ALYTH1Sunday afternoon saw Alyth Belsize’s various club sides take part in JNMJFL action

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U9:
Alyth Belsize vs NWLJ Blue
Two evenly matched teams lined up for the early kick-off this week at 2.30pm.

Alyth’s magnificent seven today comprised Josh ‘the wall’ Bruck, back in goal, defensive rocks Aron Nelson and Jonah Howe, with Alex Bentwood, Jonah L evy and Natan Boyd providing attacking midfield guile to assist Danny Gordon Boyd in his customary striker’s role. The game ebbed and flowed with Alyth launching a number of promising attacks but just failing to find that final killer ball. At the other end, NWLJ had a couple of attacking players who were proving quite a handful, but Aron and Jonah consistently thwarted them.

As the half drew on though, Alyth were unfortunate to concede a couple of goals in quick succession. As ever, Alyth continued to attack and were horribly unlucky to concede a third goal to a speculative long-range punt, which just crept beyond Josh’s despairing dive. Even then, Alyth kept their heads and Max Marcuson finished off a fabulous attack with a well-taken goal just towards the end of the half. At 3-1 down, this correspondent felt Alyth were in with a fine chance if given the opportunity to regroup over half time. Unfortunately, during the last few seconds of the half, there was heartbreak as NWLJ managed to convert another effort to take the score to 4-1.

Alyth came into half-time feeling a little dejected at the scoreline, but the team talk was easy. The boys had played really well throughout the first half and we were able to tell them to keep doing what they were doing and things would change. Well, change they did.

The second half was characterised by wave after wave of Alyth attack. Altyth’s bold attacking play was rewarded when a move involving seemingly most of the team was finished off with a clinical conversion from Max, which ambled over the line. Moments later, Max went on a Maradona-esque dribble down the pitch and got himself in position where it looked easier to score for a well deserved hat-trick than to miss. Unfortunately he missed!

As Alyth pressed, holes were left at the back, but our boys made us proud with their tracking back from attack to thwart NWLJ’s attacks. Then came another attack and this time the ball fell to Natan, who put in a fine conversion to bring Alyth to within a goal of NWLJ. With just a couple of minutes to go, Alyth pressed hard for that equaliser but sadly, NWLJ managed to put together a counter-attack to score a well taken goal and restore a two-goal cushion which lasted for the final moments until the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the game.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U7:
Alyth Belsize vs HMH Herzliya
We went into this game with the usual optimism, believing we had a chance of winning, but ended in the all-too-familiar position of a few unfortunate mistakes costing us goals and thus the game. This week the problem was not our ‘goalkeeping crisis’ but defensive mix-ups.

We played with a five-a-side formation, starting the first half with Noah Oakley in goal, Harry Abrahams in defence, Sam Gatty and Jonah Phillips in midfield and Zoe Cutner up front. An early HMH corner led to a confident save from Noah, and we then went up the other end of the pitch where Sam had an attempt on goal that was also saved by HMH’s goalie. So far so good. We then found ourselves back in our box as HMH attacked, and what we assume was a lack of communication led to HMH scoring an easy goal. Boys, talk to each other – and if in any doubt just boot the ball away from the danger area! Unfortunately, we didn’t learn from our mistake as just a few minutes later we found ourselves in a similar position with HMH flooding into our box but this time it ended in an own goal!

We brought on Rafi Rosenfield as a sub for Jonah but an enthusiastic tackle on his part led to him flying over a player and landing on his already grazed knees – injury number 1, and Rafi hobbled off the pitch again. Shortly after we saw injury number 2 – this time it was Sam who came tumbling down but he bravely carried on. We finished the half with some attacking pressure but no goal to show for it.

The second half brought some changes in personnel – with Zoe going in goal, Noah joining the midfield with Austin Kindler, and Sam moving up front to try and get us on the scoreboard. Jonah took on the role of sole defender and put in a magnificent performance with plenty of solid tackles and clearances. At the other end of the pitch some excellent attacking from Noah (who had a great game) and Sam combined to make the game a lot more exciting for the Alyth Belsize managers and parents. Unfortunately all Sam’s shots were just wide or saved by the HMH goalie.

A free-kick to HMH inside our half led to injury number three – Sam again, ‘taking one for the team’ with a ball in the face from fairly close range as he stood in our wall. This time he had to come off to be replaced by Harry, but returned to the field shortly after to try to exact revenge. There followed our best spell of the game with some lovely interplay between Sam, Noah and Harry. I hope to see more of this in our next game! Our attacking this time led to a handball in the HMH box and we were rightly awarded a penalty. Sam lined up and scored a beautiful penalty in the top left hand corner to bring us right back into the game.

Unfortunately, in the dying minutes against the run of play an extra ball that rolled on to the pitch momentarily confused our players allowing HMH to take advantage and drill home a final goal to seal the win. We must try and stay focused right to the end…