JC MSFL DIVISION TWO
SPEC FC 3 BRADY MACCABI B 0
SPEC, despite the majority of the team having been sipping cool Peroni’s (other Lager’s available) and Harlem-shaking mere hours earlier, secured a vital three points over promotion favourites and bitter rivals Brady B on a crisp winter's morning at the cauldron of noise that is the Cinderella Hairena.
The Bananas got out of the traps the quicker and made sure their opponents weren’t given so much as a seconds rest on the ball from the very first whistle. SPEC’s pressing game so rigorously imposed by gaffer Conway was relentless throughout and soon lead to a home free-kick deep inside the Brady half. Captain Ashley Burns whipped in a delicious ball and after a goal-mouth melee, Elliott Wallis was left with the simplest of tasks and smashed home from close range.
During the melee, Brady’s captain and centre-back supreme was injured and this forced a tactical reshuffle as the influential James Joseph was forced into a less effective defensive role. Brady’s best opportunities of a subdued first half came from set pieces, though SPEC’s stand-in keeper Dan Pike was more than equal to the array of aerial set pieces flung his way, punching and catching his team imperiously to safety.
At the other end, SPEC continued to cause problems and 35 minutes in, SPEC doubled their advantage. This time Wallis turned provider, squaring to captain Ashley Burns who turned his marker before coolly slotting past the keeper – keeping his head when those around him were losing theirs to send the home support into ruptures. The controversially dropped Segal showed no signs of overt disappointment however – backflipping Julias Aghahowa style in celebration.
The second half saw Brady pen SPEC back in their search for an equaliser, though the Bananas’ back four shielded by Marc Hecht and assisted by the returning starlet Simon Lee proved, on the whole, to be too strong. When Brady were given a lifeline from the penalty spot, Pike’s presence was enough to put young Reiss Moligner off who fired his penalty high over the bar.
The let off only served to inspire SPEC to push for a third, and lone striker Dan Amram soon delivered the goods. The Mosquito finished from close range after great work from Burns and Hecht to get the goal that his selfless performance deserved. And with that, the Bananas sat back and enjoyed the final few minutes, running the clock down to secure a monumental victory.
This, the second time this season that SPEC have beaten Brady without conceding a goal, will however perhaps be remembered more crucially as the day they blew the title race wide open.
SPEC Goalkeeping coach, vice treasurer and Hugo Lloris lookalike extraordinaire Michael Rhodes posted on a popular Social Media website: “Unbelievable performance today boys. Totally deserved that! Added bonus - Bilbaum only picked up a point from their double header against Norstar. Blows this promotion race wide open. COYB!”
Brady player-manager Josh Dagul told JC Sport: "Fair play to the SPEC boys - they worked hard for their win but we shot ourselves in the foot. We lost inspirational captain Sam Frohlich early on and gave away silly fouls in dangerous areas, gifting them two goals.
"From that point it was always going to be an uphill struggle in what was a highly passionate encounter.
"At 2-0 we had a good chance to get back into it from the spot, and if we had converted we would have felt we could have equalised. We pushed forward chasing the game, and they capitalised, scoring the third and killing the game.
"SPEC are a decent side, but we simply didn't do ourselves justice out there. They may feel that the league is wide open now, but that defeat has simply made us more determined to do what is necessary to win the league. It's still in our hands, and as long as that is the case, we believe in ourselves."