JC MSFL DIVISION FOUR
Brady Maccabi B 3 Athletico Finchley 1
Two goals from man-of-the-match Reiss Mogilner boosted Brady B's title hopes as they stopped in-form Athletico in their tracks.
In treacherous conditions, Brady overcame a resilient Athletico team to asset their title claims on Division Four. After a month without a game for Brady, it was touch and go as to whether this clash would be given the go ahead, but a late decision to move the game to the 3G pitch meant it could go ahead.
After Jake Barnett dislocating his shoulder, and late pull-outs from Ashley Diamond and Sam Collins, Athletico were forced to play with nine men for the first 20 minutes.
In truth, the first half was a drab affair. Athletico, buoyed on by their victory against promotion hopefuls North London Raiders C last week, offered very little. and Brady controlled proceedings without ever really threatening the Finchley goal. Daniel Hildebrand, Josh Dagul and James Joseph all had efforts fly wide, whilst Ben Wallis in the Brady goal was a spectator to proceedings. Athletico managed to hold off Brady in the first 45 and it was 0-0 at half time.
As the second half got underway, Brady continued to control possession, and it did not take long for them to convert this into a goal. Brady pushed forward, and worked the ball into the penalty area. Mogilner showed good feet to beat a couple of men, and when the crowd thought he had dallied on it for too long, he unleashed a low drive, which the keeper got a hand to, but could not keep out.
Rather than shut up shop, Brady pushed on for a second. Straight from kick off, Brady captain James Joseph nicked the ball back, and drove into the opposition half, but his strike from outside the area drifted harmlessly wide.
Though Brady looked the most likely to get the next goal, Finchley pulled level. A lofted free kick from Ben Mandell from the right flank evaded the Brady defence, and a powerful header from captain Sam Marchant drew Athletico level, with what was their first attack of note of the game. Moments later, Finchley could have had a second, as an attempted chip over an onrushing Wallis flew high and wide of the goal.
The Brady boys managed to keep their heads up, and their positive attitude paid dividends. Kane Alexander, whose introduction after half time injected momentum and directness into the Brady attack, played a delightful crossfield ball to Mogilner, who beat a man and advanced forward, playing it in to captain James Joseph, who, evading the attention of the man who had followed him all game, worked a yard of space, and beat the keeper, sending the crowd into wild celebrations.
Indeed, Finchley had targeted Joseph and attempted to mark him out of the game, knowing the danger that he possesses, with him having scored four the last time these sides met, and it was when him and Dagul in the middle were able to get space that Brady looked their most threatening.
Finchley applied as much pressure as they could but left gaps at the back and Brady made the points secure with moments left on the clock, when, having rounded the keeper but been pushed wide, Daniel Hildebrand drove a ball across the face of the goal, where Mogilner had lost his man, and slotted home his second from close range.
This was by no means a vintage performance from Brady, but they did enough against a potentially threatening opponent to maintain their 100 per cent record at the fortress Rowley Lane.
After the game, captain James Joseph commented: "Our boys hadn't played together for quite a while, and if I'm being perfectly honest, that showed in the first 45.
"At half time we had to reevaluate the game and the way we were playing and recognised that if we were patient, things would happen in the final third. We were, and I think the three points we got were a reflection of this and deserved as well."
Athletico chairman Zach Margolin told JC Sport: "Today we deserved a point. Brady are a good side but we matched them defensively for 86 minutes.
"The mistake was a shame but we all make mistakes. The lads played well today and should all be proud."