On Saturday 9 September 2023, Bootham Ladies Futsal Club took on Manchester in the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, for their first game of the new National Futsal Series. With 9 dropping out leading up to the game, Coach Chris dipped heavily into his squad of players. New signing Jess Baker started on the bench, Katie and Kimberly Samson played their last games for the club before leaving to start university degrees, and talented youngster Ava Worthy started.

Bootham were represented by:

Lauryn Zareba-Gilbank (GK), Kim Samson (C), Denva Coupland, Ava Worthy, Suzy Collins, Lucy Hudson, Jess Baker, Katie Samson (GK) and Nikki Brown.

1st Half

The game stated very even with both sides having good possession and threatening each other goal. Manchester took the lead when a clearance from goalkeeper Zareba-Gilbank was hammered back from inside the Manchester half for a stunning goal. They extended their lead with 2 well worked goals later in the half before both Coupland and Brown had chances late on for Bootham.

Half Time: Manchester 3 – Bootham Ladies 0

2nd Half

Bootham changed their defensive shape for the 2nd half and stopped Manchester from dominating the middle of the court. Good work from Baker and captain Samson saw Brown hit the post twice in the final ten minutes. Bootham were much more of threat and their play deserved a goal, with Baker coming close from several corners. Credit to the Manchester goalkeeper who made several outstanding saves.

Full time: Manchester 3 – Bootham Ladies 0

After the game Coach Chris spoke to us, he said, ‘Even though we lost I am really pleased by the performance and especially the attitude from everyone, no-one let us down today, and the work rate was outstanding. Manchester have some fantastic players, including England deaf internationals, and will be one of the team pushing for the league title this season. To lose 9 players in the run up to the game, we feared the worst, but the 2nd half was as good as we have played as a unit.’

He went on to say, ‘Pre-season has been very hard with players away, injured and unavailable, so to put in this performance on such a hot day was very impressive. We changed the way we defended the court for the 2nd half and this made us look much more secure out of possession. The attitude from the players regarding their recovery runs was amazing, sprinting, consistently in heat. On another day Nikki gets a hat trick and we get something from the game, but it wasn’t her day and their keeper made couple of fantastic saves. I have lost court how many times we have hit the post and bar over the last few seasons!’

Click here to see images from the game

He finished by saying, ‘It’s a good starting point for us and with players to come back into the squad we know we can be even more competitive. Every team in this league has strengthen this season so there will be no easy games, we know the levels we have to achieve, but I have every faith in the squad to produce when under pressure. We welcome Sunderland, a tier 1 side and last years tier 2 champions, in the cup next at out new home at St Johns University, on Saturday 23 September, so that will be a real test of how far we have come. We need the supporters to come out in force and help us make York a place opposition teams don’t want to visit.’

Player of The Match – Jess Baker – She looked like she had been playing Futsal for years, let alone a hand full of training sessions. She was comfortable on the ball, happy to drive forward and has added that bit of strength we have been missing, she didn’t get pushed about by anyone. If this is what she does in her first game, we can’t wait to see how she is towards the end of the season!

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