Cambridge spurned the opportunity to go top of the National Futsal Series Tier 2 South when they were beaten for the first team this season by Sporting Club Southend.
The match began with each side retaining the ball well, but neither really creating a chance, the Bees came closest to beaking through when Michael Hofstetter's flick from Angel Martinez's corner at the near post went just wide. As the first half progressed Cambridge began to look the more likely to score, both Matinez and Natxo Zarauza forced good saves from the Sporting keeper before Zarauza met a long ball on the right wing and lashed a volley on the run off of the crossbar and in to give the Bees a deserved lead. Cambridge were now on top, and Zarauza came close to finding Harry Horton in the area, but a last ditch interception stopped what would have been a tap in for Cambridge. Martinez then came agonising close to doubling the lead when he saw his shot come back from the inside of the post following a nice kick-in routine.
Although Cambridge were the better side at this point, Southend had been keeping possession well without really threatening the home team's goal, that was until a good move down the Sporting left saw a good effort come off of the outside of the corner of the bar and post. The Bees were still threatening to double their lead, a sublime pass from Toby Hardwick found Isaac Griffiths in the area but his effort went just wide, a kick in from Jonny Tofts provided Griffiths with another opportunity which was well saved by the Sporting keeper. Cambridge were to profit from a kick in routine when Hardwick found Zoli Molnar-Saska who rifled home a fierce left footed drive into the bottom left corner of the goal. The Bees looked in control and even keeper Jose Lima fancied his chance as he burst from his own area into the oppositions half, but his shot flew widely over the bar. Chances came and went for Cambridge, Griffiths saw a shot deflected wide, Hardwick and Tofts combined well to set up Molnar-Saska whose shot hit the post, Southend threatened briefly as the half drew to a close, but good pivot play from Hofstetter set up Martinez who came close again for the Bees who went in at half-time 2 goals up and looking comfortable.
It's an old cliche, but this really was a game of 2 halves, Sporting who had had long spells of possession in the first half without really threatening to score came out with real intent and after just 15 seconds forced a good save from Lima. The Bees were guilty of standing off and giving Southend too much time on the ball and Southend were back in the match after 2 minutes when a long range free kick beat Lima low to his right. Sporting were now playing with much more confidence and Lima did well to block a close range effort, Cambridge were still looking dangerous on the counter, but Southend were looking more likely to score, and they thought they had equalised after 6 minutes only to see the effort ruled out for handball. The respite for Cambridge didn't last long though, the Bees lost possession on the edge of the Sporting area, the visitors broke forward and a great ball across the face of goal found an unmarked attacker who calmly slotted home and within seconds it was 3-2 to the visitors, Cambridge guilty of standing off allowed a long range effort which beat Lima who appeared to be unsighted.
The shock of the 3rd Sporting goal forced head coach Luis Mendonca to bring back on captain Hardwick who was clearly suffering from a challenge early in the match, but his introduction spurred the Bees on and they began to press better and to create chances again, Vitalii Burnus saw a shot deflected wide and from the corner his effort was well saved by the keeper, Martinez also went close and from the resulting corner Burnus volleyed wide. Martinez then waltzed past 2 Southend players to set up Molnar-Saska, whose shot went just wide and the it was the Hungarian's turn to beat a couple of away players and hit a shot which hit the post. The equaliser looked on the cards, but a free kick from Southend was brilliantly threaded through the Cambridge defences to give Sporting a 2 goal lead with five minutes remaining.
The Bees reaction was immediate and that was to go fly, Southend defended superbly throwing bodies in front of the ball, but with just under 2 minutes remaining Cambridge found a way through the Sporting defensive line when Burnus found Hofstetter who clipped the ball home and Cambridge came agonisingly close to an equaliser with 20 seconds on the clock when Martinez jinked around 2 defenders only to see his effort miss by millimetres. Full time: Cambridge Futsal 3 - 4 Sporting Club Southend