JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A 1 LONDON MACCABI LIONS A 2
Lions boss Andy Landesberg reflected on a job well done after his troops came away with a memorable 2-1 win over title-chasing Redbridge at Fairlop.
The victory saw Lions reverse the 3-1 defeat they suffered at home to Redbridge in November. With seven players 20 or under this was a massive performance from a team that goes from strength to strength.
Lions came out of the blocks very sharply and very competitively, playing conditions were difficult for both sides and it was Lions whose game plan fitted perfectly for the demands of this game.
After 17 minutes it looked like Adam Stolerman had put Redbridge in front, finishing off a good move, only to see Lions debutant goalkeeper Jake Doffman somehow make a miraculous one handed save, falling backwards into the net and preventing a certain goal. The Lions defence reacted quickly and cleared the ball off the line, and the ball fell to Charlie Rubin just past the half way line. Rubin then went on a jinking run, and tried to finish against the advancing Redbridge keeper. The save was made, and the loose ball fell to the advancing Max Kyte, who finished off with a cool side foot into the net, making it four goals in two games for the superb Kyte, who is really starting to show what a good player he is.
Lions never allowed Redbridge to settle, with superb performances all over the pitch, competing for every ball, and playing football when the conditions allowed. A few more chances fell to Lions and following a big defensive header from Nick Landesberg forward, the quality of both Rubin and Kyte showed combining brilliantly, leaving the incredible Aviel Schwarz a side footer to put the Lions in front.
With Danny Daggers, starting to show his immense quality and commitment in the middle of the park, and the ever dangerous Lee Cash always looking like he could add to the total, Lions seemed to gain even more momentum leading up to half time. Again the brilliant Doffman keeping Redbridge out once more before the interval.
The question posed, was could Lions continue to progress from where they finished off the half, and cope with the experienced Redbridge, the conditions, and also the strong wind in the opponents favour.
Redbridge definitely had been reorganised, but the Lions back four were outstanding, the combination of the experienced Tony Gold, the athletic Matt Perlman, new man Ed Weisz and an outstanding man-of-the-match performance from Nick Landesberg, stopped and dealt with everything Redbridge could throw at them. Jake Doffman again on two further occasions saving Lions.
Daggers showed what a fantastic player he was today, and really reacted to the demands of the day. He certainly looked like he had a few points to prove, and he did so, time after time. He set up a couple of chances that could have put Lions further ahead, but were not converted.
With 12 minutes remaining, Lions gave away a soft free kick and the outstanding Steve Summers hit a superb right footer into the top corner of the net, setting up an exciting finish.
Redbridge kept coming at the Lions, but every single Lions player was there to finish off a fantastic team performance. It ended 2-1 to London Maccabi Lions, worthy winners, and a team that has really come of age.
Proud Lions boss Andy Landesberg told JC Sport: "This was the day where we could actually measure our progress - we delivered everywhere on the park.
"Jake Doffman turned the game for us, the back four were incredible, Rubin and Bradley Lander playing wide protected the full backs, but had immense energy and power going forward. Schwarz seems to look fitter, stronger and younger by the week and Daggers delivered on every front. Lee Cash put in a huge shift, and Max Kyte is developing into a fantastic player, combining his ability and skills with a fantastic work ethic.
"Today I was a very proud man, being part of a team that we have re-shaped, restructured, and most importantly re-motivated to be a match for any team in this league.
"James Gershfield and I are thoroughly enjoying this fantastic group of committed, motivated and talented players, who have really started to put their bodies on the line for this incredible Club we all love."
Redbridge boss Eilon Kennet told JC Sport: " To the victors go the bragging rights: the winners can totally fabricate their Match Report and if the losers challenge any of it, it it comes across as sour grapes.
"If you don't score goals you can't win football matches: sometimes goals don't give a true reflection of the game. It doesn't matter if both goals were huge goalkeeping clangers, they become master-pieces of craft and ingenuity, only seen at the Camp Nou. However, I do agree that Steve Summers' goal will be the Goal of the Season.
"Well done on getting the result, Andy, but let's be honest, if we'd taken half our chances, we would have won the game comfortably.
"It wasn't a great game for the spectators, but any team comprising Shwartzie, Goldie, Cashie and Daggers is still worth the admission price."