HARREPORTHarmen manager Joel Alterman believes his side are one of four teams who can win the Division One title this season.

MGBSFL Division One:
Brady Maccabi B 1 Southgate Harmen 0
Sunday, 2 March, 2014

PHOTOGALLERY

Alterman saw his league leaders beaten by a second half Josh Newman strike, a result which leaves them three points clear at the top of the table, but having played three games more than their nearest challengers.

He said: “Four teams are in the hunt for top spot, Neasden, Woodford, Brady and us and we have now played them all twice. Brady still need to make the trip to Essex and have not yet faced Neasden this season so points will definitely be dropped by the chasing trio along the way.

“Having the points on the table definitely leaves us with a chance but we are now relying on other teams to not win their games. We saw Hendon beat Woodford so we know that it is still possible. With our league fixtures scheduled to be finished before the end of the month, we’ll be watching out for results from other games with great interest as the season draws to a close. Whether or not a promotion party happens remains to be seen.”

Despite being defeated to Brady, he was nevertheless happy with his side’s display. He said: “We were all really pleased with the performance that we put out. Knowing that this would be our biggest challenge of the season in the league, we focussed heavily on our defensive duties and I feel that this may have distracted from our usual attacking instincts. At times one of our most attacking players, Danny Cohen, could be found in between the centre backs after tracking back to break up play and then trying to build an attack from deep. Our back line was impressive throughout and it was a small error that cost us the goal.

“Brady didn’t create many chances barring their goal and a one on one towards the end and this was testament to the work of our players snapping away at Brady and stopping them making their all-important final ball through to their forward players.

“For me the most impressive performance came from Adam Osper at right back and later on at left back. We had identified their left winger early on as a danger man and the task was put to the experienced defender to keep him quiet and he certainly did that with the Brady man getting more and more frustrated as the game went on. With over 10 years between them you would have thought that pace and energy would have been the winner in this individual battle but experience got the upper hand. Oli Leslie had a great game in his natural centre back position while Danny Cohen did everything that was asked of him and more and covered the whole pitch chasing the ball down.”

And satisfied with his side’s display, he also felt they should have come away from the game with at least a point. “I feel that a draw would have been a fair result and neither team would have complained had this been the outcome,” he said. “In contrast to our first game against them earlier this season, we were well prepared for the dangers that Brady would pose and Brady looked like they were going to do everything to stop us getting forward. Defensive duties seemed to be the order of play in what was going to be a tight game and it was only ever going to be a single goal that decided this one. Neither side had many chances on goal but Brady were clinical when their opportunity came.

“Our willingness to try and keep the game moving cost us in the end as rather than hoof the ball out of defence, we looked for a passing option, the ball fell to the feet of a Brady player and they were able to put one past our keeper. A deflating result but we are now looking to bounce back and take nine points from our last three games of the season.”

Despite seeing his side win – and moving to within four points off top spot with three games in hand, Brady player-manager Josh Dagul played down his side’s chances of winning the title. Remaining cautious as to what they can achieve, he said: “We’re just taking it game by game at the moment. We’ll give it our best go and hopefully be in the mix at the end of the season.”

More forthcoming about his side’s performance in their 1-0 win over Harmen, he said: “It was another great team performance against a very competitive side. The back five were superb, were outstanding, and we created enough chances to win the game, so I think we were deserved winners in the end.

“It was a close match but we created the better chances and deserved the win. It’s just a shame we couldn’t kill them off on the counter-attack at the end , but we dug in to keep the vital clean sheet.

“It was a tight game but we had two one-on-ones that we should really have scored, they on the other hand had no real clear-cut chances.”