Deaf Sports Events27th May 2014

Inventive Bristol Win the EDF Plate Final

The EDF Plate Final was contested between Bristol and Black Country Deaf Football Clubs on Saturday 24th May

by Sarah Lawrence

The England Deaf Football Challenge Plate Final took place on Saturday 24th May at the home of Maidstone Town FC. Contested this year by the teams from Bristol and Black Country Deaf Football teams, organisers had made a great decision to hold it at this ground, the recent torrential downpours having little effect on the 3G surface. Arriving at the ground, the teams were smartly turned out, rightly treating this as a special occasion, and one they were pleased to be part of.

Entering the field of play, the teams were presented to guest of honour and Deaf Football stalwart Robert Taylor, before referee Robins got us underway. In windy, overcast conditions Bristol were playing with the wind at their backs and looked to exert early dominance in the game.

With less than a minute on the clock, Bristol almost got off to a dream start with a slip by one of the Black Country defenders giving Daniel Rees a shot on goal. Placing the ball through goalkeeper Gordon Hay's legs, a desperate clearance off the line by Bela Kallai kept the score level. The first foul followed quickly afterwards through a challenge by Ali Amar 35 yards out from goal with the resulting free kick by player/manager Mark Gill bringing a decent save from Hay.

Bristol started to dominate these early stages, drawing another foul from the Black Country just outside their penalty area. On this occasion the free kick was floated into the box by Gill, with Frankie Vaughan rising well to head towards goal, with another desperate clearance off the line by Steve Richardson needed to keep the score at 0 - 0. These early stages were to be a severe test for the Black Country with Bristol mounting a series of attacks drawing some good saves from Hay, along with some scrambling defending.

The first Black Country attack came in the 9th minute when Thomas Gerrard picked the ball up close to the halfway line. Showing great close control he beat a number of players as he attacked the Bristol box, only to be crowded out before he could get a shot away. It wasn't long before Bristol reapplied their dominance with a good shot from Ben Martin, just catching the shoulder of the defender and the ball narrowly going over the bar for a corner. Increasingly dominant, Bristol's Daniel Rees put through a nice ball into the box for Harry Potter who put in a decent effort on goal which was well saved low down by the keeper.

Following a rare foray into the Bristol half, Black Country won a corner which misses everyone in the box, allowing Bristol to swiftly turn defence into attack. With the ball finding its way to striker Vaughan who, one on one with the keeper, put in a decent shot with Hay making a super save to deny him the first goal of the game. Approaching the mid-point of the first half, it has been all Bristol in attack with Hay pulling off a series of saves and the Black Country's defence showing great spirit and determination to keep a dominant Bristol side out.

EDF Plate In a remarkable turn around in the game, Black Country break out from the stranglehold Bristol have had on the game, with Brent Allen lobbing the ball forward for striker Glodi Masiala to chase. He beats the defender to the ball and puts in a lovely cool finish with his left foot into the far left hand corner of the goal around keeper Michael Boyne, to give the Black Country side an unexpected 1 - 0 lead. Having been virtually out of the game since the opening whistle, that was a wonderfully cool finish from Masiala.

From the re-start Bristol looked keen to get back on level terms quickly, and the equaliser did not take long, coming just 90 seconds later. A dangerous cross was put into the box by Potter on the left, and making a desperate effort to clear it, the unlucky Steve Richardson deflected the ball into his own net, giving the keeper no chance, 1 - 1 with 15 minutes to go in the half. Increasingly anxious, Black Country start to concede free kicks just outside their box and the crowd are rewarded with a move straight off the training field. Five Bristol players lined up straight behind the ball, the first two players running forward but stepping over the ball and the player third in line, hitting a sweet free-kick that beats the keeper but just glances off the left hand post. An interesting and unique ploy, the warning signs are there for the Black Country team.

With half time approaching, Black Country concede another free-kick just outside their box. Bristol again use their 'queue' technique with step-over after step-over, until Ben Martin put in a fierce shot on goal, beating the keeper and the ball nestling in the back of the net. Bristol 2 Black Country 1 at half time.

