Champions put to the sword as Fortune seal promotion

Simon Linden saluted his players after Temple Fortune clinched promotion to MGBSFL Division One after destroying recently-crowned champions L'Equipe.




Top-scorer Jordan Sharifian led the way with a treble in a game Fortune came behind to run out 7-1 victors.

Fortune were simply excellent this morning and took the game to L'Equipe from the start. Within the first few minutes, a shot had been kicked off the line and Michael Goldberg struck the crossbar with a lofted effort.

L'Equipe, the recently crowned Division Two champions, came back into the game and hit a post themselves. They took the lead after 24 minutes when Jason Lindsay tripped an opponent and Andy Smith fired home the resulting penalty past Lee Fegan – the first goal he had conceded in six games.

But Fortune were not deterred and fought back eight minutes later. Michael Goldberg, who was outstanding throughout, dribbled past a couple of players before firing home into the left corner via a deflection.

Within four minutes, top-scorer Sharifian hammered a low shot into the net to completely turn the game around.

With Fortune looking dominant, Brett Stead scored the third on 41 minutes with another low shot into the far corner.

Linden's half-time chat certainly motivated the team to come out of the blocks like a steam train and Fortune looked first to everything for a while. Gavin Levy forced an own goal on 63 minutes to extend Fortune's lead to 4–1.

And with the Fortune contingent on the side in dreamland, Sharifian bagged the fifth in the 72nd minute with another fine effort into the corner.

The champions were struggling to contain a rampant Fortune side, showing free-flowing attacking play in complete contrast to the gutsy 'digging in' form of recent weeks. With Goldberg pulling the strings in midfield in particular, aided and abetted by another excellent Eshed Rahav display, Fortune added a sixth goal through substitute Zach Rich on 77 minutes with a neat finish.

And completing his hat-trick three minutes from time was Sharifian who netted from close range to make the score an astonishing 7–1.

Defensively another sound display by everyone in front of goalkeeper Lee Fegan, who made a few good saves of his own, as did the L'Equipe stopper at the other end.

A fantastic performance by Simon Linden's team and a deserved finale to the league season.

Just two defeats in 20 matches have taken Temple Fortune into Division One for the first time in four years. A fitting reward for a season full of hard work by everyone involved.

A jubilant Linden told JC Sport: "We certainly saved the best until the last game. We knew we had to deliver and everyone from 1-15 in the squad played a part in today's win.

"We bossed the game throughout against a team that did look depleted with numbers, but as they say you can only beat what's put in front of you and my team knew how much it meant to get the win and promotion.

"This season has been unbelievable; this time last year the club finished second from bottom and the agenda was to get Fortune playing as a competitive force again. Not in my wildest dreams did I think we would finish top two, but credit to everyone involved in the football club who all played a part in making this happen.

"We have only conceded one goal in six games, which was a penalty - otherwise my back five has been outstanding - let me tell you it is the same back five that started the season, they have grown as a force and improved as the season has gone on.

"Nigel Kyte, who works tirelessly behind the scenes running club, deserves recognition for everything's he puts into making sure this club ticks along. 

"Big shout out to the Hertswood vale boys for turning over RC UK and winning us promotion. It's funny because Avi Markowitz at RC UK, said in his pre-season preview that they will win the league and nothing else, we sit 17 points above them today.

"We will enjoy it and look forward to next season and the return of the Fortune, we are back and believe me the journey has only just started."

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