MGBSFL Division One:
Athletic Bilbaum 1 Norstar London Raiders B 6
Sunday, 2 November, 2014
Raiders were forced to make half a dozen changes to the 14 who blitzed Los Blancos the previous week. David Rhodes, Nick Woolf, Richard Bloom, Mike Hershman, Dan Grossman and Jarred Rudman were unavailable for B’s selection, but such is the strength in depth at L’Orange that Lewis Blitz, Danny Bloom, Matt Sheldon, Ben Sheldon, Josh Green and Gilad Kestenbaum came in to the group and the team simply picked up where it left off the previous week.
With the rain lashing down at Regents Park, the men in orange dominated from the first whistle. The Bilbaum goalkeeper was forced in to a series of outstanding saves as the men in Green sought to withstand the Orange onslaught whilst waiting to pounce on the break.
Eventually after 30 minutes, the Bilbaum resistance was broken with former ‘Baum striker Gilbert flicking a first time pass to Josh Green on the right edge of the box. Green applied the sublime finish, flashing an arcing shot in to the far top corner to give Raiders the lead.
Raiders had their own glove man Ben Cherkas to thank for maintaining the lead when on 37 minutes he made an outstanding one handed save when Judah was through one on one. Warning duly headed, Raiders doubled their lead just before the break, Green again applying the finish, this time hard and low inside the near post having turned on a sixpence to leave his marker grasping at thin air after a delightful throughball from Ben Sheldon.
Bilbaum’s half-time team talk clearly had the desired effect and within 30 seconds of the restart, a smart ball bisected the Raiders defence and Judah raced through to fire the home side back in to the game. Bilbaum’s joy was short lived however. Just two minutes later a smart early ball from Matt Sheldon put Gilbert clear and he finished emphatically. On 55 minutes the game was effectively over as a contest as Gilbert doubled his tally finishing with aplomb after a sublime throughball from Adam Posner.
Matt Sheldon was again the creator for the fifth as his slide rule pass released Green. The diminutive striker unselfishly squared to Gilbert who tucked away his hat-trick. And it was the same combination who put the icing on the cake with 15 minutes to go as Gilbert celebrated his first game against his old club with a well taken fourth making it a remarkable 12 in 4 games!
Raiders manager Jonathan Adelman was delighted with the performance, saying: “Losing so many players from last weekend was far from ideal but this performance just proves the strength in depth that we have. Our defensive play was solid, we used the ball intelligently and worked exceptionally hard on and off the ball with skipper for the day Posner outstanding in both respects. Our combination play in the final third was pretty devastating and it was only an exceptional display from their goalkeeper which stopped the scoreline being even more emphatic – one low save from David Esterkin’s piledriver towards the far post defied belief. All that said we’re not getting carried away – we know that Camden and Blizzard are the two best sides in this Division and we’ll only know where we stand this season once we’ve tested ourselves against them.”