HMH stepped up their Premier League title challenge with a hard fought 2-0 win against Oakwood A at The Hive.
Josh Goldstein’s sensational 25-yard free kick and late Ben Winters 30-yard strike moved Avi Goldberg’s team into joint second alongside Oakwood, who have played a game more.
The visitors felt aggrieved that HMH were awarded the free kick that led to opening goal but HMH are now four points adrift of Hendon United Sports. And Hendon will be aware any slip up will prove costly as Goldberg’s charges are capable of defeating any team.
Facing a strong wind, HMH held Oakwood at bay in a goalless first half with keeper Jake Doffman impressing behind a resolute defence.
Both teams hit the woodwork but HMH bossed the second half, Goldstein opening the scoring with a superbly struck free-kick before Winters settled the contest with a brilliant long-range lob.
“It was a well-deserved victory, the lads showed great intensity throughout the match,” commented HMH boss Avi Goldberg. “We dominated the second half and ultimately put Oakwood to the sword with two superbly taken goals.”
“This match was petering when to our dismay a free kick was given to HMH on the edge of our box following the best tackle in the game,” noted Oakwood boss Daniel Kristall. “Goldstein struck the ball well but the free kick should not have been awarded and it cost us the game. “We then missed a great chance to equalise late on when Doffman saved from David Woolman and our hosts then caught us on the break in the last minute.
“We must start taking our chances, for that we must look within, but in three of four big games this season, huge decisions are going against us at crucial times and it is really costing us.
“They have not even tight been 50-50 calls, Dan Seligman came out of the challenge cleanly with the ball against HMH who did not appeal for a free kick. I really appreciate the referee stepping in at the last minute, but in tight games, these sorts of decisions decide football matches.” Kristall added, “We will aim to finish as high as we can in the league campaign but now have a fortnight to prepare for a cup semi against a very tough Los Camden side who will be up for it.”
Los Camden A and Faithfold A shared the spoils in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
The visitors had 10 players for the first 70 minutes, playing a 4-4-1 formation, Faithfold sat deep enabling Avi Markiewicz, Gav Lewis and David Leiwy to break.
The system worked as they opened the scoring half way through the half when Lewis, back from studying at Yeshiva, won possession on the half way line, beat two defenders before crisply finishing into the bottom corner.
Faithfield’s midfield and defence were resolute, but Camden dominated possession.
The hosts equalised on the hour with an Oli Sade effort and went close to taking the lead on a number of occasions.
Faithfold finally fielded 11 players for the last 20 minutes, but Camden pressure was telling and they duly took the lead through David Kanzen from a corner kick 10 minutes from time.
But Faithfield refused to buckle and rallied. Markiewicz went close, then headed home from a Lolu Hibbert cross to pick up a hard-fought point. “I can’t stress enough how proud I am the lads today,” he said. “The effort they put in was out of this world and they really deserved this result. “It’s been a really tough second half of the season but getting a team out today was something else. “We knew things would get more difficult in the second half as we would be tired and it wouldn’t help the wind was against us either. “But we did not let our heads drop going behind and rallied.”
Maccabi London Lions ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at Brady Maccabi at Rowley Lane.
Daniel Green, Reiss Mogilner, on his return to his former club, and Will Beresford scored for the victors. “We’re delighted with the win and three points,” commented Lions boss Samuel Marchant.
“Brady are always stern opposition and although they’ve been struggling this season, they give everything. The first half was extremely even, Brady had the batter chances but Jordan Sharifian made three important saves.
“We switched formation and things began to open up in the second half. We played more football, got the ball down and was clinical in front of goal.
“It was a good performance and hopefully we can take that into a big game versus HMH on Sunday.”
“We had a great first half, but unless we put away the chances we create, especially the one-on-ones, we get punished, which is exactly what happened,” lamented Brady boss Joel Nathan.
“There’s no way Lions were three goals better than us, and that was with us fielding three Masters’ players and three U18s.”
Redbridge Jewish Care A lead the way in Division One after Los Camden B forfeited their clash.
Fairlop FC are level on points with the Essex team but would have topped the table had they won against Jewdinese.
Goal difference separates the title challenges after Fairlop came from a goal down to draw.
Jewdinese opened the scoring when Zack Collins set up Ben Berrick for the opening goal.
Collins appeared unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty in the first half, then went close to doubling the lead in the second half as Jewdinese bossed the game.
Collins had another penalty appeal turned down, but the referee did award a spot kick to the visitors when Barney Rhodes handled.
Fairlop sharpshooter James Jaconelli fired home the penalty to earn a point for the title chasers.
Fairlop boss Jake Sanders accepts the league is out of his teams’ hands, but was proud of the performance.
“I asked the boys to leave everything out there and they did exactly that,” he commented at full time.
“It’s a shame that the title could come down to the fact that Redbridge played Scrabble A and we didn’t. But we are still unbeaten, we’ll do our job and hope for a favour elsewhere.”
“Today was two points dropped,” said Jewdinese boss Darren Lawrence. “We were the better team it’s a tough one to take as the boys were superb.
“We battled for 90 minutes, were first to everything and were unlucky not to get all three points.”
He added, “If we produce that performance for the remainder of the season, we will be pushing for promotion, as well as going all the way in the Barry Goldstein Trophy.”
Mill Hill Dons enjoyed a comfortable 4-0 win over Faithfold C in Division Two.
The Dons got off to a flyer when Adam Bowman set up Isaac Virchis for his sixth goal in nine games just three minutes into the game. Bowman was then provider for Adam Isaacs who thundered home for a 2-0 half time lead in the 14th minute.
Zach Cohen made it 3-0 after getting his head to a Bowman corner just before the hour.
Richard Reback completed the scoring, turning in a Jamie Nagioff pass from a corner 15 minutes from time.
“It was another very solid performance from the boys with lots of positives to take forward,” commented Dons boss Brandon Hamme.
“Our third clean sheet in four games was an impressive feat and a real testament to how well we have been defensively since the turn of the year.
“We played with lots of freedom and confidence going forward, staying disciplined throughout.”
Hamme added, “Our attention now turns to our Barry Goldstein Trophy clash against today’s opponents on Sunday. We had difficulty playing our style of football on their pitch so we will not be complacent ahead of that game.” Temple Fortune forfeited their clash against Redbridge Jewish Care B.
Away from league action, North London Raiders won an eight-goal thriller at FC Team in the opening round of the Barry Goldstein Trophy.
Division One Raiders led 2-0 before the lower league side hit back to lead 3-2 courtesy of a Richard Salmon brace and Connor Perl strike.
But Raiders equalised then settled the tie with two late goals.
“It was a good cup tie, we did extremely well to lead and at 3-3 with four minutes to go it could have gone either way,” commented FC Team boss Mitch Young.
“We missed a hatful of chances to kill the game at 3-3, but failed to convert with a mixture of good goalkeeping and bad finishing.
“I am proud of the team as they fought hard and in possession were useful with the ball. We are looking forward to the last two league games.
“Raiders have obvious quality, particularly in midfield, good luck to them in the competition.”
By David Saffer