MGBSFL PREMIER DIVISION
NORSTAR LONDON RAIDERS A 2 REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A 2
Phil Peters breathed a sigh of relief after table-topping Norstar London Raiders survived their toughest test of the season to come away with a deserved point against fellow title-challengers Redbridge at Brunel.
Raiders started the brightest and looked a constant threat going forward, with the excellent David Rhodes and Oli Henry driving through the midfield.
Indeed it was the home side who took the lead midway through the half after some great defensive work from Adam Joselyn in the right back area saw the ball switched over to Rob Blackman on the left-hand side. His inswinging cross found David Dinkin who calmly finished on his weaker left-foot with a fine half-volley.
Redbridge hit back with a fine finish by Ben Graham from just outside the box leaving keeper Jake Doffman with no chance.
Raiders started the second half in a manner with which the home fans have become accustomed to in past weeks, with captain David Rhodes leading by example and finishing another fine move with a low shot driven in from outside the box.
With a spring in their step it looked like the leaders would go on and wrap the game up until a probing ball into the box saw Josh Morris clash with Adam Stolerman, referee Gary Silver deeming it to be a foul leaving him with no choice but to send off the Raiders right back and allow Stolerman to even things up with the resulting spot-kick.
Raiders had to dig deep for 35 difficult minutes with countless through-balls and set pieces lofted into the area, but Dan Grossman and Josh Pistol at the back stood strong.
Both sides had chances to grab the winner and when substitute Zak Mcleod picked up the ball just inside the Redbridge half and saw Jordan Davidson off his line the fans were on their feet, but it wasn’t to be with the ball sailing high and wide.
Norstar boss Phil Peters was ultimately pleased with the point: "Whilst I’m disappointed not to have gone on and won the match after taking the lead early in the second half, I can’t fault the character and work rate of the boys who dug so deep to preserve our unbeaten record.
"It was a fiercely competitive game today with some big tackles, plenty of afters but nonetheless a very good game of football. We knew what they would throw at us and we stood up to it well. They are a hard team to beat, but we look forward to the rematch at Fairlop later in the season."
RJC boss Sam Rosenthal told JC Sport: "We showed great spirit to twice come back from behind. In the end we were unlucky not to make our numerical advantage count and take all three points.
"It was a good game between two good sides - not many teams will take points off them at their place. On balance a draw was probably the right result and we're delighted to remain unbeaten."