Deadly Dinkin sinks champions
|0 - 1|
Page Street, Mill Hill, London
020 7681 4520
A first-half strike from David Dinkin extended Norstar Raiders lead at the top of the MGBSFL Premier League to nine points as they overcame defending champions Faithfold.
Victory saw NLR make it eight wins from 11 games and maintain their unbeaten record this season, while it spelt a fourth league defeat for Faithfold.
It was a beautiful morning at the Hive, Norstar started the game off stronger as they kept possession well and looked for the opening. It only took Norstar five minutes to have their first effort, Dinkin had his back to goal, he turned well and fired his shot wide.
The hosts struggled to get into the game as they were overpowered in the middle of the park. For the majority of the first half they had 10 men behind the ball as they tried to keep the visitors at bay.
Norstar forced Faithfold keeper Ben Law into his first save of the match with a quarter of the game gone. Jamie Wolfson threaded a through ball to Matt Stock, Law rushed out quickly and made himself big as he denied Henry, it was a good save to keep Faithfold level.
That was Norstar’s only clear cut chance of the first half; they were restricted to long range shots which failed to trouble Law. Midway through the second, half Ben Ellis found room in the middle of the park; he played in Mike Pearson who fired into the side-netting.
As the half went on the current champions played better football, they kept the ball well and in Pearson they have a striker who is capable of holding the ball up and bringing others into play.
The deadlock was broken before the break as NLR broke and on the edge of Faithfold’s box and Jonny Kay was upended. Referee, Warwick Blake, played a superb advantage, the ball landed at the feet of Dinkin, who coolly and calmly curled the ball round Law.
Faithfold boss Zuriel Solomon would have been looking for a response from his players; and they didn’t disappoint. They played with more urgency and passion, their defence started from attack as Pearson and substitute Jonny Haik closed down the Norstar defenders and chased all the loose balls.
Norstar defended well from set-pieces as the commanding Jack Doffman came and punched everything. Midway through the second half the hosts appealed vigorously for a penalty, Pearson found room in the box and collided with an opposition defender. Pearson looked for the penalty and went to ground too easily and Blake waved the claims away, it was another superb call from the man in the middle.
Norstar then had a golden opportunity to double their lead; a sloppy pass by Dan Howard allowed Josh Green through on goal, but he lost his composure at the vital second and put his effort wide.
Pearson was finding a lot more room in the second half and was showing why he’s a class act. He picked the ball up in the box, shimmied onto his left foot and fired a shot across goal, which none of his team mates managed to get on the end of.
Faithfold continued to threaten - Howard tried his luck from distance but Doffman parried the ball to safety. As the game went on the hosts threw more and more men forward, Henry exploited this as he went on a marauding run, he found himself through on goal but couldn’t keep his composure as he slotted wide.
As we approached the end of the game tackles were flying in, but Norstar managed to hold on to a vital three points.
Norstar manager Phil Peters told JC Sport: "We definitely deserved the win – whilst Faithfold probably shaded the possession stats we had far more shots on goal, created more clear-cut chances and the margin of victory could have been far more comfortable if we’d have put a couple of one-on-ones away late on."
Faithfold boss Zuriel Solomon told JC Sport: "We just can't seem to get any luck. We started slowly and conceded a soft goal. We were camped in their half for the second 45, but just couldnt get the goals. It's not in our hands now, but we will keep going."
Norstar showed the qualities of champions, they showed skill, class, grit and determination. Whisper it very quietly, but maybe this is their year for silverware!
Report by Sam Ellard