On Saturday 25 May, Bootham Ladies made the long journey south to Repton, Derby to play London Genesis in the final of the FA National Futsal Series Plate Cup competition. It was a repeat of last year’s quarter final when Genesis beat Bootham on penalties after a gripping cup tie. Could Bootham avenge their defeat and could they win their first ever national trophy.

Coach Chris had nearly a full squad to pick from, with only long-term absentees Lucy and Charlotte missing. Bootham, on their biggest day, were represented by:

Allegra Sellschop-Evans, Suzy Collins, Kimberly Samson, Katie Samson, Heather Smith, Ava Worthy, Lauryn Zareba, Nikki Brown, Rowan Treagus, Ellie Whittaker, Natascha Eustance, Jess Barnes, Jess Baker and Ruby Shaw.

1st Half

Bootham started nervously and Genesis gave them a wakeup call when they smashed a long range shot against the post. They kept the pressure on Bootham and Sellschop-Evans made a smart save from another long-range Genesis shot. Bootham’s first real chance of the game came when Brown intercepted a pass and ran through to see her shot just go wide of the post. Bootham were growing into the game and a good passing move saw Eustance nearly put Baker in. On five minutes a long range shot from Brown sailed over the Genesis goal. A good slick passing move involving Samson and Shaw saw Treagus shot wide from a narrow angle.

On 8 minutes Genesis took the lead when a corner was fired through an unsighted Sellschop-Evans in the Bootham goal. Within a minute a great pass from Samson found Barnes who saw her shot beat the keeper but hit a recovering defender on the line. Sellschop-Evans produced another fine save when a Genesis player ran through 1v1.  A good interception and quick break from Brown saw a long range shot from Samson comfortably saved. Brown was hugely involved and a quick one two with Treagus saw her shot saved low down. Bootham were having a good five minutes and moving the ball smartly around the court. A great cross field pass from Treagus saw Shaw’s shot saved well by the goalkeeper.

On 16 minutes a great run from Eustance saw her swap passes with Treagus, and with the goal gapping she just couldn’t sort her feet out and the chance went begging. Her blushes were saved 30 seconds later when Bootham grabbed their equaliser when Brown ran clear and finished smartly to the goalkeeper left. 

How can you describe the final 3 minutes of the half, first goalkeeper Sellschop-Evans saved as shot but accidentally handled the ball outside her D, with the opposition screaming for a red card, a yellow card was shown. From the resulting 10 metre penalty Genesis fired wired and Bootham breathed a sigh of relief. But in the next action captain Whittaker was adjudged to have fouled the Genesis player, resulting in another 10-metre penalty which this time they converted to retake the lead. With the last kick of the half Treagus forced the keeper into a smart save.

Halftime Bootham Futsal 1 – London Genesis 2

Click here to watch the whole of the 1st Half

2nd Half

Bootham started the 2nd half on the front foot and saw them camped in the Genesis half without really creating any chances. A quick break by Genesis saw Sellschop-Evans make a good save from a promising attack, and minutes later she repeated the feat with another smart 1v1 save. On ten minutes Smith intercept a poor pass and ran through on goal but she saw her shot sail over the Genesis bar. Bootham were moving the ball confidently around the court and you felt the next chance was huge in such a tight game.

With 9 minutes to go Bootham drew level with a well taken goal from Shaw. Brown made good progress down the left and her pass to Treagus was moved onto Shaw who hammered home from outside the D. Genesis thought they had retaken the lead when a shot direct from a kicking sailed into the roof of the net, but as no-one else had touched it, the goal was wiped out. A free kick from Genesis on the edge of the Bootham D was somehow cleared off the line by a combination of Eustance and Sellschop-Evans. This proved to be a big turning point as within a minute Bootham were ahead. Eustance stole the ball mid court before feeding Samson who fired right footed low into the Genesis net. Bootham went looking for that killer 3rd goal and Treagus and Eustance both went close.

The game took another twist when a kick in was touched by a Bootham player on the way into the goal giving Genesis an equaliser, back to all square. Within 30 seconds Bootham were back in front with the goal of the game when Treagus won the ball on halfway and feed Eustance on the right. Her cross was met at the 2nd post by Baker with a smart first time finish. Bootham nearly extended their lead when a cross from Treagus was met with a flying header by Brown but it just missed the far post. Eustance nearly topped off her Player of the Match performance when she picked up the ball in her own half, beat 2 defenders, rounded the goalkeeper before seeing her goal bound shot cleared off the line. In the dying minutes Brown saw her shot saved by the Genesis keeper. Bootham survived a late corner before the final whistle blew and the whole Bootham squad invaded the pitch to celebrate an amazing first ever national cup win.

Full time Bootham Futsal 4 – London Genesis 3

Click here to watch the whole of the 2nd Half

Bootham captain Ellie Whittaker spoke to us following the win, she said ‘Saturday was one of the best atmospheres I’ve played in in over a decade of playing futsal. We’ve made significant progress this season with a lot of brilliant signings and it was great to showcase that development on Saturday by lifting a trophy. Massive credit has to go to Chris for all he has done to build the club and develop our team so we’re competitive regardless of who we play. Genesis are a great team and were very clever with their tactics, but I’m glad we could sneak it in front of so many of our fans who had made the journey or who were watching at home from York. I’m really excited to see what this group can do next, and I’m proud that we’ll continue to bring through some of the fantastic players in our academy into our team. I think we’re looking forward to a break before getting a good pre-season under our belts and hopefully replicating our success next season!’

Click here to watch extended highlights of the game

We spoke to a jubilant Coach Chris after the final whistle, ‘Wow, wow, wow, what can you say about that! We really had to work for that, but we dug deep and managed to get across the line, what an amazing experience. We have played better this season and for the first 10 minutes you could see we were nervous with wayward passes and miss controls. But huge credit to the players that we never gave in and slowly we started to take control of the game. The passing improved and we started to create good opportunities and scored the goals at the right time. This was a great game to watch, with drama at both ends of the court. Both goalkeepers made some fantastic saves, and, on another day, Genesis could be going home with the trophy. I said before the game you need that bit of luck and today, we got it – chances cleared off the line, Allegra in goal was on fire and a few decisions from the refs that on other days go against you.’

When asked about the opposition he said, ‘You don’t get such an amazing final without an opposition and huge, huge credit to London Genesis for making it yet again another classic. They made us work for this, and on another day, they could have been walking away with the trophy, it really could have gone either way. I know it is scant consolation but hold your heads high, you did amazing, and your club will be extremely proud of each one of you. I am sure we will meet again!’

He finished by praising the squad and supporters, ‘I am so proud of all the members of the squad today, not one of them let us down. They have worked tireless this season in training, and I am glad they got the reward in the end. Over half the squad has only played a season of futsal, so we know they will get better and better. To hear the crowd cheering Bootham, Bootham still makes me well up, what amazing supporters we have, to travel such a long way and be part of this amazing journey makes me incredibly humble.’

He finished by saying, ‘Four of today’s squad came through the academy and I know have plenty more who want one of these ladies’ shirts. We will enjoy our break, get some well-deserved rest and come back in pre-season ready to go again. Watch this space, we are starting to build something in York…’

Players Of The Match

National Futsal Series Player of the Match – Natasha Eustance

Bootham Futsal Player of the Match – Allegra Sellschop-Evans

Huge thank you to Iris for being our match day mascot and all the amazing supporters who came down to Derby to sing their hearts outs and help bring the trophy back to York.

A lot of pictures from a truly memorable day!

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