With the second half getting under way, Black Country have the strong wind at their backs and despite the Bristol dominance, at this stage it is still all to play for. Despite playing against the elements, it is Bristol that immediately apply pressure in the second half with the first of several free kicks conceded by the determined Bele Kallai just outside his box. A later challenge will earn him a yellow card.

With the foul count starting to mount up against the Black Country, Bristol are given the chance to use all of their training moves for free kicks just outside the box. A tapped free kick to the waiting Martin sees a good shot on goal which was parried by the keeper but with the ball bouncing into the middle of the box, Potter was there to apply a magic finish to take Bristol 3 - 1 ahead. With 35 minutes still to play, the Bristol following in the stands were calling for more goals and it didn't look like the team would disappoint with fouls still being conceded just outside the Black Country penalty area. With quality crosses by Gill and Martin, it only looked a matter of time before Bristol would move further ahead.

Midway through the second half a quality build up by Bristol with Vaughan putting in a lovely through ball for Martin to strike. Initially saved by Hay, the ball came back out to the striker who made no mistake with his second, burying the ball in the back of the net, 4 - 1 Bristol. With 20 minutes remaining and despite the game being played in excellent spirit we were see a harsh red card.  Richardson for the Black Country brought down the attacker out on the right in a clear foul, a consultation between referee and his assistant determining that the defender had been the last man and had denied Bristol a clear goal scoring opportunity. This already looked like it was game over but down to 10 men, the Black Country now had a mountain to climb to get back into the game.

From the resulting free-kick, another superb cross was pumped into the box by Gill, giving his players every chance to compete for the header, the ball scrambling lose to the ever watchful Martin, who slotted the ball inside the right hand upright to give Bristol an impressive 5 - 1 lead. Determined to score more goals, Bristol launched wave after wave of attacks, Daniel Rees picking up the ball on the edge of the box. Using silky skills he made room for an easy lay off to the waiting Vaughan who beat an on-rushing defender before shooting just inside the left hand post to give Bristol a 6 - 1 lead.

With ten minutes to go and the game over as a contest, we almost had a goal to match the effort of Wayne Rooney earlier in the season, when Brent Allen for the Black Country went heavily into a challenge on the wide right at the half way line, striking the ball cleanly and heading for the top right of the goal before Boyne just managed to clear it over the bar. Good effort! With all of the Bristol players pushing forward a nice move down the left saw Craig Chaplin put a nice ball through into the box for Potter to run onto. Calmly collected and looking up to choose his spot, he placed a lovely curling shot just inside the right hand post, to take the score to 7 - 1 to Bristol.

Conceding another free-kick just outside their box with minutes to go, Gill was able to float another ball into the box, this time for Russell Silsbury-Basey to rise and win the header, knocking the ball into the net for an 8 - 1 lead to Bristol. Never giving up, the Black Country continued to look for opportunities themselves with a rare attack resulting in a corner on the left hand side. A poor kick found it way to Harry Skinner just inside the box a few yards from the goal line, he swivelled and shot towards goal, the ball beating Boyne and finding its way into the net for a consolation goal, 8 - 2.

Shortly afterwards the referee blew his whistle to bring an end to a highly entertaining game, Bristol Deaf FC running out worthy Plate winners following their exhilarating attacking display. Amongst joyous scenes for the Bristol players and fans, Robert Taylor awarded the much deserved man of the match to Bristol's Ben Martin. Having collected their medals and with the Black Country sportingly applauding the Bristol team, Captain Rory Mortimore hoisted the plate aloft following their impressive victory.

Our congratulations go to Bristol Deaf FC for winning the plate and to the Black Country Deaf FC for playing with such pride and endeavour. We would also like to acknowledge the huge contribution of the officers and volunteers of England Deaf Football, especially Derek Rowley and Steve Wynne whose hard work and commitment to Deaf Football make these competitions available. With Deaf Football going from strength to strength, we hope to see much bigger crowds turn out in the future to make this an even bigger event in the deaf social calendar.


Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Deaf Sport / Deaf Sports Events

27th May 2014