JC MSFL DIVISION TWO
GLENTHORNE UNITED B 1 SPEC FC 3
And so it was in Ilford where the Bananas could ill-afford a fruitless morning at the home of Glenthorne B; Ford Sports Club. Luckily for SPEC, it was they who showed more focus to drive away from Essex with a 3-1 underneath their seatbelts.
In what was being dubbed before the game as a promotion six-pointer, it was Glenthorne who started the brighter and indeed took first blood when James Berkley was allowed more space than Apollo 11 from a corner to rocket home a header and put the Thornes 1-0 up.
There was one man on the pitch who was determined to make sure this lead didn’t last long and that man was SPEC’s talismanic Ashley Burns. The midfield maestro with calves of steel was making more interceptions than the Iron Dome, and indeed after intercepting another Glenthorne attack, Burns charged in on goal before releasing a bullet of his own. His shot was too hot to handle for the Thornes keeper with the rebound falling to the ever-alert Elliott Wallis who poked home from close range. Parity restored… 1-1.
The match was being played at a quick tempo on a slick surface and Glenthorne thought they had taken the lead again when they found themselves clean through on goal. Only the smarts of SPEC keeper Mirelman denying them with a fine save to his left having narrowed the angle down tremendously in a one-on-one situation to keep the scores level.
With the half looking like it was going to end with honours even and the ref’s whistle edging towards his lips, SPEC won a throw in 20 yards from goal. Lesner, with one of his trademark looping throws found Dan ‘DC’ Cohen who flicked the ball into the path of Burns. The SPEC skipper outmuscled his marker to plant a half volley low into the bottom left corner past the despairing hand of the keeper. 2-1 SPEC going into the interval.
The second half saw Glenthorne go for broke. Balls were pumped into the SPEC half tirelessly though the impressive debutant Ben Susskind, playing alongside his Glaswegian compatriot Hecht and centre back partner in crime Rosenthal, repelled all of the Thornes best efforts imperiously.
As the half progressed, gaps began to appear in the Glenthorne defence as SPEC looked to pick them off on the break. Indeed it was Glenthorne’s tormentor, Burns who again caused the damage to put the game beyond their reach. A fine through ball from him finding Craig Cohen whose speed saw him clean through on goal. From 30 yards out he kept his cool to chip majestically over the onrushing keeper and allow The Bananas some breathing space.
There was just about enough time for one final piece of action in the match. SPEC’s Ricky Lawrence, who had been magnificent mopping up in front of his defence all game, found himself in a more advanced position and thought he had won his team a penalty in the dying moments. The ref blew his whistle only to give a free-kick in the opposite direction for a dive. SPEC would never openly criticise a referee but sources close by to the club say there was more contact than two lonely pen-pals on Valentines Day.
This did not however tarnish a fantastic day for the Bananas who saw out the remainder of the game comfortably to earn a 3-1 win and put themselves right back into the title race. SPEC Manager Laurence “Mourinho” Conway described the second half performance as "very enjoyable".
Thornes joint-player-manager Jordan Sapler told JC Sport: "It was disappointing to lose, but we showed glimpses of getting back to how we played earlier although we're still missing key bits in the team. We pushed forward and looked promising at 2-1, but were caught on the break for their third.
"We need to get out of the rut we're in at the moment and once we do we will start to win games."