Only one round remains in the 2016/17 Series Futsal Victoria season; and with the title already won, the attention turns to the bottom of the ladder as the three bottom placed teams are faced with the nightmarish prospect of instant relegation to the State Championship.
All three teams have their destiny in their own hands, and at the end of the night, one of these teams will no longer don the Series Futsal badge on the arm of its jersey . Here is a preview of the two matches that will decide the fate of these three clubs.
FC Balwyn (4th) vs (8th) FC Collingwood
FC Collingwood faces the very real prospect of going back to the State Championship, after only one season in Series Futsal Victoria. It has had a miserable first season, ending almost every round at the bottom of the table; and that is where it finds itself with only one game to play.
It comes up against last season’s runners up, FC Balwyn, who have recently experienced an upturn in form and fortune, beating fellow top 4 competitors CF Brunswick in a penalty shoot-out last week. Balwyn has its own battle to fight; it needs a win to secure a spot in next month’s Series Futsal Australia competition.
A positive for Collingwood is that it is only three points behind both Ashburton and Metropolitan, with a greater goal difference; and with the two sides playing each other later that night, a win of any variety is enough for it to avoid immediate relegation. It will be a tough task for the struggling Collingwood, but stranger things have happened this season.
Ashburton (6th) vs (7th) Metropolitan FC
If Collingwood loses its game against Balwyn, then this game will lose a lot of its hype. If that result goes the other way though, the last game of this Series Futsal Victoria season will virtually become a play-off to decide which side gets relegated to the State Championship.
While Collingwood’s side has suffered from a lack of experience, these two sides, particularly Metro, have bundles of experience and have perhaps suffered from being too old and slow at times this season. Ashburton has had some outstanding results, with two wins against title challengers Hume being the obvious stand-outs; but a lack of consistency has cost them.
Metro has played well against its fellow relegation battlers, but has struggled to put two much of a fight up against teams in the top half of the table, the recent victory over Hume excluded. That may end up costing Metropolitan, unless it continues its good form against bottom three sides and gets the win against Ashburton, if the do-or-die situation arises.
Unfortunately for FC Collingwood and its loyal allegiance of fans, it will be back playing its futsal in the State Championship next season. Despite a recent win over the out-of-form Hume breathing life into what seemed to be a dead season, Collingwood has left it a little too late to mount a Leicester City-esque survival.
Collingwood has won only one out of its last 14 games against teams in the current top 5, losing its last encounter to Balwyn by five goals to three. Balwyn also has too much to play for, with a place in Series Futsal’s national competition at stake, and it will show its class, relegating Collingwood to the State Championship in the process.