Norstar A claim first-ever Premier win
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Norstar made history at John Lyon on Sunday by securing their first Premier Division win and did so in style with a 3-0 victory over the much-fancied Brixton Old Boys.
Despite performing well throughout the season, points have been hard to come by for Norstar and their luck did not look like changing with the withdrawal of two strikers from the matchday squad over the weekend, including new signing Declan Spiro.
However as big brothers often do, Justin Spiro came to his sibling’s rescue by giving the home side a deserved lead 15 minutes into the game. Jonny Kay’s corner was met by Adam Kaldor who headed onto the bar only for it to fall kindly for Spiro to nod in at the front post. Cue elation from a home crowd who could sense that some festive magic might be in the air.
Soon after Norstar doubled their lead, Spiro this time releasing Josh Green who cut in from the left win, left his man for dead and calmly finished at the near post past the helpless Jake Doffman in the Brixton goal. Suspicions of offside were waved away by the referee and even the Norstar bench began to get excited.
Brixton had several chances to get back in the game towards the end of the half, with the usually reliable Alon Hershkorn uncharacteristically missing twice from close range and a penalty shout turned down after a Cazorla-esque fall by the otherwise outstanding Rob Blackman in the home box.
With seconds of the half remaining, Blackman was again on the floor but this time the referee awarded a deserved spot kick. George Fierstone stepped up to halve the deficit but an outstanding save from the inspired Ben De La Fuente in the Norstar net denied Brixton what could have been a psychologically important goal at an important time in the game.
At half-time Peters and Slavin reminded their team of the lead squandered earlier in the season to FC Team but also most aptly the 2-0 lead they held against Brixton in the promotion-decided last season. Brixton went on to win that game 3-2 and leave Norstar with a nervy few months over the summer before finding out their fate.
But there was to be no repeat of that performance and the high-level of performance that the management craved was played-out on the pitch with the returning skipper Jeremy Elster leading from the front. Rather than soak up the pressure, Norstar continued to take the initiative and scored the all-important third goal after Green’s shot was parried and Ben Sheldon arrived at the back post to head in leaving Brixton with no way back.
The away team did continue to look for a goal that might have caused Norstar to crumble again but the home defence continued to stay strong, with full-backs Jordan Grant and Anthony Goodmaker playing their best games of the season and Josh Pistol marshalling the troops with aplomb.
Daniel Gilbert in the Norstar midfield refused to let Fierstone have any time or space throughout the game leaving Jonny Kay and Adam Kaldor to run things in midfield and ensure Norstar would see out the game and secure their first three-points.
Simon Perlmutter was lively when he was introduced and manager Peters a calming influence when entering the arena.
Manager Phil Peters was full of praise for his players: "After 11 games there were some people doubting this day would arrive but I’ve had confidence in my players from the very beginning and hope we can now push on from here.
"Special praise to my MotM, the Rice Man Ben De La Fuente who dedicated his performance (we think) to his newly-born niece Gracie Rose. But today was about our whole squad and we’ve not lost that togetherness despite our poor run of results.
"We’ll fight with everything we’ve got to stay in this division and next week we hope to start a cup run as well with a tough game against SPEC.
"It’s great to finally break our Brixton hoodoo as well – they’re a terrific team with real quality throughout – despite what my pre-match comments might have alluded to ... we look forward to another battle with them in 2013."
Reflecting on a bad morning, Brixton manager John Nitka told JC Sport: "This was a game that we should have won but it was one of those days when the ball wouldn't go in the net. A missed penalty, bad refereeing decisions and attitude - this was a lesson to be learnt - we are good enough but its a question of playing together - no more to be said!"
DC Prediction: Norstar A 3 Brixton A 2