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Red-hot Real close in on Cats

First-half strikes from Adam Hersh and Joe Metliss saw Real Hendon moved to within two points of the Cats after a hard-fought 2-1 win in Borehamwood.

    A boggy pitch presented tough conditions for both teams today in Borehamwood. Catford started on the front foot with an excellent 20-yard drive from star player Joel Lassman crashing against the crossbar within the first quarter hour.

    As the game wore on, Hendon grew into the contest. Motty Korman threaded through a beautiful pass for Hersh who stabbed the ball past the onrushing keeper, but just wide.

    Yossi Goldberg began to dominate in the middle and player-manager Martin Smulovitch mopped up everything at the back.

    Soon Hendon took the lead with a very scrappy goal. Zvi Noe powered down the wing on the overlap, whipped in the ball with pace and precision (much to the surprise of the Real fans), and a scramble in the box saw Hersh tap the ball home.

    As half-time approached, Real pressed home their advantage. Hersh missed another good opportunity on the volley. Then man-of-the-match Gali Kolt knicked the ball from the Catford winger with a strong challenge, threaded it through to Kutner who won a corner. Kestenbaum, returning from a self-imposed winter break, freshly tanned, whisps of hair neatly coiffured, sent across the ball for another scramble, this time young gun Metliss stabbing home to double Real's advantage.

    Both teams started brightly in the second half, with yet another chance going begging for Hersh. The Real fans on the sideline vocally wondering whether the former Blancos star was 'doing a Gothold' considering his profligacy in front of goal.

    As the half wore on, Catford pressed further and further forward, but the back four of Chaim Strom, Smulovitch, Kestenbaum and particularly Kolt, stool resolute. Rafi Zysblat continued to look assured in goal, mopping up long balls and crosses with relative ease.

    With just five minutes to go, Shooter on the sideline begged for some more minutes and replaced Noe on the left wing. Known as a dependable centre back, Shooter took to his new position like a duck to tar - the C&B winger all of a sudden finding space and opportunity. The pressure began to tell and with just two minutes of the 90 remaining Catford, camped in Real territory, deservedly reduced the deficit via Alex Newman.

    Stoppage time was a scramble, as Catford pressed for the equaliser. As Strom missed tackles left and right lost his head, it was up to Yomi Cohen, Kestenbaum, Smulovitch and Kolt to steady the ship. Benny Goldberg and Hersh sought to hold the ball up, with the fans calling for the Bees to take the ball into the corner.

    To the yellow and blacks delight, referee Phil Peters eventually blew the whistle on a brilliant victory for the Hendon, the third in a row.

    Real's Rafi Addlestone told JC Sport: "Three wins on the bounce and the Bees are flying high. We held our own today against a strong and experienced Catford side in difficult conditions. Left side pairing Gali Kolt and Zvi Noe stepped up to the plate today - what they both lack in stature, they made up in sheer guts. Bravo to the lads.

    "League leaders Mill Hill Dons lie in wait for Real next, with both home and then away fixtures over the next fortnight. Rumours from the Dons camp indicate that centre back James Segal may finally get a game. Hendon, flush with confidence, can't wait to get stuck in."

    Cats player-manager Jeff Gotch told JC Sport: "Our season is basically over now – we have no chance to challenge after a poor performance when we got what we deserved."

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