Goal blitz in European Maccabi Games
Gershfield grabs hat trick as eight - goal Brits batter Belgians
Red-hot: Gershfield in the goals
Great Britain manager Ben Winston has warned his players not to get carried away after the open football squad started the 13th European Maccabi Games with an 8-3 demolition of Belgium.
The match got off to a terrible start for GB when central defender Michael Sacks was harshly sent off in the first minute after being considreed the last man by the officials.
A hat-trick in the first 20 minutes from James Gershfield – the 2007 EMG golden boot winner - set them up as GB stormed into a 4-0 lead at half time.
Winston said: "It was a good way to start the competition but the boys must not become complacent.
“We’re looking to win gold and if I can win the golden boot again, that would be a bonus.”
"We were up against a young, raw side and overall, I was delighted with the performance although it was disappointing to concede three goals.
Gershfield opened the scoring after 10 minutes when Daran Bern was brought down in the penalty area by the Belgium keeper. The London Lions striker coolly dispatched his spot-kick into the bottom corner.
GB doubled their lead when a far post corner was headed back across goal by Guy Morris for Gershfield to
head home. Great work from Daniel Stanton set up the third as Gershfield side-footed home.
Belgium could not cope with GB's attacking threat with Ben Lauffer and Stanton providing great service to Matt Stock, Bern and Gershfield.
Craig Ellis, who dropped back into defence after the early red card, added a fourth with a low drive.
Belgium were awarded a penalty in the last minute of the half following a trip by David Soutar but they were denied by keeper Matt Davis who saved the resultant penalty.
Second half strikes from Bern, Stock and substitutes Ben Ellis and Daniel Cole completed the rout. To their credit, Belgium never let their heads drop and scored three times in the last 30 minutes.
Speaking about the sending off, Winston said: "The referee was very strict and I feel for Michael.
"The team responded well and I believe that Belgium got a bit carried away when we were down to 10 men. The pace of Stock, Bern and Gershfield made them pay."
Gershfield added: "Obviously I'm happy with the three goals but this was more about getting the team off to a winning start. I was in the right place at the right time."
Having finished as top-scorer in Rome four years ago with six goals, Gershfield is looking to top that tally.
"We're looking to win gold and if I can win the golden boot again, that would be a bonus."
GB's second match takes place against Switzerland today (Friday).
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