Fierstone set to take the league by storm, says Cole
North West Neasden A 3-1 Sout Manx
A star is born: George Fierstone came from ‘off the radar’ to score twice
Neasden manager Jamie Cole praised teenage sensation George Fierstone who scored twice to get their season back on track against a Manx team who folded two days later.
His second, which took his side into a 3-1 lead midway through the second half, saw him cut in from the left before his shot left South Manx goalkeeper Yossi Lanning rooted to the spot.
Cole, whose side lost in an opening day 5-1 debacle to Redbridge, said: "We were looking over the summer for a really talented young player who could create things for us; a real footballer. Fortunately, we managed to pick up George from off the radar so neither Lions nor Hendon could snatch him."
The 17-year-old, who also plays for Ryman Division One side Wealdstone, opened on 18 minutes when his long-range shot caught Lanning unaware. It was very much against the run of play as Manx, who kept the ball well throughout but lacked end product, started the brighter.
Further punishment was served 10 minutes later as Lee Cash's inswinging corner was met with a thumping header by centre-back Jonny Ellis.
Manx deservedly finished the half in touch after a spectacular 25-yard curled free-kick from captain Paul Babai nestled in the top left-hand corner of Max Shields' net.
The second half saw Neasden take the initiative, after Cole urged his troops to close the spaces that were appearing between their defence and midfield. With the whole team playing 10 yards further forward, Fierstone was able to conduct proceedings, demonstrated by a brilliant run down the right which led to a last-gasp clearance to prevent a certain tap-in. Minutes later he appeared on the left, beating two men with a shuffle before catching Lanning unawares at his near post with a rasping drive.
A late Shields block eased Neasden nerves and Jonny Ellis' looping header right at the end produced a good tip-over from Lanning.
Cole, however, is under no illusions that his side is some way short of last season's title-winning efforts, as they struggled to get their passing game going. Without suspended Jake Gottlieb and Danny Cole, who is in America, they look far less compact. "We've got something of a new-look team and we haven't really gelled yet.
"I don't agree that the Redbridge result was a debacle, but we are adjusting to losing certain players. The loss of Danny is a big blow. I have stressed to our new players that they are playing for the best team in English Jewish football but we'll need to improve to retain our title."
South Manx assistant-manager Ricky Blair said: "We gave away a couple of soft goals but all in all it was a decent performance."
NWN: Max Shields, Elliot Green, Paul Lenchner, Jonny Ellis, Sammy Ross, George Fierstone, Matt Sofier, Lee Platt, Lee Cash (sub: Richard Baum 25), Rob Lerner (sub: Craig Ellis 60), Elliot Stern (sub: James Abrams)
South Manx: Yossi Lanning, Alon Hershkorn, Craig Edwards (sub: Rob Hershkorn) Adam Littas, James Lee, Jamie Kent, Ben Lampert. Paul Babai, Shim Ben-Soor Josh Greenham, Jonny Haik