JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
North London Raiders A 2 Faithfold A 1
Raiders B beat Faithfold A for the third time this season to leapfrog the Superhoops following a hard-fought win at Brunel.
Goals from David Esterkin and Dan Grossman sealed a seventh league victory for Rob Richman's men, in their first season in the Premier Division.
Raiders took the lead midway through the first half when a cleverly flighted free-kick from Nicky Woolf was met by the onrushing Grossman for his third of the season.
The first half though was quite open and Faithfold hit the bar after Raiders failed to clear a corner from Alex Levack while top-scorer David Dinkin and and Woolf both tested Ben Law on a couple of occasions.
Raiders doubled their advantage in the second half with a really well-worked goal. Some lovely one-touch football down the left channel between Jamie Wolfson, Dinkin and Woolf set Esterkin free and he confidently took the ball past Law and tapped into an empty net.
The second Raiders goal galvanised Faithfold and they pushed very hard for a way back into the game. The Raiders midfield was tiring from their efforts in the opening hour and they sat back and invited the green and whites back into the game.
Led by the imperious Grossman and the excellent David Simnock in goal, Raiders repelled every Faithfold attack. That was until with 10 minutes to go a lightening break resulted in Daryl Phillips smashing home to pull one back for Faithfold.
The goal though served only as a consolation as Raiders held out to secure their third consecutive 2-1 victory versus Faithfold.
"I am really pleased to have another three points on the board. We emphasised during the week that with four games to go we should be realistically looking for two more wins to really cap off a great season.
"We are halfway to that goal and now sit fourth in the table in our debut season in the Premiership.
"We have beaten an excellent Faithfold side three times this season and that is a great achievement in itself.
"As far as the game is concerned, it was very similar to the previous 2-1 victories we have had against Faithfold. We rode our luck at times but our sheer desire and some really top class performers saw us to the three points.
"Finally, I'd just like to congratulate Rick and the boys from Oakwood on securing promotion to the Premiership. They are a really good team and deserve to be playing in the top division. It is also more pleasing as it means that our captain Rik Sherman will put his retirement plans on hold for another year to get one over his northern friends."
Faithfold scorer and assistant-manager Daryl Phillips told JC Sport: "We had many clear-cut chances today but only one goal to show for our efforts.
"We are not clinical enough at the moment, are low on confidence and not playing well.
"We will pick up the pieces this week at training and try to turn things round.
"Even though I felt we were the better team on the day, North London Raiders wanted it more and defended superbly to keep us out.
"A few times in the game they had two or three bodies on the line keeping the ball out."