Diana Redman - Daniel Eni - February 2012
Diana Redman entered as the league’s first female player. Photo by Daniel Eni
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Soccer / Olim League

Fierce rivals FC Jaffa and England locked horns on Saturday night as the title chase continued, fighting to a 1-1 draw.

The previous week, Ra'anana's unbeaten run was broken by Jerusalem and both Jaffa and England came into the fixture knowing that three points would put them right back in contention for the title. Jaffa started off the brighter with some excellent runs from speedy winger Nir Hacohen, but England - led by Yoni Sidi - were not looking to give away anything cheaply as young starlet Jakob Kalms and Josh Hantman maintained England's fighting spirit.

Jaffa seemed more up for it as they introduced subs Diana Redman - making her debut as the league's first femalie player - and Rama Crevato to pile more pressure on England. It seemed that both teams were lacking the final ball and would go into the break goalless. However, on the 38th minute Jaffa won a corner and center half Stephen Caffrey rose perfectly to head it into the back of the net to make it 1-0 Jaffa.

Jaffa's coach, Peter Berkeley, and England captain Yoni Sidi both knew at the break that a win was achievable, and they sent their teams out with a lot more passion and aggression for the second half, which resulted in the inevitable cards that seem to be part and parcel of this derby.

After just a few minutes of the second half, Roy Ben Zihou added another goal to his tally with a header from a Josh Hantman free kick for the equalizer.

Minutes later, Jaffa's Rama Crevato was sent off for a vindictive foul just outside the box. A strong challenge by Josh Hantman on Redman caused more commotion, but Hantman managed to escape a red card.

England's halftime substitutes, Jonathan Binke and Roy Ben Zihou, were proving to give Jaffa a run for their money, and a 10-man Jaffa was rapidly tiring. But there was to be another twist to the tale as England's center midfielder JJ wrestled a Jaffa player to the floor and received the second red card of the day, reducing England to 10 men. The two sides remained deadlocked the rest of the way.

Redman, who plays defensive midfield for Maccabi Holon as well as the national women's soccer team, said she enjoyed meeting new people and playing in a "different atmosphere." Besides, she added, she grew up playing with guys in Queens, New York, before moving to Israel in late 2006.