Fixture: FA National Futsal League (Midlands Division)
Date: Sunday 2 December 2012
Score: Team Bath 6 – 3 Team United Birmingham
Venue: Founders Hall, University of Bath
Bath put in a clinical performance to brush aside a strong Birmingham side.
A full Team Bath squad hosted a skilful and improving Birmingham team, who had pushed Bath all the way in an 8-6 thriller just the week before.
However, the home side were back to full strength with the inclusion of Jennings and Yilmaz, and took to the court knowing that victory was necessary to keep the pressure on Oxford in first place.
Bath had struggled in previous weeks to start well, and although dominating possession in the early stages, went 1-0 down to a scrappy goal a few minutes in. They hit straight back though, as Ballinger fired in from close range after good build-up play.
Bath looked to build on their equaliser, and Yilmaz turned his man before jabbing the ball into the top corner. Team United weren’t fazed though, and hit back soon after, their captain taking advantage of a defensive mishap.
Bath upped the tempo, dictating play towards the end of the half, and Ballinger doubled his tally, meaning that crucially, they went into the break leading 3-2.
The five Team Bath players who had started the second half, had all been capped internationally, a record in the UK, and something the club can be proud of.
However, Birmingham started the second half brightly, once again equalising after a rapid counter attack. A great piece of pivot play from Parkes earned a penalty soon after, as he was felled by the clumsy Birmingham keeper.
Ballinger duly slotted home to give Bath the lead again and get his hat-trick. He soon added to that tally, as Birmingham began to crumble against a more experienced and tactically aware Bath side. Jennings capped a fine display with an individual goal, extending the lead beyond reach.
A crucial two weeks for Kitson’s team has provided a stern test, but one they have passed. They can now look on to the penultimate match of the season against Oxford, which will potentially decide the title.
Team: Jones (GK), Dix (GK), Ingram (C), Kitson, Parkes, Ballinger, Guttridge, Bell, Horlock, Yilmaz, Bryan, Jennings.