Four-midable Wanderers near title dream after resounding derby win

By Craig Silver, March 23, 2009
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Woodford Wanderers all but sealed promotion to Division Three after humiliating their local rivals East London Knights 4-0 at Redbridge Sports Centre.

A first half header from Jerome Marks plus second half strikes from Manny Simberg, Andy Levy and an own goal completed the emphatic victory which sees Woodford go three points clear at the top and with three games in hand.

Delighted first team Coach Paul Hyams told JC Sport: "I thought the boys were absolutely immense today. We were a different class most of the game and we made the Knights look ordinary."

The only set back for Woodford was an injury sustained to Darryl Green, who broke his ankle during the clash and will now be out for the remainder of the season.

"Player-manager Alex Aviram commented: We all wish Darryl a speedy recovery and dedicate the win to him."

It was a game controlled comfortably by a Woodford side oozing confidence, yet it did take a while for them get into their stride. Despite their dominance, they failed to turn possession into goals during the early stages.

However, that all changed after 27 minutes as they finally broke the deadlock. A vicious cross from Elliott Gold was completely missed by the Knights keeper Jon Labi and landed in the path of Jerome Marks who headed into the gaping goal.

Down the other end, the Knights came close to scoring when a Michael Winehouse centre flashed across the face of the goal and inches away from the head of James Ryan.

Minutes later, a Michael Konzon free kick skimmed the cross bar from 20 yards.

That was the closet the Knights came and it was simply a matter of time before Woodford would double their lead. They were rewarded for their dominance just after the hour mark, when Mitch Hahn's cross was diverted into his own net by Steve Clements.

Samm Pearey came close minutes later for Woodford, skipping past two Knights before producing an exquisite lob over Labi, but skipper Justin Bell was on hand to clear the ball off the line.

Woodford added a third on 69 minutes, and it was a goal which could be a contender for not goal of the month but goal of the season. Manny Simberg, who had already had one goal from similar distance disallowed in the first half, let fly from all of 45 yards, the ball flew into the top corner and dropped jaws of the sets of both supporters.

Andy Levy, who scored a brace in the corresponding fixture, completed the rout with 10 minutes to go. He rifled home a free-kick from 30 yards which bounced over the embarrassed Labi.

Woodford's Elliott Gold said: "We just beat our local rivals and didn't even need to turn up. It was a full blooded performance with great heart and commitment."

Knights manager James Ryan commented: "I thought it was a case today of just four simple mistakes, it was a disappointing display and we now hope that Woodford can do us a favour and keep us in the promotion hunt by beating Norstar."

Woodford Wanderers: Nehard 7, Poole 7, Levy 8 (sub: Schactor 7), Gold 8, Shafron 7, Ezekiel 7, Aviram 7, Simberg 9, Hahn 7, Marks 8 (sub: Winner 7), Green 7, (sub: Pearey 7)

East London Knights: Labi 4, Bell 6, Pollack 7, Konzon 6, Forest 6, Winehouse 6, Clements 5, Saunders 5, Franklin 5, Edwards 5, Ryan 5

JC star man: Manny Simberg (Woodford)

    Last updated: 12:41pm, March 23 2009