With the top two in the league playing each other today, Bootham Ladies knew that a win was a must in their game at home to Project Futsal Liverpool at St Johns University. In front of the biggest crowd of the season and with the court temperature a barmy -1 degrees, the ladies were ready to get that much needed win. With Charlotte Broad still unavailable through injury, Kim Samson, Natasha Eustance and Eleanor Walker came back into the squad, and Ruby Shaw made her first start for the ladies.

Bootham were represented by:

Ellie Whittaker (C), Kim Samson, Eleanor Walker, Natasha Eustance, Jess Baker, Jessica Barnes, Nikki Brown, Rowan Treagus, Lauryn Zareba-Gilbank (GK), Lucy Hudson and Ruby Shaw.

1st Half

Liverpool nearly got off to a dream start but for Zareba-Gilbank who produced a double save in the first few minutes of the game. Bootham started to settle and took the lead when a flowing move from front to back saw Baker stab home from right in front. Eustance went close three times but was denied on each occasion by good saves from the Liverpool keeper. Baker got her second when she smashed home a set play from outside the D. The Liverpool keeper was having an inspired day when she denied Eustance and Brown in quick succession. Bootham’s high press and quick play was causing the opposition all manner of problems, and they extended their lead when Eustance jumped on a poor pass and smashed the ball home. Next Treagus ran the length of the court, somehow keeping hold of the ball, before her second post pass was just missed by Barnes. She was not to be denied moments later when she ran past three Liverpool defenders and scored low into the net. Two late goals from Liverpool gave them hope for the second half. Late on chances came and went for Walker, Brown, and Whittaker, with again the Liverpool keeper saved well.

Half Time: Bootham 4 – Project Futsal Liverpool 2

2nd Half

Bootham started sloppy and quick chances for Liverpool were dealt with by Zareba-Gilbank. Treagus extended Bootham’s’ lead when she turned sharply in the D to score from close in. Liverpool scored from a defensive error from Bootham, before a fast break involving the whole side saw Whittaker’s effort saved from close range. In the space of 5 minutes Treagus hit the upright and then smashed the bar with a fierce drive. Again, the Liverpool goalkeeper denied first Eustance and then Brown, before a low cross from Brown was finished at the second post by Eustance. Baker got her third when she scored from a well taken free kick just outside the D. Liverpool grabbed a late consolation goal from a quick kick in, but the day belonged to Baker when she got her fourth, finishing high into the roof of the net late on.

Full Time: Bootham 8 – Project Futsal Liverpool 4*

(On watching the whole game back the actual score was 8-4 to Bootham, not 8-5 as was reported to the league…oh well!)

A very happy Coach Chris spoke to us after the game, he said, ‘Well that was enjoyable, I personally think that was our best game of the season, especially the first half. The intensity of the players to high press for the whole game is testament to the hard work they have done over the first half of the season. I must remember that 3 of this squad are still playing their first year of futsal, at any level. I can’t wait to watch the game back and see how many chances we have created, the Liverpool goalkeeper was busy today, without her who knows what the score could have been!’

He continued by saying, ‘We said we wanted to match the 3rd place finish we had last year, and we are well one on course to achieve that, but to finish the year only 3 points off the top is a remarkable achievement. We had new players at the start of the season who are starting to really stamp their authority on games, and with established players like Brown, Whittaker and Treagus just getting better, we look a good side. I think today was the first time we really kept the intensity very high for the whole game, we pressed from the first minute to the last and Liverpool struggled to deal with that. They are a good young side, with a top manager, and in the next few years they will be challenging for the title.’

Next, he spoke about his players, ‘Jess Baker is becoming the player of the season, 4 goals today and she will be disappointed she didn’t get more. Nikki covered all the court and must be scratching her head how she hasn’t scored, and Rowan could easily have scored more. Nat is starting to find her feet and she looked dangerous every time she ran at Liverpool. Ruby had another standout game, totally in control and didn’t look like ever losing the ball. It was good to have Kim back, she adds real quality to the squad, and Lucy and Eleanor both had good games. Captain Ellie had several really good chances today, but it just wouldn’t go in, that said she drives this team forward both on and off the court.’

His final words were left for the crowd, ‘That was our biggest crowd of the season, and the way they have supported this team throughout the year has just grown and grown. We are hearing so many of our academy players say they want to play for this team, it’s just brilliant to hear. It has been an amazing year, we have grown so much as individual players and as a team, who know what next year will bring.  I will leave the final words to one of the U12 players who came and watched today, she said, wow, that was fab! Says it all really!’

Click here to see highlights from the game

Players of The Match as picked by Match Sponsors Grace and Aide – Nikki Brown and Natasha Eustance – Nikki was instrumental in nearly all the goals today and was unlucky not to score herself. Nat is a contact pain to the opposition, and she could have had many more goals but for the Liverpool goalkeeper. Huge thank you to our match mascot Beth, she was amazing and we hope she had a brilliant day.

That is the last game for the ladies in 2023, they will be back at home on Saturday 13 January 2024 when they play Manchester in the league, another must win game! Look out for some new signing in the New Year as we add to our exciting squad! From everyone involved at Bootham Ladies Futsal Club, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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