Keepers sparkle as promotion rivals draw

JC MSFL DIVISION ONE
Brixton Old Boys A 1 Norstar FC A 1

For the third time in as many league games, Norstar against Brixton ended in a 1-1 draw as both attacks were thwarted by remarkable performances from both goalkeepers.

Brixton took an early lead, with Sam Franks heading in from a corner as the Norstar defence failed to deal with the second ball. It was a double-blow for the visitors as captain Jeremy Elster was injured in the build-up to the goal and had to leave the field with a very bloody and suspected broken nose.

He was replaced by David Shamash who immediately began to take the game to Brixton and was influential in all of Norstar’s attacking play.

Camped in the Brixton half it wasn’t long before Norstar got some reward as Eli Houri was fouled allowing Jonny Kay to slot home the resulting penalty.

Both teams had chances to take the lead before the half was over, the best of the bunch falling to Brixton’s Alon Hershkorn who beat Josh Pistol – recently cautioned – but couldn’t beat the inspired Ben De La Fuente with his attempted scoop shot.

In the second half it was Jake Doffman’s opportunity to come to his team’s rescue, denying Josh Green and Shamash and dealing with every long-throw and set-piece Norstar could throw at him. De La Fuente was also busy making save after save.

Brixton should have had a penalty in the last quarter with the referee instead seeming to play advantage and De La Fuente again denying the home side the winning goal.

In the dying moments both keepers at last proved they were mortal as De La Fuente called for a ball that he was never going to make and the Norstar centre backs were forced to take evasive action on the edge of their area, whilst Doffman allowed to Green to chase him down on the edge of the area but again had his defence to thank for mopping up and ensuring the game ended once again in stalemate.

Phil Peters spoke after the game to norstarfc.co.uk and said: "I couldn’t fault any of the boys today – on either side – after witnessing an excellent Sunday league football match.

"Both teams had chances to win the game and I thought whilst we were on top for much of the second half, we didn’t do enough to get the points.

"Both teams rode their luck at times but we saw two of the best goalkeeping displays we’ve seen in a long time in the MSFL – Jake and Ben were absolutely superb.

"We play Brixton again at the Ark in two weeks time and it’s looking like a winner-takes-all game; we’re definitely in pole position and the likely draw is certainly more in our favour, but we’ll be going all out for the win and I have no doubt that we’re capable of getting it."

The game was marred by a serious injury to Norstar midfielder Daniel Gilbert late on in the game with a potentially season-ending ankle injury.

Brixton boss John Nitka told JC Sport: "Once again a stalemate - in a game I felt we were the better team but couldn't put the ball in the net.

"We were unlucky not to score in the second half. However, we are still up there and if we win our last three games we are up."

    Last updated: 12:04pm, March 19 2012