Dinkin takes L'Orange towards Promised Land
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Forest Road, Fairlop, Essex
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Norstar London Raiders A secured a massive three-points against title-rivals Redbridge A at Fairlop and in doing so stretched their lead at the top of the table to 20 points.
The first half was a fairly even affair with neither side managing to deal with the horrendous conditions and struggling to get any fluidity in their play.
Raiders had an early goal disallowed after Matt Stock was adjudged to have been offside following a probing corner that the home side were unable to deal with.
Redbridge were lucky to keep 11 men on the pitch after Stock was hauled down on the edge of the box by Redbridge’s last man - the referee deeming the tackle only worth of a yellow card. The same player was then lucky not to see red after a mistimed high-tackle that saw Raiders striker David Dinkin floored with studs to the chest.
Unsurprisingly there were few chances in the half, but with the clock ticking down Raiders’ keeper Jake Doffman pulled off another worldie stretching out an arm to turn the ball over from a mistimed header from his own defender.
In the second half Raiders began to turn the screw, getting to grips with the howling wind and keeping the ball down as much as possible. Against the wind, the ball was starting to hold up and Stock and Dinkin were becoming much more influential further up the pitch.
It was the combination of the two Raiders forwards that secured what turned out to be the only goal of the game, midway through the half when Stock rounded the keeper and sent the ball towards goal from an acute angle for the oncoming Dinkin to tap home and make sure of the lead.
Redbridge asked few questions late on and despite their best intent the visitors’ backline held strong superbly marshalled by skipper David Rhodes and protected by the magnificent Elliot Espinoza and Jonny Kay.
Speaking after the game, boss Phil Peters said: "It was a hard-fought match and the battle we were expecting but in the end our pressure told and we got the goal our performance deserved.
"Redbridge might have felt aggrieved by the referee's decision to allow it, but should be grateful they still had 11 men on the pitch at half-time.
"One more league game to go and we'll need three points to give us the best chance of securing the title. We know Oakwood will be resting players ahead of our forthcoming Anekstein semi-final, but we’ll still have to beat what’s in front of us.
"Chairman Jonathan Adelman has offered to buy dinner for the Camden side at their favourite restaurant if they can do the double over our noisy neighbours next week and I’ll throw in a Kinder Egg for anyone who scores a goal!"
RJC boss Sam Rosenthal told JC Sport: "It's sad that the referee seems to have handed Raiders the championship. It was quite clear the goal should of been disallowed and credit to Keith, the ref, he has apologised for his error.
"0-0 would've been fair, even though we clearly had the better chances, including what can only be described as a world-class save from their keeper. They are a great set of lads and wish them luck."