A battle was expected in the final match between Maccabi GB Futsal and Kaunas Futsal and that is exactly what transpired as the away side ran out resounding 10-2 winners against the Community’s top Futsal team.
The previous fixture had proved to be a colossal match that Maccabi GB just overcame to win 3-2. With revenge on their minds and more caution in their armoury Kaunas came flying out the blocks, pressing whenever they could and pinning Maccabi GB in their own half.
The pressure told and minutes into the fixture, Kaunas found the breakthrough. A shot which looked destined to miss at the back post was actually bundled in from a runner who was not tracked. This sent the enormous Kaunas support into raptures and visibly stunned both the players and support of the Maccabi GB camp.
Kaunas were soon in dreamland as they opened the gap to 0-2 and then 0-3 from identical goals that were proving to rip open the zonal formation Maccabi GB Futsal had set-up with.
MGB were 0-3 down and player-manager Jon Kurrant called a time-out to get his players some respite in the hope of ensuring a foothold back into the game. His words seemed to have instilled some calm as, straight from the timeout, MGB went on the offensive. Some great interplay between Gideon Barnett and Kurrant allowed the latter to scoop the ball over the last defender, shimmy to the right of the keeper and side-foot it into the top corner. 1-3 and the home team were back in it.
For the first time, Kaunas’ goal was under siege. Rasping efforts from Shulton and Kurrant had the keeper scrambling and the more possession Maccabi GB had, the more fouls they were accumulating for themselves. Five fouls against Kaunas was called shortly after. With 10 minutes to go until the end of the first half, MGB were firmly back in the game.
Shulton drove from a counter and, sprinting from the half way line with support on tow from Olcot and Bernstein, the trio split the opposition defence open and allowed Maccabi GB’s skipper to toe his effort low and hard. It took the keeper by surprise and clawed back the deficit to one goal.
Kurrant had accumulated most of the fouls against him and once again he was taken down. This resulted in a 10m penalty for Maccabi GB which the player-manager took. Although he sent the keeper the wrong way, his foot just reached the ball to save the effort and keep the scores as they were. Another foul was committed and another 10m penalty was awarded to Maccabi GB. Shulton this time took the penalty and again the keeper kept it out.
Kurrant went close again when Shulton fired a sideline into his chest. He turned the defender and struck a left foot volley which was tipped over. Then Olcot sent a rasping effort wide moments later. Maccabi GB was in the ascendency and should have been ahead.
Three catastrophic errors occurred in the final minutes of the half that meant Kaunas went in at the break 2-6.
In the opening minute of the second half, Kaunas struck twice to go 2-8 and take the game away from Maccabi GB. The home side attempted to rally with a power-play, but poor refereeing decisions meant Kaunas took full advantage and finished the day 2-10 after dominating the second half.
A scoreline that flattered Kaunas, but the game of Futsal has shown that if you don’t finish your chances when you are in the ascendency it can come back to haunt you.
Daniel Lipman deserves a mention for a heroic performance in the MGB goal and went home with his side’s man-of-the-match.
Maccabi GB Futsal has one final game to make it into the next stage of the FA Futsal Cup semi-finals. They face Oxford Futsal this weekend, with the winner progressing to the next stage.
1. Daniel Lipman
3. Alex Olcot
8. Scott Shulton
12. Jon Kurrant
14. Max Kyte
4. Taylor Gershon
5. Jordan Davidson
6. Alex Norman
9. Gideon Barnett
10. Max Radford
11. Jamie Bernstein