FC Team won a thrilling JC MSFL Division One clash 4-3 to deny North London Raiders B the opportunity to clinch promotion as the league leaders missed a last minute penalty.
Shai Davidi scored the winner after a brace from David Dinkin and Jonny Hesselberg levelled the score after Craig Edwards and Adam Rones’ double had put the home side 3-0 up.
Just a victory would have done for Raiders, but they were undone in the fifth minute as Dan Silverman’s through ball found Edwards, who kept his cool to prod the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Rones almost doubled the lead when he headed wide from Danny Moss’s long throw, but Raiders began to take control, with Elliot Espinoza crossing for David Esterkin, but he could not control the ball and a glorious chance went.
Dinkin also had an opportunity but he fired just over when well placed, and they paid for the misses as Moss took a long throw which was not cleared, allowing Rones to volley home from inside the area.
With Raiders stunned, they fell three behind within moments as Moss, whose long throws proved a constant menace, raced down the right flank before crossing for Rones, who this time angled his header across goal and into the bottom corner.
Raiders were shellshocked, and as FC Team eased off, they scored on the stroke of half time to give themselves a lifelines as Nicky Woolf’s free kick was volleyed goalwards from close range by Hesselberg, whose shot was saved but bounced back off him and into the net.
The league leaders showed impressive character to rally at the start of the second period. Dinkin’s superb footwork gave him an opening and he curled the ball into the bottom corner after 49 minutes to get Raiders back into the game, and they continued to exert pressure on Team, with Esterkin having a shot pushed wide as they came close to equalising.
But Team were still dangerous on the break, with Moss chipping just over and Davidi missing a glorious opening following a quick through ball when he failed to control the ball as he raced clean through on goal.
Moments later, Hershman’s snap shot brought a superb reaction save from David Grossman in the FC Team goal, and the pressure told when the same player hit the post following the subsequent corner, and Dinkin was first to the rebound to level the score.
Having fought back, Raiders eased off slightly as the game became more placid, with chances a premium late on.
FC Team though, despite the mental blow of having lost the three goal advantage they held, continued to threaten on the break, and scored with just over five minutes to go. Davidi looked a couple of yards offside when he instigated one final attack from the halfway line, with the Raiders players all in the FC Team half, with the exception of keeper David Simnock. And although Davidi's control initially let him down on the counter-attack, he raced on to a through ball and the chance seemed to have gone, before the ball ran loose and towards sub Mitch Green who sent a ball back across goal for Davidi, whose header went in via the crossbar.
Again stung, Raiders came back and pressed for another equaliser, and in the last minute of the game were awarded a penalty when referee Aaron Djanogly blew up for handball. Dinkin stepped up but missed the chance for a hat-trick as Grossman pulled off a superb save to win the game for Team.
FC Team manager Mitch Young was delighted that his side won a topsy turvy encounter. “They came back really well but we always had a plan to hit them on the counter with Shai and Mossy.
"We rode the storm, we are delighted with the win and it gives us a good chance of promotion. They will win the league anyway but for us it is massive.”
Raiders boss Rob Richman felt his side paid for a sloppy start. “We did not turn up first half. I think the boys were a bit excited about the possibility of winning and going up to the Premier League today. You can’t win them all.
"Next season, whether we are in Division One or the Premiership, we won’t get away with our first half performance today.”
FC Team: D Grossman, O Segal, A Rones, D Silverman, J Weiner, J Wood, J Breger (sub: M Green), M Drage, D Moss, S Davidi, C Edwards (sub: M Young)
Scorers: Edwards 5, Rones 31, 35, Davidi 84
Raiders: D Simnock, R Angel (sub: R Samuelson), D Rhodes, D Grossman, S Haring (sub: J Foley Comer), M Hershman, E Espinoza, D Esterkin, J Hesselberg (sub: S Ben Soor), N Woolf, D Dinkin
Scorers: Hesselberg 45, Dinkin 49, 68