Title rivals finish all square

By Danny Caro, January 24, 2011
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Hyde Park and Republic of Mancunia failed to take full advantage of Manchester Maccabi 3rd’s shock defeat to Sporting JLGB.

Yochai Zorno cancelled out Oli Grant’s opener from the penalty spot for the home team whose player-boss Phillip Braham rued a missed opportunity.

“With Manchester Maccabi losing, a draw was a perfect result for them but not so perfect for us. We would have loved the three points but they came back strong. We should have killed the game off in the first half. Overall it was a good game with a fair few chances.”

It was very much a game of two halves, not least because of the sloping pitch the game was played on, which was to Hyde Park’s advantage in the first half as they took control.

Republic struggled to get a foothold in the game, with Braham’s side utilising the pace of forwards David Cohen and Oli Grant to good effect with early balls played into them throughout the game.

It was Cohen who won a penalty after 25 minutes, when he was brought down in the area by Dave Simon. Grant stepped up to convert the penalty, sending Republic goalkeeper Michael Hirshman the wrong way.

Hyde Park had a number of chances to extend their lead but spurned them, with Hirshman performing impressively to keep Republic in the game. Possibly the best of their openings fell to Cohen, who went on a mazy run but could not finish.

In the second period Republic came back into the game as they started to pass the ball around better, and had a succession of corners. Zorno levelled the scores with 20 minutes left as he rose to head home Jonny Alexander’s pinpoint corner into the roof of the net.

Republic had other chances to score, but could not do so as Jamie Lyons headed over from another corner and Darren Lewis going close twice with efforts from outside the area.

With Republic pressing, Hyde Park still had chances, the best of which fell to Braham in the last minute, as he was put through on goal only to be foiled by a last-ditch tackle.

Republic manager Anthony Bloch was relieved at the game’s conclusion to find that they had not slipped further behind the leaders.

“It was probably our toughest match of the season and you have got to look at it as a point gained on the leaders, as we went into the weekend looking to put four points between us and Leeds and stay six points behind Manchester.”

Hyde Park player-boss Phillip Braham rued a missed opportunity. “With Manchester Maccabi losing, a draw was a perfect result for them but not so perfect for us. We would have loved the three points but they came back strong. We should have killed the game off in the first half. Overall it was a good game with a fair few chances.”

The result leaves Republic five points behind Manchester Maccabi at the top of the MJSL, with Hyde Park a further two points back. The two teams will meet again in two weeks time as they look to increase the pressure on the league leaders.

Last updated: 4:08pm, January 25 2011