England FC moved to within two points of leaders Jaffa FC after winning the top-of-the-table derby clash 2-0.
A well fought contest, which even drew a small crowd on the sideline, featured a high tempo start with both teams were fighting for every challenge. The game was on a knife edge until the 60th minute when Yaron Galinsky pounced from close range from a Lewis Kaye free kick to release the tension.
Tackles were still flying in as Jaffa tried to find a way past the England back four who is yet to concede a goal but it proved a task too much, as they pushed forward holes were left at the back and Roy Bihi took advantage with 20 minutes to go as he finished off a nice move by tapping in at the back post.
England assistant-manager David Bazak said: “Jaffa showed a lot of heart but it was not enough. We were spurred on by an excellent performance from man of the match and new soldier to the IDF Josh Hantman”
Modiin caused one of the season's biggest shocks so far with a convincing win over table-topping Ashdod. Modiin started strongly and opened the scoring on the quarter hour mark, with Chaim Finn finishing off a fine team move. And after 35 minutes, Modiin deservedly doubled their lead through a fine Sharon Attias strike. The lively Ashdod players worked hard to try to pull a goal back before half time but they were restricted to long shots and the score remained 2-0 at the interval.
Referees have been in the spotlight in the professional game recently, with the Scottish referees striking in response to the bad treatment they have received. Controversy surrounded a couple of penalty decisions by the ref in this game.
The first was given to Modiin after Finn's darting run was ended with a very late challenge from an Ashdod defender. The challenge appeared to be just outside the area but the referee adjudged that it was on the line and awarded a penalty. The Ashdod players were furious and, in protest at the decision, their goalkeeper refused to face the penalty, leaving Finn to roll the ball into an empty net for his second goal of the game.
The Ashdod manager berated after the game that “the referee was often too far from the play and even the Modiin players admitted it was outside the area”.
Incredibly, within five minutes, the dubious penalty count was brought to one each. Ashdod launched a mazy run into the box and, without a Modiin player within three yards of him, the striker fell to the ground. The referee adjudged there to be contact and pointed to the spot and the penalty was put away with aplomb. Suddenly, with half an hour still to play, seeds of doubt were sewn in the minds of the Modiin players, who had squandered a two-goal lead in their last game against Raanana. However, they were determined to avoid a repeat and, despite a spirited fight from the Ashdod team, the Modiin nerves were settled by a fine 75th minute strike by Ilan Shmueli.
As the game wound down to a close, Ashdod scored a second consolation goal before Sharon Attias capped a fine Modiin performance with his second of the evening.
Modiin manager Aron Lazarus was delighted with his team's performance: "I'm so proud of the boys today. The result may be a surprise to some but it was no less than they deserved for their tireless performance."
Elsewhere, Brazil FC failed to muster a team for their game against Raanana and have since resigned from the League through a lack of squad numbers. All previous points in games played against Brazil will be cancelled.
League Board member Yoni Sidi said: “We want this league to be open to as many people as possible and to Olim from all parts of the world. We will miss Brazil but hope other teams will join for next season.”
Next week, bottom of the table Aviv City FC look to break their duck when they host Raanana in the lone Chanucah fixture of the weekend.