ALYTHU11REDWEB

Alyth U11 Reds

Sunday afternoon saw Alyth Belsize’s various club sides take part in JNMJFL action…

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U11
Alyth Belsize Red 5 NWLJ 1

After a short break for half term we returned this week to play a team against whom we have scored a hatful of goal over the past three years. I think that going into the game perhaps overly confident affected our first-half performance. That and the fact that the Jets have a very good goalkeeper plus played with a back four that never moved off their penalty area meant that against a team which we were expected to beat comfortably we did find it hard to get that first goal. But get it we did!  Lior Solomons Wise with one of his left-foot specials fired in a beautifully executed shoot which nestled right in the back of the net.

Half-time came and went, and the boys trotted out looking to extend their slender lead. Before too long normal service was resumed, with Lior slotting in his and Alyth Belsize’s second. This was quickly followed up by our top scorer Zac Paul, who broke his three-match goal drought with a neatly taken close-range effort.

Then, following a professional foul on Zac, a penalty was awarded.  With Lior on a hat-trick he stood up to take the spot kick, only to see it well saved by the NWLJ’s man of the match; however, first to the loose ball was Max Cutner, who was on it in a flash and increased the score to 4-0.

Then totally against the run of play and indeed the script, again we were undone by a ball over the top; and to give the Jets their dues, they put it away nicely. Normal service then continued when our sharp shooter Zac slotted in our fifth goal.

A much better second half after a frustrating first but overall we did what we needed to do without really breaking into a sweat.  We will need to be back on top form next week when we play a club derby against Alyth Belsize Blacks, whom we know are REALLY up for it!

Thanks goes to Alex Godfrey, who kindly went in goal in the second half, allowing Jake Brass to stretch his legs outfield; if a little over-zealous at times … Jake, you have to remember that we are playing football not rugby!

I think Joe Nissim had one of his best games for us this week.  He played upfront and showed some good touches and laybacks, he just needs to remember the offside rule for the next game!

All the team played their part in our win and battled hard, and I have no doubt that if their goalkeeper had not been on top form we would be seeing a scoreline a little closer to rugby than football (like what I did there!)

Well played all, and onwards and upwards!

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U10
Alyth Belsize 2 Brady 0

Once again today proved that games which are supposed to be easy ‘on paper’ can turn out quite tricky on the real pitch and indeed the match wasn’t all that comfortable as the low scoreline might suggest.

First and foremost it was down to a very scrappy Alyth Belsize display, especially in the second half (which ended 0-0), giving the ball away too many times, leaving big gaps between defence and attack, and once again showing poor finishing in front of goal despite some golden chances we created, albeit not as many as I would expect in such a match.

Then there was a brave Brady Blue team (who played in Red shirts…whilst we had to put on blue bibs), who showed a lot of heart, made our life very difficult and in truth were very unlucky not to score today.

And there was the ref… We are used to refs in this league stopping the game for foul throws and making the player take it again, but this guy must have set a new record today! Topped up by constantly making wrong decisions (for both sides) and threating to send me behind the fence for having the chutzpah to doubt one of his ill-judged calls, he really didn’t cover himself with glory.

The first half was definitely our strongest, and not for the first time this season (fitness issue?) – not to suggest we played particularly brilliant football but for most of this half we were at least in control of the match, dictated the play and limited the threat from Brady to one shot on target which Asher had to save. Jonah Rose started very lively on his favourite right-hand side, managed to put in a couple of dangerous crosses before combining with Jake Shindler to force a great save from the Brady keeper, who had a very good game. Then it was Jake himself who got on the end of a Jonah free kick from inside our own half with his back to goal, great effort on the turn, which went just wide, and minutes later bravely tried to head a bouncing loose ball in the opposition box, again wide. It was Nadav Jacobs, however, who made the breakthrough for us; charging forward through the middle he played the ball wide left towards Harry Leibling-Blitz, who looked up and played in a lovely low cross to find Nadav on the end of his run into the box for a tap in, really good goal! Not long after came the second when Gemma Selby, who had come on minutes earlier, managed to break through the heart of the Brady defence, intelligently laid the ball off to the right into the path of Nadav’s run, who took a good first touch before driving the ball hard and low into the bottom right corner, but was it a goal? There was a moment of confusion as the ball bounced back from the goal onto the field through a hole in the net! Luckily, after hesitating for a few seconds the ref agreed with my touchline shouts and pointed to the middle of the park, 2-0, number 5 for Nadav this season, nothing less than he deserved for yet another superb display of both technical quality and determination to be first to every ball, a real example for everyone, different class!

