Manchester Futsal Club

The Home of Futsal

Manchester 8-3 Loughborough

by Liz Owen

(Ovechkin 8, 9, King 9, 25, 33, Richardson 11, 19, Leon 35; Mason 14, Kenny 34, De Ponce Leon 36)

Raducio King netted a hat-trick as Manchester Futsal Club got back to winning ways in style by firing eight past Loughborough.

Ilya Ovechkin and Sam Richardson both bagged two goals each, while Marcus Leon was also on the scoresheet as Manchester won by a five-goal margin for the second time in three home fixtures.

After their 5-0 defeat at home to leaders Birmingham last time out, a strong start was imperative for Manchester and, after an even opening few minutes, the hosts swiftly took control.

Any early attacks by the visitors were soon countered by Manchester, Richardson and King firing shots on target after breaking quickly from the other end of the court.

The deadlock was finally broken on the eighth minute through Ovechkin, and he’d already doubled Manchester’s advantage just 60 seconds later.

Two similar attacks saw Leon, then Yussuf Abdullah set up Ovechkin with low passes into the box from the left-hand flank, which he coolly steered home on both occasions.

And mere moments after going 2-0 up, King added Manchester’s third and his first of the afternoon.

A slight scramble ensued as Ovechkin received the ball just yards from goal, but he was able to guide it to his left, where King was waiting to poke home only inches away from the goalline.

Richardson then added to his side’s lead with a fine central finish from a fabulous solo effort in plenty of time and space.

Loughborough’s only response of note by this point had been a vicious shot by Grant Percival which flew well wide, but after Russel Astle-Coates stopped Tony Bartlett’s low effort, the visitors managed to pull one back through Curtis Mason from close range.

The goal seemed to rejuvenate them slightly, as Abdullah put in a strong block from a Rikusha Fujikara free-kick and Astle-Coates made a brilliant double save from Moises De Ponce Leon and Fujikara in quick succession.

But Manchester showed no signs of slowing down themselves, as King saw an effort fly narrowly wide before Eddie Bryers’ angled shot was well-stopped, while Giles Collier was also involved in attack.

And just moments before the interval, Chris Vernon’s men added their fifth through Richardson, who was set up expertly from the left-hand side once more; this time by John Atkinson.

The second half saw Manchester test out their ‘fly goalkeeper’ move, which saw Astle-Coates venture up the court to get involved in attack and two players, often Ovechkin and King, holding a sturdy back line to prevent Loughborough from taking advantage.

Five minutes after the break, King netted his second and best of the match, feigning a shot to send his marker flying into a non-existent block and providing him with the opportunity to take aim into an unguarded bottom corner, much to the delight of the home supporters.

Loughborough also dispatched the fly goalkeeper move through Mark Croft but were almost caught out as Richardson was inches away from claiming a hat-trick of his own with a long-distance effort.

Astle-Coates was kept busy, stopping brilliantly from Tom O’Sullivan’s chance at one end before firing wide at the other, but it was Croft who came closest out of both goalkeepers to scoring, striking the post with a sharp effort around the half-hour mark.

A furious end to the match saw four goals in four minutes, initiated by Manchester, as King secured his third by rounding off a persistent passing attack in which he and his team-mates retained possession within a tenacious string of chances.

Joe Kenny then added to Loughborough’s tally, ensuring he was first to the rebound after Astle-Coates saved well from De Ponce Leon.

With five minutes remaining, Leon then fired home his first and Manchester’s eighth, set up by a simple-looking move from another Abdullah pass, before De Ponce Leon ensured Loughborough had the final say with a goal of his own.

Marcos Magalhaes was involved as a fly ‘keeper late on and managed to tee up both Leon, whose shot was off-target, and Abdullah, whose effort was blocked, in the final stages of the game.

Those watching may well have felt the scoreline could have been even higher as they were treated to an entertaining and exciting display by Manchester, whose endeavour going forward and determination to execute some delightful attacking moves made them well-worth their eight goals and three points.

MANCHESTER: Astle-Coates (GK), Magalhaes (GK), Abdullah, Ovechkin, Collier, Richardson, King, Atkinson, Leon, Bryers

LOUGHBOROUGH: Croft (GK), Dennis (GK), Bartlett, Fujikara, Kenny, Turfrey, Akobelto, Percival, O’Sullivan, De Ponce Leon, Mason, Woodwort

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