Glenthorne United boss David Blitz is predicting a bright future for his side as they finished off a dramatic season for the club by grabbing a last-minute equaliser to keep alive their promotion hopes against rivals UJS Norstar B.
Facing a five-way tussle to go up from the JC MSFL Division Four, it looked like a season which has seen Glenthorne’s A team fold from the Premier League, would end in defeat for Blitz’s men, after an 82nd minute strike by Nick Benson put UJS Norstar B ahead.
But a brilliant Jamie Lawrence curler – shortly after a five-minute delay for a dislocated shoulder sustained by David Blackman – helped the Thornes keep alive their promotion challenge.
“We kept going to the end and it paid off,” said Blitz who believes that his side, which contains former A team player Dan Lipman, will re-build the club’s reputation – whether they are in Division Three or Four next year.
“As long as another club doesn’t sign all our players we should be able to keep what we’ve got,” said Blitz, who accepts that his side may be reliant on the league’s administrators to decide their promotion fate. “It could come down to how many teams are allowed to go up,” he said.
UJS Norstar B, who had won every previous home game, struggled to create many chances, and were reliant on their young goalkeeper Ian Weinstein for staying in the game, after he made countless good saves, including a palm away from a free kick and a couple of excellent smothering saves.
Dan Shafron and Jordan Sapler both hit the bar in a first half for Glenthorne, but the second was a tepid affair that looked like petering out into a goalless draw until a long throw from Josh Gaon was flicked on to Benson who tapped home.
The injury to Blackman – which saw Dr Dan Markeson break from playing duties in a nearby match to offer assistance – acted as a useful timeout for the visitors, who pressed and were eventually rewarded when Lawrence left Weinstein stranded as he floated a shot into
the top right corner. Shafron then missed a guilt-edged chance to win it for Glenthorne United right at the death.
Norstar B coach Jonny Bunt acknowledged the title was out of his side’s hands. “We are now relying on Redbridge dropping points, so this was a good result for them. Overall I have to say that Glenthorne probably just shaded it, so we can’t complain about their equaliser.”
Norstar: Weinstein, Addlestone, Sandzer, Seres, Gaon, Benson, Abrams (sub: Kaflon), Martin, Wolfson, A Lipman (sub: J Kleiman); Franks (sub: Burstein)
Glenthorne: Tiller, Levy, Sapler, Kantor, Stein, Lipman, Crawford (sub: Geppart), Jay (sub: Cohen), Lawrence; Shafron, Blackman