By Club Reporter George Pacitto
Pride and excitement swept across the Sands Centre on Sunday, as Carlisle Futsal Club handed division champions Derby their first defeat of the season. A pulsating 5-4 victory was feasted on by a sold out arena as Carlisle finished the season with a flourish.
Belief within the squad is decidedly different from back in mid-September, when a 7-3 defeat to Derby knocked pre-season momentum. There have been many highs and lows in this inaugural National League season for Carlisle, but it is impossible to put anything above the feeling all players and staff enjoyed following the final whistle.
Captain Jon Reay, himself a key cog in Carlisle’s game plan for Derby, enjoyed the occasion despite the inevitable tension. “It was a really great game & a good advert for futsal – plenty of excitement, goals, chances, skills… just what spectators love”
The match itself only took a minute and a half to find its first goal, Carlisle taking the lead for the first of what would be four times, Ryan Errington with a neat finish inside the area. A Derby response was near-imminent, and they made it 1-1 merely a minute later with a similar goal.
With both sides clearly at full throttle, even these two strong defences weren’t going to take long to be breached again. And sure enough, a strong effort from Rob McCartney after a long, winding run from Errington regained the home side’s lead. Another goal each before the half was out brought the score to 3-2 at the break.
With the atmosphere ramped up a notch, the action resumed. Carlisle kept Derby at arm’s length, starting up vicious looking counter attacks themselves. Another day could have seen the 4-2 lead gained much earlier, but it came 8 minutes into the second half, a double effort from Paul Reay, on his home debut, finding the back of the net.
Derby are champions for a reason, however, and the inevitable onslaught came. Keen to keep an unblemished record in their ‘losses’ category of the table, they changed their system to regain eventual parity. Two deflected goals in five minutes brought it to four each, and suddenly the fixture was a real contest again.
Following massive chances at either end, with keeper Andy Wills heeding his call to arms on numerous occasions, the big moment came. Captain Thorpe for Derby was sent off for a second booking, and from the resulting free-kick, Josh Simpson combined with Ryan Errington for the latter’s hat-trick. A fitting personal triumph for the obvious choice for Man of the Match.
Cheers swept across the Sands as the final whistle went, a happy crowd that had clearly bought into the Carlisle project. “The Sands is a super venue for futsal”, said Reay, “the club make it a real event.”
“With the music, the announcements & cheerleaders it creates an exciting environment to go & play.”
Head Coach Al Tindall was delighted with the win in what was his last game in charge
“the win was particularly pleasing because we were understrength on the day. We were missing two key players in Ryan Todd and Luke Miller and of our 7 new signings we were only able to get 3 of them on court today due to injury and work commitments. The even more remarkable thing is that only half of that 12 man squad had ever played Futsal more than twice in their lives and without being disrespectful to the performance of Derby we thoroughly deserved that win, at 4-2 their goalkeeper made some quite unbelievable saves which would have killed the game off had they gone in, in the end the score line flattered Derby a little. All credit to them though they made it a fantastic contest and the game was a real spectacle for the sell-out crowd who will all be back next season that’s for sure.”
“We look forward to working with the squad over the next 6 months now, providing them with as much Futsal education and experience as we can and we’re really excited to see what level they can take the Club to.”
The result leaves Carlisle in what was an all-but-confirmed 3rd place in the FA National League Division 2 and ruing a poor start to the season that all but ended dreams of a title challenge well before Christmas. With an undefeated home record to boast of, and this seasons champions put to the sword, Reay believes the squad can “prepare properly for next season full of optimism. It’s a shame the season has to end”.
The Club would like to once again thank the Heroes Cheerleading Squad for their superb support and Martin Reay of No Band Required for his MC and DJ skills. Also a special thanks to the sell out crowd for their superb support throughout the season. We cant wait to see you again for the 2015/16 season.
MOM: Ryan Errington. A real thorn in Derbys side the whole game and grabbed himself a hat-trick. A special mention goes to Paul Reay who on his home debut was as equally good in possession.