MGBSFL DIVISION ONE
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B 1 MACCABI LONDON LIONS B 2
Manager Sam Marchant described the game as "season-defining" for his Lions team. A trip to Ilford, Essex to play title rivals Redbridge - the only remaining team in the division with an unbeaten record.
A real top of the table clash and a game in which Lions knew they had to win to keep their promotion dream alive.
The message was clear from Marchant before the game, "destiny is in our hands" and "this is our chance".
It was time for Lions to show they were the real deal and they could take on a top team and beat them in their own back-yard.
As the whistle blew and the game kicked off, the first 10 minutes were very cagey, both teams seeing the ball, but due to the muddy and bobbly pitch on the day it was tough to play on the ground.
After 20 minutes, having just hit the post from a corner, Redbridge took the lead, a free-kick was swung in and captain Richie Caplin headed them in front.
Lions certainly didn’t drop their heads and it took a tactical change after 25 minutes from Marchant to change the game up. Big striker Michael Kenley came on in place of Dom Feldman and Lions went 4-4-2 with the clear message – get the ball up the pitch quick!
And boy did it pay off! A long ball up from Zac Rose to Ben Winters on the wing who swung a low ball in the box, Josh Bloom held his man off and the ball ran to the oncoming Weinberger who slotted the ball home. A great team goal to put Lions level before the half-time break.
Some strong words followed from Marchant and Lions knew this was the biggest 45 minutes of football all season so far and they had to win it.
Lions saw chance after chance go missing as Winters and Bloom both missed great opportunities to put the visitors ahead.
Marchant and Samm Kingston on the side-line were looking very nervous going into the last 30 minutes.
But as the last 15 minutes approached a sub was made, with Fattal replacing Winters.
The last five minutes was an onslaught from Lions, they kept pushing and pushing for that winning goal which seemed to be slipping away as the game entered extra time.
But in the 93rd minute – a moment of magic – as the ball came over from the left it ran all the way to Fattal who chested the ball and half volleyed it into the bottom corner. Lions went crazy! The video and pictures will show the pure joy of everyone but it is a goal that will be remembered for years and the celebrations were deserved after a hard fought win.
Lions boss Sam Marchant told JC Sport: "Today was a massive game for us and there is no other way to put it. We had to win to keep our promotion hopes alive and we’ve done just that in a fantastic manner.
"Our usual football style wasn’t best suited to the conditions and it was tough finding ourselves. After falling behind we changed quite a bit tactically and equalising before half-time was perfect.
"Second half we went out and fought as hard as we could and had two or three fantastic opportunities, most notably hitting the bar from four yards out when the ball bobbled up. At times like that I thought it might not be our day but our second half performance was heroic.
"We defended well and Redbridge only had one shot on target in the second half. Having Daniel Fattal fresh-legged on the bench really helped and is what got us over the line. He came on with 10 minutes to go and the ball fell at his feet in the box with virtually the last kick of the game in the 93rd minute and he tucked it away as coolly as you can.
"We are all delighted with the result as we keep the pressure up on Scrabble and Raiders B and also managed to beat Redbridge at their home who were unbeaten all season in the league.
"Next week against Oakwood is just as big as today was and we need to cement this weeks result by continuing to get the required victories. A great day for our entire team today and we certainly have kept our promotion dream alive."
Redbridge boss Sam Rank told JC Sport: "If any type of football to concede in last minute is devastating, but the league title is still in our hands massively.
"This was not a game of football at all, it just turned into a long-ball affair, with both teams cancelling out each other in the midfield.
"I felt the right result was a draw, as both teams had chances in the second half to make the score 2-1.
"But credit to Lions, who played on to the 93 minutes, and got the late winner. In football it takes only three seconds to score a goal, and this was proved.
"The boys know they need to regroup and get back to winning ways next week against Faithfold."
LIONS: James Harpin, Zac Rose, Ben Winters, Adam Abadi, Nathan Anders, Daniel Behar, Josh Bloom, Ed Brafman, Ozzy Doron, Dom Feldman, Benji Weinberger. Subs: Michael Kenley, Daniel Fattal