FOOTBALL RIC Blank admits the MGBSFL Premier Division title is out of Oakwood’s hands following the 1-1 draw against Redbridge Jewish Care A.
David Woolman and Dean Nyman exchanged goals in a hard-fought contest where both teams lost key players to injury.
Oakwood marksman Leor Sidle was forced off injured after 15 minutes, while Redbridge’s marauding full-back Ryan Cole failed to finish the contest due to a muscle injury.
While Oakwood, who hold a fivepoint lead, have one match remaining, Redbridge would lift the title if they win their last four games.
Oakwood joint-manager Ric Blank
commented: “A draw was the fair result. With the wind behind us, we were by far the better side. We really should have been out of sight by half-time. It’s the best we’ve played this season.
“It was ironic Redbridge equalised in added time caused by the Sidle injury. It was the only time all half we’d lost our shape and allowed Sam Sollosi inside.
“He had been very quiet but as all good players do, he only needed one moment to create something significant.
“The second half was totally different — as we knew it would be. The wind was a major factor as Redbridge came at us and forced us on the back foot. They didn’t create too many chances.
“We stabilised and the immense Alex Lee managed to contain them.”
Blank believes Redbridge’s postmatch celebrations were somewhat premature.
“Overall, it was a fair result but now the title is out of our hands,” he said. “We’re immensely proud of the boys and their efforts and now have to beat Lions to give ourselves any chance.
“The Redbridge players were celebrating at full-time which tells you everything you need to know about the title race and how far Oakwood have come as a team.
“For a side as good as Redbridge to be punching the air at full-time after a draw with us is a huge compliment. “This was undoubtedly the two best Jewish teams in the country going at it and we thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Redbridge boss Jon Jacobs disagreed with Blank’s analysis of which team the draw favours.
“The result probably suits Oakwood more, with Redbridge needing four wins from four tough games to win the league. And Oakwood play a Lions team with eyes on cup glory in their only remaining fixture.
“The focus now for Redbridge turns to the cup and Finchley City in the semi-final of the Anekstein. We will be working hard to prepare the walking wounded for that one and put the league to one side just for the one week.
“This keeps the season going into April now and we will be fighting like crazy to see a successful end to the month.”
There’s no way out for RJC’s Nathan Sollosi, while David Woolman (far