By Paddy Finnemore
Derby Futsal’s unbeaten run comes to an end after a tough 4-2 defeat to Sunderland in the National Futsal Series.
This was the game in hand that Derby had that with victory, they would have gone to the top of the NFS table. But unfortunate their four-game unbeaten run came to an end.
Sunderland was having a strong season. Sitting in the mid-table they were at no risk of the bottom sides catching them, but a win makes an outside chance of promotion possible.
The Rams started the game the strongest. The first chance fell for Gareth Keeling. A wonderful pass by Liam Hunt meant that Keeling was through one on one but ultimately could not beat the Keeper.
The first goal of the game went to Sunderland in the third minute. quick passing around the box was hard for Derby to defend and eventually, Josh Clark found himself free in the middle and had an easy tap in.
After the goal it was Derby who had the better chances, Hunt and Matt Richardson came closest but Sunderland led at the break.
Five minutes in Derby got their equaliser, Vytas Jelinskas was there to score his sixth of the season, scrapping to get the ball into the net. It wasn’t pretty but they got the vital goal.
Only a minute later, Sunderland retook the lead, Tom Chandler scored to set the Rams back and then Clark got his second of the game with a wonderful finish. Close to the goal, on the stretch, he was able to scoop the ball over the covering defenders to give the home side a cushion to hold. Within a matter of seconds, Sunderland Captain Robbie Bettson got their fourth of the game after he slammed the ball into the roof of the net with aplomb.
As soon as the fourth went in for Sunderland, Derby switched to the fly keeper tactic and it paid off as Hunt, who was playing as the keeper squeezed his shot past the Sunderland keeper to give Derby hope. However, the negative of the fly keeper was that there is always a chance you can concede at any moment. Sunderland keeper, Phill Codd saw that was no one in the Derby goal and accurately kicked the ball from his hands in the opposition net to make it 5-2.
The fight and spirit from Derby were clear to see as Jelinskas got his second of the game and seventh of the season with a fine finish into the roof of the net. However, the comeback was short-lived at the Bettson bothers both got on the scoresheet as Jamie Bettsons cored to confine the Rams to defeat.
This result is a hiccup in Derby’s season, but the title challenge is still not over and there are many big games left. Starting with Liverpool this Sunday at the University of Derby.