Dynamic duo inspire Hertswood Vale to comeback victory

Jacob Emanuel praised in-form midfielders James Millet and Ben Mandel following a thrilling comeback as they came from two goals down to complete an early season double over SPEC FC.




Vale had beaten SPEC 5-3 only two weeks earlier, but the visitors were keen to restore parity and they stormed into a 2-0 lead through top-scorer Zack Neiman and Josh Green, but doubles from Millet and Mandel settled a fiery encounter.

Vale started the game strongly and Millet won himself a stonewall penalty just two minutes into the match, but his spot-kick was saved by the SPEC keeper. From the resulting corner, Millet had to ball in the back of the net, and despite the referee initially awarding the goal, he chose to agree with his assistant and change his original decision.

After Vale's strong start didn’t produce any goals, SPEC started to take control of the game and they forged ahead midway through the half when a through-ball found its way to their Neiman who applied a simple finish.

Vale keeper Adam Zaidman in goal was on top form throughout, with saves at key moments in the match. SPEC were awarded a penalty soon after, but Zaidman produced a huge save from the spot – his third of the season.

However, Zaidman's heroics counted for little as SPEC doubled their lead in controversial circumstances later in the half, and despite numerous opportunities, it looked as though Vale would go into the break 2-0 down after Green converted.

However, a moment of magic from the dynamic duo of Millet and Ben Mandel gave Vale a vital goal four minutes before half-time. Millet picked up the ball in midfield, turned his man and played an inch-perfect chipped through-ball to Mandel who buried the chance with an excellent finish.

Millet grabbed the equaliser on 47 minutes – James Neidle getting a header in on goal from a corner which the keeper saved but Millet was there to level the scores at 2-2.

SPEC enjoyed the lionsshare of the possession in the second half and they created some decent chances too, but just as the game looked set for a draw, a moment of individual brilliance from Millet in the 84th minute put Vale in front for the first time in the game. Adrian Leibovitch collected the ball in the centre of the park, found Millet 25 yards from goal who took a touch and hit a stunning curled effort past their keeper and into the top corner. Think Frank Lampard vs Everton in 06!

After SPEC had an equaliser chalked off for offside, Vale secured the points with a four goal in added time, as Mandel grabbed his second of the game, finishing off a counter-attack after being played in by Elio Elia - his eighth goal in his last five games.

Jubilant Vale joint-manager Jacob Emanuel told JC Sport: "It was another cracking game against an entertaining SPEC side, but unlike the previous match against them, this one was a much more fiery encounter as both teams gave it there all.

"Once again, we’ve had to come from behind to win in the league this season. Don’t get me wrong, it makes for a better game, but I’d much rather the boys won 1-0 every week!"

VALE: Adam Zaidman, Simon Englander, Josh Gorb, Jordan Harris, Adam Hilsenrath, Ashley Hirschburger, Adrian Leibovitch, Ben Mandel, James Neidle, Elio Elia. Subs: Jacob Emanuel, Alex Kaye, Ben Kaye

SCORERS: Millet 2, Mandel 2

SPEC: Simon Bagel, Ashley Burns, Daniel Cohen, Jeff Gotch, Adam Joselyn, Ricky Lawrence, Tommy Lustigman, Sam Martin, Robert Murray, Zack Neiman, Josh Green. Subs: Jason Green, Joel Newman

SCORERS: Neiman, Green

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