JC MSFL DIVISION ONE
Norstar A 3 Woodford Wanderers 1
Norstar kept up their title challenge with a 3-1 victory over long-standing rivals Woodford Wanderers on a glorious winter's day at the Ark Academy.
The visitors started strongest and took the lead 10 minutes into the game when goalkeeper Ben De La Fuente failed to control a routine back-pass, gifting Woodford a corner and Daryl Green poked the ball home after some schoolboy defending.
The home side were all over the place for the remainder of the half, either playing the wrong balls, or playing the right balls badly and with half-time approaching they looked fortunate to be coming off only a goal down.
However a mistake from the Woodford defence allowed the prolific Josh Green to chase down a poorly played back-pass, round the keeper and dribble the ball into an empty net.
After the break, Norstar began to find their game and showed the cutting edge that has propelled them to the top-end of the table.
It was not long before Sam Isaacs played in Eli Houri with a ball that cut the Woodford defence open and allowed the big man to roll the ball in under the keeper to give Norstar a lead that their performance now deserved.
The advantage was doubled soon after with Green grabbing his second and Norstar’s third heading in after Jeff Gotch had expertly flicked on from an Anthony Goodmaker long-throw.
Woodford threw everything forward and had several chances to reduce the deficit with De La Fuente making up for his first-half gaffe with a string of superb saves, including a save of the season contender with his feed from Jerome Marks who had found himself free in the six-yard box.
The final whistle sounded to the relief of the Norstar players and management.
Phil Peters spoke to norstarfc.co.uk after the game and said: "Despite all the rumours about Woodford's demise this was always going to be a tough game against a very strong attacking unit. We dealt well with their threat and hit them on the break exploiting their defensive weaknesses.
"We’ll have another tough game against them later in the season and hope that they can do us a favour by taking some points of Chigwell in the two games they have to play against them.
"I only hope that Alex and Dan keep the team together and find the reinforcements they need as the league would be a worse place without them.
"But credit to my boys today, bouncing back after a terrible first-half performance and four-week break. De La in goal was absolutely outstanding second half and didn’t let his head drop after getting himself in a sticky situation early on – that's the mark of an outstanding player.
"Special mention to Jamie Freed at left-back who in all likelihood still has Ell Gold in his back pocket – our man of the match today."