Oxford win sees them roar to the top of Futsal League.
Team Bath 5-7 Oxford Lions
The FA Futsal National League Midlands
Sunday 8 January 2012
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Before the start of this vitally important fixture in The FA National Futsal League, both teams knew at the end of play, regardless of the result, they would both still be in first and second place in the league. However, after the scintillating first match between these two back in early December when Oxford won 7-6 with 12 seconds to go, another closely contested match was surely on the cards for the noisy crowd that were in attendance.
Team Bath were looking to avenge that result before Christmas, whilst Oxford had the chance to top the Midlands league following their meteoric progress since joining The FA National Futsal League.
The importance of the game to both teams was emphasised in the opening exchanges with each starting at a fairly low tempo almost like a chess game waiting for the other team to move first. Oxford then broke the deadlock with a cute pass behind the Bath defence that was toe poked home by England Captain Luke Ballinger.
Bath responded and began moving the ball into key areas of the court with Jennings and Dorin going close. A minute later, Bath equalised through the ever reliable Parkes stretching for a rebound poking the ball home.
The game was now going from end to end with both goalkeepers being called into action early on and responding with a string of fine saves. However, neither side took control of the game for long enough periods to dominate.
Oxford quickly re-established their lead by two goals going up 3-1 with strikes from Gibin and Lucas Ferras. In reply, Bath scored a second through Parkes, again finishing off another flowing move of over ten passes.
At half-time, Bath settled themselves and began the second half where they finished off the first and got the score back to 3-3, Parkes scoring his hat-trick at the back post after good work by Gardiner. This woke Oxford up who rallied scoring three counter attacking goals, the sixth Lions goal being the pick of them all as a long ball found its way to Ballinger standing in the left corner of the pitch and who volleyed it first time across to Bruno Gibbin who headed it into the goal.
Oxford were ruthless when presented the opportunities and if it was not for Dix in the Bath goal keeping the home side in the game, it could have been worse. At 3-6 down, Bath did not panic knowing they could score further goals against their opponents defence.
Two great passes within two minutes brought Bath back to 5-6. Firstly, on the diagonal Ollie Clarke played in Ingram to make it 4-6, before Kitson found Parkes who turned and shot to make it 5-6 with three minutes to go.
At 5-6, Bath were pushing on for the equaliser knowing that Oxford would be a threat on the counter. Man of the Match Brendan Dix in the Bath goal kept the home team in the game with an outstanding save at the back post, clawing a goal bound shot one handed from behind him to divert it over the bar.
This inspired the home team who ventured forward with the powerplay in the last two minutes as Oxford seemed to tire. A scrabble in front of goal almost led to the equaliser before the ball dropped down to an Oxford player who scored into an empty net to win the game for the visitors.
Oxford’s win see’s them now move three points ahead of Bath at the top of The FA National Futsal League Midlands Division. With the second half of the season now underway we can expect more twists and turns to come in the race for the title and play-off qualification.