Raiders red-hot as Oak's beaten at last
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A 2 OAKWOOD A 1
Goals from Jamie Wolfson and Adam Joselyn inspired Raiders to an impressive 2-1 victory over Oakwood at Brunel and in doing so ended the visitors' impressive unbeaten run over 90 minutes that ran for over 12 months.
Wolfson opened the scoring early on after picking the ball up on the left flank, he evaded a couple of challenges before smashing the ball past the Oakwood keeper to give Raiders the lead.
The impressive David Rhodes went close twice to extending the lead, but each time he should have done better when well placed in front of goal.
Raiders had to weather a strong Oakwood start to the second half. The introduction of Raiders old boy Carl Peters had given Oakwood some fresh impetus and they look a different proposition with Brad Wine and Toby Levy both looking a threat.
However, Raiders stood firm and with 20 minutes left, Joselyn got Raiders second and his second goal in as many games. Good interplay between Hershman and Dinkin allowed Joselyn to calmly slide past the advancing Oakwood keeper.
Oakwood, unbeaten since November 2011, pushed everything at Raiders in the closing 15 minutes. They were rewarded when a long throw by Wine was only partially cleared and Josh Bentley was on hand to smash into the top corner of the net.
Raiders, led by the ever-dependable Rik Sherman and Grossman, closed out the remaining minutes to see out a very impressive win.
Jubilant Raiders boss Rob Richman told JC Sport: "We followed up our performance from the Brady win with an equally good display today. While it wasn't the prettiest game to watch it must be regarded one of our best wins since being in the top division. Oakwood have been unbeaten for close to 15 months now and that is some record so to manage to beat them is a great achievement.
"In keeping with the Brady game, I felt we were superb defensively but also when we got the ball out wide to Hershman and Wolfson we were a real handful.
"Oakwood played their part in a really competitive and well fought game, but I felt we thoroughly deserved the win.
"We have now won four our last five league games and the boys are playing with real confidence. We now can't wait for our next game in a fortnight against FC Team."
Reflecting on the defeat, Oakwood joint-manager Ric Blank told JC Sport: "We were gutted to lose our unbeaten run today. We last lost a league game November 2011 - it's been an unbelievable run but it had to end at some stage. The real shame is we didn't do ourselves justice today.
"The first half was simply not good enough. We have set high standards at this club and certain players have to understand they can't rest on their laurels and attempt to coast through games. No-one is that good that they can sit back and hope their mate will get them out of trouble. People can make excuses but the simple truth is that Raiders worked harder than us and were more physical and competitive all over the park.
"We were lucky to only be 1-0 down at HT. Perhaps it was just one of those games - a real off day. It happens and I'm not going OTT on the players who remain capable and committed.
"The second half was a different story as we played with aggression and character but when Raiders scored a soft second it was a real blow. Josh Bentley scored a great consolation goal and we threw everything at Raiders but couldn't get the break for an equaliser.
"Raiders fully deserved their victory but we hope we get to play them again in the Morrison for a shot at redemption.
"As for us, the challenge is simple: we have to regroup, work harder and put in a performance against Norstar we can be proud of."