NEWS
England - May 12, 2024 22:00Report from EnglandNFS Tier 1 Semifinal: Bolton vs Bloomsbury 1-4BOLTON 1-4 BLOOMSBURY

NATIONAL FUTSAL SERIES TIER ONE PLAYOFF SEMI-FINAL (FIRST LEG)

Report and pictures by Ben Stevens - Total Futsal (X: @totalfutsal - Instagram: @total_futsal_ )


Stellar performances from New Zealand international pair, Jordan Ditfort and Logan Wisnewski, inspired Bloomsbury Futsal Club to an emphatic play-off semi-final victory over Bolton Futsal Club, coached by English futsal legend Stuart Cook, at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre on Sunday.

It hands the reigning National Futsal Series champions a significant advantage at the halfway stage of this crucial tie.

In England’s NFS, the top four teams from the Tier 1 league season compete in Play-Off semi-finals for a place in the Grand Final.

The winner earns a place in the UEFA Futsal Champions League qualification round.

Last season, Juan Tapia Owens lead Bloomsbury to an unbeaten domestic treble and a first taste of European club futsal.

But this year, it’s Manchester Futsal Club who have set the pace, winning Tier 1 without defeat.

They demolished Maidenhead United 9-1 in the first leg of the other playoff semi-final on Sunday and will be an intimidating prospect in the Grand Final.


FIRST HALF

When Sam McGrath tucked home his 13th goal of the season to give Bolton a first half lead, it looked as if Bloomsbury’s NFS crown was under threat.

Bolton felt they should have had a penalty soon after, when Northern Ireland international, Connor Kernohan, was inches away from converting into an open net, but for some last ditch Bloomsbury defending.

Instead, Bloomsbury began to impose themselves on the game, moving the ball patiently across court waiting for gaps to open.

And whilst prolific pivot Connor Millar, also of Northern Ireland, was kept unusually quiet by Bolton’s focus on ‘shutting the lines’, his movement created space for others.

Portuguese winger Eduardo Amorim (Bloomsbury’s top scorer with 16) moved in sharply from the right to slide home an equaliser midway through the first half.

Minutes later, the electric Jordan Ditfort pounced on a 10m penalty rebound to lash Bloomsbury into a halftime lead, pulling out a Eurostep celebration for the culture.


SECOND HALF

The second period was a clinic in game management from Bloomsbury’s New Zealand-born Head Coach, Sam Masterson, who replaced Tapia-Owens in March.

Bolton did pose threats, through England shot-stopper Joe Payne’s throws up to McGrath and rapid touchline combinations between Scotland international, Oscar Lucas and England u19s Mikey Bulmer, but Bloomsbury defended resolutely.

In possession, Bloomsbury’s fixes, Jamie Brooker (England u19s) and Wisnewski, took responsibility for slowing the tempo down and orchestrating smart first-phase rotations.

The lead was extended when a loose square pass was intercepted by Wisnewski who squared it for Amorim’s brace.

The hammer blow came two minutes from time, when a beautiful fake shot allowed England international, Toluwanimi Sotonye, to find Wisnewki at the back post who laid it on a plate for Sotonye’s former England teammate, Russell Goldstein, to fire home from close range.

It was a Bloomsbury goal, and performance, which makes Bolton’s task a whole lot harder heading into next Sunday’s decisive second leg in London, but Bolton will come out swinging, as they always do, to try and knock the English champions off their perch.


SECOND LEG
Bloomsbury vs Bolton- Sun 19th May- Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub- 1:50pm KO

Man of the match
JORDAN DITFORT- the 25 year-old New Zealander’s electric movement provided a constant outlet in the channels, aided by a magnetic first touch. Moved the ball quickly and took his goal instinctively.

Bolton vs Bloomsbury 1-4 (Photo: Total Futsal)




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