GB Masters football take the gold medal

By Danny Caro in Haifa, July 21, 2009
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Maccabiah Games – Day 9

Over 45 Masters Football Final

Israel 1 GB 2

Goals from Laurence Swerner and Adam Lee helped Team GB win their first football Maccabiah gold medal in 40 years after they beat hosts Israel at the Curly Krieger Stadium in Naw Sha'anan, Haifa on Tuesday evening.

Swerner's early goal came from a throw in on the right with the London Maccabi Lions side-footing home from six yards.

GB were looking good with Paul Wise and David Kyte seeing long range strikes well saved by the Israel keeper.

GB stopper Gary Grant made one top-class block with his legs from a point blank shot. Minutes later he made another good save at his near post.

Grant was at his inspirational best, keeping Israel at bay with a string of magnificent saves.

Israel pushed GB back into their half for periods of the half and the GB goal survived in tact after another long-range strike hit the bar.

A goal ahead at the break, GB knew that they would have to defend like lions to hang on to their lead and they did just that. Barnett Horowitz, Danny Schindler and Peter Lazard were among the heroics at the back.

Grant was called into action early in the second half, tipping over a stinging drive from distance.

The GB boys were in dreamland on 70 minutes after a brilliant run and cross from Swerner was nodded home at the far post by Potters Bar Town manager Adam Lee.

With a two-goal cushion, GB defended for their lives with the substitutes also playing their part.

Grant continued to keep Israel at bay and their frustrations showed as they had their captain sent off for diving.

Another dive went unpunished and Israel pulled one back in the dying seconds with a sweet strike into the top corner. But it was too little, too late as GB started their celebrations before running over to the families in the stand.

GB manager David Pollack said: "It was a fantastic performance, we stayed focused."

Head coach Bobby Fisher commented: "We've been working towards this for 18 months and showed great focus and desire to win tonight. We only had our minds on gold and everyone played fantastically well. I love them all."

"We've shown discipline all the way through. The early goal helped us settle and we were brave and made it difficult for them."

Speaking about man of the match Gary Grant, he said: "He's made five saves on a par with the one Gordon Banks made against Brazil. He was different class.

Goal-scorer Laurence Swerner said: "It's a dream come true. Every part of my body is aching and I don't want to see another football for a very long time.

"Hopefully the Open boys can repeat what we have done tomorrow so we can all go out and celebrate."

David Kyte said: "I've completed a hat-trick of Maccabiah medals – bronze, silver and now gold."

GB starting XI: Gary Grant, Pete Lazard, Danny Schindler, David Kyte, Phil Lewis, Jason Sears, Barry Silkman, Barnett Horowitz, Paul Wise, Laurence Swerner, Adam Lee

Gary Grant

JC Big Match Stats

GB

Shots: 7
On target: 5
Off target: 2

Corners: 1
Fouls: 8
Offside: 0

Cards: 2
Yellow: 2
Red: 0

Israel

Shots: 12
On target: 8
Off target: 4

Corners: 8
Fouls: 6
Offside: 4

Cards: 1
Yellow: 0
Red: 1

Elsewhere, GB took silver in the junior netball after losing to Australia in the final.

GB Ladies missed out on bronze in the Open football competition after losing 3-1 against Canada in the third/fourth place playoff. Chelsea Berlin scored for GB with a long-range strike.

Tomorrow: Look out Danny Caro's exclusive liveblog from GB's Open football final against Argentina.

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Last updated: 4:29pm, July 24 2009