Manchester Maccabi 1st suffered their second consecutive defeat, going down 3-2 against Charlestown.
In the only game in all five divisions of the Eccles League to survive the heavy rain the North West had experienced in the previous week, Maccabi , for the second week in a row finished losers after playing the better football and creating more chances than their opponents.
Charlestown always pose a severe test of any Maccabi side, and manager Scott McGarvey chose to change the set up of the team by playing three central midfielders with the two wide men of Emile Davidson and Rafi Leker supporting Leor Sidle alone up front. This change to the usual 4-4-2 system took 15 minutes of the game to adapt to, but once Ashley Loofe and David Chaytow realised they could get forward more freely, Maccabi started passing the ball and putting pressure on the Charlestown defence.
However it was Charlestown who struck first with some inexperience leading to a cross from the left finding the Charlestown striker free to head in at the far post after 10 minutes. Within five more minutes matters got worse as a scramble led to a shot that was seemingly going wide diverted into his own net by keeper Dan Garman as he lunged for the ball.
At 2-0 down so early in the match, prospects did not bode well, but as Maccabi adapted to the new system so chances started to flow. Sidle up front showed superb movement and touch to give the central defenders a torrid time, and with Alex Lee supporting down the right wing as a full back the tide appeared to be turning.
A corner swung in by Chaytow was flicked on by Carl Peters and captain Mark Addis, somewhat unaware, deflected the ball in for Maccabi’s opening goal. Now Maccabi had Charlestown pegged back and a weighted chip by Chaytow found the onrushing Sidle but he lifted the ball onto the roof of the net.
A short corner was driven low across the face of the goal by Leker and somehow Charlestown frantically scrambled it away when it appeared it had to go in and to the hosts relief the half time whistle came.
Maccabi came out in the second half trying to carry on where they left off, but a clear missed handball by the referee saw Charlestown drive into the box resulting in another deflected shot finding its way past Garman.
McGarvey brought on David Herman for Leker, and after a five minute settling in period he started to pose a threat to the hosts. Sidle superbly drifted past the defender, and firing low across the goal it seemed Herman must score at the far post, but he slid in and put the chance wide.
Sidle then latched on to a through ball and instead of taking it with his left, sublimely poked his right at it early and the keeper watched as it rolled past him into the goal.
Anthony Jacobs got involved in a fracas and was headbutted resulting in the Charlestown substitute being sent off, but with Maccabi pushing for the equaliser Sidle twisted badly in the box and it looks like an old knee injury recurred.
Unable to continue, and with Maccabi having used all their substitutes, Charlestown saw the game out but after the final whistle acknowledged that they had been lucky to come out on top.
Sidle’s loss could be a big blow with fellow strikers Adam Lavin still sidelined (knee) and Adam Stevens still a few weeks away (ankle). However if Maccabi can continue the quality of football they have been playing , the results should come, as long as they start converting the chances they are creating.
The next fixture away at Staff of Life in the Manchester County Cup.
Maccabi: Garman, Lee, Addis, Peters, Jacobs, Buxton, Loofe, Chaytow, Leker, Davidson, Sidle. Subs: Herman, Simmons