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
Cup Second Round Replay:
Alyth Belsize Red 3 HMH Jaffa 0

In the end, a comfortable 3-0 win saw the boys into the next round of the cup after winning this replay.

The match started with Alyth Belsize on the front foot, setting the tone for the match. With only four or five minutes gone we won a corner. Max Cutner delivered the ball with his usual accuracy to be headed in by Eden Cohen at the far post.

For the next 10 minutes there was some good passing and movement but no end-product. Max worked very hard in midfield but good runs from Lior Solomons Wise and Rudy Berman came to nothing. Eventually our pressure paid off and a great cross from the right was neatly finished by Lior Solomons Wise’s head to make it 2-0.

Some changes in midfield meant that some shape was lost for the last 10 minutes of the first half and we allowed Jaffa back into the game. Some excellent strong defending from Asher Hayes and Eden and a good save by Jake Brass kept them out though.

The second half started as the first. We got our shape back and started passing well. It was amazing that we didn’t add to the tally with chance after chance being narrowly missed.

Joe Nissim volunteered to go in goal and Jake got a chance to run out in midfield. Both he and Eden seemed very hungry to score but chances went begging. The defence never looked troubled  except for a free-kick on the edge of our box, but Lior in the wall made a good block. Finally, with excellent movement and pace, the ball came to Ben Hurst in the box and, after a good first touch, he swivelled and shot to make it 3-0 and safe. On to the next round!

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U11
Alyth Belsize Black 2 Brady Maccabi 0

A really pleasing performance today. Brady were clearly up for it and thought they had a chance. They are a big team and have some good players, but they are not going to outfight us lot.

We matched them for effort, we had good shape and the deadlock was broken with a Sammy Kebede wondergoal – he dropped his shoulder, gave himself a yard of space and rifled the ball in – at the end of the game the referee made a point of telling me how impressed he was with Sammy.

The game was not over and our reluctant striker, Adam Tobiansky, capped off a fine all-round performance with a goal that was even better and fully deserved.

I thought Ely Tiefenbrun and Jacob Inwald were very good at the back. Shai Koskas in goal had nothing to do while Chopper, Aran Haber and Ash Fraiman ran themselves into the ground. I am looking forward to reading the league table tonight!

Following on from last week, I am naming two men of the match today: Sammy and Adam – fantastic performances, fantastic goals – well played.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U10
Alyth Belsize Black 4 HMH Netanya 1

I tell you what, a day in a football manager’s life doesn’t get much sweeter than this! It’s performances like the one we witnessed from our mighty Reds today at a sunny Hive that make it all worthwhile. I don’t know if it’s down to the new, limited half-time snack regime we introduced so successfully last week or to the sheer presence of Club Coach Ivan on the touchline, but this second-half display today was nothing short of incredible and certainly unprecedented! In fact, any superlative you can think of would fit as I do not remember a team performance quite like that.

A tale of two halves, as the pundits like to call it, and indeed the first half didn’t give us too many reasons to be overly optimistic about the second. In fact, we have Ethan Zybutz in goal, who felt sick a few hours before the match but still turned up, to thank for keeping us in the match with some spectacular saves, in both halves but mostly in the first, when Netanya were the better side and created four or five good chances. But apart from letting in the one goal Ethan was equal to any question asked by HMH’s front line, who looked very menacing at times. Saying that, we defended pretty well in that half, playing three at the back with some good cover from the two in midfield. We closed them down well and most efforts actually came from outside the box.

Their goal came early in the game, after testing Ethan a couple of times, from a high ball played over the top from the left onto the far post and nicely headed in by the Netanya striker. Not great defending on our part, and the sun in Ethan’s eyes might have played a part as well, but either way we were 1-0 down and having to come out a little bit more and have a go.

Our response though was very anaemic and despite our efforts we didn’t offer much threat up front where the Nadav Jacobs-Jonah Rose-Jamie Isaacs trio didn’t quite manage to link up and get in behind the HMH defence. At the other end, they had a free-kick in a dangerous position, which their talented number 11 curled wide; moments later he did manage to find some space and curled one to the right corner but Ethan stretched well and pushed it out for a corner.

However, the biggest save of them all came after a bit of a scramble in our box where a Netanya shot was deflected, went high over Ethan hands and seemed to be going in, but somehow the big guy managed to reach for the ball just before it crossed the line and pushed it out – a key moment in the match, very similar to that great save Asher Cohen pulled off last week.

So only 1-0 down at half time and still very much in it, we encouraged the team to push out more in the second half and instilled some belief that they could turn it around.

None of us quite believed what happened next! A free-kick was awarded to us early on in a similar position to the one which was given against us in the first half, only this time Jonah Rose’s strike flew like a bullet into the left corner – keeper no chance, fantastic goal, and we were back in it!

The league leaders looked a bit shell shocked and moments later they were stunned again when a Nadav throw-in found Jamie Isaacs with his back to goal outside the box on the left, he turned and sent the ball flying on the half volley low and hard into the bottom left corner. Great skill, superb goal, meaning now we were 2-1 up – what a turnaround.

