JC MSFL DIVISION ONE
SHIRLEY PARK 2 SOUTHGATE HARMEN 1
Nicky Plotnek bid farewell to the JC MSFL in his last game before making Aliyah with a match-winning performance as Shirley Park finished 2012 on top of the table following a hard fought win over Southgate Harmen.
A tight game with two well organised teams played in a fantastic spirit. Harmen haven’t had a game for a few weeks due to a number of postponements, despite this a quick start almost gave them the lead.
The Harmen team under the management of interim coach Adam Myers were out to impress and leave an impression on their full-time gaffer Dan Uzan who was watching in the stands.
Despite the strong start Harmen couldn’t take their chances and were stunned by one of the goals of the season by Shirley Park's Ran Saburu - a 35-yard rising volley nestling in the top right hand corner of the net.
This rocked Harmen and Shirley Park started to control the game with Harmen struggling to get hold of the ball, despite this the spirit amongst the team was phenomenal and the work rate never dropped.
Going into half time the team were confident about getting back into the game and a more attacking line up came out for the second half with a 4-3-1-2 formation. This paid dividends when Sam Castle pounced on a second half free kick to bring the teams level.
The next 10 minutes were frantic and heartbreak came with five minutes left. Firstly, James Castle made a save comparable with the great David Seaman against Sheffield United reflex save, Shirley Park had a corner and from point-blank range James tipped over a lethal strike from three yards out. From the resulting corner, Shirley player-manager Dave Lusman was left unmarked and headed home to secure a late 2-1 win.
Despite the loss it was a very good performance from Harmen; without a recognised striker the team was very well organised by Andy Myers, and marshalled by Jon Morris and Sam Castle at the back.
Shirley Park didn’t manage to create many chances despite their prolific record in front of goal and should James Stanley’s first half free kick bounced in off the post instead of out for a corner it could have been a different game.
Lusman told JC Sport: "We played our best football of the season in the opening half and were unlucky not to go into the second with a better lead. Harmen came out strong in the second and piled on the pressure levelling up which lead to a nervy finish.
"Their keeper pulled of several world-class saves, keeping Harmen in the game.
"All in all a great game for the few spectators... Park life!
"Our star player,Plotnek, picks up the plaudits for parks man of the match against Harmen in his last game of the season for us. It's been a pleasure having Nicky with Park since our formation. His commitment to the game and the Park life faithful has been second to none. He’s blesses the field with serious teckers and a wealth of experience that's beyond are league, and we've been very grateful to have him in our ranks.
"Nicky goes down in our short history as one of the founding members and one of the greats to play for Park and the MSFL. We wish him well with his travels in Israel."
Speaking with Uzan after the game he was buzzing from what he saw in the stands and seems to have reinvigorated him again, the case for promotion is definitly on, and make no mistake Kyte’s lions are being hunted.