Alyth Belsize junior club round-up:

Alyth Belsize junior club round-up:

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 Black 0 Alyth Red 3

Not a great game today – we were beaten by the champions and never really looked like causing an upset.

We started well and were full of energy and I thought were quite unlucky to go one down to a super strike from Lior Solomons Wise.

We didn’t lose our shape or our focus. I thought Chopper / Aran Haber and Sammy Kebede were magnificent all afternoon and got no reward for all their hard work and toil.

I reckon Alyth Belsize Red had only 4/5 shots the whole game and the scoreline did not really reflect the match. We tried to play an expansive game, which ultimately didn’t work as they were too strong.

My man of the match is Aran

Lior Solomons Wise scored twice for the Reds, with Max Cutner also on target.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U11
Alyth Black 0 Alyth Red 3

A chilly but thankfully dry return to football and the first game of the newly split Under 11s division 1. And what better way to start the New Year than with an Alyth Belsize derby match against our fellow team the Blacks!

With a good turnout from both sides the match was played out at a high level of endeavour and passion. Our boys quickly took the game by the scuff of the neck and were comfortably in control throughout, limiting the Blacks to maybe a couple of half chances. Jake Brass in goal had little to do, but what he needed to do he did very well and efficiently. Again I have to apologise for having a ‘go’ at him for chesting down a ball rather than catching it. It seems that it might have been given as a back pass and Jake did the right thing and took no chances (though he gave me a mild heart attack in the process)! Well-done Jake!

We went into the first half break a goal to the good thanks to some very neat midfield play between Max Cutner and Lior Solomons Wise. Max slid a wonderfully accurate pass to the feet of Lior, who sidestepped a couple of defenders and fired in from the left to put us a goal up.

In the second half Blacks offered little in the way of attack but battled away gamely, which brought about a tight and compact area of play in the centre of the pitch.

The second goal came about following a slightly late tackle on Zac Paul, and in the resulting fre- kick, from about 20 yards out, the trusted left foot of Lior placed the ball into the back of the net, with the Blacks goalkeeper only managing to help palm the ball in.

The final goal had a hint of fortune about it. A long-range shot was fired in by Max, which the Blacks keeper seemed to think was off target and decided to leave it to go out for a goal-kick – however this proved to be an error in judgement as to his (and pretty much everybody else’s) surprise the ball nestled into the back of the net… 3-0. I think 3-nil was a fair reflection of the game. There is no doubt we had the vast majority of possession but there were not that many clear-cut chances.

Sterling work as always by the whole team. The defence were magnificent with solid tackling back from Rudy Berman, Eli Jay and Eden Cohen. Alex Godfrey had a strong game moving effortlessly between both a midfield and defensive role. Some nice touches by Sam in the first half and some great forward play by both Zac and Joe Nissim, who moved into a more central role in the second half and almost scored within a moment of taking up that position.

It was good to see George Owen back in the squad and he put in a solid performance in defence too.

Let’s keep up the good teamwork and see if we can move the ball a little quicker in future.

Well played boys! Next up, Brady.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U10
Alyth Belsize4 Hendon United Blue 2

Cup progress on Sunday was more Chelsea than West Ham, and a 4-2 victory was fairly routine. I would say that bar the finishing, which was a little mixed – in part due to their goalie having a good game, it was the best performance of the season. Some of the passing was really crisp, and assists from Nadav Jacobs and Ben Rosenberg particularly stand out. There was also much more intelligent off-the-ball running.

Goals comprised a hat-trick of cool finishes from Jamie Freedman (one from all of six inches out) and an excellent far post finish from Avi Rubinstein. This made it 4-0 at half-time and a far easier half-time team talk than the last time we played the Blues.

Performance slipped a little in the second half, especially defensively, and we conceded an early goal prompting fears of previous matches, but we controlled the game in the main and their second was late on as the ball spun wickedly in front of Oli Weiner, making a manager-enforced appearance in goal. Thanks also to Jake Shindler for stepping into the goalie role to start the second half after Adam Tyler had been a willing first-half goalie but was suffering from a complete lack of action. Hopefully, Ethan Zybutz’s hand will have recovered and Asher Cohen will be back by the next round.

A performance to build on for the second half of the season.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U9
Alyth Belsize VS HMH Netanya

It was a tough day back at the office after the long break for our chaps and chappess playing against a formidably well organised team with a severe south-westerly threatening to blow the goals down. The chosen eight on Sunday were Josh (the enforcer) Bruck in goal with Jonah Howe and Becksy Lassiter in defence, Max Marcuson, Jonah Levy and Aron Nelson in midfield plus Alex and Danny Gordon Boyd up front. The wise managers agreed to play 8-a-side to stop our subs from freezing on the spot (or being blown to Finchley).

The first half was very tight. HMH launched a few attacks but our defenders proved resolute and Josh, who played an inspirational game in goal, pulled off some outstanding saves. Unfortunately, the fine work was unpicked during a collective moment of insomnia when Alyth forgot they were playing football and failed to clear the ball from their defence, in spite of numerous opportunities to do so, and HMH were presented with an easy chance, which they devoured, albeit with a handball but the referee failed to spot that. As ever, Alyth did not become disheartened and this moment inspired their finest spell of the match when they jostled and cajoled and dominated play for the next 5 or 10 minutes right up until the half-time whistle. Much to our despair, the ref blew his whistle just as Danny was presented with a fine one-on-one chance to score after an outstanding goal kick from Josh.

Coming out for the second half, Alyth were only one down and had everything to play for. However, HMH must have had something added to their half-time oranges as they came out and scored a few good goals immediately after the restart, which set the tone for the rest of the game. The air was deflated out of Alyth’s lungs, the wind was transferred from their sails to cross the pitch and, while heads didn’t go down and Alyth kept fighting to the end, there was nothing much to be done against the HMH onslaught while we stood powerless on the sidelines.

Bring on next week. I know the team can do it

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U8
Alyth Red VS HMH Eilat

Those adults present in the gloom and drizzle were fortunate to witness perhaps the best team performance of the Reds this season. Coming on the back of not just two defeats, but truthfully two poor team performances, Mandy and I were justly a little apprehensive about today’s match. Eilat have a decent record against the teams in the lower half of our (officially non-existent league) and today we were without our two midfield dynamos and David Rahamim, who was ill.

We lined up with Raffi ‘Green Lantern’ Goodman in goal behind a defensive line of Benny Landeck and Oliver Shaw. Given that we had to play 7-a-side, we played a flattened triangle in the middle (instead of the diamond) with Dylan Margolis in his usual role of defensive midfielder instructed to push more up the pitch than usual to support a two-man midfield of Didier Levenfiche and Oliver Shaw. Louis Marcus led the line and Gabriel Broll started as our first sub.

The boys started well from the whistle. Was it the extra space provided by playing only 7-a-side? Was it whatever Didier’s dad had put in his tea? Either way, the passing and determination of Didier resulted in a goal after about only 3 minutes. Didier battled well for the ball on the right hand edge of the penalty area and passed it to Louis, who did fantastically to take the ball past the defenders, turn and shoot into the right side of the goal.

The second goal was particularly sweet for your correspondent as Dylan fired a diagonal left to right shot from just inside the area that hit the far post and, like a well-drilled snooker ball, took a 45-degree turn into the net.

Another specific highlight was the Green Lantern, who generally did not have much to do throughout the match, but on one occasion rose into the air like Tom Daley in reverse and as if in slow motion plucked the ball from above his head as an eagle would pluck its prey in the sky. That’s what makes a great keeper and we are truly blessed in that department.

But the whole half was a spectator’s pleasure – the general passing and link play, particularly in the last third where Louis’ positioning was fantastic. I recall one move that involved at least 4 consecutive passes. This was geometric poetry that Harry and Jose would be proud of. Every player, and I mean every player, played his part.

My biggest concern at half-time was that we wouldn’t keep up the good work. I needn’t have worried. The boys continued where they had left off. The running that Didier and Dylan did in particular was, it is fair to say, utterly exceptional as they continually pressed and harried the opposition, who included a giant that I can swear was about double the size of both the relatively diminutive Ds. I think they did three matches’ worth of running in one.

But, as we say, football is a TEAM game and our defenders held their positions really intelligently, and whoever was in the defence, principally Benny and Oliver Shaw (assisted for short times by Oliver Shatz and Gabe), got a notable big tackle in. The defence and Raffi should be very proud of a clean sheet, which is a rare thing at U8 level.

Oliver Shatz and Gabe also played in midfield and, again, their linking with Didier and Dylan and of course Louis was great – we saw almost no bunching and people trying to rob their own teammates of the ball, which we saw in the previous two matches.

The second half saw further Red goals. First from a Raffi goal kick, the ball found Dynamo Didier, who fed Louis on the right-hand side of the penalty area. Louis swivelled like a dreidl and hit the ball on the half volley such that it flew into the net at a speed that could have triggered a national security missile alert.

The final goal was a product of work between Louis and Didier, this time on the left of the area, which Didier put into the net left to right – rarely has a goal been so deserved.

For those not there, other points to recount are (i) we could have had at least 3 more goals, but for misfires, great saves by the opposition keeper and the ball not falling for us; (ii) Raffi getting his body behind the ball and shouting at his defenders to leave the ball alone when he could tell a shot was going wide; and (iiI) substitutions being kept to a minimum, with not everyone being subbed and some players subbed more than once, and… those that were subbed not complaining at all, as well as Raffi, who accepted with good grace that his team needed him in goal throughout.

Man of the match: this is a tough one in a match that was for us the best team performance for a long time. But, just as the judges in MasterChef occasionally bend the rules, I am sure no one will begrudge today’s award being shared by Dylan, Didier and Louis.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U8
Alyth White VS Hendon United Blue

Gale force winds and rain dictated the match and from the kick-off it was clear this wasn’t going to be a game that either side was prepared for. The wind made even the players’ shoe laces come undone all game long! The opposition took advantage, with the wind contributing to their goal.

In the second half a terrific save from Matan Goldman kept us in the game! With Gabby Stern in midfield running, tackling and passing, we were looking promising. Joni Klein dived in for headers and tackles, which was great to see. Luke Godfrey and Seth Cohen caused problems for our opponents all half!

Some great shots came close several times, while once again our defensive duo of Eitan Okrent and Jamie Cohen had a fantastic game. Not to mention Beni Preter, who played his heart out as always and kept the great spirit of the team going!

We deserved at least more than a 1-0 defeat but we can hold our heads up high…especially considering we got thrashed by the same team earlier in the season.

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