Taylor master-class takes Raiders out of title contention

A man-of-the-match performance from Alex Taylor helped Lions opened a four-point gap on Raiders for whom another successful title defence looks impossible.


Lions faced Raiders away from home in the first game of the new calendar year – a fixture which is up there with the toughest of league matches they will face this season.

Holidays, injuries and January flu victims meant visitors were down to their bare bones this weekend, with first team striker James Gershfield doing the side a huge favour by stepping up with a makeshift appearance in goal – a position he might well make his own after this weekend’s display, full of impressive distribution, communication and aerial punching. In front of him: Cameron Most, Alex Taylor, Nick Smith and Will Beresford, who were all in for a busy day of defending against a confident, offensive Raiders side.

It was Raiders who had the majority of the ball, keeping possession well but never really creating any major goal chances, with Lions purposely setting up in a compact and tight defensive formation. Then a corner to the away side saw a melee in the Raiders penalty box and it was Lions centre back Taylor who was quickest to react and lashed the ball home to give his side a 1-0 lead 20 minutes in.

Raiders continued to attack throughout the half, but Lions remained resolute with Ben Lampert, Sam Arghebant and Jamie Jackson working tirelessly to protect their defenders.

It was Lions who came closest to scoring the second goal of the game, as Arghebant picked the ball up 40 yards out from goal and ambitiously drove a shot over the Raiders keeper which clipped the cross bar and went over, a goal of the season contender had it gone in.

However, on the stroke of half time, a neat exchange of quick passes between David Dinkin and Liron Mannie, saw Matt Stock played through and he calmly slot the ball past Gershfield for 1-1 at half time, a very good team goal.

As the second half started it was clear that from the touchline Lions manager Ryan Springer had instructed his side to continue to what they were doing in the first half; be defensive-minded, compact and disciplined and look to counter-attack when the opportunity occurs – and this is exactly what the away side did as Adam Arnold was released, picking up the ball outside the Raiders box. On his own, with three defenders to beat, he used his box of tricks to swivel and side step his way past all three of them, before smartly beating the onrushing goalkeeper at his near post – a special goal, with Arny showing great technical ability.

However, the 2-1 lead was short-lived as Raiders put together a dangerous attack which saw a cross played in to the Lions box which fell to an unmarked David Dinkin who blasted his shot into the corner of the net for 2-2.

Lions have been involved in a number of tight finishes to games in recent weeks – coming out on top in most of them. Once again, as the game drew to a climax it was all about desire and belief. A counter-attack saw the the ball played towards the Raiders box which found Jackson who shifted it onto his right before unleashing a powerful drive at the Raiders goal, which forced a good save from Jake Doffman, but Jackson was relentless and followed up to head home the rebound to make it 3-2.

A few moments later in injury time, the fans witnessed what was the most spectacular moment of the match. After another dogged shift in the centre of midfield, Lampert picked the ball up on the half way line and with little options in front of him, decided to shoot from over 40 yards. His effort flew over the head of Doffman, landing in the back of the net, 4-2 Lions cue the wild celebrations amongst the players after an outrageous Lampert strike.

As the game drew to a close, Stock pulled one back for Raiders to set up a nervous finish, but Lions did enough to see the game out.

A Lions spokesman commented: "Three points picked up and on now onto next week, which sees Lions face Hendon in the Cyril Anekstein quarter finals, a game that will once again require, immense effort, commitment and dedication from all of the players if they are to advance to the next round."

Raiders boss Dan Shafron told JC Sport: "At this level, if you score three goals and end up on the losing team, there are things to address.

"We made some terrible mistakes for three of the goals we conceded and whilst we weren't helped by a couple of big decisions against us that would have had an impact on the end result, that simply sugar-coats our general performance which fell well below our usual standards. 

"Our attention now turns to our quarter-final next weekend and we will need to be much improved in all areas of the pitch if we want to progress to the next round."

RAIDERS: Jake Doffman, Josh Morris, Alex Bloch, Justin Spiro, Dave Cohen, Joe Cohen, Adam Gold, David Dinkin, Matt Stock, Liron Mannie. Subs: Nyv Bogaire, Ben Ellis, Adam Joselyn, Jordan Nathan

GOALS: Matt Stock (2), David Dinkin

LIONS: James Gershfield, Cameron Most, Will Beresford, Ben Lampert, Alex Taylor, Nick Smith, Harry Marlow, Sam Arghebant, Adam Arnold, Jamie Jackson, James Gold. Sub: Ryan Springer

GOALS: Alex Taylor, Adam Arnold, Jamie Jackson Ben Lampert, 

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Alex Taylor (Lions)

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive