MGBSFL PREMIER DIVISION
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A 1 OAKWOOD A 1
Jacobs reflected on a “game of two halves, decided by the windy conditions”.
Oakwood came out firing and were much the better team, with the wind behind them, creating a few half chances , one of those drawing a fantastic save from Dan Lee in the Redbridge goal.
The visitors created several chances and were really hurting Redbridge out wide. Guy Helman and David Woolman on one side, Harvey Kaye and Brad Wine on the other. Joint-manager Ric Blank commented: "We really should have been out of sight by half-time. It's the best we've played this season."
Their pressure paid off when a cross from the right landed at the feet of Dave Woolman who finished smartly to give Oakwood a deserved lead.
Redbridge were not adapting to the conditions but were still not out of it and equalised out of nothing on the stroke of half-time with a great finish by top-scorer Dean Nyman which fizzed into the corner of the net.
The second half was all Redbridge and with the ball at their feet and running at the “giants of Oakwood”, suddenly Oakwood looked vulnerable and they were defending for their lives.
Redbridge had two clear chances to win what was turning into a really feisty game. The ball fell to Nyman who sent the ball high over the bar form 10 yards out. The next chance saw Russell Goldstein send a left-footed shot straight at the keeper.
Oakwood "stabilised" having made a couple of changes but never really looked like scoring again. Redbridge looked more threatening as they pushed and had a couple of breaks that the immense Alex Lee managed to contain.
Headers from Nathan Sollosi and Daryl Rubin from corners were sent wide of the goal but in the end it finished honours even.
Redbridge boss Jon Jacobs told JC Sport: “This was a game where I think the weather won in the end. The windy conditions didn’t allow us to play our normal game, but on reflection a fair result though we could have shaded it in the second half.
“Redbridge management would like to send their best wishes to Leor Sidle after he was forced off injured. We also lost star left-back Ryan Cole to a muscle injury midway through the second half so squad depth coming to the fore for both sides.
“The result probably suits Oakwood more with Redbridge needing four wins from four tough games to win the league, and Oakwood playing a Lions team with eyes on cup glory in their only remaining fixture.”
Jacobs went on to say: “Oakwood joint-manager Dan Kristall is a Sheffield Wednesday fan - they lost on Friday night … I am a Leeds fan and they won on Saturday night so on balance, a better football weekend for me!
“The focus now for Redbridge turns to the cup and Finchley City in the semi-final of the Anekstein so will be working hard to prepare the walking wounded for that one and put the league to one side just for the one week.
“This keeps the season going into April now and we will be fighting like crazy to see a successful end to the month.”
Oakwood joint-manager Ric Blank was in "total agreement" with Jacobs' assessment. He told JC Sport: "A draw was the fair result the wind played a major role in the game.
"Perhaps though the key moment in the first half was the injury to Leor Sidle after 15 minutes. Anyone was watching could see the problems he was causing Redbridge. He'd already produced save of the week from the Redbridge keeper and his intelligent movement was hurting Redbridge. There was clearly no attempt to injure Sidle by the Redbridge captain - but nor was there an attempt to play the ball. We were left without our striker for 75 minutes and nothing to show for it.
"Ironically, Redbridge then scored in injury-time caused by the Sidle injury. It was the only time all half we'd lost our shape and allowed Sam Sollosi inside. He had been very quiet but as all good players do only needed one moment to create something significant. Dean Nyman applied the finish. Despite there being two significant stoppages that was the last kick of the half.
"The second half was totally different - as we knew it would be. The wind was a major factor as Redbridge came at us and forced us on the back foot. They didn't create too many chances - the standout was actually a header from a corner that should have nestled in the net. But thankfully for us it didn't. They had shots from distance with Garfinkle and Sam Sollosi going close but not troubling Blainy.
"Overall a fair result but now the title is out of our hands. We're immensely proud of the boys and their efforts and now have to beat lions to give us any chance.
"The Redbridge players were celebrating at full-time - which tells you everything you need to know about a) the title race and b) how far Oakwood have come as a team. For a team as good as Redbridge to be punching the air at full time after a draw with us is a huge, huge compliment. This was undoubtedly the two best Jewish teams in the country going at it and we thoroughly enjoyed it."