Courtesy: The PressYork City Futsal wrap up league crown with pulsating draw
YORK City Futsal retained their National League Division Two North title with two games to spare thanks to a pulsating 5-5 draw with Tranmere Rovers at the University of York Sports Arena.
The Minstermen were unable to win for the 11th time in succession and scraped their way to the point they needed, but when the final whistle sounded it mattered little to a jubilant home crowd.
The hosts welcomed England international Robbie Bettson back into the fold and ‘keeper Phil Codd passed a late fitness test, but they were without skipper Daniel Pedras due to suspension.
Rovers were 2-0 up after 13 minutes and it looked like City’s dream day would turn sour.
They stabbed home the first in the eighth minute when the ball slipped through Codd’s hands and into the roof of the net, before they broke away and slotted home with Fabinho Almeida marooned as the last defender.
Nerves were frayed but Bettson’s close-range effort eased those, tapping in on the post from Miguel de Vicente’s low delivery from a free-kick.
Bettson helped them draw level four minutes after the break when he was quickest to the loose ball after de Vicente had been brought down, crossing to Almeida who converted at the back post.
The visitors looked to assert themselves again but when one of their attacks broke down James Briars was quick to shift the ball wide and to de Vicente who put his side in the lead for the first time.
De Vicente got his 12th goal of the campaign when he slammed Joao Costa’s lay-off into the bottom corner to make it 4-2.
The Merseysiders pulled level, though, as one of their Spanish contingent cut in off the right-hand side to score and then he set up his colleague to bundle in a leveller.
With a penalty shot awarded when a team exceeds five fouls in a half, the tigerish competitiveness of the game began to add up and Tranmere were awarded two penalties.
The first was sprayed well wide after Dylan McAvoy’s foul, before de Vicente was punished for a very slight infringement when Rovers went 5-4 in front with a well-taken penalty.
The glory would fall to Victor Manuel, who sealed the title with an equaliser from an Almeida cross. No less crucial were two of Codd’s saves in the final thirty seconds.
City head coach Junior Roberti commented: “You cannot deny we felt nerves and that transferred into the game. We’ve been having fantastic crowds here and we had to win in front of these people.
“Liverpool away wasn’t the game we wanted to celebrate on and we didn’t want to win far away from the people who have supported us.
“We did it in front of them and that’s brilliant.”
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari