By Club Reporter, George Pacitto
A lot can change in twelve months, and a lot can remain the same. A year ago Carlisle were recovering from a damaging opening day defeat against FS Derby, something that rocked pre-season optimism. 12 months on and the team suffered a similar opening day defeat but this time to 3 times Northern division champions Sheffield, and the result has given real hope that the season can progress in a similar manner to the 2014/15 campaign which saw Carlisle finish 2015 unbeaten.
Chairman Al Tindall was evidently disappointed with the Sheffield result, yet feels there are positives to take “where we are in our stage of development, our Futsal knowledge, our experience and the step up in class, the result was as expected – a narrow defeat.”
“We can take comfort in the fact we performed poorly in terms of executing our system and yet still had a chance to take something from the game before they scored late on. 12 months ago we would have taken a real beating at this level.”
However, this weekend will see Carlisle Futsal Club return to their home which in 2014/15 proved to be a real fortress winning all of their games played at the Sands Centre.
Over half a year has passed since the thrilling 5-4 victory over eventual division champions FS Derby, and things have insurmountably changed since. Losing the battle but winning the war, Carlisle finished in 3rd place last season, but their late season upturn in results and subsequent application to the FA were impressive enough to mean that from now the Sands Centre will be hosting top-flight domestic Futsal in the form of the FA Futsal Super League North.
With the season now underway, the table currently looks something like an OCD sufferer’s dream. Four teams were victorious, four teams were not. Already half the league has a divide to cross if they want to be in the play-off spots by the end of the season. While this is Carlisle’s target for their first ever top division campaign, they know improvements have to be made in their play to stand a chance. Playing in front of a home crowd may be just the tonic the squad needs to get their first Super League points on the board.
With extended capacity for this campaign, there is even more chance to be a part of the best atmosphere in English Futsal. It is known that some teams were caught unaware by the power of the crowd last season, and Carlisle will be looking to utilise any advantage in this year’s Super League.
This week’s opposition Birmingham are yet another step up in quality.
“Birmingham won the midlands division last year and finished the season as the second best team in the country behind pro outfit London Baku. Our performance on Sunday will show everyone how far we have come”, Tindall explained, “but also how far we have to go to get to the top. One thing is for sure is it’ll be a great show. We hope to be able to take something from the game and surprise a few people.”
Carlisle Futsal have been surprising people since they joined the National league last season. Nobody would bet against one more this Sunday.
Tickets for the game can be purchased at the Sands centre reception on the day of the game priced at £5 each.