Maccabi GB make promising start in Futsal League
Maccabi GB made a superb start to life in the FA National Futsal League Southern Division Two, crushing Reading 5-1 in their opening game and finishing the day's action second in the table.
It was all the more impressive given that they were stunned in the second minute of their opening game when Reading’s Andrew Maicek was slipped through and fired home from an angle.
Maccabi were visibly shaken by the goal but recovered impressively and took charge of the contest. Jonathan Green had two golden chances to equalise before the pressure told when he played in Ben Solossi to equalise from close range.
Maccabi were well on top and within moments went in front, as Green this time converted following Adam Jocelyn's pass.
Reading struggled to make an impression and it started to look as though it would be a case of how many Jonny Cohen's men would get. A succession of chances came and went before David Leiwy, playing his first-ever game of futsal, made it 3-1 with five minutes to go.
Leiwy had looked dangerous and deservedly struck again following an impressive interchange of passes with Solossi. There was still time for Green to net a fifth, and ensure Maccabi got their campaign off to the best possible start.
In their second game of the day, Maccabi were involved in a nail-biter against Gloucester. Phil Veal had put Gloucester in front with a good finish from distance, and it took a well-worked set-piece to draw Cohen’s side level. A time out was called to plan the indirect kick, and Green rolled it to Joselyn, who returned the pass and the ball was lashed home to make it 1-1.
Leiwy then got another goal as Green’s cross just missed finding Lee Bibring, but came straight out to him to fire in the second.
Gloucester competed well though and Gary McLean brought a superb stop out of Danny Berliner from distance.
A mistake by Maccabi allowed the same player to equalise just after the break, as he ran through unchallenged to ram home. Maccabi went in front once more though as Joselyn's effort deflected into the top corner, before Andy Smith once again levelled things up to make it 3-3 at the final whistle.
In their third match of the day, Maccabi defeated Plymouth 3-0, with goals from Russell Goldstein, Green and Danny Sugarman sealing the win.
Their opponents were never in a one-sided contest, and Cohen described it as the best he had ever seen his team play.
In their final game, against Kaunas, Maccabi went 3-0 down at half time to leave the team shell-shocked against the side who finished the day at the top of the table. Goals from Green and Jocelyn brought it back to 3-2 as Maccabi threatened to complete the comeback, but they were hit on the counter-attack late on to lose 4-2.
"I was satisfied," said MGB Futsal manager Jonny Cohen. "I wouldn't have been over the moon had we won all the games to be honest. We're still in contention.
"Against Gloucester we let in three very soft goals as we defended very poorly.
"We talked about it after the game … then we shut Plymouth out completely, the ball retention and use of the ball was great and it was a thoroughly deserved victory."
Cohen is looking to add to his squad still ahead of the next round of games this weekend, and has his sights set on winning the league: "If we win the league we have a chance to get promoted to the first division, and it's very achievable if we get the right calibre of player and the right attitude and availability.
"We look like we'll be one of the favourites but Kaunas represent very tough competition. Reading got better and better through the day and Gloucester are full of very good football players who will get better. Plymouth didn't look bad at all."
At the conclusion of a great first day of futsal for Maccabi, they sit second in the table, three points off leaders Kaunas.
Maccabi GB Futsal: Danny Berliner, Motti Colman, David Lewy, Adam Jocelyn, Jonathan Green, Lee Bibring, Ben Solossi, Daniel Sugarman
Maccabi GB Futsal Matchday 1 Results:
Maccabi GB 5 Reading Futsal Club 1
Gloucester Futsal Revolution 3 Maccabi GB Futsal 3
Maccabi GB Futsal 3 University of Plymouth Futsal Club 0
Maccabi GB Futsal 2 Kaunas FC 4
1. Kaunas Pl. 4, W. 3, D. 1, L. 0, GD. 9, Pts. 10
2. Maccabi GB Futsal Pl. 4, W. 2, D. 1, L. 1, GD. 5, Pts. 7
3. Gloucester Futsal Revolution Pl. 4, W. 1, D. 3, L. 0, GD. 1, Pts. 7
4. University of Reading Futsal Club Pl. 4, W. 1, D. 0, L. 3, GD. -1, Pts. 3
5. Reading Futsal Club Pl. 4, W. 1, D. 0, L. 3, GD. -14, Pts. 1