The Women’s Super Series and NFS Two group stages of The FA NFS / Summer Showdown come to a close this weekend and it’s all to play for as the competition seeks winners of each group (plus best placed runner up in the WSS) to populate its semi-finals!
There are many permutations so stick with us as we try to make sense of what lies ahead!
In Group A, London Helvecia look like the team to beat and their fixture for the weekend is against Loughborough Students who would need a minor miracle to finish ahead of Uni. Of Liverpool due to the goal difference between the two. The other game in Group A is perhaps of more concern to other clubs as Uni. Of Liverpool (UoL) face Reading Royals. Reading have been bolstered by the return of Povey and Al-Noah-Ponder (plus the safe return last weekend of captain Sarah Thompson from injury). The Royals will be fighting hard to get their first points on the board. UoL will be looking to make sure no mistakes are made as they aim for that best placed runner up spot that grants them a semi-final spot.
Group B is where it gets really interesting for the Women’s Super Series! Bolton sit atop the pile, currently, on six points from six and they face second placed Birmingham who fell at the feet of Bedford last weekend. The dynamic is such that, with a four goal margin for victory, Birmingham could leap frog Bolton and claim the winners position of the group. Bolton have suffered an injury crisis and despite the roaring success of Leah Embley last week, they’re going to need everything they’ve got to hold out this Birmingham team. Bedford can apply pressure early in the day as they face Liverbird knowing that however unlikely their goal difference looks, a win puts them onto six points which means they can sit above Birmingham before the late kick-off in Group B.
Group C is the more straight forward of the groups but affords little by way of consolation. Derby face Cheshire who are making their first appearance in the competition due to the unfortunate circumstance surrounding London Genesis’ positive COVID case and, currently ahead on goal difference they know that a draw against Cheshire is enough to see them through. Cheshire will be chomping at the bit to show what they can do and due to the number of total points on offer, this clash really is all or nothing with the teams knowing that second place on three or four points is unlikely to grant passage to the semi-finals.
In the Men’s NFS Two, it’s a little more straight forward as we look for four winners from four groups, but no less dramatic!
Group A sees York face Loughborough Dev in another all or nothing game. The Students have the advantage following their victory over Team Sunderland whereby a draw sees them edge onto five points and remain in top spot but York will have other ideas, knowing that a win by whatever margin possible gives them what they need! Now York have a game under their belt, as opposed to last week where they were facing a Team Sunderland that had a game under their belt from the week before. Expect this one to be a cracker!
Group B looks straight forward on paper but is going to be anything but! A winless Bedford take on Wessex knowing that, although a little unlikely, should the game provide a ten goal swing in their favour they would top the group. In the real world Wessex know that simply avoiding defeat by five goals sees them through to the semi-finals. Easy, huh? 😉
Group C saw a firecracker of a game between London Escolla and Pro Futsal Dev take place last weekend and, by all accounts, the youth of English futsal was the victor – though the group table credits London Escolla with the three points that matter right now. The mission for this week’s competitors is simple enough; for Reading Royals, win by a three goal margin; for London Escolla, avoid defeat by more than two goals. Reading Royals are a solid outfit that won’t let Escolla have things all their own way, this could be a different kind of special spectacle in NFS Two!
Saving the best for last? Something like that. The final game in Group D pits Cambridge against London Genesis. Both clubs sit on three points with only three goals separating them, it’s fair to say that Cambridge will be looking to put Genesis under some pressure in this one. Both teams managed to score six against Chelsea FC Foundation, but Cambridge proved the lesser team defensively as Genesis recorded a clean sheet in their encounter – expect goals, goals and more goals in this winner takes all matchup!
The pandemic has impacted teams differently, with differing levels of fitness and performance. This week in NFS One we have a few games that will shed a little more light on that for some teams.
Bolton face Worcester and both teams get to test themselves – can Worcester bounce back from last weeks harrowing 40 minutes against Pro Futsal London? Can Bolton build on their performance against Derby?
Derby themselves face another stern test as they come up against a Pro Futsal London team who will get the chance to prove that last weekend wasn’t a flash in the pan and they are true championship contenders. Derby will no doubt want to pick themselves up and test their mettle against one of the best in the country.
Birmingham WLV get the chance to refocus against opposition they may see as not-quite-so-tough-as London Helvecia from last weekend. Loughborough Students look strong, as ever, and may count themselves unlucky in last weeks defeat to Manchester as it was arguably the most even game we have seen so far in the Summer Showdown.
Our pick of the week for NFS One on Sunday is the repeat fixture of potentially the shock of the 2019/20 season as London Helvecia face Manchester. Though both teams are without the coaches of ‘19/20 and many players have changed, this promises to be one of the games of the weekend!
London Helvecia were without a few players due to COVID travel guidelines last weekend and, should they return this weekend, we may see an even stronger Helvecia that already boasts an embarrassment of fantastic futsal talent. Hugo da Silva, Tijerin, Palfreeman, Croft, Ribeiro, Toti just some of the talent on last weekend’s teamsheet.
Manchester on the other hand have mostly consolidated and see so many faces that have been around for a long time at the club. Ovechkin, Edge, Stapleton, King, Collier. Even Ben Seoul has returned to the team recently. They are supported by Uriel Araujo from last season and new signing Jeff Adubofour as he relocates to the Manchester locale!
With both teams stacked full of talent, this one could come down to moments of individual brilliance to make the difference. Kick-off is at 14:50 and it’s LIVE on The FA National Futsal Series YouTube Channel. You won’t want to miss this one!