They’ve done it! Just four games into their maiden campaign in the Championship of the five-a side South Yorkshire Ability Counts League, the girls and guys of Social Eyes FC racked up their first win after an enthralling 3-2 win over an excellent Bradford City DFC Diamond at the Sheffield Goals Centre this afternoon, write Margaret Gregory and Colin Muncie for the Social Eyes FC Barmy Army.
— Parkgate Social Eyes FC (@parkgateSEFC) November 18, 2018
— Colin Muncie (@ColinM1956) November 18, 2018
Something told you that the players had moved on from those first matchday defeats in Doncaster in October. The goals had flowed at both ends that day, but under-pressure coach, Claire [‘it’s a results business’] Hobson, admitted in midweek – that they had been busy in the month since those first games, adding numbers and quality to the squad.
Wearing dark glasses to disguise a steely determination Claire supervised the warm-up, putting the players through their paces. They were watched by the Social Eyes Barmy Army, who had travelled to Norfolk Park in their dozens, and provided a boisterous, almost unruly, soundtrack to the on-field action. Their expectation was palpable.
After a beautiful two minutes Remembrance Day silence, all of the teams got ready for their first encounters of the afternoon. Social Eyes had a clash on Pitch Six the San Siro -with the City Knights FC (White), and Coach Hobson revealed her line-up – Michael, Josh, Claire, Martin and Tom.
Hardly had the game got under way than the Knights struck to take the lead, but it wasn’t long before Tom had levelled matters. Taylor came on for Josh, and Leeds supporter Adie for Martin, but by the time referee Caitlin had blown for half time, Parkgate Social Eyes FC were 4-1 down with work to do. After the break, and with the coach’s words ringing in their ears, Social Eyes hit back almost immediately to reduce the deficit to 4-2, and Josh hit the post, but Knights goalkeeper – a former striker – was in inspired form. Although Tom scored a fine individual third goal for Social Eyes, Knights were deserving 6-3 winners.
The sides will meet again in the First Round of the CFA Senior Cup in Doncaster on December 16th.
Left with half an hour to work her magic, Coach Hobson kept faith with most of her starting five for the second game, a tough looking encounter with Bradford City DFC Diamond, but introduced Taylor for Tom in a starting role. The watching crowd had grown in numbers, in anticipation of a pulsating battle, but the early minutes were cagey, as nervousness in the crowd seemed to transmit to the players. Quick as a flash though, Josh put the Rawmarsh side in front. Bradford City, as you’d expect, came back strongly, and Claire produced a stunning – and clearly painful – block to keep Social Eyes in front. Bradford were not to be denied, however, and the impressive Hussain levelled from the rebound after a fine save low down to his right from Michael. Jane went close for Bradford, but almost straightaway, Josh made it 2-1 and the game was well and truly on…
Claire’s sister, Karen – clearly unused to big crowds and good football – was clearly caught up in the thrilling atmosphere, telling us, “It’s just like being at Bramall Lane.”
The fantastic Bradford City, raffle ticket sellers, Mel and Julie tempted us all to buy our way into the prize draw as half-time drew to a close. “Ten minutes to save your job,” a disgruntled Social Eyes supporter warned Coach Claire.
No sooner had the second half started – with both sides now up to six a side – than referee Caitlyn had cause to speak to Josh for a clumsy tackle. The Social Eyes striker protested his innocence, claiming that he had got the ball, but as another Social Eyes wag in the crowd observed, “the ball wasn’t even in the same postcode.”
Bradford’s excellent strikers were a continuous threat to the Social Eyes defence, but suddenly Josh struck again to extend Social Eyes advantage to 3-1 and the Barmy Army dared to dream. Bradford City hit back with a shot which deceived the otherwise-excellent keeper Michael and nerves began to jangle. Josh limped off with injury, but Coach Hobson introduced Adie and Trudy as holding midfielders, and after near things at both ends, and what seemed an eternity, outstanding referee Caitlyn blew for full time to send the Social Eyes family into paroxysms of joy.
The teams shook hands after a superb game. Bradford City were outstanding and sporting opponents, but Social Eyes took the win, and celebrations will last long into the night-well, until nine o’clock anyway.
It has been another fantastic afternoon of football and another tribute to Darren and Mike at the South Yorkshire Ability Counts League, and for Coach Hobson, her staff, and the brilliant Social Eyes squad, it has been a super day.
See you all at Doncaster Goals on December 16th!!!