FOOTBALL SAM Marchant saluted super-sub Daniel Fattal for keeping Maccabi London Lions B’s promotion hopes alive with a stoppage-time winner against title rivals Redbridge B.
The Lions showed great character to come from a goal down to end Redbridge’s 11-match unbeaten run.
Redbridge captain Richie Caplin headed the hosts in front but the Lions were not behind for long as a move involving Zac Rose, Ben Winters and Josh Bloom allowed the onrushing Benji Weinberger to slot home on the stroke of half-time.
Marchant introduced Fattal to the action for the last 15 minutes, replacing Winters, as the Lions went in search of a late winner. And he duly obliged with a crashing half-volley whistling into the bottom corner to spark scenes of wild celebration.
Lions boss Sam Marchant said: “This was a massive game for us and there is no other way to put it.
“We had to win to keep our promotion hopes alive and we’ve done just that in a fantastic manner.”
The decision to introduce big striker Michael Kenley to the action early also paid dividends. “Our usual football style wasn’t best suited to the conditions and it was tough finding ourselves,” said Marchant.
“After falling behind, we changed quite a bit tactically and equalising before half-time was perfect.
“I thought it might not be our day but our second-half performance was heroic.
“Having Daniel Fattal fresh-legged on the bench really helped and is what got us over the line. He came on with 10 minutes to go and the ball fell at his feet in the box with virtually the last kick of the game in the 93rd minute and he tucked it away as coolly as you like.
“We are all delighted with the result as we keep the pressure up on Scrabble and Raiders B. We certainly have kept our promotion dream alive.”
Redbridge boss Sam Rank is refusing to panic, despite the late heartbreak, as his team has three games in hand on the Lions who now hold a four-point lead at the top of Division One. “It is devastating to be defeated in the last minute of any type of football match, but the league title is still in our hands massively,” commented Rank. “This was not a game of football at all, it just turned into a long-ball affair, with both teams cancelling out each other in the midfield.
“I felt a draw would’ve been the right result, but credit to Lions who secured the late winner.
“It only takes a second to score a goal in football and so this was proved.
“The boys know they need to regroup and get back to winning ways next week against Faithfold.”
REDBRIDGE: Scott Shear, Daniel Andrews, Dan Bean, Richie Caplin (capt), Brad Gayer, Adam Goldman, Kane Hopps, Joe Jordan, Scott McKenzie, Adam Noble, Steve Summers. Subs: Anthony Cope, Sam Rank, Richard Stern
LIONS: James Harpin, Zac Rose, Ben Winters, Adam Abadi, Nathan Anders, Daniel Behar, Josh Bloom, Ed Brafman, Ozzy Doron, Dom Feldman, Benji Weinberger. Subs: Michael Kenley, Daniel Fattal
Daniel Fattal is chased by his teammates after his late, late show