MGBSFL DIVISION TWO
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS MASTERS 2 HERTSWOOD VALE 5
Without 14 players through injury or unavailability, Vale were nearly down to bare bones for this one and it nearly showed. They started the game at a slow pace and found ourselves 2-0 down after 30 minutes. The second goal was particularly contentious ... Jonny Blain "almost definitely punched the ball into the net" – hopefully the JC cameras will give us more of an idea!
However, Vale rallied well and pulled a goal back in the 36th minute. James Millet floated a delicious free-kick into the box with Ben Mandel finishing first time into the far corner.
Half time "probably came at the worst time for Vale" as they were very much on top after being second to every ball for the first 30 minutes.
Vale grabbed a deserved equaliser in the 52nd minute through Harry Graham – James Millet caught the ball well on a volley and after his effort was palmed away by their keeper, Graham gobbled up the chance from close-range.
The game then went very quiet with Raiders frustrating Vale time and again. However, Vale took the lead for the first time in the game on the 75th minute through top-scorer Millet. Some excellent work on the wing from Ben Mandel found Millet in the centre of the park who finished smartly into the far corner from close-range.
Three became four in the 83rd minute through Mandel’ssecond of the match. Millet played an excellent through ball to Mandel who finished at the near post, leaving the keeper stranded.
The comeback was completed in the 88th minute. Adam Hilsenrath, signed as an emergency player on the morning, started the move at right back, latched on to Jordan Harris’ through ball, kept running before dinking the ball over the keeper with the most cheeky of finishes. His first goal in Jewish football following a barren run at Straw Hat Pirates last season.
Jubilant Vale joint-manager Jacob Emanuel told JC Sport: "We were made to work for this one. Credit to Raiders for playing a perfect game for the first 30 minutes of the match.
"However, after we nicked a goal back just before half-time, we really stepped up and the boys can be proud of an important comeback win."
James Cartmell, the NLR joint-manager, reflected on a "frustrating and disappointing morning". He told JC Sport: "We knew it would be a tough game against a young and skilful Hertswood team, however we started well with good passing and disrupting their play.
We deservedly went 2-0 up only to concede a soft, and perhaps fortuitous goal, just before half-time. This was a key turning point and Hertswood took all the momentum into the second half.
"They dominated possession, making the most of their superior fitness, and we lost our shape a bit.
"To be fair, they were worthy of their equaliser and subsequent goals albeit again some fortune about one or two of them."
RAIDERS: James Grabiner, Daniel Fox, Andrew Bloom, Rob Samuelson, Daniel Hodes, Matt Kleinman, Nicky Skone, Tony Plaskow, James Cartmell, Wayne Davidson, Jonny Blain. Subs: Adam Levison, Liam Stein
SCORERS: Davidson, Blain
VALE: Adam Zaidman, Josh Gorb, Harry Graham, Ashley Hirschberger, James Neidle, Alex Trup, Josh Wood, Jonny Kay, Ben Mandel, James Millet. Subs: Jacob Emanuel, Danny Feuer
SCORERS: Mandel 2, Millet, Graham, Hilsenrath