A typical day of Sunday Futsal. It was an early start to the morning to get to the venue on time for the first kick-off and luckily I got a ride from the league organiser as our routes coincided. The night’s sleep of eight hours had really done most of its job as I woke up in the morning feeling much better recovered from the previous day’s proceedings. Not 100% but definitely a whole lot better from Match Day 1.
The day had mixed feelings having been appointed to an Futsal Cup Final as the Third Referee for the U14 Boys division which I would have loved to uphold but duty called and the league I started in needed referees for Sunday.
I wasn’t about to let the reason I was able to start Futsal and be in the Cup in the first place suffer for it! So I gave up my chance at my first Referee medal and eagerly looked forward to another exciting day of Futsal in the U12 Boys division albeit with a little regret. The teams playing are of mixed skill level and it is definitely a pleasure to watch and manage the games of those teams that have superior teamwork and skill on the ball as Futsal quite rightly promotes.
I was able to work with a new official RC on this day and it’s interesting to meet more and more people all the time! The particular note of game day was the final of the four matches. Having come off the third game which ended 24-1, most of the games were not quite close-contests but I sensed this would be different as both teams warming-up before kick-off had a different mood. I told RC that this game would be interesting and he agreed after the final whistle.
One of the particular plays I remembered was that the home team were awarded a DFK outside the PA. I counted the 5 metres for the defending wall to be positioned and set the wall. I quickly warned them of encroachment as they seemed edgy. I stood back and whistled the free kick. An attacking player ran over the ball to feint and the second player approached the ball but stopped just short. A defending player from the wall had charged so far that his foot was less than 50cm from the ball and the ball hadn’t been kicked. I decided to leave him with a strong warning and reset the wall again for the free kick to be retaken. I had whistled again and the same set piece play ensued but when the second attacking player took the kick, the same defender had stepped a yard out of the wall and the ball deflected off his body as it sailed over for a goal clearance. This was a textbook caution so I stopped play and displayed the yellow card. He never did it again. The free kick retaken for the third time sailed harmlessly over the goal.
The match was indeed a close-contest. Scoring went up for one team and then was equalised until it was left with 4 goals-a-piece by the 19th minute of the second half. The home team had hit 5 accumulated fouls so they were in danger of losing the match if they incurred another foul. There was no visible stopwatch but everyone was aware that we were in the last minute of play when I replied to a parent’s question behind me. I raised my right arm to look at my watch and saw 19:50 momentarily flash back at me. I was sure that it could only end in a draw with only 10 seconds on the clock remaining. A home team player had a go from the halfway mark and the goalkeeper scooped it up on the ground but the shot was strong. It slipped from his hands and started rolling back towards the goal, he made another diving attempt to pounce on it but it was just out of reach and entered the goal. The entire gym erupted in cheers. I couldn’t hear anything and this was a regular league game! The home team fans were especially excitable and only numbered about 15 people but I’m sure they were celebrating a World Cup winning goal if I had my eyes closed and listened to the proceedings.
A few seconds later the whistle was blown by my co-referee and the players ran to their coach celebrating and I joined my colleague at the centre of the pitch. I smiled at him and we both knew we had witnessed a great game. The players from the defeated side took the loss in stride and congratulated the other team. Very sporting behaviour and the goalkeeper who had lost control of the ball in the dying seconds was in tears. The poor goalkeeper. Such is Futsal.
Futsal Cup match day recap to follow tomorrow.