Maccabi GB Futsal in seventh heaven
Newly-crowned champions Maccabi GB Futsal ended the season with an unbeaten record as they destroyed nearest rivals Enfield 7-3.
With Maccabi GB guaranteed promotion to the top division after finishing first, and Sunday's opponents Enfield securing second place, this game was arguably not going to live up to the intensity of the previous matches as neither side had anything to play for. However, this was not the case and, after an enthralling first half, Maccabi GB’s 'possession futsal' told to help them win in comfortable fashion.
Maccabi GB had most of the possession early on in the first half, but forcing play coupled with anxious passing meant that Enfield were able to open up their counterparts and looked the most dangerous. The veteran goalkeeper Phil Caplin was in scintillating form to keep out effort after effort from both close and long range. Enfield’s biggest threat was from corner set-pieces and Maccabi GB were struggling to deal with their attack.
The set-piece was the breakthrough and Enfield got it. A short corner and a well struck shot from outside the area saw an Enfield runner get in front of Shulton to tap home and put the home side 1-0 up.
Ben Winters, inspired by his London Centre of Excellence call-up, was the most in-form player, moving the ball quickly. His hold-up play was allowing Shulton and Bernstein to get snap shots away. The equaliser from MGB came when their high-pressing game was well-executed, Gordon-Boyd latched onto the ball and tucked it away expertly.
Although MGB were level again and had the better share of possession, Enfield were still the most likely to score. And that they did, taking the lead when MGB lost the ball high up the court. Enfield countered quickly and a textbook one-two pass allowed a back post tap-in to go 2-1 ahead.
Every time Maccabi GB were conceding goals, focus and concentration resumed. Enfield Futsal had been playing a deep, congested diamond in defence when Winters took advantage in the cierre position and strolled forward before toe-poking a vicious effort into the bottom left hand corner to make it 2-2 at half-time.
After the break, Maccabi GB were being more inventive with their movement and giving more options to the player on the ball. However, against the run of play, Enfield went ahead once more leaving manager Jon Kurrant frustrated. A time-out was called, Maccabi GB finally suffocated the Enfield set-piece and began playing more freely.
Schwarz got Maccabi GB level again moments later and the side net in front for the first time moments later when a great passage of play between Gordon-Boyd, Shulton and Winters allowed Olcot to audaciously flick the ball from behind him and over the onrushing defender to nestle into the goal to put Maccabi 4-3.
Enfield’s pivot accumulated a second yellow card for a professional foul on a counter that MGB had, resulting in a red card and a player less for two minutes or until Maccabi scored. Shulton took full advantage and put Maccabi 5-3 ahead.
Moments later a Shulton scored for a second time - slotting home when the league's top goal scorer made Enfield pay for their sloppy possession. He bulldozed into the opponent's half and smashed the ball into the corner to make it 3-6. To finish the score, a clinical one-two pass with Shulton and Schwarz allowed the latter to drive home at the second time of asking.
This 7-3 result allowed Maccabi GB to claim an impressive unbeaten National League campaign, winning the league by 12 points. Now is where the hard work starts for MGB, who have a very busy FA Cup and U19 Championship schedule ahead.
Man-of-the-match was split between the outstanding Caplin in goal and Winters who was phenomenal on court and dictated play for the Community's premier Futsal team.
Starting V: 1. Phil Caplin, 6. Alex Norman, 7. Jonah Gordon-Boyd, 9. Gideon Barnett, 11. Jamie Bernstein
Subs: 3. Alex Olcot, 4. Jordan Davidson, 5. Ben Winters, 8. Scott Shulton, 10. Aviel Schwarz
Goalscorers: Schwarz (2), Shulton (2), Winters, Gordon-Boyd, Olcot