The home of Middlesbrough Futsal Club.
By Matt Hardy - Monday, 06 February, 2012
Manchester come back from four down to save precious point in ‘Boro.
Thornaby Pavilion played host to one of the games of the season on Sunday as Manchester Futsal Club came back from 3-0 down at half time to draw 5-5 with title rivals, Middlesbrough.
On a day where many FA National Futsal League games were lost to the weather, with concerns over safety causing the cancellation of the majority of fixtures, the two northern powerhouses slugged out an absolute thriller in front of a typically loud and energetic crowd in the North East.
The home side had the better of the early exchanges and raced into a three goal lead after just seven minutes with goals from captain Robbie Bettson, Marc Caballeria and Pete Bulmer. They controlled the second half and a fourth goal from Mikey Roberts seemingly put the game to bed.
Manchester however had other ideas and the Northern League leaders again showed some of that resilience which has put them in such a good position this campaign to strike back quickly. Two goals from Stuart Cook and Sam Richardson in just two minutes turned up the heat on the home side with just 15 minutes to go.
Despite the visitors' pressure and the tension rising, Damon Shaw’s side added goal number five through Bettson before a period of ill discipline allowed Manchester a route back into the tie.
A culmination of fouls resulted in Cook calmly slotting home not one, but two long range penalties to complete his hat-trick and bring the score back to 5-4 with just three minutes remaining. Then with just eight seconds left on the clock, Manchester found the equaliser to take home a valuable point back in the title race.
Middlesbrough will be disappointed post-game and the draw will feel more like a loss after being in such a strong position at half time. They are still however in position to qualify for the play-offs and Shaw will take great positives from the fact that his young squad had the leaders rocking for large parts of this encounter.
Elsewhere and due to the adverse weather conditions, only three other fixtures took place. Champions Helvecia thrashed Spartans 9-3 at Bethnal Green whilst Kickers beat London United 5-3 at the Score Centre in the two Southern League fixtures to take place.
In the Midlands, leaders Oxford Lions extended their advantage to nine points with a 7-1 taming of Birmingham Tigers in Birmingham. The Lions all but cemented their place in the Grand Finals, but as the Thornaby Thriller showed, nothing is certain in Futsal.
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