Playing in Bedford against London Genesis the Bees started strongly with captain Toby Hardwick bursting forward only to see his fiercely hit drive come back off of the post and a nice free kick routine finishing with a shot from last week's hero Zoli Molnar-Saska going just wide.
As the first half went on the home team grew into the game, but another free kick for Cambridge saw Angel Martinez's shot well saved by the Genesis keeper. Genesis were now growing in confidence and forcing errors from Cambridge players with their excellent pressing and Bees keeper Chay Jakes was called into action several times before head coach Luis Mendonca called for a time out to try to alter the course of the match, however it was Jakes who was now the busier keeper, but Cambridge still threatened on the counter with Hardwick going close to opening the scoring as his shot went just wide, and another counter saw Molnar-Saski's chip go agonisingly close. These chances should have been a warning to the home team and eventually Cambridge broke through when Vitalii Burnus latched on to a Martinez through ball and finished expertly low into the goal.
Despite conceding Genesis continued to push forward and were causing Cambridge all sorts of problems with some brilliant individual pieces of skill combined with excellent pressing and a great move almost saw them draw level with Jakes stranded it was Molnar-Saska who stretched out a long leg to superbly clear the ball on the run. Next it was Jakes turn to excel with an outstanding save, diving at full stretch to his right to superbly deny the home side.
However, Cambridge were still looking dangerous on the break with Greg Birch hitting the post and a great flick from Molnar-Saska finding Natxo Zarauza whose shot narrowly missed the target.
The first half was massively competitive and both teams had racked up the foul count and it was not a surprise when Cambridge committed their 6th foul of the half giving Genesis a great opportunity to equalise, but Mendonca swapped Jakes for the experience of José Lima in goal and he won the mind games as the penalty flew wide.
It looked as though the Bees had done enough to preserve their slender first half lead as the clock counted down, but with 22 seconds of the half remaining Genesis worked the ball well to find an attacker free wide on the left and he slid the ball under the on rushing Jakes to give the hosts a deserved equaliser. Halftime 1-1.
The second half began with Genesis forcing Lima, who had replaced Jakes in goal at halftime, into a couple of good saves. But it was Cambridge who struck first in the half and it was a signature finish from Martinez who, as he so often does, found a powerful finish from an acute angle into the roof of the net. But Genesis hit back almost immediately, continuing to find success pressing the Bees they forced an error and capitalised with a great finish under Lima. The home team were now on top, pressing well when Cambridge were in possession, whereas the visitors were now forced to defend zonally and struggling to get any decent possession so it came as no surprise when a well worked corner routine finished with a shot Lima could only watch fly past him into the net, Genesis ahead for the first time and full of confidence continued with their pressing tactic and the Cambridge goal was under intense pressure as we approached the midway point in the second half.
The Bees are nothing if not resilient, an attitude instilled by Mendonca and reinforced season after season, and it was this which saw them battle their way back into the game. Having looked 2nd best for most of the second half they managed to begin to turn the game and a well worked corner saw Martinez find Molnar-Saska who's shot took a deflection leaving the home keeper stranded and leveling the game again.
Within minutes the Bees bouyed by the equaliser went ahead with a class goal from Martinez, picking the ball up just outside the area he jinked past 2 defenders before deftly chipping the ball over the keeper sending the visiting fans wild.
The home team now changed tactics and went with a fly keeper, Cambridge retreated into their well organised zonal marking system and frustrated the host's attempts to break them down, in fact Cambridge came closest during this period winning the ball from Genesis and breaking well. From one of the breaks Burnus was brought down and the Bees again worked an intricate free kick routine resulting in Molnar-Saska's shot being parried into the path of Hardwick who forced the ball over the line giving the Bees a 2 goal advantage for the first time in the match and with only 3 minutes remaining Cambridge comfortably saw out the remainder of the match to give them a maximum points return after their opening 2 games of the season.
Full Time London Genesis 3-5 Cambridge Futsal
Back row, left to right: Ivan Magalhães (new GK!), George Harlow (mascot 😉), Luis Mendonca (head coach), Isaac Griffiths, Chay Jakes, Angel Martinez, Zoli Molnar-Saska, Abel Reviejo (assistant coach)
Front row, left to right: Vita Burnus, Greg Birch, Harry Horton, Toby Hardwick, Jonny Tofts, Natxo Zarauza.
Finally, we would like to thank all of those who came to support us in Bedford today, we really appreciate your continued support of the Bees.