Burchell’s bo­nanza

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY DANNY CARO

FOOT­BALL RYAN Springer in­sists the re­sult was all that mat­tered after the Lions ended Red­bridge’s hopes of a pos­si­ble league and cup double with a dra­matic vic­tory at Wingate & Finch­ley.

Adam Arnold had given a young Lions team the up­per hand with a sub­lime early strike be­fore Zac Neiman drew Red­bridge level early in the sec­ond half. With ex­tra-time loom­ing, su­per-sub Adam Burchell won it for the Lions with an ice-cool fin­ish, break­ing Red­bridge hearts.

“It wasn’t a game for the foot­ball purists,” said Springer. “It was phys­i­cal, com­mit­ted and it was dif­fi­cult for the ref­eree. But along with his of­fi­cials, he was on top of things and did well to con­trol some ag­gres­sive in­ci­dents in both halves.”

Red­bridge could, and re­ally should, have se­cured vic­tory in a first half they dom­i­nated, but were left to rue a se­ries of missed chances on a day of frus­tra­tion.

Lions — who lined up with a front three of Max Kyte, Austin Lip­man and Arnold — were pushed back in the open­ing stages, with Dean Ny­man, Rus­sell Gold­stein and Sam Sol­losi pulling the strings. But it was Lions who struck first when Arnold showed great close con­trol be­fore deftly lob­bing the ball into the roof of the net from 20 yards. Dan Lee was rooted to the spot.

Red­bridge re­sponded, with Ny­man and Gold­stein spurn­ing a se­ries of chances in a match in­ter­rupted by a se­ries of nig­gling fouls and flash­points.

The east Lon­don­ers de­servedly hauled them­selves level early in the sec­ond half as a free-kick was touched to the im­pres­sive Neiman who ri­fled a low shot past Mex­i­can goal­keeper David Sa­cal from 25 yards.

For­mer Ar­se­nal un­der-21 star Lip­man then rat­tled the cross­bar with a thun­der­ous shot but the Lions were not to be de­nied. A mo­ment of magic from Arnold saw his inch-per­fect pass find Burchell who had timed his run to per­fec­tion and stroked the ball past the out­stretched hand of Lee and spark scenes of wild cel­e­bra­tion.

The fi­nal whis­tle sounded shortly after as the Lions bench erupted, and the Red­bridge play­ers, who had given their all, dropped to their knees.

Springer said: “We set out to be re­silient and hard to break down. I was al­ways con­fi­dent that as long as we didn’t con­cede early, our at­tack­ing play­ers would take their chances. Posses­sion doesn’t win you games - we’ve learnt that this sea­son.”

Springer was de­lighted by the man­ner of the vic­tory and said: “We scored two ex­cep­tional goals, both in which Arny showed his tech­ni­cal class. We’re just de­lighted he got to Wingate after miss­ing the pre-match meal the night be­fore.

“Burch took his match-win­ner with great com­po­sure — he’s popped up with goals at cru­cial mo­ments this sea­son, es­pe­cially in both cup com­pe­ti­tions.”

Red­bridge boss Jon Ja­cobs ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment but con­grat­u­lated the Lions for some clin­i­cal fin­ish­ing.

He said: “I thought we had more than enough to win and I am so proud of all of the boys and the ef­fort they put in. They will have to use this de­feat as mo­ti­va­tion for the re­main­ing two games of the sea­son.”

“We needed to have been out of sight in this game to win this but credit to Lions who stuck to their game-plan.

Crit­i­cal of some de­ci­sions, Ja­cobs added: “This game will ran­kle in east Lon­don for years to come, but we will take this bit­ter pill and use it to go and win the Premier League and bring back some de­served sil­ver­ware.”

Vic­to­ries over Raiders and Hen­don will see them lift the MGBSFL crown and pip Oak­wood to the ti­tle.

It was phys­i­cal and dif­fi­cult for the ref­eree

PHOTOS: MARC MOR­RIS

1. Adam Arnold is con­grat­u­lated by his team-mates for his bril­liant opener. 2. Adam Burchell cel­e­brates his dra­matic late win­ner. 3. Rus­sell Gold­stein is de­nied by MLL goal­keeper David Sa­cal. 4. MLL man­ager Ryan Springer is thrown in the air be­fore his play­ers pose for the tra­di­tional tro­phy shot

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