I wish I could say any of this had any effect… we looked very disjointed in the second half and although we created some really good chances to kill the game off we were opened up too many times and far too easily on the other side – without Adam, who made some fantastic saves, it could have made for a very hairy finish. It was the fantastic Gemma who had arguably the best chance of the afternoon to put this contest to bed early in the second half when she lashed onto a 50:50 ball with the last Brady defender, won the ball, drove towards goal and from close range hit the ball hard straight to the goalie, who didn’t know much about it, should have scored. Oli Weiner then had a really nasty fall after colliding with a Brady player who tried to break onto a counterattack, and had to come off for a few minutes rest. The match now was very stretched and far too open for my liking with chances at both ends. Leo Morad found himself in a glorious position in the Brady box after a great pass from Harry, he tried to place it but the ball went wide, should have scored. Then moments later Leo again was first to the ball, which bounced right on the edge of the box and his half volley effort – which was making its way to the top left corner – was brilliantly saved by the keeper, unlucky!

At the other end we were exposed to a few 3 vs 2 (or even 1) situations at the back, one of which ended in the side netting and one which Adam bravely saved from close range. Nadav then produced another moment of magic, charging down the left side on the counter taking on 2 Brady players before playing a peach of a pass on the run with the outside of his foot to find Jonah unmarked on the edge of the box, but he was denied by a great last-ditch tackle by a Brady defender. Then it was Jonah who was chasing a lost cause of a ball, which everyone thought was going out, and managed to keep it in near the right hand corner flag, he was then quick to turn, looked up and played the ball towards Leo, who was unmarked in the box. But it wasn’t Leo’s day in front of goal today and he missed the ball completely trying to hit it first time.

All in all, far from a vintage Alyth Belsize performance and we will have to be much much better if we are to have any chance of a result next week against HIS Green, who beat Negev today 2-1.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U8
Alyth Belsize vs NWLJ

A great start by the team, who took to the pitch with great energy! The cold dark afternoon didn’t faze us and there was loads of tackling and plenty of attacks. A great passing movement and a lovely strike from Seth Cohen put us in the lead, though throughout there was some great goalkeeping and movement from the team – from the goalie up to the attack.

The Jets had a few attacks coming close and finally equalised,  despite an outstanding performance from Jamie Cohen at the back that kept the strikers dead in their tracks.

Sadly more goals were conceded about which there was not much our goalie Beni Preter could do. Despite the result all the players were still happy with their performances.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U8
Alyth Belsize Black vs Alyth Belsize Red

Talk about a game of two halves!  It’s hard to have a ‘top of the table’ clash when there’s no table, but after a fair chunk of the season we now know that Alyth Belsize are blessed with 2 of the strongest teams in the U8 division.  So, all of the players, parents and managers had some idea that the game had the makings of a classic.

We were a goal down in less than a minute following what would be a first half of strong attack from Alyth Belsize Reds, who threw men forward at pace throughout.  Things got worse in the next 20 minutes as we continued to be on the back foot against a team that broke up our play well and were comfortable on the ball.  We soon conceded a second but Alyth Blacks’ heads didn’t drop.  Oscar Russell, Jack Kanareck and Adam Gonen started breaking up moves and from that moment we took the game to the Reds…

Just before half-time, Ethan Cantor managed to squeeze the ball through to Adam, who calmly brought the deficit back to one.  From that moment, we were a different team, and into the second half we saw a battling side to Alyth Blacks that was new and exciting to watch.  Adam (clear man-of-the-match if we were awarding these) and Daniel Tyler fought like tigers throughout and seemed to have dopplegangers all over the pitch.  They were bolstered by some strong defensive plays and commitment from Tyler Richards, Jack Florea (his best game to date) and Oscar Russell.

