By Paddy Finnemore
Derby Futsal endured a painful 6-4 defeat to York as the gap to the top of the National Futsal Series table increases.
This game was touted as a winner takes all affair. Both sides were only separated by a single point and a win for either side would give them a huge boost towards promotion.
Derby was looking for revenge after York defeated them earlier on in the season 7-5.
With defeat on Sunday, The Rams fell to their third defeat in a row and potentially ruined their chance of promotion.
With the pressure on both teams to win, it was Derby who started the brightest. In the second minute, captain Pawel Tomczak held the ball up well bringing his teammates into play, he then played the ball to Jordan Riley who picked Liam Hunt out with excellent vision and with an accurate finish Hunt opened the scoring and gave The Rams a well-deserved lead.
Only a minute later, York equalised. A short, sharp passing move cut open the Derby defence and left Jed Devine open in the middle with an easy finish to level up the scoring.
It was clear to see that these two sides were the best in the division and fighting for promotion. Moving the ball quickly and playing the game at an electric pace, both sides creating chances and not giving each other a moment’s breath. The atmosphere was exhilarating.
With two minutes left of the first half, York took the lead. Thiago Braga showed his class in beating his man, fired his shot passed the Derby keeper Jez Poulson but it cannoned off the post, Jacob Wilson was there to follow up and score his second goal of the season.
Derby’s deficit was increased 40 seconds before the buzzer as George smith squeezed his shot past Poulson and inside the front post to swing the momentum to York. With a large crowd, the atmosphere was electric, and York was playing off that.
The Rams started the second half the strongest, Riley was involved again as he rifled a shot that flew past the York keeper. A great start to what was a vital second half.
York showed their fight and determination by replying immediately through Pina, York again moved the ball precisely to unlock the Derby defence. York was firing now. Devine got his second of the game and eighth of the season as his shot flew past the helpless Poulson to give Derby a mountain to climb.
Derby never stops trying though. With seven minutes remaining, Tomczak and Jamie Gregory combine with a great give and go, Gregory then calmly finishes, getting one back. Three minutes later Vytas Jelinskas got The Rams within one. Holding off his marker, he was able to turn and shoot a rocket of a shot right into the top corner to give Derby a glimmer of hope.
Braga bought Derby’s momentum to a halt. As the away side went into the Fly tactic the ball went loose and fell to Braga, he still had a lot to do. Gliding past two challenges he was free and only had one defender to beat, with a drop of the shoulder and a fine finish he got the final goal of the game and gave York the all-important victory.
Derby will have to pick themselves up as quickly as possible and try and get out of this poor run of form. Their next game is on the 3rd of April against Leicester.