JC MSFL DIVISION ONE
Norstar FC A 4 North West Neasden B 3
Norstar's good start to the season continued with a 4-3 victory over Neasden and it should have been far more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.
Neasden were quickest out of the blocks and took the lead after 25 minutes when Jonny Kay's through ball was cut out by the visitors and Jonny Blain got hold of the ball, driving it past the helpless Ben De La Fuente in the Norstar goal from 25 yards.
But Norstar hit back and less than five minutes later had the ball in the net with Josh Green racing on to a excellent through ball from skipper Jeremy Elster to strike home past the impressive Dan Beresfordin the NWN goal.
Green grabbed his second shortly before half-time, turning inside the Neasden right-back and his deflected effort found its way inside the near post.
In the second half Norstar continued to dominate and should have had a penalty when Kay was taken out in the area, losing his boot in the process. Unfortunately for the home team, he pointed for a goal kick instead. It didn't matter though as another run from the outstanding Green took him out wide where he pulled the ball back for Adam Jason to flick through his legs and into the net to double the advantage.
And Green completed his hat-trick in the 84th minute after being released by De La Fuente for his third assist in two weeks, the Neasden centre-back failing to deal with the clearance and Green chipping the ball over the oncoming Beresford once again and completing his second treble in as many weeks.
Three goals ahead with five minutes to go and Norstar were in cruise control. They weren't banking on Neasden raising their game which they did through Nick Kenton who scored with an excellent solo effort, cutting inside Adam Graham at right-back and lashing his shot past the keeper.
Neasden then won a penalty after Jeff Gotch was found guilty of a handball in the box - although he strongly denies this was the case. Ricky Engleman converted to set up a tasty finish for the neutral but a nail-biting moment for the Norstar fans and management on the sidelines.
Neasden should have equalised with the last attack of the game, Engleman storming into the box and beating several men although Josh Pistol managed to keep out the eventual shot in goal with an incredible block that spared the blushes of all those in Orange.
The final score flattered the visitors but highlighted the frailties of a Norstar team who have been consistently inconsistent this season and now sit one point behind the leaders in Division One.
Manager Phil Peters, speaking to norstarfc.co.uk in the absence of Jamie Slavin, was delighted with the win but disappointed with the final few minutes.
He said: "Being 4-1 up with five minutes to go should have seen us finish the game with the victory safely in the bag but we made it more difficult for ourselves than it should have been.
"Credit to Neasden for the way they fought back but it would have been very difficult to deal with not getting all three points as we played so well for 80 minutes of the match.
"Greenie was clearly the star man today with a second successive hat-trick and an assist but it was a really strong team performance from Benny in goal all the way forwards. Josh Pistol and JP were outstanding today, whilst Shamash, AJ, Perli and Sam all slotted in seamlessly.
"Six big games to come and promotion is in our hands - it's going to be a tough, tough end to the season but we'll keep having fun and see what happens!"