Soon after the restart Ethan was fed by Daniel and crossed in to Sam Mocatta, whose positioning was perfect and he just got enough on the cross to steer it into the bottom left-hand corner.  Back to 2-2 and it was all Blacks attacks now, but an excellent Red goalkeeper held us out… until the ball broke to Sam Greenspan, skipper for the day, who unleashed a first-time bullet into the top right corner to make it 3-2.  A suitably classy finish to grace the best game we’ve had this season.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U8
Alyth Belsize Red vs Alyth Belsize Black

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and most definitely a tale of two teams.  OK, literary moment over, back to football…

We knew from the outset that this was going to be our toughest match yet, and we would have a battle on our hands.  If I had to compare our two teams, I knew we lacked their physical strength and striker power, but we did have a team that passed, communicated, and could work well together.  Would this be enough?  It was clear that all boys on both sides were playing to win.

So the match started, and within minutes we pushed forward, took a corner, and before anyone had a chance to notice, Theo Brass kicked the ball into the net.  This early goal gave our boys the confidence to play what can only be described as beautiful football.  For such young boys, they were passing, dribbling, tackling, and moving the ball around the pitch with skill and determination.  The results were clear, and we had many chances at goal.  Our defence was solid, with Dylan Margolis in particular having his finest match yet this season.

Whilst still riding high, Gabe Broll volleyed the ball from a high bounce after a throw-in and scored our second goal.  We appeared unbeatable.  Moments before the half-time whistle, the Blacks scored their first goal, but our spirits were still high.

The second half changed tempo, and suddenly we seemed to be playing on the back foot, which was only emphasised when Blacks equalised.  We were no longer controlling the game, and Raffi Goodman in goal found himself working hard.  I think our constant subbing can take its toll on the rhythm of the game, but all players need a decent game.

The final goal against us was unlucky, and so we lost this one.  However, we played a phenomenally good game in the first half, and could yet win at our next meeting.  Watch this space Blacks!

Man-of-the-Match is Dylan for his unsung, yet ever-present, defending.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U7
Alyth Belsize vs Hendon United Red

We had 6 players on Sunday and no subs and therefore could not afford any injuries. Within 30 seconds of play, Zoe Cutner was hit with a  fierce ball to the face. She then took 30 seconds to compose herself and half a minute later was back on the pitch, marking tightly and tackling strongly, as if the incident had never happened. Well done Zoe! You were extremely brave and a brilliant example to the rest of the team.

As the first half ticked away, Alyth Belsize dominated and easily had the majority of possession. In fact, Hendon scored from one of the only shots they had. Against the run of play, a momentary lapse of concentration from Jonah Phillips in goal saw him out of position and unable to recover as a fairly tame shot sneaked in.

But Alyth Belsize were not giving up today. At half time I loved hearing the team say “we should be winning” and “we are playing really well.”

Harry Abrahams was great, sliding in fairly to make the tackle and keep the ball in play. He played extremely well throughout the game. Harry is desperate to play up front, but it would leave a gaping hole in our defence. As he progresses, I can see him developing into a very effective wingback, learning when to defend and attack as the game dictates.

Jonah swapped positions with Zoe at half time and, like Zoe before him, made some great tackles and was composed on the ball, often taking two touches and successfully squaring the ball to a team mate.

Ami Morad and Sam Gatty, the midfield dynamos,  controlled the centre of the park and worked hard to win the ball back when we didn’t have possession,  and they attacked brilliantly with pace when we did.

Our equaliser came from Ben Craig, whose grit and determination earned him a goal that riffled off of the inside of the post. Ben is never afraid to be in the thick of things. When he has the ball, he twists and turns his way up and down the pitch; and when we don’t have the ball, he fights to win it back.

Alyth had the bit between their teeth now and throughout most of the second half, Hendon hardly got into our area. On the odd occasion that they did, the ball was efficiently mopped up by Jonah or Harry or collected with ease by a focused Zoe.

Our second goal came from good intuition from Sam and Ben, who capitalised on a mistake by the Hendon goalkeeper. It came from the classic age-old error of the keeper putting the ball down on the floor whilst it is still in play. This was not a dead ball scenario and our players had every right to pounce on the opportunity.

As the referee I decided to disallow the goal, perhaps due to my overzealous encouragement to close the ball down from what Hendon had assumed was a dead ball scenario. And perhaps also because I know how it feels to have goals scored against you in this way, especially the winning goal!

So (technically) we didn’t win. I tried to explain to Jonah that sometimes when you lose, you really win and sometimes when you win, you really lose. Sunday we drew, (but we kind of really won).  But the score doesn’t matter, what matters is the way we played. And we played like winners!