JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
LONDON MACCABI LIONS A 4 BRADY MACCABI A 0
The Lions made their title intentions clear with a stunning four-goal success over Brady in the Rowley Lane derby.
With both sides registering respective draws in their opening fixtures last weekend, the two teams came into this game in search of their first victory of the season. The surface at Rowley Lane was superb and would clearly suit the passing style of both teams.
Lions started the game on the back foot and really struggled to impose themselves on the contest in the early goings. During this spell, Brady were first to create a goal scoring opportunity, with Sam Singer in the Lions goal setting the tone for an outstanding morning's work with a couple of smart saves in the opening 10 minutes.
However, it was soon Lions in the ascendency, with Lorian Madanes continuing his excellent form with a dazzling run past three Brady players before expertly pulling the ball back to the onrushing Pearson. To the spectators’ surprise, last season’s MSFL Premier Division top-scorer was unable to properly connect and the scores remained level.
Lions continued to press forward and the first goal did eventually go to the home side via a goalkeeping error. Oli Craig turned sharply and drove at the Brady backline before striking towards goal on 20 minutes, with Oli Colmans unable to palm the shot away.
Craig nearly doubled the Lions advantage as he skipped past a couple of challenges but he was only able to drag his strike wide of the right hand post.
This appeared to give Lions confidence as they continued to dominate proceedings. It appeared as though Craig was in the clear as he burst past Jonny Ellis just 10 minutes later but last year's top marksman pulled up abruptly and had to be replaced by 19-year-old David Nezri.
The substitution allowed Lions to match Brady in midfield. During this time, the visitors did still pose Lions difficulties, with Josh Hershman and Marc Lazare looking dangerous. However, the outstanding Jake Lew was on top form as he sniffed out the danger on a number of occasions. Ollie Leslie too began to show the form that won him Players’ Player of the Year last season, with a characteristically assured display.
Anything that the back four didn’t manage to clear away, was assuredly dealt with by Singer, who produced a vast array of important saves at important times for Lions. Lazare, Hershman and Green were all denied by the young shot stopper and Lions were soon to double their advantage up the other end.
A beautifully whipped in free kick from Madanes on the left hand side was met by fellow new signing Mike Pearson, who in turn skillfully leapt highest, before guiding his header superbly beyond the Brady keeper.
With a 2-0 advantage at the break, Lions were keen to keep things tight at the back. Lew and Leslie continued their excellent work, while David Goldberg was in imperious form in the centre of midfield. Goldberg continued to break up copious Brady advances throughout whilst instigating a number of Lions counter attacks. Stern too, impressed on his first start in Lions colours as he worked tirelessly down the right flank, with a serious of tenacious challenges and incisive dribbling.
Pearson continued to be a constant threat to the Brady rearguard and he soon had number two of the game and season, as captain Lebens drove forward before scooping the ball into Pearson’s path. Pearson in turn made absolutely no mistake with the finish and effectively killed the game off with half an hour still remaining.
There was still time for Lions to make it four, Madanes adding to his brace last week direct from a corner.
With Lions keen to register a clean sheet as well as the win, they were indebted to youngster Singer once more. Hershman, who proved a threat to Lions throughout, cut in from the left and unleashed an outstanding right footed drive that looked destined for the top right corner. Singer at full stretch got enough on it to divert it onto the crossbar and away from danger.
The win sees Lions pick up their first victory of the MSFL campaign and next week sees them go in search of number two as they travel to Premier Division new boys Brixton.
Brady boss Joel Nathan told JC Sport: "It was 2-0 half time due to two bad defensive errors, while third was a bit dubious for offside and the fourth direct from a corner.
"We're very disappointed as result flattered Lions as apart from the actual goals Oli Colmans only had one save to make while we worked their keeper numerous times.
"We will bounce back but well done to Josh and his team."