anyone in and around the building across the two days will have been instantly drawn by the thrills, spills and high octane drama of the game.
The competition was intense, the standard of Futsal on show was fantastic and the game was played in the best of spirits throughout the entire weekend.
As well as the main competition, the weekend was home to both of the Southern U18s Championships. West London U18s and Team Newbury were victorious on their respective days and both will return to Barking in two weekend’s time to battle it out for national honours prior to the England and Denmark international fixture.
In the senior event, Saturday’s group games epitomised Futsal. The games were end-to-end, the tactical war fierce and the drama of the fly goalkeeper gave supporters a real opportunity to see what makes Futsal special.
Group A was as close as it gets. Debuting Oxford Lions were victorious over northern kings Manchester in game one, before defeat to local boys Genesis in game number two left the group wide open.
Genesis needed a point, Oxford needed a Manchester win and Marcos Leon’s men needed an eight goal victory to qualify for the Grand Final. Against all of the odds they very nearly got their wish, eventually winning 7-3 after putting in a frighteningly good first-half display. That put the Lions in The Final in their debut National League season.
Group B was not as close but equally as dramatic. A spirited Middlesbrough side were undone by the experience of the champions in Group B’s opener, as Helvecia ran out 8-3 winners.
It was a disappointing result for Damon Shaw’s side, whose fantastic fan base made the long journey down from Teesside. With Helvecia carrying a noisy following of their own, the atmosphere in this game was the best of the weekend.
16-year-old Bradley Mills became one of the youngest goalscorers in Grand Finals history when he netted one of Boro’s three and his performance was such that he played a big part in their second game, an 8-4 victory over Team Bath.
Boro’s win left both teams needing a victory for Sion Kitson’s yellow army in the final game of the day to unseat the champions. It was not to be, as a dominant Helvecia display saw them run out 5-1 winners, booking their place in Sunday’s finale.
The Final was simply fantastic. It had everything as both teams put it all on the line in their fight for glory. In the end, despite the best efforts of player-of-the-tournament Lucas Totti Ferras and co, it was Helvecia who reigned supreme, lifting a fifth English title with a 5-2 victory and booking their place in next season’s UEFA Futsal Cup.
Their win, in what was a fabulous finale, kept their domination of English Futsal intact and ensured that Coach, Ronaldo Negrao will get another opportunity at the UEFA Futsal Cup in 2012-13.
Goals from Hereira (2), Raoni Medina (2) and Lima proved enough to beat off the valiant Lions side, whose goals came from Luke Ballinger and Lucas Totti to lift The Cup again.
Manchester’s Sam Richardson’s five goals across their two group games were enough to see him lift the Golden Boot, whilst Ronaldo Negrao’s champions were also Fair Play kings across a two day event that will live long in the memory.
If you want to get into Futsal, find out more on thefa.com/GetIntoFootball.