The Grimsby Town Sport and Education Trust Futsal team can be proud of their performance at the Football League’s National finals last week.
The Futsal project has been running for the past year with the Trust, competing in Football League Trusts regional North East League. The two Mariners sides finished the season strong, finishing third and second in their divisions beating both Bury and Middlesbrough on the final day of the season to gain qualification to the National finals. The National Finals was made up of other professional Futsal teams from around the country, who finished in the top three of their respective division.
The Mariners' group included Doncaster Rovers, Brighton, Chesterfield, Bristol City and the 2012 National champions Reading.
The Mariner's first fixture was against Doncaster Rovers; Grimsby started and finished the game the better side, hitting the woodwork on six occasions. The game finishing 0-0 and the Rovers keeper handed man of the match after an outstanding display of reaction saves. The second fixture saw the Mariners take on the current national champions Reading. It was clear from the start that this was a good Reading side that moved the ball quickly and showed good individual technical ability. The game finished 4-0 to the Royals, a tough lesson for the Mariners side. From this point Town pushed on, winning their remaining three group fixtures, beating Brighton 6 -0, Chesterfield 4 – 3 and Bristol City 3 – 1. The Mariners finished 2nd in their group and moved onto the quarter finals where they faced Premier League club Crystal Palace.
This started a tight affair, but it was Town whose counter attacking style of play scored first. This first goal allowed Town to push on and take control, with Palace starting to look tired and feeling the effects of the heat inside the arena. Town finished the game 4 – 0 winners. The draw took place for the Semi finals and the Mariners were up against their local rivals Scunthorpe. This was a game that neither team wanted to lose for both local pride and the place in the final up for grabs. Both sides started the games competitively with a clear desire to want to win. As the first half came towards a close it was the Mariners counter attacked and Jack Burrows neatly lifting the ball over the Scunthorpe keeper to make it 1- 0 at Half time. Town started the second half defensively, allowing Scunthorpe the ball in their own half and defending their own area tightly. This style of play allowed Town to invite Scunthorpe on and when they committed more players forward in hope for a goal, Town counter attacked and secured a second goal again through Burrows. In the final minutes Scunthorpe pushed everyone forward including the goalkeeper but again was caught out when Nathan Lambert shot from 35 yards into the empty net. A great semi final and a great advert for the Futsal Programme, with both teams giving everything to progress and seal a place in the final.
The Mariners met with Reading once again in the final, which were looking to retain their national league title. Reading started the game the stronger side dominating possession but Town were defending well not allowing Reading to break them down. The Mariners counter attacking style created two chances which the Reading keeper saved well. Reading continued to probe away at the Town defence and found a way through eventually just before half time. The second half Town pushed to try get back in the game but Reading caught Town on the break securing their second. Reading now had total control of the game and went on to score four more finishing 6-0. The final was one game too many for the Mariners’ side who were exhausted going into the game, from the arena heats and the amount of playing time to reach the final.
And coach Mark Westerby was proud of his lads.
He said: “Personally as their coach I’m really proud of their efforts, this is their first year in the competition and for some their first year playing the Futsal. All the players have been outstanding throughout the year, and to reach the national finals and beat some big clubs on route to the final is a massive achievement within it self. “We have gone into the tournament missing three key players which would hit any team hard in a tournament like this. Reading were a very strong side, this was their second year in the tournament, so they have that extra year on us but we will work hard next year and hopefully go one step further. The players have represented the club with pride.”
Grimsby Town FC Sport and Education Trust are offering a unique opportunity for talented 16 or 17 year-old football players to pursue a two-year Futsal and Education Scholarship. This is an innovative and exciting programme for 16-17 years old to be involved in a professional programme while gaining a first class education.
The scholarship is a full time education programme, involving:
• BTEC Level 3 Diploma, worth 3 A-Levels
• Access to University or Further Education
The Trust currently has spaces left for next years Futsal squad, and trials are taking place:
• Date - Friday 12th July
• Time – 5 - 7.30pm
• Where – Clee Field Sports Hall, Lady Smith Road, Grimsby
If you need more information visit www.gtfcset.co.uk or contact Mark Westerby on (01472) 696481 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow us on twitter @gtfcset.