MGBSFL Division One:
Camden Park 1 Norstar London Raiders B 3
Sunday, 16 November, 2014
Raiders, who had been disappointing in their 3-3 draw the previous week against Los Blancos recalled Jake Gilbert and Adam Posner to the starting line up and welcomed back Danny Bloom, Mike Hershman and Simon Buchler, the latter making his return after six weeks of pre-wedding to honeymoon absence!
Despite starting well, Raiders found themselves a goal down inside three minutes with what turned out to be Camden’s only effort of note on target the whole match. A long ball forward found Marks and the left winger rifled a powerful 20-yard drive past Ben Cherkas to give the home side the lead.
Raiders were undeterred and continued to mix a short one and touch touch passing game through Adam Posner, alongside more direct play to release the pace of Josh Green and Hershman. For their part Camden looked vulnerable to dead ball deliveries, Danny Bloom seeing his effort tipped over from one Posner corner, but the home side did look like they could threaten on the break.
With 35 minutes on the clock Raider’s pressure finally told. The Camden defence could only clear a set-piece as far as Posner some 30 yards out towards the right touchline. The Raiders’ skipper whipped in a sensational arcing cross at pace where it was met by a screamer of a diving header from Dan Grossman, the ball nearly ripping the net from the frame of the goal!
The waves of Orange pressure continued up to and beyond the half-time break and it was fitting that the lead, when it arrived, came courtesy of Ben Sheldon. Sheldon has made his mark in Jewish football over nearly a decade as a fast, strong, energetic defender with an uncanny knack of keeping clean sheets when called up to reprise his original Raiders’ role as ‘keeper. This season the tough tackler has been given midfield duties and against Camden he was enforcer and driving force alongside David Esterkin, and on 52 minutes the executor of a sublime finish. The goal itself was a microcosm of the entire Raiders’ performance, full of pace, determination, skill and finesse. Hershman began the move tearing down the right wing leaving his marker for dead. His cross just evaded Jake Gilbert and Green, but the latter hared off to keep the ball in play just before it crossed the far touchline. The rapid striker showed composure to slip the ball back to Danny Bloom who flicked it first time square to Sheldon on the edge of the box. Sheldon side stepped a challenge and caressed the ball from the left edge of the “D” in to the bottom corner, kissing the inside of the post before nestling in the back of the net.
The goal was no more than Raiders deserved and the third and decisive goal arrived just after the hour mark when Danny Bloom was again the provider, raiding down the left flank to pressurize and dispossess the right back and releasing Gilbert who with clinical aplomb never broke stride as he stroked the ball in to the far corner giving the keeper no chance. The striker now has 14 league goals to him name, in just five starts.
Cherkas palmed away a snapshot which looked to be going wide before subs Buchler and Jacob Gold nearly combined for a 4th Raiders goal only to see the Camden keeper fling himself at Gold’s feet as the striker was set to score.
Raiders manager Jonathan Adelman was absolutely delighted with what he described as “a consummate team performance”.
He said: “It was without doubt our best performance of the season to date. We had a specific game plan and executed it to perfection in a game I felt we bossed almost from start to finish. Camden clearly have some very talented players and there’s no doubt they will be there or there abouts come the end of the season, so this was a good test of our credentials and an important win.
“Every one of the 14 put in a performance today, we kept shape and discipline and that was a platform on which we could play our game. I know how potent we can be going forward that’s obvious when you have the likes of Gilbert, Green, Gold and Woolf to call on up front, but today we were outstanding at the back, marshaled by Dan Grossman with great displays from Richard Bloom, Anthony Goodmaker, Hershman and Danny Bloom – we didn’t allow a quality Camden front line to get in behind us. If we can replicate that sort of form over the coming weeks we will have a good season.”
On going top, he said: “Yeah I gather the win puts us top, but November is way too early to look at the league table. Lots of teams have games in hand and we know its what the table looks like in April/May that counts.”