No Turkish delight as Maccabi fall flat

By Danny Caro, February 26, 2009
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Outclassed: Kestenbaum

Outclassed: Kestenbaum

JC MSFL Rep Team 0
Turkish Federation League 2

Rep Team manager Jonathan Kestenbaum said his side came up against a “far superior team” as he saw them lose at Potters Bar FC.
Having lost the services of Lee Cash, Daniel Cole, Ricky Kennet and Aron Barnes on the eve of the game, the JC MSFL side were second best against a Turkish team featuring seven players from Ryman League Ware and Witham Forest. The visitors were simply too good, too sharp and too clever for Maccabi.

The hosts had beaten the Turks 2-1 in the corresponding fixture last season but they were swept away by a young, tenacious and gifted team this time around.

Kestenbaum said: “They were a far superior team to the one we played last year and were in a different class to anything we’ve faced before.

“However, even though they were top class opposition, the goals we conceded came from two errors. I’m disappointed with that as we could have dealt better in both those situations.

Most of the first half was played in the Maccabi half as the hosts defended for their lives against technically superior opponents.

And it came as no surprise when the Turks forged ahead midway through the half with Dennis Mehmet given too much time before sliding his shot through the legs of keeper Danny Berliner to give the visitors a richly deserved lead.

Fortunate to find themselves only a goal down at the break, Maccabi got off to the worst possible start as the Turks doubled their lead 45 seconds after the restart when hesitant defending allowed Antonia to ghost in and slip the ball through Berliner’s legs.

The hosts were being punished for every mistake and for not getting tight enough to their markers.

It was all Turkey, and things could have got worse had it not been for a smart low save from Berliner as he showed great alertness to turn a shot around his near post.

Maccabi introduced a second striker, Lions hotshot Michael Pearson, with 25 minutes left and the impetus changed almost immediately with Maccabi finishing strongly.

Having had Maccabi’s best chance of the first half, Adam Stolerman then tested the Turkish keeper with two dipping volleys but both were saved.

The hosts’ new 4-4-2 formation asked questions of the Turkish defence but try as they might, Maccabi were unable to find a way back into the game.

Kestenbaum said: “Having gone 2-0 down I was pleased with how we reacted and had two or three chances in the last 25 minutes which we could have taken. There were also a number of boys playing for the first time, all of whom did well. However, we can also expect to bring back some players for the remaining games and I believe we are still alive in this competition.

“There were times in the first half when we were in danger of being overrun, but even then we didn’t concede goals and that pleased me. We came out for the second half believing we could do something, but to concede the second goal just 50 seconds into the restart was a big blow.

“A lot of boys are learning about the adjustment of playing from Sunday morning MSFL football level to this standard which is of the Ryman League. The 14 boys in this squad didn’t look out of place, but at this level’s it’s all about pace and composure and these are two things we have to work on.

“Last year we finished on five points and went out on goal difference, we still have six points to play for and that’s the aim. We should be able to bring some other players into the squad for the remaining two games and our aim is to get six points.”

JC MSFL: Danny Berliner 8, Sam McCarthy 6, Jonny Ellis 7 (sub: Mike Pearson 65, 7), Adam Myeroff 7, Jake Gottlieb 7, Alex Levack (capt) 7, Greg Corin 6 (sub: Josh Bentley 72, 7), Ben Lauffer 7, Daniel Stanton 6, Daniel Levenfiche 7(sub: Paul Bentley 80, 6), Adam Stolerman 7. Sub not used: Jay Jaffa

    Last updated: 11:00am, February 26 2009