A last-minute penalty from Dave Cohen helped Hyde Park Rovers return to winning ways as they won a nine-goal thriller against South Manchester Sports Club 2nd.
An end-to-end contest in the Joan Collins Premier Division saw Rovers dampen a rousing comeback by South and left manager Phillip Braham was relieved to clinch the points.
“We should have sealed the game off when we were 4-2 up, but credit to South Manchester for getting back into the game. We’re lucky to have come out with the three as it was a hard fought game.”
A fairly even game was goalless after half an hour, with no sign of what was to come, but the game suddenly burst into life with nine goals in a pulsating and spirited hour of football.
The first came when Oli Grant found himself clean through and he made no mistake, slotting past South Manchester goalkeeper Gary Stewart. Rovers soon doubled their advantage as Jason Wise and David James combined with David Cohen before the latter ran 50 yards, going on a stunning run past a couple of the Maccabi defenders and then hitting a shot which beat Stewart at his near post.
Maccabi were stung into action and soon came back into the game, Jeremy Nivern launching a long throw into the box following pressure and David Tuck headed the ball into the net.
Just as Maccabi thought they were in the contest, Hyde Park duly hit them with a sucker punch before the break, Cohen again finishing well following a swift counter attack.
Having been beaten by the same opposition 6-1 just weeks ago, Maccabi boss Neil Collins gave his team a fiery half time talk, warning that they could be set for a similar scoreline. On the hour his team found themselves back in the game once more, with 17-year-old Aaron Searle embarking on a mazy run before being flattened just outside the area. From the subsequent free kick swung in by Mark Collins, Tuck again scored with another header.
Once more though, Hyde Park put breathing space between the sides following a goal-mouth scramble, with Grant finally putting the ball past Stewart. With 20 minutes left Searle went on another run, this time winning a penalty following a challenge in the area. Collins converted the subsequent spot-kick.
With 10 minutes left, Collins almost undid the previous good work as he gave away a penalty which Grant missed; Stewart making a stunning finger-tip save to keep Maccabi in the game. Soon after it was the turn of another teenager, Jake Feinstein, to level the game following a breakaway as Hyde Park found themselves outnumbered defensively to level the game.
Just when Maccabi thought they had rescued a point, Hyde Park delivered a killer blow at the death following a series of corners which resulted in Jason Wise winning a penalty for Hyde Park and Cohen blasting it past Stewart for his treble.
Collins was honest in his appraisal after the match and said: “I actually thought we were going to be hammered. They beat us 6-1 last time out and on paper we had a stronger team out then. Pulling back a topsy-turvy game to 4-4 was a minor miracle in itself. To not come out with something, a point, was a bitter pill, although on balance they always looked more likely to score than we did.