Bridging the gap
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.”
Redbridge Jewish Care B were all smiles after lifting the MGBSFL Division One title