Maccabi GB crowned Futsal champions
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Maccabi GB Futsal have been crowned champions of the London Futsal League Division Two South following a 7-1 victory over LB Herts.
After an incredible season so far, Maccabi GB maintained their unbeaten record with an outstanding performance, with captain Scott Shulton leading the way with a five-goal salvo.
Maccabi GB introduced two debutants to the National League, with Adam Gishen and Jamie Bernstein entering the fold. There were problems at the beginning of the match as LB Herts had not managed to get their kit to the game, held at Sport House in Barking, on time and therefore kick-off was delayed by 20 minutes. This could have unsettled Maccabi GB, affecting their warm-up, but what was to follow showed how far Maccabi GB had come this season.
After a ‘keep-ball’ period in the opening minutes of the game, Maccabi GB showed all the attacking intent as LB changed their previous pressing game into a more zonal outlook and this played right into Maccabi GB’s strengths. Alex Olcot went closest to scoring after playing a one-two with player-manager Jon Kurrant before seeing his shot blocked from six yards. LB were restricted to long-range efforts that never looked like disturbing the outstanding Davidson.
The deadlocked was opened when great movement by Dean Benzaken opened up the space for Jonah Gordon-Boyd to drive into. Using his quick feet and deceptive pace, he ghosted past his opponent before smashing the ball through the keeper’s legs and into the back of the net.
Debutant Bernstein was then the creator and mastermind of Maccabi GB’s second. On the right flank, he fake-chopped to the right and using his weaker side picked out goal-machine Shulton to tap home his first of the afternoon; 2-0 and MGB were in full control.
If Bernstein was the architect of the first, there was no doubt who the third MGB goal belonged to. Picking up the ball after great pressure from Daniel Sugarman and Bernstein, Shulton powered through LB’s half and with a slight shimmy, pushed the ball onto his left side before guiding it into the corner to make it 3-0.
Complacency crept in slightly for the Maccabi boys, as LB scored against the run of play. Gordon-Boyd’s attempt crept across the goal-line, for Shulton to hit the post. The ball was kept in play and a counter-attack meant Davidson was exposed, for the only time, and LB looked like they might have found a way back in the game; 3-1 to MGB at half time.
The second half was even more convincing from Maccabi GB, despite some inconsistent refereeing and physical play from LB as penalty appeals were being turned down, but the foul-count was racking up. Maccabi’s fourth came from a well-rehearsed set piece from a free kick. Olcot’s movement allowed Shulton to be free at the back post. Kurrant punched the pass to the back stick and Shulton crashed his first effort against the back post and he smashed home the rebound to complete his hat-trick and make it 4-1.
Great inter-play between Kurrant, Bernstein and Shulton meant the latter was set free and he kept his composure to bundle the ball into the net for Maccabi Gb's fifth.
It was 6-1 moments later after LB Herts had a man sent off after a poor challenge on Max Radford. Maccabi GB kept the ball, opening up the Herts defence for Shulton to fired the ball home in off the keeper.
Maccabi's seventh and final goal was a beauty; with 20 seconds remaining on the clock, Radford put great pace on the ball to the industrious Gordon-Boyd who directed the ball over to Kurrant nine metres out on the right, and coming over his shoulder on the volley, took it first time bulging the net.
A great victory for Maccabi GB, a significant improvement from the first time these two clubs met when LB Herts were the only team to take points off of Maccabi GB this season finishing 4-4.
Men of the Match - as it was impossible to pick between the two - were Jonah Gordon-Boyd and Jamie Bernstein for the continuous work ethic and great decision-making on the ball.
Elsewhere, second place Kickers had to win against Enfield to stay in the title race. The result finished Enfield 8:4 Kickers and meant MGB are promoted to Division One as champions with two games still to play.
Maccabi GB Futsal manager and coach Jon Kurrant said: "I am immensely proud of what all the players and those involved have achieved. To go from zero points from last season to winning the league with two games is just reward for all the effort everyone has put in.
"We are now in, arguably, the most coveted league in the country. The top division possesses some great teams and just to be on the same court as them is going to develop our own players significantly and hopefully this exposure can influence younger Jewish players to get engaged with the sport and take Maccabi GB Futsal to the next level."
Starting V: 1. Jordan Davidson, 3. Alex Olcot, 5. Dean Benzaken, 7. Jonah Gordon-Boyd, 12. Jon Kurrant
Subs: 4. Taylor Gershon, 6. Jamie Bernstein, 8. Scott Shulton (capt), 9. Adam Gishen, 10. Daniel Sugarman, 11. Max Radford
Shulton (5), Gordon-Boyd, Kurrant