From that point on we took complete control of the match with Netanya now looking panicky and out of ideas. Gemma Selby at the back was absolutely superb and got stuck in nice and early to almost every attempt to play the ball long into our half, helped by a disciplined mature performance from Leo Morad and Oli Weiner. Jake Shindler was dynamic as usual and pushed further and further up the left side to help Nadav, who was as usual instrumental in linking our back with the front two.

It was dynamo Jake who gambled well to be at the end of a great Jamie run through the heart of the confused Netanya defence; the ball fell kindly to Jake Shindler after a challenge on Jay and he slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it an astonishing 3-1. We couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing as we were now all over the league leaders and had some good chances to score more. The best of the lot fell to Ben Rosenberg, who was on the end of a Nadav cross from the left, he had time and shot it well enough but the goalie made a good save right on the line to keep it out. Ethan on the other hand still had to be alert to save a great left footer from number 11, who shortly after also hit the post with another fantastic strike.

But it was our day today as at the other end it was the fantastic Jonah Rose who was on the end of a great counter-attack, with a cool finish from inside the box, bottom right corner, score line 4-1! Netanya completely lost it at this point, throwing tantrums all over the place and their number 11 was practically sent off after deliberately catching Leo with his boot. For us, on the other hand, it was all smiles at the final whistle, proud faces and a truly great moment for this special team of ours, who deserve all the credit and praise today!!

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U8
Alyth Belsize vs HMH Haifa

There isn’t much to say about this game, other than it was a total disaster! In fairness to us, Haifa are a very strong team, and they played their best game yet. However, we played our worst game yet, and didn’t seem to be able to use our ball skills, spacing and passing that I know we’re capable of when we’re on form. We really need to work on our defence in particular, marking strikers and covering our goal.

I think the first half was worse than the second, and it didn’t help that there were so many subs. I feel that Alan and I were reacting, rather than being proactive, which no doubt helped the chaos on the pitch. By the second half, we tried to make fewer substitutes and leave the boys in their positions…although by the end, under the ‘Rachmanus’ rule, we were playing 9-a-side, only leaving our injured Dylan Margolis as a sub.

I know we’re missing the energy and driving force of Theo Brass, but we have proven in previous matches that our positioning and passing can easily make up for his absence. So, let’s put this one behind us and move forward.

Man-of-the-Match is Didier Levenfiche, because he was the player most able to tackle, retain the ball, and pass to a player on his own team!

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U8
Alyth Belsize vs HMH Jaffa

The players started the game on a massive high knowing that they had already beaten this side earlier on in the season. It proved a very tight game at the start but our positioning was excellent, and it was only a few minutes in when Beni Preter scored a sensational diving goal. Although the ball was going away from the goal he still managed to smash it home!

Soon after a great strike by Zakary Cohen was of key importance, putting us well ahead of our opponents. Jaffa then came close, hitting the post, plus there followed an amazing save by Luke Godfrey in goal!

Soon after Jaffa responded with a well-deserved goal but we were constantly on the attack. Before long their keeper, thinking the ball had gone off the pitch, placed the ball on the ground and Seth Cohen ran up and dribbled it straight into the goal. A fantastic, quick-thinking effort!

Throughout the game we saw great defending by Eitan Okrent, and our new star player Ori Sapir showed his grit and determination in defence and midfield.

A great win all round for the team.

Jewish News Maccabi Junior Football League U7
Alyth Belsize vs HMH Haifa

I thought we had a good game today and the score line did not reflect the performance. With our usual striker Ben Craig absent we started with a 6-a-side formation and Ami Morad up front, Sam Gatty and Austin in midfield, Zoe Cutner and Jonah Phillips in defence and Harry Abrahams in goal.

We started brightly but the big pitch took its toll, especially as the players naturally gravitated towards each other in the middle of the pitch rather than taking full advantage of the acres of space elsewhere! HMH scored early on but this only served to fire up our players, who responded with a fantastic goal put together by Sam and Ami.

Despite our best efforts – including a great shot from Jonah that agonisingly hit the post – we didn’t manage to score any further goals and a couple of costly mistakes in the second half gifted HMH the win, including a mix-up at the near post on a corner resulting in one of our players heading the ball firmly into the back of our own net!

A good goalkeeper is proving to be a major difference between ourselves and other teams now, and is clearly something we will have to work on. With no one really keen to take on the position permanently we will continue to rotate the role, but in the meantime I think it is going to work against us and make it hard for us to keep a clean sheet.

There are still plenty of positives to be taken from the game. I see the players improving week on week, and once we learn to look for space rather than just running after the ball and getting in each other’s way I think we’ll see the score line start to swing in our favour. We will also see fewer injuries like yesterday’s clash of heads between two Alyth players!

The well-worked goal was a sign of our true potential and I hope to see more play like that in the weeks to come.

Until our next game, I hope the players will remember Club Coach Ivan’s motivating words and think about their ‘bubbles’…

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