The Iron’s Futsal team will be heading to the capital city next month after progressing once more in the Soccer AM Cup.The side, who saw off competition in Leeds and Birmingham to reach the quarter finals, will progress to the final day of the competition, taking part in the semi finals and potentially the final on the same day – after coming second in their “group of death” at St George’s Park.
With eight teams left in the competition, Scunthorpe were drawn to face Derby County, Reading and Leeds United – arguably all of the top sides that the side would have preferred to avoid; with Rochdale, Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Bradford City forming Group Two.
Scunthorpe United Futsal 2-4 Derby County Futsal
The first game of the day saw the Iron clash with the Rams and after an unusual spell which saw the opening five minutes played without a goal – neither side wanting to make a mistake of concede first – the deadlock was broken by Derby.
Oliver Burt had an effort well saved by the Rams’ goalkeeper, who was impressive in all three matches, with the opposition outfield players countering quickly and slotting home at the near post of Keiran Phillips.
Thirty seconds later, Scunthorpe were dealt another blow as a long range effort deflected into the roof of the net doubled Derby’s lead.
A necessarily timed time-out from manager Gav Cooper sparked the Iron into life with Zach Meadows firing wide, before forcing the opposition goalkeeper into a double save after ten minutes.
Derby were in search of a third though, with Phillips parrying well as the Rams again tried their luck from range. Two minutes later, the opposition were at it again, twice drawing Phillips into fine saves in the space of ten seconds as they fired goalwards from range.
That third goal did come for Derby just before half time though as a long ball over the top found a player unmarked, with him coolly planting a volley into the top right hand corner of the net.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Adam Longstaff reduced the deficit. He brilliantly dispossessed the last man on the half way line, before advancing with the ball and slotting past the Rams’ shotstopper.
It was nearly 3-2 seconds later as Zach Shipman fired just wide of the target with the keeper helpless before he had another effort well saved in the next passage of play. The next opportunity for the Iron again fell to Longstaff, but his header was terrifically saved after what was the best passing move of the match.
Ben Brown came on to make the score 3-2 slotting home from range after 24 minutes, with Scunthorpe then really rallying for an equaliser. Matthew Welsh had a shot parried over, with Meadows looping a header over the bar with the keeper stranded.
United were always liable to the counter attack and had Zach Beedle to thank for keeper them in the game with a string of fine saves in the latter minutes of the game. However, he couldn’t prevent Derby from sealing the game in the final minutes, countering and slotting the ball beyond his grasp.
Scunthorpe United Futsal 2-1 Reading Futsal
Reading beat Leeds United 3-1 in the second game of the competition, with the former team staying on after a short break to face the Iron in the third game of the day.
A win for Gav Cooper’s team would keep qualification hopes alive and he called for a stronger start than in their opening game.
The opening five minutes were similar to that of the first game, although Longstaff nearly broke the deadlock after three minutes after route one football from Beedle. Longstaff fired into the side netting, with the goalkeeper quickly restarting in a break which drew Beedle into a fine save. Their follow-up shot seconds later flew wide.
As in the first game, the opposition broke the deadlock after five minutes, with the player finding space in the middle of the pitch before slotting the ball into the net.
Reading could have doubled their lead after ten minutes after a three-on-one break. Beedle made a superb save to deny them, with that missed opportunity sparking the Iron to life as they looked to get back on level terms before the break.
Meadows fired over the bar after eleven minutes with the goal gaping before Ryan Bonser had an effort blocked and an effort which hit the inside of the post as it threatened to not be United’s day.
The second half began quickly with Reading forcing Beedle into another good save after a left footed hooked shot, before the opposition shotstopper pulled off a similar save following an effort from Burt.
The equaliser came after 24 minutes though, with Brown again accredited with an important strike. He swept the ball home from 15 yards with a terrific finish as he found the ball in space.
Things threatened to boil over a minute later as a nasty tackle on a United player went unnoticed, only for the successive challenge from Longstaff to be picked up on. He was booked, much to the anger of the Iron team and manager.
However, Scunthorpe used the resultant free kick to Reading to their advantage, breaking with Meadows receiving the ball, turning and shooting low into the net.
A minute from time, Welsh nearly extended the lead, but once again the Royals goalkeeper made a good save – the Iron then holding on for the win.
Scunthorpe United Futsal 6-3 Leeds United Futsal
Derby County beat Leeds United 3-1 in the fourth game of the day, eliminating the Whites. However, victory for the Iron against the Yorkshire side would threaten three sides would finish on six points, depending on the result of the final game.
Once again, for the third time in the day, Scunthorpe would go behind – this time after just two minutes. Another long range shot was turned in by the Leeds number 7 three yards from goal, wrong-footing the United goalkeeper.
Dominance from that point would come from Scunthorpe though, with the side contriving to turn around the scoreline before half time. Longstaff hit the post after five minutes after good work from Bonser, before Welsh equalised in the eighth minute; slotting home from the left after good play in the middle of the pitch.
A minute later the reversal was complete. More good approach play from the Iron resulted in Burt passing the ball under the keeper.
Either team could have scored before the break, but Beedle was alert to tip a long range effort around the post, while Brown fired just wide of the mark after a long build-up involving the whole team.
Eighteen minutes in and the lead was extended to 3-1. A direct and central run then saw the ball fed to Welsh, with the left-footed player using his composure to again thread the ball under the goalkeeper.
Just 45 seconds later and it was 4-1 to United. Welsh turned provider, using his pace on the right to draw the goalkeeper from his goal. His pinpoint low cross was fired into the net by Meadows; with Scunthorpe looking seemingly home and dry.
On 25 minutes, Leeds pulled one goal back, before they made it 4-3 with three minutes later to set up a nervous finish.
However another two goals in as many minutes would prove to be vital in the long run; Bonser getting them both. He drilled a free kick low into the net following a foul on Brown, before he ran in for the rebound after a fine save from Leeds’ goalkeeper.
It could have been seven in the final seconds though, which would have guaranteed progression no matter what resulted the final fixture was, but Brown missed an open goal after doing the hard work.
Derby County Futsal 2-6 Reading Futsal
The Iron could do no more, but watch and hope that Reading didn’t win by exactly two goals. Any sort of victory for Derby or even a one goal defeat would sent them and Scunthorpe through, while any victory for Reading with a deficit of more than three goals would see the Iron and the Royals progress.
In the instance that Reading beat Derby by two goals exactly, both of the teams playing in the day’s final game would go through.
With Reading rushing into a 5-0 lead, Derby made United’s Futsal side bite their nails as the scores were reduced to 5-2 – just one goal away from elimination. However the Royals scored once more to seal their victory, with both they and the Iron celebrating at the final whistle.
The Futsal side will next be in action at the Copper Box Arena on May 17, 2015 for the semi-final and potentially the final of the Soccer AM Cup.