JC MSFL DIVISION TWO
NORTH WEST NEASDEN B 2 LOS BLANCOS 3
A last-ditch wonder goal from Jules Gertner saw Blancos condemn table-toppers Neasden B to only their second defeat of the season at a blustery west Hendon Playing Fields.
Neasden adjusted the quicker to the blustery conditions at West Hendon, and it required a few early saves from Josh Gertner to keep the scores all square in the opening stages.
Los Blancos started to find their feet as the first half wore on, but just as they started to turn the screw, Neasden were gifted an opener. Messrs David Israel and Josh Gaon combined in devastating fashion to lob the ball unexpectedly back over their own defence leaving the Neasden striker all the time in the world to pick his spot - which he did with aplomb as his strike cannoned in off Gertner's right hand post.
After a few bad results on the spin, and a goal down against league leaders Neasden, Blancos could have easily folded but instead took matters into their own hands.
In double quick time they had turned the game around, starting with a sumptuous finish from player-manager Adam Hersh. Hersh latched on to a ball played over the top, with his first touch taking it beyond the tracking defender. With just Len Bloom in goal between him and an equaliser - Hersh dropped his shoulder to round the goalie and chipped in from a tight angle over four legs worth of retreating defenders.
It was the least Blancos deserved after their contribution to the opening exchanges, and got the chance to turn the game on its head when a penalty was awarded as a ball into the box bounced around, eventually coming off a Neasden hand. Josh Gaon was on penalty duty again and duly converted to Bloom's left despite the ball's best attempts to stop for a drink at a puddle squatting in the six-yard box.
The first half petered out, and the second half started in a similar manner as both teams battled to contend with the ever-strengthening wind.
Blancos perhaps had the slightly better of the chances until the momentum was well and truly flung in their direction when Neasden were reduced to 10 men. Ben Annis made a surging run up the pitch from left back after a neat exchange with Adam Waters when he made his way into the box at full speed. A Neasden defender did well to put himself between Annis and the ball but was seemingly not best pleased with Ben's attempts to win the ball back. Once the ref blew for a freekick in Neasden's favour the defender kicked out at Annis in full view of everyone on and around the pitch. The ref went straight to his back pocket and produced the warranted red card.
Blancos continued to frustrate however as whilst they were able to convert their numerical advantage into territorial advantage - they were unable to put more daylight between themselves and the visitors. Every so often Neasden countered leaving the Blancos faithful with ever reducing finger nails.
Step up Jules Gertner. He wrapped up the points with a 90-yard run after picking the ball up from a fruitless Neasden set piece. He rode various challenges with sheer grit and determination whilst having the composure to slot a sumptuous finish, giving Bloom no chance. The question isn't so much if this is goal of the week, but more if it's goal of the season. The tekkers on display were most certainly of the unbelievable variety.
In true Blancos style though, instead of closing out the game, they allowed Neasden a glimmer of a hope with their second of the game coming with eight minutes left on the clock. A good move down the right saw the ball cut back into the six-yard box for a composed finish.
A nervy finish ensued but if anything Blancos again looked most likely to score in the final minutes, and the relief on the player's faces as the final whistle was blown was fair to see. It was an overdue win for Blancos notching their first full compliment of three points for a month. It was also a relief for LB to beat their bogey team Neasden for the first time in five attempts - and will look for a repeat performance in the return fixture next Sunday.
Blancos player-manager Adam Hersh told JC Sport: "We've had some disappointing results in the past few weeks and we really needed the three points today. The boys played an excellent 90 minutes full of energy and determination. They’re all probably passed out on the couch right now. Half the job done so far against NWN B, part two next week."