MGBSFL Division Two
Norstar London Raiders C 4 FC Team C 3
Sunday, 22 February, 2015
The last time these sides met, Norstar looked dead and buried with just two points from five games, however, the 5-3 victory that day turned around their season, but yesterday’s result was arguably all the more remarkable.
Going into Sunday’s game, Norstar had just 10 players available, including two who hadn’t played 90 minutes all season. They managed to draft in Adam Joselyn from the A team as he continues his road to recovery from injury (for 60 minutes before being replaced by Jonathan Green) and had (player) manager Zack Gothelf on the bench to fill in if absolutely need be. Added to that was having just three recognised defenders in the squad and Marc Woolfe filling in between the sticks for the first time in years.
With the pressure off and expecting to face a strong Team side, Norstar started the brighter of the two sides and whilst Woolfe was tested by Team, he dealt with everything comfortably. Norstar’s football at times was exceptional and deservedly took the lead mid-way through the first half. A superb through ball from Joselyn found Oli Nathan bearing down on goal on the right hand side of the box and he lobbed the onrushing keeper to give the Oranges a deserved 1-0 lead. The Oranges continued to outplay Team but failed to add to their 1-0 lead. Team equalised against the run of play in first half stoppage time when they were awarded a penalty for a push in the back on one of their players, an extremely soft decision. Woolfe had no chance as the penalty found the corner.
Norstar felt hard done by at half-time and their disappointment hung over when less than five minutes into the second half, Team scored their second. Fifteen minutes later there was a moment of controversy when Jake Yudelowitz was on the receiving end of a bad tackle which forced him off with an injury that could spell the end of his season. Inital reports show a slight crack at the bottom of the tibia and the club face an anxious wait to see when he’s likely to be back in action. Despite the lack of intent, it wasn’t the greatest tackle in the world and Team were lucky to keep 11 men on the field. Gothelf replaced Yudelowitz. Team then piled on their miser by scoring a third, a one-on-one as Norstar pushed on to grab an equaliser.
With five minutes to go and 3-1 down, it looked like Team had secured all three points, however, the Oranges had other ideas. After a string of corners, Alex Goodman eventually rose highest to head into the top corner from the penalty spot, a fine header to give Norstar hope. Into stoppage time and a fantastic ball from Jonathan Green, who had replaced Joselyn, saw Oli Nathan loop a header over the onrushing Team keeper to give Norstar an equaliser. Remarkably the goalscoring wasn’t over, with just one minute of injury time left, Will Ufland received the ball in the middle of the park, advanced on goal and drilled a left footed effort past the Team keeper and into the net to cap a remarkable remarkable comeback.