Soccer League | England FC Edges Jaffa in 3-2 Thriller

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England FCCredit: Olim League in Israel

England FC struck again in the final minute to beat local rivals Jaffa 3-2 in a thrilling encounter that sees the winners climb up to fourth place in the league.

England got out of the blocks quickly, taking the lead inside the first minute. Gabi Balulu chased a ball down into the left corner and his hooked cross was only flicked on by the Jaffa defender. Motti Colman anticipated the header and found himself in acres of space on the six-yard line. He made no mistake firing the ball on the half volley into the corner of the net to give England the early advantage.

With the game being played at a frenetic pace, England’s new signee Zak White proved to be a real handful up front, while the returning Tomer “Rio” Saban looked very assured in defense.

However, Jaffa managed to equalize within two minutes of the start of the second half. A free kick floating over the England defense was tracked by Yonni Shelmo, but under pressure he missed on his clearance back across the keeper for an unfortunate own goal. Jaffa was starting to look more dangerous with Stephen Caffree marshalling the Jaffa defense superbly, while also being the starting point for all attacks.

A substitution from England saw Roy Ben Zihou replace Gabi Balulu, and this pushed Colman into central midfield. Within moments the switch paid off. Receiving the ball 35 yards out from goal, Colman managed to find space away from the ever watchful Hoffman, before hitting a piledriver that crashed off the underside of the bar before bouncing up into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 England.

England had a number of good chances but was unable to convert, opening the door for another equalizer. Sam Silverberg picked up the ball inside the England half, skipped past a couple of challenges and then rifled an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net from 25 yards to pull the scores level with just eight minutes remaining.

But England picked itself up and pushed forward looking for the winner. Colman now turned provider. Picking up the ball midway inside the Jaffa half out towards the right touchline, it looked like he was going nowhere, but finding a yard of space he was able to dig out a sumptuous 40-yard diagonal through ball that tempted the keeper off his line, but was met first by Ben Zihou. Leaping like a salmon he bravely reached the ball before the fist of the Jaffa stand keeper, Elias Sandler, and his header lifted the ball over his flailing arms into the net to cue wild celebrations from the England bench.

England manager Terry Newman commented after the game, “This is the second time in two weeks that our substitute striker has come off the bench and scored a crucial goal in the last minute of the game. It shows the importance of every member of the squad and the team spirit in our club.”

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