Promise shown in North East Futsal Cup
The club took an 11 man CFC Development Squad over to Stockton on 4th August 2013 to take part in an 8 team tournament hosted by National League Futsal club Middlesbrough FC.
The squad had only been training together since the start of July so there was a degree of anticipation and trepidation amongst the players and staff going into the tournament.
Head Coach Stuart Darlington formed the development squad by selecting a number of talented players playing in the local Futsal leagues. Ahead of the tournament Stuart commented ‘We are building a squad of technically gifted footballers at the moment. The plan is to take these players and coach them in the necessary tactical and technical elements of Futsal so we can compete with the established Futsal clubs around the country. There are lots of good players playing in the local Futsal leagues but we’re also looking at the local football leagues to source talent. We are always looking for players with the right technical ability and more importantly the right attitude to learn. Those that demonstrate this will have every chance to go on and represent Carlisle at the highest level of Futsal competition in the country in the FA national futsal league. All of the lads we have in our development squad fit this profile and with the age they are all at it bodes well for the future.’
And Stuart is not wrong, the average age of the squad that travelled to Stockton was just 20 years old with four of the eleven just sixteen.
The tournament started off well. Carlisle took on Teeside Futsal Club, who now play in the second tier of the FA national Futsal league North, eventually drawing the game after the referee awarded a dubious penalty right on the buzzer. Some sound words from Stuart Darlington re focused the players for the second game against Hartlepool side Albion FC who had held 1st Division National League team Middlesbrough A to a 2-2 draw in their first fixture.
Head coach Stuart Darlington delivers a team talk ahead of the second group game.
The players used the injustice from the first game to inspire them to victory against a decent Albion FC, recording their first win of the tournament. CFC then faced Middlesbrough A and were taught a harsh lesson but one that made the whole trip worthwhile. Simple mistakes at elite level sport get punished. The young squad were outplayed and let their frustrations show through indicsipline and basic error, losing their final group game by 4 goals to nil which threatened their place in the semi finals due to goal difference.
The group results and goal difference now meant that progression to the semi finals depended on Albion FC getting a result against Teeside Futsal Club. In a topsy turvy game Albion FC did the business which sealed Carlisles passage to the semi final to face the winners of group B. A confident semi final performance saw CFC dispose of their opponents in a 3-1 victory which in truth should have been more.
Middlesbrough A also progressed which meant the final was a rematch of the final group game. The development squad were given the remit to go out enjoy their achievement of reaching the final, eradicate the errors from the previous game and to use the game as a learning tool.
And they did just that, eventually losing the game 4-2 but showing real flashes of Futsal quality. Middlesbrough A used all of their experience and it was a pleasure for both CFC players and staff to observe some great Futsal played by them. The tournament provided the players with the learning experience they sought and the achievement of reaching the final was something everyone associated with the club can be proud of.