JC MSFL DIVISION TWO
NORSTAR B 1 LOS BLANCOS 5
Los Blancos clinched promotion to Division One with, goalkeeper Josh Cohen marking his last game for the club with a goal from the penalty spot.
Further strikes from Joel Kutner, Benjy Israel and a double from player-manager Adam Hersh saw them pip SPEC FC to the runners-up spot.
There was a nervous atmosphere around John Lyon School Playing Fields as Los Blancos looked for one final win to secure promotion to Division One in front of super sponsors Cohen Arnold chartered accountants (for all your accounting needs!)
The nerves showed as Norstar started the brighter and had the first chance. A header from a corner was destined for the roof of the net until Josh Cohen, in his last Blancos appearance, intervened with his fingertips to tip over the bar.
The rest of the half was dominated by Blancos but no clear chances were made. Aryeh Marks scored with a fantastic 'hand of g-d' replica but was correctly booked and the goal ruled out.
The second half was a different story. Los Blancos were not prepared to fall at the final hurdle and stepped up a gear. Midfield duo Josh Caplin and Adam Waters were running the Norstar midfield ragged and it wasn't long before Kutner brilliantly beat his man on the left of the area before firing across the keeper into the far corner.
Sami Birnbaum was brought down after a surging run into the box. As a reward for dedicated service Josh Cohen stepped up to score straight down the middle in his first ever MSFL goal.
Norstar got themselves deservedly back into the game almost instantly and at 2-1 Blancos had to fight. Hersh, chasing the golden boot, used pace power and panache to beat the stars backline and take it past the keeper for 3-1.
At 3-1 Norstar hit bar and post in a goalmouth scramble, but Blancos survived and didn't look back. Hersh added another equally well taken goal for 4-1 and had chances to grab his hat-trick. Substitute Benjy Israel used all of his fresh legs to run from midfield, beating four men, rounding the keeper and slotting home in goal of the week/season contender!
5-1 was the final score and with champagne flowing Blancos have been promoted to Division One.
Blancos boss Adam Hersh told JC Sport: "We started a little nervously but as we got into the game we started to totally dominate and all that was lacking was a goal to kick us on to a comfortable victory.
"This season has been a very satisfying one with many predicting a mid-table finish at best for LB. We have played some excellent football and fully deserve our promotion spot. Commiserations to SPEC who pushed us all the way."
"It is sad to see some of the Los Blancos founding members moving on to bigger and better things. Josh Cohen, who has been Mr consistent between the sticks and has been one of the top goalkeepers to grace the MSFL for many years. His performances have literally won us games and he will be missed and we wish him much luck when he makes Aliyah in the summer.
"Also to our first club captain Dovid Greenberg who has been a mature head in the changing room and always encouraging to younger members of the squad."
Blancos' Joel Minsky told JC Sport: "It was a cagey first half, but Blancos class told in second. We're promoted to Division 1 at first time of asking."