Lions' Maccabiah stars dazzle Raiders

By Danny Caro, December 9, 2012


Team GB stars James Gershfield and Jordan Marks showed true Maccabiah Games quality with goals in the five-goal thriller against Premier Division rivals Raiders at Brunel.

A great team performance gave Lions a win and a place in the last eight of the JC League Cup. After last week's first half performance, the interim manager Andy Landesberg demanded the team play as they finished last week, with a high line and a very fast aggressive tempo, and did it with a squad which included six of last year's under-18's team.

The Lions responded to the call and were rewarded with two clinical goals finished from set- pieces, both taken by stand-in centre-half Gershfield. With Lions starting to look comfortable just before half-time, they switched off and the Raiders scored what looked to be a very critical goal just before the break.

The first 25 minutes of the second half was tight and nervy, but Lions eventually settled into a good rhythm, and were rewarded with a third goal, which was finished well by Marks. Again Lions appeared to be in the driving seat with only 15 minutes left.

Raiders continued to press but the well organised Lions defence were coping comfortably. A scrappy move for Raiders ended with what appeared to be an innocuous shot, that somehow went through goalkeeper Max Shields and it was 3-2, and the game was not over.

Chance after chance then came for Lions, but they couldn't finish it off, and with just five minutes left, Gershfield made a tackle in the box and it seemed the referee was the only man on the field who decided it was a penalty. Shields more than repaid his debt and saved, and Lions finished off very strongly but failed to make it 4-2.

Landesberg said: "Today we changed our style of play, and everybody gave more than 100 per cent. Aviel Schwarz was outstanding with Yoav Lebens in the middle of the park. Nick Landesberg and David Nezri played superbly at the back, and Alex Bowman put in a huge shift up top.

"Lions showed today that the spirit continues to grow, there is a more aggressive edge of steel in the team, and we now have a squad that will give 100 per cent for the whole game. We had three big players not in the squad today, and all 14 of those present delivered.

"Next week's team selection becomes even more difficult with 20 players to choose from. For the first time under James and my management the players realised that before you start to play attractive football you have to earn the right to do that, and that means doing what we ask, from the minute the whistle blows. Anything less than that will not get us the results we need and want."

Raiders boss Rob Richman told JC Sport: "“It was a real, typical pulsating cup tie. It was an all-action game played at 150mph which could have gone either way. Since we last played them Lions have completely altered the way they play and have moved from a passing outfit to a very difficult to play against long-ball side.

"In the first half we didn’t deal with this as well as we could have and twice Gershfield was on hand to finish past Simnock. However, we carved out a number of good opportunities with Hershman in particular having a lot of joy down the right wing and Posner doing an excellent job up front.

"I thought we had done more than enough to take the game to extra time when we were awarded a penalty after Henry was tripped over but unfortunately Wolfson’s penalty was at a comfortable height for Shields to make the save.

"Overall we gave absolutely everything today and even going a couple of goals down we never gave up and slowly clawed our way back into the game. We can be very proud of our efforts."

Last updated: 10:09am, December 10 2012