Redbridge score victory over Montana
Redbridge Jewish Care 4
Montana Boca United A 3
A stunning last-minute penalty save from Redbridge keeper Richard Stern ensured the East Londoners made a winning start after a seven-goal thriller at South Oxhey.
Stern's full-length save rubber-stamped victory in a game the visitors led four times.
Having won their opening fixture against Red Sea the previous week, Montana went into the game in confident mood. That said, their hopes were not helped by the absence of Raymond Harrod, Simon Peterman, Adam Osper, Trevor Henen, Simon Wax, James Tarlton and Simon Hecker.
A new-look Redbridge B team welcomed Steve Faye and Daniel Gordon among others, and it was the visitors who settled first with a blistering volley from Marc Silver forcing a brilliant save from Montana's young keeper Daniel Cohen.
RJC forged ahead on eight minutes. A ball over the Montana defence needed Cohen to mop up. His mishit clearance fell into the path of Richie Caplin who produced a precision finish, with the ball rolling into the empty net from 30 yards.
The lively Andy Binstock was causing problems to the RJC backline, as were the giant long-throws from Anthony Goodmaker, but the visitors held firm with Rob Gevertz putting in an assured display.
Redbridge doubled their advantage midway through the half when a defence-splitting pass from Caplin was latched on to by Daniel Gordon. His shot was blocked by the onrushing Cohen but fell kindly to Daniel Orgel who nodded over the keeper and into the net.
Montana halved the deficit two minutes later as another towering throw from Goodmaker fell kindly to Toby Lustigman whose accomplished finish made it two in two for the former Camden Park and Faithfold midfielder.
The scores were level on 30 minutes as poor RJC defending allowed Cohen time and space to calmly slot home.
The end-to-end pattern continued. Daniel Howard's delicious free-kick landed on to the head of the unmarked Marc Silver, but from six yards, the midfielder headed over, with the goal at his mercy.
The visitors did not have to wait long though as a hopeful up and under caused mayhem in the Montana area. A mix-up involving Cohen saw the ball fall into the path of Steve Faye who expertly slashed a half volley into the top corner.
RJC held their lead at the break and at 3-2, they knew that the job was only half done.
Following good half time pep talks from their managers, the teams came out for the second half. Montana forced themselves level when Lustigman's slide-rule through ball released Cohen who produced a brilliant first-time finish into the far corner
to make it 3-3.
The experienced Daniel Sugarman was thrown on for RJC, replacing Daniel Howard. His introduction almost paid immediate dividends as a clever diagonal pass was flicked goalwards by Gordon, forcing Cohen to tip over from underneath the crossbar.
Montana continued to threaten with Darren Cohen showing good close control to chest and volley fractionally wide.
Caplin was then booked by ref Steve Russell for an alleged dive but he had the final say as he was in the right place at the right time to squeeze a shot past Cohen. His moment of inspiration proved decisive.
But it was his keeper Stern who rubber-stamped the points after Cohen was sent tumbling in the box in the dying minutes. A brief delay after assistant-referee Howard was cautioned resulted in Binstock losing his focus and Stern guessed correctly, diving full-length to his right to push the ball around the post.
RJC boss Richard Bronzite said: "Neither side played good football today but we showed the right attitude and are happy to take a win in what I believe is the hardest division to get out of. I believe that eight out of 10 teams are vying for promotion and we've just beaten one of our rivals.
"This is a new era for Redbridge Jewish Care. Everyone is pushing for a place in the team and I've got no idea of my strongest XI."
Disappointed Montana joint-manager Marc Ziedman said: "I'm very disappointed. We arrived with high expectations today and gifted them four goal through individuals errors. If we want promotion we're going to have to buck up our ideas. We were missing seven players but I have no excuses."
Montana: Daniel Cohen 6, Anthony Goodmaker 8, Alex Haffer 7, Darren Cohen 8, Danny Myers 7 (sub: Zaki Kramer 83, 6), Tom Miller 6 (sub: Adam Newman 6), Zak McLeod 6 (sub: Mitch Green 46, 8), Jason Wood 7, Toby Lustigman 8, Andy Binstock 7, Gary Cohen 8
RJC: Richard Stern 7, Grant Pomeroy 7, Scott McKenzie 7, Josh Barnett 7 (sub: Lee Grodent 85, 6), Rob Gevertz 8, Marc Silver (capt) 7, Steve Faye 7, Daniel Howard 7 (sub: Daniel Sugarman 62, 7), Daniel Orgel 6, Daniel Gordon 7 (sub: Jamie Taylor 88), Richie Caplin 8