SGS Futsal Academy crowned champions
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College’s Futsal Academy have been crowned Champions of BUCS Western 1B in their debut season, gaining promotion for next season.
The Academy boys saw off strong established institutions rich with futsal history such as University of Bath, Cardiff University & Cardiff Met, losing only one game along the way.
The Futsal Academy is in its first year at the College in partnership with Future Elite Sports led by Welsh Futsal International Dafydd Jones and Scotland International Richard Horlock. The players train everyday whilst studying a full-time degree programme based at SGS WISE Campus and University of Gloucestershire.
The season started with a tough home tie against favourite’s University of Bath 2s. Bath, a very physical and technical team individually and the game didn’t disappoint the neutrals. SGS went 1-0 up through the ever reliant pivot Cori Edwards (ex-Cardiff city) – However, bath struck back in the second half to hold a 2-1 lead with 6 minutes remaining. The patience and determination of the SGS players came good as eventually Matt Baker struck to level the game, before Kieran Montgomery (Ex-Grimbsy Town) struck a rare but vital goal to put the tie back into SGS’ hands. After a nervy few minutes and a time out, man-of the match Aaron Coleman playing 38 minutes out of the 40 struck the deciding goal. A dominant display in Goal from Sam Marsden must be mentioned.
In January, SGS saw off Cardiff Met 2s in a convincing display 8-1 with a great strike from Corey Clark -before travelling to title contenders Cardiff University. The game started well with a dominant 3-0 lead and despite a few set-backs SGS went into the break 5-2 up. a good 5 minutes saw SGS not kill the game off with various chances and then followed a ‘meltdown’ with Cardiff scoring 6 without reply with the SGS boys left frustrated at a 8-5 loss.
After this crucial result – it meant SGS had to win all of their remaining games to be champions, with no margin for error. 3 games in one week would prove to be a pivotal moment in the season. A strong performance away to Bristol University and a 12-5 victory, with Sam Hynam on top form and scoring his first 2 goals of the season got the ball rolling. Then came the stand out fixture and a tough away trip to Cardiff Met 1s on a Wednesday evening. Cardiff chose to sit back early on and SGS pounced on this with memorable strikes from Matty Baker, Aaron Coleman and the Goal machine that is Callum Watkins (Ex-Cardiff city). But again youth and experience showed with Cardiff met plugging back and at 4-2, a sensational string of Saves from Stewert Evans kept the score in favour of SGS. With a highly vocal crowd, the SGS boys fought on in a heated affair and it was Watkins, Marsden (now on pitch) and Josh Morris who killed the game with late strikes and an 8-5 victory. A man-of the match performance from Jake Hannam another GK playing outfield with ever composed passing and decision making.
The players had to pick themselves up from an emotional and physical game to face UWE 1s on the Sunday and after an awful first half display ran out 6-2 winners collecting another vital 3 points.
The final banana skin of the season came against USW who had picked up points from Bath earlier in the season but the SGS boys saved their best performance yet with a dominant and ruthless 9-2 victory to leave them one game away from the title.
The final game saw a thumping 18-4 Victory away to UWE 2s with Dave Schotel-East (Exeter), Josh Doidge and Mark Hinchey scoring their first goals of the season to complete a fantastic run of wins. Callum Watkins hat-trick meant he grabbed top goal scorer with 14 Goals!
As well as the team’s success as a group, various individuals within the Academy have achieved key personal aims. Stewart Evans, from Wrexham Futsal Club, saved two penalties in the FA Wales Play off finals to send his club team to the UEFA Futsal cup for the 2017-18 season.
Sam Marsden has been present in various England B1 camps as Goalkeeper for the England Blind set-up and aims to be selected for future championships and Olympic Games.
SGS players Aaron Coleman, Matt Baker, Sam Hynam, Jake Hannam and Sam Marsden have been representing Bristol City FC in the top flight on English futsal, currently in their highest position and close to a play-off place with two games remaining.
Those same Bristol City players have all received call ups to England Youth Squads, with Matty Baker eligible for both England and Wales – he has become a rising star within futsal after only switching from football in September.