Captain Rhodes rises to the occasion



Norstar London Raiders A maintained their 100 per cent start to the season, but had to do it the hard way, coming back from a goal down to beat newly-promoted Camden Park 2-1 in Paddington.

The visitors’ sluggish start was not helped by the loss of two key players 15 minutes into the game, with Matt Stock and Oli Henry having to be replaced. Neither team really settled and it was a half of few chances which disappointed spectators and management alike.

Norstar started better in the second-half and started to get into their groove, however it wasn’t long before Camden took the lead, against the run of play, through some excellent counter-attacking football finished neatly by Rob Hershkorn.

Determined not to let this game slip away, Norstar were dealt another massive blow losing vice-captain Elliot Espinoza to a hamstring injury. However, the introduction of Jamie Wolfson and move to 4-4-2 gave them a new lease of life and from that moment they didn’t look back.

First Jonny Kay’s pinpoint pass found Josh Green on the right wing. He skinned his marker and crossed for Adam Jason who coolly controlled and finished beyond the reach of the Camden goalkeeper.

Next it was a Wolfson free-kick which was swung in from deep and flapped at by the home keeper, allowing Dan Grossman to turn it back across the face of goal for his central defensive partner David Rhodes to tap in for what would turn out to be the winning goal.

Camden tried hard to find an equaliser but struggled to find a way past the imperious Rhodes and Grossman, as well as full-backs Josh Morris and Rob Blackman, and when they occasionally did, the outstanding Jake Doffman was there to thwart them.

Adam Joselyn and David Dinkin had chances towards the end to kill the game off but couldn’t find the target, however it was not to matter as the final whistle blew and Norstar London Raiders had secured the all-important three points.

NLR manager Phil Peters told JC Sport: "On days like today it’s the points that matter. It was a very different performance from last week missing several key players and losing three more to injury during the game.

"Camden showed a complete lack of respect to ourselves as well as several other managers in the preview last week. If we needed any additional incentive to turn the game around when they went 1-0 up then that was it so I'd suggest they let their football do the talking from here on in or it’s going to be a long, hard season for them.

"We move on to Lions Blue next week who will present a very different challenge to the Whites we played last week and a post-Yom Kippur game is always something of a lottery. We’ll have to improve our performance from this week though if we want to keep up our fantastic start to the season."

Camden boss Josh Marks told JC Sport: "I think the loss came down to tired legs, having played well for 70 minutes, then two tired mistakes cost us."

NLR: Doffman, Morris, Blackman, Espinoza (sub: Wolfson 60), Grossman, Rhodes, Stock (sub: Dinkin 15), Joselyn, Jason, Henry (sub: Kay 15), Green

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