Middlesbrough FC keep their season alive with fine victory.
Middlesbrough Futsal Club 7-6 Sheffield FC
The FA Futsal National League North
1.30pm, Sunday 6 March 2011
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A stunning comeback saw Middlesbrough snatch victory from league leaders Sheffield in a 13 goal thriller at Thornaby Pavilion on Sunday.
Boro came from behind to score five goals in five minutes and held their nerve to secure a narrow 7-6 win and keep their play-off hopes alive.
MFC had suffered a dismal 9-3 defeat to defending champions, Sheffield in the reverse fixture just three weeks earlier and looked a little gun shy in the opening exchanges.
A cautious start by Boro saw most of the attacking play come from Sheffield, but it was Boro who opened the scoring, when good play from Robbie Bettson allowed Mikey Roberts to slide the ball home into Sheffield’s gaping net.
An excellent reflex save from Boro goalkeeper Eliot Brown stopped an immediate Sheffield equaliser, but the visitors drew level eight minutes later when a long range shot from former Boro captain Ryon Leyshon deflected in off current captain Jason Kilbride's shoulder.
Sheffield then took the lead when a counter attack resulted in Burgess slotting in unmarked at the far post. Roberts equalised shortly before half time when a superb lay-off from Sean O’Brien played in Roberts who beat Jonas Puolamaki with a neat finish. But Sheffield regained the lead with a well struck penalty from Burgess after Kilbride’s accidental handball.
After the interval, Sheffield were in the ascendancy and the goals came at a steady pace from Ward, Chapmann and Steel. It looked to be all over from Boro, whose whole season was hanging in the balance.
With the game at 2-6, Boro boss Damon Shaw called a time out yelling ‘do it for the fans’ as the players ran back onto the pitch.
A crowd of around 50 home supporters, including Middlesbrough Football Club’s infamous Red Facton urged Boro on throughout. The Pavilion was festooned with Boro banners and flags and red and white confetti rained down whenever Boro scored.
Sheffield hadn’t counted on the fighting spirit of the Teessiders, or the effect the vocal home fans would have on the Boro players.
Mikey Roberts, the runaway man of the match, played like a man possessed, inspiring an awesome team comeback full of pride and passion.
In contrast, Sheffield seemed to lose belief, despite going close as the final whistle approached.
As play restarted Boro’s unbelievable comeback began. Talent and teamwork resulted in Pete Bulmer rifling home twice in quick succession, taking the score to 4-6 with Sheffield starting to panic.
Boro continued to press, cheered on by the home fans, and were rewarded with an own goal from Steel followed swiftly by Roberts completing his hat-trick with a thunderbolt which flew emphatically into the net.
Josh Phillip’s second goal of the season proved to be the winning strike, although Boro had to stay focused to deny Sheffield a late equaliser, and Leyshon hit the post.
The final whistle saw jubilant celebrations from the Boro boys, and dejection from the Sheffield camp.
Sheffield remain top of the table but will be desperately disappointed to have thrown away such a strong lead.
Boro now have to win their remaining five games and hope Sheffield and Manchester drop points if they are to have any hope of securing a place in The FA Futsal League playoffs.