Bridg­ing the gap

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY DANNY CARO

FOOT­BALL SAM Rank saluted his play­ers af­ter Red­bridge Jewish Care B were crowned cham­pi­ons of MGBSFL Di­vi­sion One.

Three weeks ago, Rank chal­lenged his play­ers to win “three cup fi­nals,” and they achieved their goal in style. Back-to-back vic­to­ries over pro­mo­tion ri­vals Scrab­ble FC set them up for an epic bat­tle against long-time lead­ers Li­ons B at Row­ley Lane. And they did not dis­ap­point.

Player-man­ager Rank and Joe Jor­dan were deemed “not fit enough to start,” while strike Dean Ben Yosef was ruled out through in­jury, but that did not pre­vent Red­bridge from mak­ing a pos­i­tive start.

It needed a won­der save from James Harpin to deny Red­bridge cap­tain Brad Gayer. The east Lon­don­ers forged ahead soon af­ter when a surg­ing run from Adam Gold­man al­lowed Jack Van Gelder to fin­ish in em­phatic fash­ion.

Red­bridge de­fend­ers Jor­dan Sapler and Dan An­drews were in com­mand­ing form, lay­ing the foun­da­tions for a re­silient per­for­mance. The all-im­por­tant sec­ond goal ar­rived early in the sec­ond half when Kane Hopps found cap­tain Brad Gayer who con­trolled the ball and turned in one move­ment be­fore un­leash­ing a thun­der­ous vol­ley into the top cor­ner.

Adam Abadi set up a tense fin­ish with a close-range ef­fort eight min­utes from time but Red­bridge saw out the match to se­cure their 14th and most im­por­tant win of the sea­son.

A cham­pagne soaked Rank com­mented: “From a man­age­rial point of view, to do some­thing that I love and am so pas­sion­ate about is price­less and with com­bi­na­tions of the boys we have at RJC, these are such great times for club and team.

“I worked the boys very hard and they be­lieve what I know, and bought into my style of train­ing, play­ing and

also how to cel­e­brate in style. It’s just a bril­liant achieve­ment for us all. “The boys were out­stand­ing to­day — ev­ery­one worked their socks off and it shows what RJC B are about. We have an un­be­liev­able work ethic for each other and all the play­ers are pre­pared to put their bod­ies on line. We have a great squad, unit and fam­ily.

Rank in­sists it has been a real team ef­fort. “Spe­cial men­tions go to the coach­ing staff of Jo­han Sim­berg, Richie Caplin and Richard Stern,” he said. “I would also like to thank Jewish Care, Jon Ja­cobs and Richard Bronzite. With­out these plat­forms and in­di­vid­u­als we would not have such a great club and team.”

Li­ons boss Sam Marchant com­mented:

“We weren’t at our best and Red­bridge cer­tainly de­served the vic­tory.

“It took us un­til the 82nd minute be­fore we ac­tu­ally started to play foot­ball and put Red­bridge un­der some pres­sure, but it was too lit­tle, too late.”

A draw at North Lon­don Raiders B on Sun­day will con­firm Li­ons as run­ner­sup. Marchant said: “Math­e­mat­i­cally we need one point to guar­an­tee pro­mo­tion, but as long as we don’t lose by 14 goals, we will be pro­moted.

“We were in a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion in De­cem­ber and to­day’s loss was our first in the league since then.

“We’ve shown the fight in the sec­ond half of the sea­son to get pro­mo­tion. That was our sole aim at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son and we look to have ac­com­plished that, which is su­perb.”

PHOTO: MARC MOR­RIS

Red­bridge Jewish Care B were all smiles af­ter lift­ing the MGBSFL Di­vi­sion One ti­tle

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