FC Team climbed into the top six in the Middlesex County League Division One after claiming an impressive 4-1 victory over London United Academy.
After last weeks 3-0 win in the cup and having gone four games unbeaten, FC Team went into the game against their nearest rivals full of confidence despite missing squad members Gideon Moss, Paul Kent, Kieran Allen Curry and Rich Sternberg.
Having lost 2-1 in their previous meeting, manager Mitch Young changed the tactics to a 4-1-3-1-1 formation. He employed Laurence Judah to a man marking role on London's star player.
The game started brightly for Team with Irvine Howson causing all sorts of problem. He won numerous throw-ins down both flanks and with FC Team's long throw specialist in the side, Neil Weyman, team flooded the box.
On two occasions in the opening five minutes, FC Team’s target man Richard Salmon went close. With Salmon working hard and forcing numerous corners, Team should have taken the lead but centre back James Korn just missed the ball from five yards out.
The opening came on the 15 minute mark when a long throw from Weyman was flicked on by Jon Breger and just as Salmon was going to head the ball the London Centre back elbowed him in the face and the referee, who was well positioned, pointed to the spot. Up stepped FC Team’s newest penalty taker Laurence Judah and cool as you like, he sent the keeper the wrong way to put team 1-0 up and deservedly so.
The formation was working well the midfield were winning the battle being expertly led by captain Jules Noti and their danger man was being marked out the game by Judah.
The game was going back and forth with neither side creating any real clear chances. Disaster struck after 25 minute as an excellent clearance by centre back Korn saw a London striker go in high and late on Korn's knee forcing the big man off the pitch. Young had to call upon wide man James Ryan to replace him and change the formation to 4-4-2.
Team struggled to adapt initially and on the 35 minute mark, a tackle from behind from captain Noti just outside the box but to teams horror the referee gave a penalty. The London midfielder coolly slotted the ball past keeper Paul Mendelsohn to level the scores and with FC Team under pressure half time could not come soon enough.
With some strong words from Young at half time FC Team came out firing with Breger coming close on two occasions from 25 yards.
London were still not really troubling the Team defence who were being marshalled superbly by Dan Silverman.
The goal came on 65 minutes a cross field ball by Ryan picked out Salmon whose flick found his strike partner Howson who jinxed past the defender brought the ball into the box and smashed it past the keeper to make it six in six league games for the Teams front man.
Team’s dominance continued. With Judah blocking the star player out of the game the London midfielder became increasingly frustrated and on the 70 minute mark got sent off for a stamp on Judah.
London were beginning to lose their heads with some dangerous two-footed challengers which saw more than half the side pick up yellow cards.
However this did not deter FC Team and on the 75 minute mark they scored their third. Ollie Segal picked out Ryan who broke clear of his defender down the right hand side. Ryan brought the ball into the box and laid it square to Noti from 10 yards with just the keeper to beat Noti smashed the ball into the net to make it 3-1 to team and spark wild celebrations on the touchline.
London had another player sent off as a two-footed challenge on Judah which could have caused serious damage. Judah was clearly getting the better of the London Team.
The game was as good as over after 83 minutes a long through from Weyman picked out a great run by Howson down the left hand side. His first time cross was met by Ryan who leapt above his defender and the keeper to head home FC Team’s fourth. A great team goal.
The game could have been spoilt a minute from time when a rash two-footed lunge on left back Adam Rones nearly had his leg snapped by the London right winger. The referee reduced London to eight men after sending the offender off. Thankfully Rones escaped injury free.
The final whistle blew and Team secured a brilliant victory which made it five games unbeaten.
Young said: “This was a superb performance from my team. It took us a while to adapt after Korn got injured in the first half but in the second half the whole team stepped it up and in the end our organisation, team spirit and class brought us through.
“The game was spoilt by the lack of fair play and sportsmanship by the other side who with three red cards and seven yellow should not be playing at this level, they were out to get us and we were lucky to only have one player injured.
“However take nothing away from this great victory we are now five unbeaten, we are in the last 16 of the London cup, we are in a great position in the league with games in hand and I believe this season we can achieve special things. We have a settled squad packed with quality and we just need to keep going.
“Laurence Judah was outstanding as was Irvine Howson. I am a very happy manager and long may this fine form continue."
FC Team: Paul Mendelsohn, Ollie Segal, Dan Silverman, James Korn (sub: James Ryan 25), Adam Rones, Jules Noti (capt), Laurence Judah, Jon Breger, Neil Weyman, Irvine Howson, Richard Salmon. Sub not used: Mitch Young