Bloom­keeps Neas­den in pole po­si­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - BY CRAIG SIL­VER

A brace from Steve Bloom helped North West Neas­den C come from be­hind twice as they earned a draw against ti­tle ri­vals North Lon­don Raiders B in a fierce Divi­sion Two bat­tle at Bricket Wood.

The ri­valry be­tween the teams, who fin­ished first and sec­ond in Divi­sion Three last sea­son, was as fierce as ever. Hav­ing pipped Neas­den to the ti­tle in May, Raiders went into the game with a psy­cho­log­i­cal edge but it was match that was go­ing to be hard to find a win­ner.

Neas­den had con­cerns be­fore kick­off with no less than six key first team play­ers miss­ing in­clud­ing cap­tain Joel Hil­ton, right back Ricky Stoltz­man, mid­field dy­namos Jamie Kay, Benji Dy­mant and Mike Her­sh­man and keeper David Gra­biner. It was a credit that they man­aged to field a team with Adam Kay and Nick Davis com­ing back from long-term in­juries and play­ing their first games for over five months, which at times showed.

Neas­den cre­ated the first open­ing af­ter four min­utes with Paul An­drews see­ing his header was cleared off the line by Ben Shel­don.

The dead­lock was bro­ken min­utes later as a woe­ful goal kick from Neas­den keeper Si­mon Beres­ford fell to the feet of Nicky Woolf who fired home from 15 yards.

James Fo­ley-Comer should have dou­bled the lead mo­ments later, but he missed an open goal af­ter be­ing put through by Michael Is­rael.

Mel Beres­ford’s men got back into the game through Bloom, who pro­duced a beau­ti­fully crafted chip from out­side the box which flew into the net.

The lead proved to be short­lived as Nick Ken­ton sprinted through and slot­ted home 10 min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val.

Raiders had the chance to open up a two-goal lead 12 min­utes into the sec­ond half when they were awarded a penalty. Fo­ley-Comer went down in the box fol­low­ing a shove from Nick Davis but Beres­ford made amends for his ear­lier er­ror by su­perbly par­ry­ing Woolf’s spot kick.

A grand­stand fin­ish saw both sides hit the wood­work. Woolf held off sev­eral chal­lenges but his strike clipped the cross­bar. Then Neas­den sub Mark Har­ris hit the post from dis­tance.

Neas­den boss Mel Beres­ford said: “Both sides played well and a draw was a fair re­sult.”

Raiders man­ager Rob Rich­man said: “There is still a lot to come from us. Draw­ing away to Neas­den is cer­tainly no dis­grace.”


Steam­ing in: North Lon­don Raiders B’s Nicky Woolf is stopped in his tracks by Neas­den de­fender Gary Dy­mant

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