Onwards and upwards for Jerusalem

Jerusalem returned to second place after a lacklustre 4-2 victory over Modi'in in the Sports Direct Olim League.



Jerusalem returned to second place after a lacklustre 4-2 victory over Modi'in in the Sports Direct Olim League.

After a wet Shabbat, the weather held off for the early evening kick off-in Modi'in, with the visitors knowing that anything but three points would end any potential title aspirations.

Both sides came into this fixture reflectong on high level performances the previous week. Modi'in had put in a noble performance, being edged out 1-0 by England FC, and Jerusalem holding runaway leaders Ra'anana in a high-octane 1-1 draw.

As the game progressed, it appeared that both sides were perhaps feeling the effects of last week, as both sides seemed rather flat. Whilst not doing much wrong, neither side was doing that much right.

The lifeless first half featured no shots on goal from the home side, and just four chances for the visitors. The best two chances fell to Lollu Hibbert four minutes from the start being denied by a fine reaction save from Iliyah Kovalov in the Modi'in goal and four minutes before the interval, this time the crossbar denying him.

Both sides made a couple of changes at half time, but it was Jerusalem who broke the deadlock with Zack Lewis finding the extra yard to slot the ball past Kovalov four minutes after the restart.

Three minutes later, and some clever play from Gav Cohen ended in a cut back for Moishe Lewis, who made no mistake to make it 2-0.

A minute later, with Jerusalem looking to run away with the game, their makeshift defence was caught napping, as Modi'in hit straight back, failing to clear their lines, as Beni Sragov found himself unmarked at the back post to apply the simplest of finishes.

Jerusalem restored their two-goal advantage almost immediately, with Yehuda Korman finding Moishe Lewis who powered his way into the box, to make it 3-1.

After four goals in six minutes, the pace of the game slowed for a quarter of an hour, before Modi'in saw an effort cleared off the line by debutant Gilad Revivo.

This served as a semi wake-up call for Jerusalem, as they immediately countered. Moishe Lewis being denied his hat-trick, by a great reflex stop by Kovalov.

As the game wore on, it seemed like both sides were content to see the night out. Modi'in sturdy in the middle and back, but offering very little up front, Jerusalem missing the cutting edge in the final third. Hibbert had the ball in the back of the net on 70 minutes, but the goal was disallowed for an earlier infringement.

Jerusalem finished the stronger, having a few chances that were all scuffed by the front men. Moishe Lewis was again denied his third, this time by the thickness of the post, as the game approached the final quarter of an hour.

With three minutes of normal time left, Zack Lewis added his second and Jerusalem's fourth; the ball broke to him and with the Kovalov in no-man's land, he lobbed the ball into the empty net.

As the game approached the final minute, Matan Kroizer hit another consolation goal for Modi'in, as the ball fell to him on the edge of the box, and he finished with aplomb, smashing the ball through the crowded area, in what was the goal of the game.

The referee finally brought an end to this rather dour contest, but one that nevertheless benefits Jerusalem, as they move back up to second in the table.

Jerusalem's joint-manager Danny Newman said: "After the incredibly high level and highly entertaining game that we saw last week against Ra'anana, it looked like everyone out there was hungover. Fortunately, and no disrespect to Modi'in, if we are to try and wrestle the title away from Ra'anana, I would rather this performance came against them, on a day that they didn't show up either.

"We have a talented crop of players, and it is a test of great sides that they are still able to churn out three points when playing poorly. Whilst no-one was terrible, we never seemed to get out of first gear tonight, and our usual potent front men, were woefully wasteful tonight. But having said that, on the back of this performance, it is three vital points, and we move on in the right direction up the league.

"As far as Modi'in are concerned, I am sure Jamie Lazarus and Martin Lange will be more disappointed with the performance, than with the result, and will be putting their squad through extra training during the week off.

"They are a tight unit, and they are far better than their current poor league position reflects. It's an old cliché, but the table doesn't lie. They are desperately in need of a goal-scorer. Without one, they will continue to struggle. Once they find him, I am sure they will start climbing the table."

Modi'in: Iliyah Kovalov, Yaacov Aronovitch, Ilan Shmueli, Omri Cohen, Eliya, Matan Kroizer, Benni Sragov, Trevor Silverman, Amichai Friedman, Omri Encauou, Yaron Cohen, Adi Meyuri, Itay Saidoff, Isaac Peters

Goals: Benni Sragov (53), Matan Kroizer (89)

Daniel Boerstra, Danny Sigal, Solomon Emeke Eza, Gavriel Krieger, David Preston, Mordy Weiler, Gav Cohen, Yehuda Korman, Zack Lewis. Daniel Cohen, Lollu Hibbert. Subs: Moishe Lewis, Eli Warner, Gilad Revivo

Goals: Zack Lewis (49, 87), Moishe Lewis (52, 55)

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