By Matt Hardy
With the business end of The FA National Futsal League season now in full swing, the drama, thrills and spills of Futsal were all on show in this weekend’s round of National League fixtures.
Team Bath and Oxford City Lions shared the spoils in a dramatic and hard fought 4-4 draw, as the Midland Division's top two could not be separated at the Parks Sports Centre.
A hat-trick from England captain Luke Ballinger and a goal from Welsh international Sion Kitson helped Bath cling on to a point in Oxford and maintain their slim two point advantage over their Division One title rivals.
With the top two drawing, Loughborough would’ve been hoping to close the gap as they entertained Birmingham in an evening kick-off at the Campus Netball Centre.
But in an eventful and goal crazy evening, the sides couldn’t be separated as Michael Skubala’s scholars were forced to settle for a point in a 10-10 draw.
Rookies Gloucester strengthened their grip on fifth place with a 7-4 win over bottom club Cardiff, whilst a win for Birmingham Tigers boosted their survival hopes as they saw off Hereford by the same scoreline.
In the North, the top two also clashed and again neither could be separated as a late Jonny Steel strike pegged back Manchester at Hillsborough Leisure Centre where Sheffield held on to a 4-4 draw and maintained their slim advantage at the top of the Division One table.
Middlesbrough confirmed their Super League status with an 11-8 victory at home to Leeds & Wakefield, whilst a second-half fight from Hull, saw them beat FS Derby Willows 6-4 to condemn the home side to relegation in their first full National League campaign.
Helvecia tightened their grip on the Southern League crown, as they brushed Genesis aside in a 13-4 triumph.
Wins for London United (5-3 over West London), Baku United (7-0 at Kaunas) and FC Baltic (9-3 away at Kickers) confirmed the four qualifiers for the Super League from the South, completing the list of 12 clubs who will be involved in this spring’s new play-off format.
By Matt Hardy