Sunday afternoon saw Alyth Belsize’s various club sides take part in JNMJFL action…
Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U11:
Alyth Belsize Red 3 Hendon United Red 1
On another wet Sunday, the clouds actually cleared for our match against Hendon Reds. We knew they were a good team, but we seemed to start the game poorly.
Our normal fast pass and move game seemed to be missing and we looked a little out of ideas. Hendon took full advantage and overran us in midfield. Despite numerous breaks over the top, our defence held firm and great last-ditch challenges and clearances from Asher Hayes and Eden Cohen were very welcome. Jake Brass in goal had an absolute storming game and looked unbeatable under the pressure.
Against the run of play, we broke away and scored a route one goal. Eden cleared and Zac Paul stole in before the defender to knock it home over the keeper’s hands. If we thought that would settle us down, we were wrong and the pressure continued. Jake made a good save again, but the rebound came in. Eden blocked the shot on the line, but the referee said it was handball and gave a penalty. Jake guessed the right way, but couldn’t stop it.
1-1 at half-time and Simon asked the team to all give an extra 10 percent and to start playing as they knew they could. We also changed things a little, making the midfield narrower when defending and trying to vary our throws and corners.
To a player the team played better in the second half. We put Hendon under a lot more pressure and a corner from Max Cutner was too much for their defence and led to an own goal. A 2-1 score line allowed us to relax a little and play our own game. The passing and moving was much improved and we came close on a number of occasions. Despite this, Hendon continued to cause us problems. The defence and Jake stood firm and Max was the engine in midfield, covering every inch of artificial grass.
With two minutes left, we scored a great breakaway goal. A fast passing move beautifully timed by Rudy Berman was neatly finished with Lior Solomons Wise left foot. A 3-1 victory. Hard fought, but in the end deserved.
Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U8 Minor Cup:
Alyth Belsize White vs Hendon United Red (Alyth won on penalties)
A wet and windy kick-off for our cup game against the unstoppable Hendon Red. It wasn’t long before we went behind and shortly after the first goal we found ourselves two goals behind…but once again our heads didn’t drop. A fantastic effort by Beni Preter gave us a lifeline with a superb strike!
Great passion and great passing despite the wet conditions, and soon enough we clawed our way back to 2-2 with brilliant initiative from Seth Cohen and Luke Godfrey, who caught the goalie by surprise with a great strike. We now seemed to be playing like a different team to when we played against Hendon earlier on in the league. Sadly a counter-attack from our corner led to another Hendon goal but once again we battled on and then in the last two minutes we launched our own counterattack, led by Luke Godfrey, who seemed to run the length of the pitch before shooting and scoring a sensational goal!
It was now penalties… The boys took their turns, the suspense was massive and the crowd came on the pitch. Amazingly, with a great save from Matan Goldman and our awesome penalties (penalty scorers: Luke Godfrey, Seth Cohen, Beni Preter, Ori Sapir), we had WON!!! Some very exhilarated parents and a very proud and happy manager too. We’re on our road to Wembley!
Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U8:
Alyth Belsize Red vs Hendon United White
What an exciting cup match that had us on edge the entire 40 minutes. I had previously agreed with the Whites manager (against his wishes actually!) that if it was a draw, we would go to penalties, and not a rematch. Turned out to be a good decision.
From the moment the whistle blew, I knew that the team I’m used to see playing were back on form. We were passing well, pushing forward, and acting as a team. In the first minute, there was a beautiful pass from Otto to Louis to Gabe that didn’t end in a goal, but proved our teamwork was back.
There was a quick goal from the Whites which put us on the back foot – this became the theme of the match. However, not long after, there was a lovely pass again from Otto to Louis, who took a shot at goal. The ball bounced off the post, where the perfectly placed Gabe was waiting to score our first. Well done Gabe.
The rest of the first half was evenly matched, with our defense and goalie working hard. Unfortunately, there was a second opportune goal from the Whites just before the half-time whistle blew, leaving us 2-1 down.
The second half was even more exciting than the first. We started with David in goal, allowing our Green Lantern time outfield. We went 3-1 down early on but never lost our fighting spirit. Didier took a corner, which was perfectly placed to land straight in the goal. The Whites continued to push hard, and went 4-2 up. We only had 10 minutes left and it looked like another loss, despite our massively improved play…but thankfully, that wasn’t to be. From our defenders, Benny and Oliver and up the midfield, teamwork came through. Didier was passed the ball, and made a run up the right wing, and took a shot far from the goal – which went in. Everyone fired on, and in the last few minutes, Didier scored his hat-trick, equalising the score to 4-4.
At this point, knowing there was a possibility of penalties, we moved our Green Lantern back in goal, because our final line up was the one we would have to use for penalties. Despite a last effort, the final whistle blew, we were already running late so there was no time for extra time, and it went straight to penalties.
Pressure on for Raffi. Our penalty shooters were Didier, Otto, Dylan, Louis and Gabe. All boys stood, arms together. Louis won the toss, and we opted to go second.
Whites first shot was saved. Yeh Raffi. Didier shot….and missed. 0-0. Whites second shot went off to the right. Otto scored. 1-0. Whites third was powerful and on target. 1-1. Dylan missed. Still 1-1. Whites fourth was saved. Louis hit hard….and scored, winning us the match.
Although as a team, I’d like to offer every single one of you Man-of-the-Match for your extra effort, I think the person who actually deserves it most is Oliver Shatz. He played defense well today, went in for tackles and held his position, even though he prefers to play elsewhere. He didn’t complain about being subbed, nor being unable to take a penalty. It takes all positions and all characters to make a team, and Oliver today proved his worth.