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'Leiwy is the Jewish Messi,' says Markiewicz

Avi Markiewicz compared matchwinner David Leiwy to Lionel Messi after his masterclass inspired Faithfold to a thrilling comeback against title rivals Scrabble at the Hive.

    Faithfold started brightly and had a couple of chances but Scrabble were clinical going forward and scored twice against the run of play via a Rupert Wood double.

    The home side continued to push forward and halved the deficit from a corner. Leiwy, easily the smallest player in the pitch, "maybe smallest player in the whole of Jewish football at 5ft 5"," according to Markiewicz, stole across the front post to beat everyone else and head in. This changed Markiewicz's half-time teamtalk as Faithfold went into the break "really believing".

    Markiewicz "spoke to his players at half-time and "warned them under no uncertain circumstances that nothing but a win would do. The key was to move the ball out wide quickly," so he brought on David Kizneris out wide and Jonny Gahan at centre-back to counter Scrabble's aerial threat.

    Scrabble restored their two-goal advantage at the start of the second half, with an excellent moved finished off by Zac McLeod.

    What then followed can only be described as the David Leiwy show. He was instrumental in Faithfold's stunning second-half comeback. Kizneris made the first, great work down the right, and a lovely cross was only partially dealt with by the Scrabble defender for Markiewicz to steal in and poke past the goalkeeper. 

    Then Leiwy set off on a mesmerising run, beating five men for what must have been the 10th time that afternoon, cut the ball back from the byline for Markiewicz to yet again have the simplest of finishes to make it 3-3.

    Faithfold's attacking was incessant and five minutes after another tactical switch by Markiewicz - which saw Avi Mocton drop to centre-back and "the fresher legs of" Johnny Gahan to central midfield "to give us more energy".

    The Green tidal wave continued to storm forward and Scrabble were pushed back. A raking 60-yard ball over the top from Mocton found Leiwy who yet again twisted his man inside out, got in front of the keeper and he found the bottom corner.

    Faithfold eventually put the game to bed when industrious work by Gideon Caller down the left found Avi Garson who turned inside and had a shot only for it to be blocked but Leiwy was on hand to poke In his third and settle the match. 

    There was time for one more as super-sub Kizneris to beat his man on the right and with the keeper expecting a cross cheekily went for the near post and squeezed it in. It completed a disappointing period of the game for Scrabble who finished with 10 men after referee Martin De La Fuente flashed his red card in the final stages.

    Faithfold boss Avi Markiewicz told JC Sport: "What a game. Where do I start? First of all I want to congratulate my boys, 2-0 down and we bring it back to 2-1 before half-time. Again they score early to make it 3-1 but we rallied, didn't sit or let our heads drop, believed in ourselves and produced a fantastic comeback against our closest rivals. 

    "We could have been excused as the team that are already at the top for thinking at this point with about 15 to go we would take it easy, protect the draw and stay safe but I wanted to win.

    "I am so proud of my lads, this was a really tough game, we were missing a couple of our stars in Ben and Louis and there were times in that game where we had every reason to drop our heads but we didn't, we believed. We kept on fighting, we played some really bright football, passed the ball about crisply and got the result we ultimately deserved."

    Scrabble boss Ray Abrahams believes the mercurial Leiwy was the difference between the teams. He told JC Sport: " The scoreline was not a true reflection of the game and I thought for 70 minutes we played well. Faithfold had one player who created and finished everything and you can see why with him in the side they are where they are.

    "We had some key players missing today and our options were very limited but the whole squad gave it 100 per cent and that's all you can ask for.

    "I thought we were much the better side overall but full credit they finished their chances and we didn't. Although I think it's fair to say that three of their goals we gifted them with poor decisions at the back.

    "We also should have been out of sight three or four up before half-time with the points in the bag such was our superiority in the first half.

    "I'm proud of the boys for the way they fought hard today and to get nothing from the game is cruel on us."

    Abrahams is confident Scrabble can finish 2017 on a high and added: "We still believe we can win promotion this season and we will be back next week stronger and more determined after these back to back defeats."

    FAITHFOLD: Joseph Gordon, Gideon Caller, Ben Gabay, Leor Harel, Jonny Leiwy, Aaron Luftig, Avi Mocton, Josh Wagner, Avi Garson, David Leiwy, Avi Markiewicz. Subs: Jonny Gahan, Zalmi Cohen

    SCORERS: David Leiwy 3, Avi Markiewicz 2, Kizneris

    SCRABBLE: Dan Beresford, Benjamin Bowers, Craig Cole, Dan Green, Zac Mcleod, Steven Moss, Ben Myers, Oliver Richardson, Adam Waters, Zac Summerfield, Craig Edwards

    SCORERS: Wood 2, McLeod

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