Leeds Sunday Alliance Premier Division
Leeds Maccabi 1st 2
New Ireland Wood FC 2
Curtis Bitton-Price climbed off the bench to keep Leeds Maccabi 1st’s faint title hopes alive after scoring a spectacular equaliser.
The midfielder, who was suffering with injury, played through the pain barrier and came up trumps after his unstoppable 40-yard effort claimed a point for Maccabi.
Leeds are now five points off league leaders Waggon AFC with two games remaining, but still have to play the table toppers before end of the season.
And boss Ian Selwyn says his team are still in with a sniff following a battling display against second place New Ireland Wood.
“We gave it a right good go and I’m really proud of the boys,” said Selwyn.
“After last week where the game was lost after the first 15 minutes, we really bounced back and battled and made it difficult for them.
“We put them under pressure and coped with them both on a football level and on a physical level.
“There are so many permutations with the league and the top sides all have to play each other still so lots can happen.
“But the main thing is that we have to win our last two games and make sure we finish as high as possible and start building for next season.”
After their 8-1 cup semi-final thrashing against Queenswood last weekend, Maccabi were hoping to bounce back by claiming three precious points in their quest for the title.
And they were given a welcome boost after just ten minutes, when referee Phillip Worth showed the red card to a New Ireland Wood player following an elbow on Gidi Amar.
Maccabi looked to make their numerical supremacy count and Dave Woolman fired them into a half-time lead with a fierce effort.
With New Ireland Wood also looking to sustain their title challenge, there was little surprise when the ten-men raced out of the traps after the interval.
And they were soon level after Maccabi keeper Tim Zoltie’s weak punch was fired back past him and into the back of the net, despite claims for a foul on the Leeds No.1.
Maccabi were rocking and the visitors moved ahead after Zoltie produced a stunning save only for the rebound to be fired into the net.
Despite the setback, Leeds continued to fight and with just ten minutes remaining, substitute Bitton-Price picked up the ball some 40-yards from goal before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the top corner.
“It was a sensational goal,” said Selwyn. “I brought him on to try and get us a goal and he duly delivered.
“It was one of those where it could have gone anywhere but it’s gone in and the boys deserved it.
“Now we’ve got to keep going because although it’s out of our hands, it’s not over yet.”