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Resilient Raiders rally to secure first win

Jake Yudelowitz saluted his team after goals from Charlie Kasler, Scott Waissel and Aron Gale helped North London Raiders win a five-goal thriller at Oakwood B to earn after battling back from 0-2 down to their first triumph of the season.

    Missing no less than six starters, the pre-match signs were ominous for Raiders. Josh Bloom was forced to relive his centre back glory days with the three first-choice centre-backs all missing and Matt Warner took the captain's armband. Matters were made even worse when Daniel Selwyn capitalised on some sloppy defend to put Oakwood ahead, which was followed by another from a direct free kick via and Daniel Seligman within the first 25 minutes. 

    "There aren't enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe the events that would follow," according to Yudelowitz." Raiders, who had drawn one and lost three out of their first four games, did not let their heads drop and continued to match Oakwood's physicality.

    On the stroke of half-time, Charlie Kasler absolutely hammered a free kick low and hard, leaving the Oakwood keeper with absolutely no chance, clawing us back into the tie 2-1. The mood was upbeat at half-time and Raiders "knew that this game could be ours" if they upped their game further.

    What happened next can only be described as the goal of the season. Scott Waissel, who NLR had sent to train with Los Camden in order to get his confidence back up, outmuscled former EMFT team-mate Josh Pugh before pulling the ball out of the sky. He let it bounce before hitting an absolute stunner into the top corner on the half volley from outside the box, sparking wild celebrations from the Raiders boys both on and off the field.

    At 2-2 Raiders weren't going to be denied a winner, and it duly came in the 70th minute. After some neat Ben Rosen build-up play, Kasler played an eye of the needle through ball for Aron Gale to run on to, who then rounded the Oakwood keeper before slotting in from the tightest of angles.

    A jubilant Yudelowitz told JC Sport: "Wow!!! This has been coming for a long time. Just ask Redbridge & Fairlop.

    "All 12 of the boys who took part today were sensational, I'd nominate all of them for team of the week, if possible. Debutants Richard Winton and Alex Newman worked their socks off. Gav Fox and Tal Cohen were rocks, Scott Waissel had his mojo back and Aron Gale looks like he is going to score every time in front of goal now. Ben Rosen and Yarden Sharon were class as always. Oli Misner in goal commanded his area. There was even harmony on the sidelines. A perfect morning."

    Disappointed Oakwood joint-manager Jason Stein told JC Sport: "Frankly it’s as crushing a defeat as I can recall in my five seasons and we’ve got a big job on our hands to recover from it. Only time will tell whether our players have the stomach for that slog.

    "We played some good stuff in the first half and had, in my view, a deserved 2-0 lead. But once we conceded with the last kick of the half we fell to pieces mentally and physically. The only surprise is Raiders didn’t score more.

    “It’s a massive shame for us. We had started the season well, and had played well today, but we’ll get no where playing the way we did for the second 45.

    “Fair play to Raiders who took full advantage.”

    OAKWOOD: Ben Lewis, Dani Derrison, Ben Loofe, Max Clynes, Sam Modlin, Ben Polak, Elliott Espinoza, Josh Pugh, Daniel Seligman, Daniel Selwyn, Louie Libbert

    SCORERS: Selwyn, Seligman

    RAIDERS: Oli Misner, Gavin Fox, Tal Cohen, Josh Bloom, Ben Rosen, Yarden Sharon, Scott Waissel, Matt Warne, Charlie Kasler, Aron Gale

    SCORERS: Kasler, Waissel, Gale

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