Full from the Chanukah doughnuts it was back to football for the Olim League in Israel, and, with the worst storm to hit Israel in 10 years beckoning, all eyes were on the weather.
England FC made the trip up north to face Netanya. As the gale force winds died down the game was deemed playable. On a perfect pitch in Bat Hefer Netanya deservedly took the lead after a clumsy few minutes where England FC lost the ball then gave away a penalty which Netanya striker Aviv dispatched with great composure. The wind was playing a factor and, despite all their possession, the nearest England got was a looping header from Yoav Bar Ness that Uri Ritz tipped over.
England put themselves back in the game early in the second half when the tireless worker Yaron got on the end of a great passing move to drill in a low drive. England forged ahead straight from the restart as Brad Bernstein struck from outside the box.
Netanya had a chance to get back in the game but Soloman managed to make a great double save. England extended their lead when Jonny Binke struck a 25 yard free kick reminiscent of his London Lion days that left Uri Ritz no chance.
As Netanya pushed up gaps were open and Yarden Bar Ness managed to volley in from a lovely cross from Stern. With the last move of the game England broke away and the skipper found himself on the edge of the area with time to place the ball in the top corner. The whistle blew as the ball hit the net and at the same time the heavens opened. Final score Netanya 1 England FC 5.
In another windy, storm-ridden affair, Jerusalem and Yaffo played a very competitive match that finished 2-2.
With the wind at their backs during the first half, Jerusalem created the bulk of the opportunities. Two excellent last-ditch tackles by Seth Freedman, plus a David Zackon shot hitting the crossbar, kept the game goalless. Yaffo managed to create a few chances, with Joshua Berkley forcing a brilliant save from the Jerusalem keeper after a Rani Madmon through ball. Jerusalem broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time thanks to a long-range strike from Eli Warner.
The second half saw a more adventurous Yaffo side, aided by the wind, creating the majority of the chances. Within a few minutes of the restart, a Josh Berkley shot was cleared off the line. Not to be outdone, the Scottish striker got his sixth goal of the campaign after a brilliant cross from Elias Sandler.
Jerusalem responded immediately, with Zackon capitalising on a mistake in the Yaffo defense to score with a well placed shot.
Yaffo went searching for an equaliser, and were duly rewarded with a goal from Daniel Berkley, who collected a Josh Berkley through ball, and beat the keeper with ease.
With 15 minutes left, Josh Berkley collected two yellows in quick succession due to dissent and was giving his marching orders. With the man advantage, Jerusalem pushed forward but could not find the winning goal.
The game ended with both team claiming a valuable point in their pursuit of a top four finish.
As we head into Christmas/post-Chanukah period, England top the table with Raanana, Jaffa and Ashdod lying in the top four. Modi'in, Jerusalem, Netanya and Aviv City hope for better luck in the new year.