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Tranmere Rovers 5-6 Manchester Futsal - MATCH REPORT

by Nathan Linley

A hat-trick from Danny Stapleton ensured that Manchester secured their first away win the season at Prenton Park with a 6-5 win over Tranmere Rovers in the FA National Super League in what was a thrilling encounter.

Manchester found themselves 2-0 down in the first six minutes but managed to fight back and went into half time 4-2 up, only for their lead to be gobbled up not long after the break and eventually taking the lead and holding out for victory.

Three goals from Danny Stapleton either side of half time was the difference between the two sides, with Giles Collier, Jordan Edge & Raducio King adding their names to the scoresheet to help Manchester gain all three points for the afternoon.

First team coach Sergi Saldana was happy to get his first victory away from home this season but still feels that his side can improve going forward.

“The most important thing is that we got our first three points away. They [Tranmere] made it difficult for us as we were winning 6-4 and in the last moments they scored and were always offering danger to us.”

“We need to play out these last moments to come away with the point. What I like about this team [Manchester] is that they are brave and they’re trying to play all the time because we were losing 2-0 and got it back to 4-2, which is nice. “

“This mean that people are starting to understand what futsal is.  Futsal is a long game. The biggest positive I can take from this game are that my players are always trying to compete.”

“I said to my players that we have to press but the thing is that we need to press without stealing the ball, because if you don’t get it, you give a foul away. For almost half of the first period, we were doing exactly that.  This means a penalty if we foul again so our discipline is something that can be improved”

Tranmere managed to make the early breakthrough as Adam Mahon gave the hosts the early initiative with an impressive strike.

Manchester called an early time out to re-group as they started off the slower of the two teams, they conceded five fouls on the 11th minute and were on thin ice from a discipline perspective.

Zak Austin saved the Blues from going further behind as he made a good save low down to his right to keep Tranmere’s Rafael Sanchez at bay.

Fermin Fernandez then makes an unbelievable save from Sam Richardson as Manchester continued to knock on the door.

The hosts then doubled their lead as Rafael Sanchez sent Adam Mahon through on goal who calmly finished past Manchester’s Zak Austin between the sticks.

Despite going down 2-0 and being on five fouls, the Blues never gave up and their determination was rewarded through Giles Collier who got the visitors right back into the game.

Two minutes later Manchester were level as skipper Sam Richardson picked up a loose ball inside the Tranmere half and played through Danny Stapleton who slotted home for the equaliser.

Incredibly, Manchester took the lead from a quick corner which wasn’t dealt with by Tranmere and found Danny Stapleton again, two goals in 30 seconds for him.

Then a minute later, a fantastic through ball from Marcos Leon found Jordan Edge who calmly finished past Fernandez, after hitting the woodwork several times he got his reward.

It was still all to play for in the second half as Tranmere started the stronger once more and their aggressive pressing led to a mistake from Joaquin Donate and Sam McGrath picked up the pieces to get the home side right back into the match.

Predictions became impossible to make of the game as it was so action packed.  It couldn’t be called at this stage as to which way it would go.

Tranmere then completed a comeback of their own as a long goal kick found Sam McGrath who headered in to make it 4-4 and all square once again.

It hadn’t even been a minute and Manchester re-took the lead as Danny Stapleton completed his hat-trick from a cross by Jamie Vinas.

With ten minutes to go and nerves were evident from both teams as trying to keep and work the ball proved tricky.

McGrath was booked for Tranmere after pulling down Jordan Edge, on the edge! Nothing came about of the free kick as the Blues continued to push for another goal.

That goal eventually came, and the move started and finished with Raducio King.  Winning the ball back in the middle of the court the ball was fizzed to the right and Collier’s cross found King unmarked and unchallenged to make it 6-4 with just three minutes left.

Manchester then conceded five fouls again but this time with just over two minutes left to play and the atmosphere suddently became tense as the hosts opted for a fly-keeper via Rover skipper, Jordan Deer.

Jordan Edge hit the post so many times during this match but almost had the game wrapped up but hitting the upright and out for a goal kick.

A time out was then called by Manchester for once last defensive prep by Sergi Saldana.

Jon McGrath then scored for Tranmere to make it 6-5 to Manchester with one minute to go, and the nerves were kicking in as the final whistle was imminent.

Manchester held off the relentless pressure from Tranmere and held on the secure their first away win of the 2017/18 Super League season and to keep themselves in the top four.