Grimsby Town are the first ever champions of the Soccer AM Futsal Cup powered by NCS, following an unforgettable final at the Birmingham International Futsal Arena.
Seconds remained at the end of an epic encounter, when the Lincolnshire lads made it 7-6 to send them into dreamland and Derby into despair. As the clock struck zero, the travelling Grimsby fans invaded the court to celebrate with their student-players.
The day's drama kicked off with the semi-finals, as favourites Derby County overcame 2013, FLT Futsal League National Champions Leeds United 6-1, whilst eventual winners Grimsby Town almost lost grip of their dream, receiving a timely wake-up call for the final as Notts County came from 6-1 down to make it 6-5.
With the winning prize of a Barcelona Futsal tour at stake, a passionate display from both Derby and Grimsby provided a fitting end to Sunday's futsal finale. As the fixture swayed in both club's favour during a breath taking duel, the tension filtered from the touchlines to the hundreds of fans, and soon became unbearable for some.
Grimsby went into the half-time break a goal to the good, and continued where they left off in the second, opening up a two goal cushion for the first time in the match to make it 4-2. The resilient Rams had something to say about this though, scoring three unanswered goals to flip the tie in their favour for the first time at 5-4.
The end to end action continued, as Grimsby brought it level, only for Derby to go down the other end and restore the lead within seconds. However, there was a sense from the sidelines that this story had one more chapter to write, and it did not disappoint. As the game rolled into its final few minutes, Grimsby made it all square, and as extra-time looked inevitable with a mere 30 seconds remaining on the clock, the Mariners netted with what proved to be the unlucky 13th goal for a heartbroken Derby.
Reflecting on the competition's climactic conclusion, Mariners' Man of the match, Nathan Lambert said, "The whole day was an unreal experience which we'll remember all our lives. For most of us it may be the biggest competition we've ever been in and to win it in the manner that we did makes it that little bit more special. The last five minutes and the ten minutes after the game are a complete blur to me, it still hasn't quite sunk in."
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The Soccer AM Futsal Cup powered by NCS is comprised of student-players participating in The Football League Trust Education & Futsal programme.
The programme provides 16-18 year olds with the chance to score both on and off the pitch, as they study towards a BTEC Diploma in Sport with their local professional club's community scheme.
Graduates of the programme often progress to University, overseas football scholarships and careers within the vibrant sports industry.
Football lovers moving into sixth-form education are encouraged to apply, as places start to fill up for next season at over 50 clubs across the country.
NCS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity open to all 15 to 17 year olds across England.
It is a unique two or three week full-time programme focused around fun and discovery, plus 30 hours committed to a community project that benefits both young people and society.
On this government backed programme, participants build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and adventures, making new friends, learning new skills and contributing to their community.
The Football League Trust delivers NCS through its football clubs and organisation: NCS FLT