UJS Norstar A complete league double
UJS Norstar A 3-2 Montana Boca Utd A
UJS Norstar A demonstrated championship quality as they twice came from behind to complete a league double over title rivals Montana Boca United B.
This JC MSFL Division Three contest failed to hit the heights although after a last-minute winner from Eli Houri, with his second of the game, Norstar were not complaining.
Norstar manager Phil Peters said: "We knew that we had team spirit and proved today that we won't lie down and get beaten.
"Getting out of this division is all about competing physically and this performance showed how much we want to win the title. I expect Woodford and Montana to compete with us for the promotion places."
All three first-half goals were from set-plays. Montana's Mark Simons opened the scoring direct from a corner, which Justin Elvey could only help into the net on 12 minutes. Then a cross from Jamie Freed glanced home by Houri 10 minutes before the break. Montana scored again right on half time when centre-back Jeff Gotch re-directed a brilliant header past Elvey after Yoni Raeburn, who ran the first half before tiring in the second, had delivered an inch-perfect delivery.
The second half started brightly for Montana with midfielder Jamie Rosen ghosting into the six-yard box unmarked, but he failed to direct his left-foot shot on target.
It proved costly as Norstar equalised just short of the hour when an instinctive turn and volley by Jonny Kay flew inside Lee Duskwick's far post.
Peters then made the decisive move of the match, introducing Nick Hudson on the left wing, with Freed dropping into left-back in place of Robin Scher.
With the bit between their teeth, Hudson hit the bar with a shot that rebounded to Sammy Kalms whose smacked against the bar. When Hudson later shot wide from a narrow angle, the match appeared to be heading for a draw but Norstar were not finished.
Hudson earned his team a free-kick which led to the defining moment as Kay's set-play was volleyed calmly across the six-yard box by Kalms for Houri to tap in the winner.
Montana manager Nick Goodmaker commented: "The second half was frustrating. We didn't create enough chances and weren't picking up their runners.
"We still have another six games to play, but we might need to win them all, starting with Woodford."
Montana B: Duskwick, Rapperport (sub: Lenz), Gotch, Wayne, Bloom, Simons, A. Goodmaker, Rosen, Taylor, Raeburn, Elash
Norstar: Elvey, Daniels, Pearl, Eliad, Scher (sub: Hudson), Green, J. Peters, Kay, Freed Houri, Kalms