Raiders A surge 14 points clear
|1 - 3|
Burton Hole Lane, London NW7
Norstar London Raiders A picked up their 10th league win over the season against FC Team A on Sunday and in the process extended their lead at the top of the Premier Division to 14 points.
After a late switch from the flood-ridden Old Camdenians, the players and fans were treated to a bright sunny day at the Ark Academy and they were treated to a spectacle of football from the now-home side who enjoyed the lion’s-share of possession and spent most of the half in their opponent’s half.
With FC Team missing the attacking threat of Mitch Young and Richard Salmon, it was always likely to be a backs-to-the-wall job and in the first half they frustrated the leaders with 10 men behind the ball and were good value for the 0-0 scoreline despite Josh Green heading onto the bar moments from the break.
Moments into the second half an FC Team corner was drilled in for Marc Harris to power a header into the bottom corner of the net to put the underdogs 1-0 up – not the start to the second half that Norstar manager Phil Peters was hoping for from team.
Having sent on Adam Joselyn at half time, Peters was quick to make a second change - bringing Jamie Wolfson on to support the attack. Both substitutes were in inspired form and along with David Dinkin, Matt Stock and Green started to play some outstanding football – brilliantly assisted by Jonny Kay in a deep-lying midfield position.
Norstar continued to press and were soon rewarded when the Team goalkeeper parried a stinging shot and Dinkin was on hand to score his 10th of the season with a delicate touch into the roof of the net.
The result now looked inevitable with a tiring Team unable to raise their game, too reliant on a potential counter-attack that would have struggled to get through the imperious David Rhodes and Josh Pistol now together at the heart of the Norstar defence.
The second goal came 15 minutes from time, with some intricate movement of the ball culminating in the outstanding Stock dancing through the defence and firing past the Team goalkeeper to send the fans into dreamland.
Green then put the icing on the cake when after having missed a sitter from close range, he recovered to score a similar goal to Stock, placing the ball neatly into the bottom corner of the goal from the edge of the area.
Jubilant Peters paid tribute to his forwards for what was a brilliant second half performance: "We didn't get it quite right in the first half, but some of the football we played in the second was breath-taking and a real joy to watch.
"Team seemed to come here with a game-plan and for 60 minutes it was working for them, but I was never worried about getting the win here. With a full squad to choose from for the first time this season we had no excuses but to do the business.
"Josh Green was magnificent today, but in the second 45-minutes we saw a magical performance from Matt Stock that showed just why the Chairman paid so much money to sign him from London Lions in the summer. Truly magnificent.
"Next week it's Los Blancos for the chance to go into the Anekstein semi-final. It's a huge game for so many reasons and we can’t wait – we just want to keep playing football at the moment!"