PYF Saltires at home when they hosted Five Cities in this first meeting between the two clubs this season. The game was guaranteed goals if last season’s meetings were anything to do by.
Five Cities started the match and each of their starting set had soon touched the ball as they looked to play their way into the game, although they started the opening exchange with the ball they were unable to break down the solid Saltires defence. Saltires who started on the back foot were now in possession of the ball and looking to gain control of the match and dictate the tempo and soon City had retreated to just outside their own box to try and make Saltires work for their chances. They proved to be stubborn to break down as Saltires were unable to break the deadlock, at the other end City were looking dangerous on the break but were unable to find the killer pass. Saltires remained patient and were rewarded when fine work by Steedman found Smith in space who had enough time to fire the ball past the diving keeper. As the goal went in you could sense the disappointment from the City side who had defended well until that point. Saltires weren’t hanging about and went hunting after the ball from the restart which resulted in City clearing their lines and allowing Saltires possession again. From this Saltires moved the ball from side to side and Aloulou spotted McLaren’s run towards the back post and found him with a defence splitting pass which was followed by a tap in. Saltires were now camped in the City half with the baulk of possession; however, this did give City the chance to attack on the counter but good recoveries saw the ball be won back quickly when they did venture forward. Saltires were trying too hard to get another goal which saw frustrations begin to grow as a mixture of poor finishing and good reflex saves from the City keeper kept Saltires from increasing their advantage. However, the City defence was unable to keep this up and soon Aloulou had grabbed his first of the match, fine work by Simpson on the right before cutting in and found Aloulou, who was free and made no mistake from close range. Moments later they were at it again when a first-time pass from Simpson released Aloulou who passed the ball under the keeper to score two inside a minute. The quickfire double seemed to be the catalyst for Saltires as they scored another six goals in the remaining six minutes of the half. Saltires were now putting City under constant pressure and City were resorting to clearing their lines whenever possible but this was only delaying the inevitable as the attacks just kept coming. Next to grab a goal was Steedman after neat work by Smith on the wing he found Steedman who took a touch out of his feet before passing the ball into the corner of the leaving the keeper planted. Saltires should of extended their lead when the ball fell to McLaren inside the box but his driven volley clipped the outside of the post and wide of the goal much to the pivot’s frustrations. K. Ballingall then went on a trademark run on the outside of his marker before firing the ball across the goal into the opposite corner past the diving arms of the keeper. City then had a break of their own when the ball was played down their right which saw the attacker one on one with Dow who stood tall and saved the ball with his feet. This only served as a breather for the City defence as the next Saltires attack was coming from the rebound of the save, the ball was worked up the court before Steedman weaved his way into the box before coolly rolling the ball into the corner with precision placement. The lethal Saltires attack looked like they were scoring at will and should have had another when a fine passing move found Smith unmarked on the line, before a bad touch took him past the post initially but managed to turn and run with the ball across the goal but unable to put the in the goal. The fans saw the funny side to this after his groans of spurning a great chance. Moving into the final minute of the half Saltires still found time for score a further three goals. The first saw great link up between Aloulou and McLaren where a give and go found the former at the back post for a simple tap in for his hattrick. McLaren was then on hand to turn provider to Simpson with a well worked set play found Simpson unmarked whose first time finished found the side netting of the City goal. Simpson wasn’t finished in the half, he intercepted a slack pass which took him one on one with the encoming keeper. He managed to dance his way round the keeper but a recovering defender forced him back before squeezing the ball past defender and the grounded keeper.
Manager S. Ballingall was delighted with his teams first half showing, although it was a slow start Saltires were always in control of the game and got their rewards in the latter stage of the half where the attack ran amok.
Saltires came out for the second half the way they ended the first, on the front foot and the City defence was happy to retreat to their own half to defend from there. This allowed Saltires to get the ball moved around and were waiting for the chance to strike. The fans didn’t have long to wait as a one two between Robertson and K. Ballingall saw the latter take his touch before shifting the ball and dispatching his shot high past the keeper. City’s frustrations were beginning to grow with every goal conceded but credit to City they kept getting up and going again. Saltires soon had hit the target again when K. Ballingall found Laurie unmarked who made no mistake to score his eleventh goal of the season. City the responded straight from kick off, a chipped ball over the top of the Saltires defence saw the attacker header the ball over Dow and into the net to grab themselves a consolation strike. Keen to get back in control of the ball Saltires worked the ball to K. Ballingall who drove at the defence before going past his man before firing the ball into the roof of the net. Each time Saltires went forward they looked like they were going to score which wasn’t a good sign for the tiring City side who were battling just to keep the ball out of their box. The attacks kept on coming but top scorer McLaren was unable to add too his tally, much to the amusement of the crowd as he was simply trying too hard to score, he did however grab the next goal much to his relief. Linking up well with Smith he found the inside of the set netting with aplomb. City then shocked Saltires once more when a strike from distance found the top corner, evading the fingertips of Dow. Sensing more goals were there for the taking, Saltires seemed to step it up a level for the last ten part of the match which saw Aloulou grab a quickfire double, both of which Steedman found him unmarked at the back post for a simple tap in. Steedman then cause the City defence a blow when his fizzed cross was intercepted by the recovering defender, unfortunately for him all he was able to do was fire the ball over his keeper’s head leaving him with no chance with the powerful finish. Things went from bad to worse when they suffered a triple blow from one Saltires attack, a sweeping move was swept home by Simpson after a cut back from K. Ballingall, but in their attempt to block the goal bound shot two City defenders collided with both players suffering injuries. Saltires took full advantage of this by scoring a further six goals, a double inside a minute from K. Ballingall kicked the spree off. His first saw him link up with Steedman who beat him man before seeing K. Ballingall free who made no mistake from close range. His second, Saltires twentieth of the match, which is a first for Saltires in the Super League era, saw a run by Simpson him cut in from the left before laying the ball off for K. Ballingall who fired the ball into the roof of the net. City were now resigned to Saltires playing the rest of the game in their half were trying to keep the ball and run down the clock. Saltires won the ball back inside the City half which saw McLaren release Smith who finished well from the edge of the area. Smith then returned the favour to McLaren by finding him free outside the box before firing home for his hattrick. Saltires weren’t finished as Aloulou still had time to grab himself his second hattrick of the game. He won the back before finding the bottom corner with a trade mark powerful finish from distance, leaving the keeper with no chance. There was still time for another Saltires player to grab a hattrick, this time Smith joined in becoming the fifth player of the day to do so. McLaren broke free intercepting a pass and played the ball back to Smith whose driven finish went through the legs of the frustrated keeper.
A convincing win by Saltires who were in control from start to finish against a Five Cities who travelled with minimal numbers and were unable to match Saltires tempo throughout the match. Credit to City who never gave up despite the score line.
After the match we caught up with the manager, S. Ballingall, who had this to say – “Happy with the result and performance. We're taking each game as it comes and working hard for 3 points every week. The boys are looking deadly in front of goal and tidy at back, but we are always looking to improve”.
We also caught up with our match of the match Aloulou and base Robertson.
Ahmed Aloulou – “Fantastic win by the team, biggest score line I’ve been part of in a futsal game. It’s easy to get complacent in these types of games and put the foot off the pedal but credit to the boys kept the tempo high the whole game.”
Cameron Robertson - “Usually a tough fixture against Five Cities, however a lack of numbers from them and some clinical finishing from the boys made the score line emphatic. It took us a while to get going but once we did the goals flowed and was another achievement to be the first team this season to score 20 goals in a Super League match. Unfortunately, we conceded but they do score goals in every game they play.”