Maccabi Futsal hit sweet 16
Captain marvel Scott Shulton maintained his excellent run of goal-scoring form with an eight-goal bonanza as Maccabi GB Futsal moved clear at the top of table with a staggering 16-1 victory over Sport London Benfica.
SportHouse was treated to a flurry of goals on Sunday and Sport London Benfica were on the end of some clinical finishing from Maccabi GB. Two more players made their debut for MGB this week - the young Ben Winters and the more experienced Max Radford. The last time these two teams met was at the beginning of the season when MGB overcame Benfica 7-2 in a tight contested affair, but lessons were clearly learnt.
MGB played a high pressing game, with players getting tight to their men and reading negative cues by their opposition well. This paid off as they were soon ahead. Kurrant received the ball deep in his own half and, after skipping past two challenges, he freed Shulton down the right. the Skipper got the ball out of his feet and smashed his effort past the keeper to make it 0-1.
The second goal for Maccabi GB was scored not long after. Great interchanges from Barnett and Olcot allowed Kurrant to receive the ball on the left channel. A shimmy inside onto his favoured right foot meant a controlled shot from 15m found the bottom corner of the net. 0-2.
Kurrant and Olcot were dictating the tempo of the game, with Barnett an obvious target as pivot for Maccabi GB, which allowed Gordon-Boyd to get into the pockets with his movement without being able to find a yard to properly pull the trigger.
Moments later and MGB were three goals to the good. From a sideline, Radford stung the hands of the opposition keeper and the ball looped into the air before landing at Shulton who reacted first to jink inside and poke the ball on his left side, nestling it into the net. 0-3 to Maccabi GB.
The away side were running rampant and clearly the pressing game was working. Kurrant recovered the ball from a counter attack and sprayed it onto Shulton. He played a great one-two pass with Alex Norman which left Shulton free at the back-post for a tap-in. 0-4 and Shulton had his hat-trick in under eight minutes.
Unlike previous weeks, chances were more-often-than-not being converted at will. Great build-up play, this time by Olcot and Schwarz, ended in a sideline high up court. Schwarz played the ball into Kurrant, clearly with his shooting boots on today, who struck with venom from 20m. The keeper could not hold onto the ball and it rolled into the back of the net to make it 0-5.
The sixth came just moments later. Poor distribution from the Benfica keeper, allowed Shulton to press well, recovering the ball high up court and caressing it into the corner of the net for Maccabi's sixth and Shulton's fourth of the game. 0-6.
MGB were threatening to run riot and so it proved, this time Radford was the architect of the goal. After receiving the ball he laid it out to Benzaken who found Shulton free and a slick interchange of passing with Radford allowed Shulton to tap home once again, free at the back post to make it 7-0.
Maccabi's Jordan Davidson was in fine form down the other end - the keeper was quick off his line constantly, not letting Sporting London Benfica get a sniff at the goal, which was breeding confidence throughout the rest of the team. Olcot had an audacious effort from 30m, lofting the ball over the keeper, who had strayed off his line, but it just eased over the bar. Winters then had a couple of chances from distance, but the goal-threat Maccabi GB had earlier was becoming less potent.
That was until the Community's premier Futsal team racked up the intensity once again. Gordon-Boyd used his poise and guile to skip past his opponent before setting up Winters. Winters toe-poked his effort and the parry from the keeper fell kindly for Barnett to head home for 8-0.
Shulton got his sixth of the game (still in the first half) and Maccabi's ninth. Another one-two with Barnett meant another back-post tap-in for the Mill Hill man, which ended the half with Benfica in ruins.
In the second half, the away side did not let up. After peppering the Benfica goal at the start of play, Kurrant cleverly played the ball into the area from a sideline which deceived the keeper and flew in to make it 10.
Moments later it was 11. Great play by Davidson, playing the ball quickly to the effervescent Barnett meant the latter could use his power to hold off his marker. After laying the ball off to Shulton, who immediately returned it, allowed him to score another back-post finish to make it 0-11.
Every Maccabi GB Futsal Club chance was being clinically finished and Radford was no exception. After being freed down the left hand side, he engaged his winger before toe-poking his finish into the corner and scoring on his debut with goal no. 12.
Another steal and another quick pass from Shulton, this time with Schwarz, meant an open goal for the skipper at the back-post. He crashed his effort against the post, but Gordon-Boyd was there to follow up and notched from close range.
The 14th goal for Maccabi GB was scored with eight minutes to go. Player-manager Kurrant latched onto a poor touch from his opposite number, drove forward and crashed his thundering effort off the bar and over the line. 0-14.
Shulton added another goal to make it eight goals in one game and 15 for MGB before Sport London grabbed a consolation after lazy defending. Barnett wrapped up proceedings, scoring with the last touch of the game, smashing the ball home to complete the emphatic victory.
Although everyone played very well for Maccabi GB, there were two stand out performances - Jordan Davidson in goal and Gideon Barnett, who was a constant thorn in the Sporting Benfica side. The victory means that MGB go four points clear at the top of the table going into the New Year break.
Starting V: Jordan Davidson, Alex Olcot, Dean Benzaken, Alex Norman, Scott Shulton (capt)
Subs: Max Radford, Jonah Gordon-Boyd, Gideon Barnett, Ben Winters, Jon Kurrant, Aviel Schwarz