Match 1: Brentford FC Futsal 5 Southend United 1 Match 2: Brentford FC Futsal 4 Chelsea 'A' 2
Brentford FC Futsal Club went into their last EFLT Futsal National League regular games last week knowing that anything less than six points in their double-header against Southend United and Chelsea ‘A’ would probably mean missing out on qualification for the end of season play-offs. With one final spot up for grabs in the South East division of the Championship, Brentford faced Southend United in their first game. The students from Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College who represent The Bees had worked really hard during the lead up to the day and were fully prepared.
Brentford started positively, pressing high up the court giving Southend plenty of problems. Mustafa Nishat opened the scoring for the Bees in the sixth minute when a combination of four one touch passes saw Nishat finish from close range. Despite their dominance, it wasn’t until the 15th minute that Arian Sharifi, returning after a six-week layoff due to injury, put The Bees 2-0 up.
Southend took the game to Brentford in the second half but two goals in a five-minute spell from top goal scorer, Moayed Ibrahim and Naz Abdullah put the game beyond The Shrimpers. A consolation goal for Southend with three minutes to go was matched a minute later by Sharifi, who completed the scoring in a 5-1 win.
The second game against Chelsea proved to be a tough affair calling on Brentford's defensive qualities. With Chelsea ‘A’ beating Albion in The Community earlier in the day both teams knew that this was a must win tie for them. Brentford were facing the current England Under-19 Futsal goalkeeper James Black and were keen to avenge their 2-1 loss earlier in the season.
The Bees once again started strongly in this West London derby and Said Gutale with a brace had the team from TW8, 2-0 up after seven minutes. Gutale completed his hat-trick six minutes before the interval to give The Bees a 3-0 lead. Chelsea started to press Brentford more aggressively and a lapse in concentration allowed The Blues back into the game with four minutes to go to the break. This triggered a time out from the Brentford head coach. This seemed to steady the team with the Bees getting to half time leading 3-1.
Chelsea elected to go fly-keeper, a tactic where the goalkeeper is used as an extra player in the opponent’s half. Although, this meant Brentford were forced to defend, they did so resolutely. One attack broke down from Chelsea and the Bees hit the post despite the unguarded net. Another attack broke down and this time Moayed Ibrahim scored his 14th goal of the season making it 4-1 to Brentford with six minutes to go. With 3 minutes to go, Chelsea pulled one back via the fly-keeper to make it 4-2.
A time out was taken with 99 seconds left on the clock to give the team a break and a chance to focus their efforts for the final onslaught. No further scoring meant that Brentford secured their qualification for the National Futsal Play-Offs starting in mid-May. Before that they travel to Derby Arena to contest the EFLT Futsal Trophy. The Futsal Bees will also face the winners of either Tranmere Rovers or Escolla Futsal Development in The FA Futsal Cup Second Round on 13 May.