The second week of the JC Olim League in Israel was a much tighter affair than the goal fest of the opening week.
Current champions England FC opened their title defence against newly merged Modiin and Bet Shemesh while an enthralling north of centre derby took place between Netanya and Raanana.
England FC struggled to break down a resilient Modiin defence in the first half. Yarden Barness on his debut and John Rosenbaum both were put through but could not beat the excellent Yanki Tajtelbaum in the Modiin goal.
England FC started to control the game in the second half with midfield Yaron Galinsky running proceedings. The breakthrough eventually came for England FC in the 70th minute with debutant Tal Stern finishing off an excellent move.
Modiin continued battling to the end and manager Aron Lazarus (formerly Oakwood C) was proud of his team’s performance “a special mention must go to Toby Greene (formerly Pure Orange) and Dan Hyman (formerly Real MAL) who ran their socks off in the middle of the park. It's frustrating to have come so close to a draw but the performance bodes very well for the season ahead.”
The north of centre derby’ match between Ra’anana and Netanya served up a seven-goal thriller. This family affair had two sets of ‘father-son’ combinations playing together with Neil (formerly Sunnybank Celtic) and Hanani Corney for Netanya and Alan and Yair Aronson for Raanana.
Netanya got off to the better start in this one with hat-trick hero Alex Sool putting them ahead in the first half. Ra’anana got back into the game and finally got the goal they needed just before half time through Ariel Langer.
Ra’anana dominated early in the second half and began playing some flowing football. Two quick goals from Rafi Kanichowsky saw Ra’anana take a 3-1 lead.
To Netanya’s credit they did not put their heads down and fought back to 3-3 with two more goals from Sool. Ra’anana ‘man of the match’ goalkeeper Robin Burkeman had a fine game making numerous athletic saves. This was rewarded with a winning goal three minutes from the end after a great run by Ariel Langer to earn a deserved 4-3 victory for Ra’anana.
Ra’anana co-manager Avi Wiesenberg was delighted with his team. He said: “We have a good blend of youth and experience and I am pleased with the way the team is gelling. They gave it their all and showed determination in continuing to fight after letting the lead slip.”
Netanya manager Neil Corney expects more from his newly formed team. Playing in the strip of ‘twin town’ Blackpool, the Seasiders’ manager commented: “All credit to Ra’anana who took advantage of a weak performance from Netanya in our debut game. I expect to see vast improvements as the team gels into a strong unit.”
Next week sees Ashdod host Aviv City and Ra’naana host current table toppers Jaffa FC.