Manley snatches friendly draw against Maccabi GB

Warwick welcomed Maccabi GB to Cryfield on Sunday January 11, with the visitors looking to step up their preparations for the upcoming European Maccabi Games to be held in Berlin in July.

In a game of real quality, played in a commendable spirit throughout, a late equaliser from Warwick’s Joe Manley meant that the spoils were shared.

Following an entertaining but goalless first half, Manley’s late strike was enough to cancel out Matt Stock’s well-worked goal and earn the home side a hard fought draw.

With university term dates providing Warwick with a winter break that would be the envy of any Premier League manager, the clash against Maccabi had certainly been eagerly anticipated, marking the first game of a hugely significant term of football.

Warwick were provided with a winter break that would be the envy of any Premier League manager.

The visitors started far the brighter of the two teams, dominating possession and confidently stroking the ball around, meaning the Warwick rear-guard had to be particularly diligent in their defensive duties to keep them at bay.

For those in Warwick shirts who were not privy to the quality of their opposition and magnitude of their challenge before kick-off, they certainly were 10 minutes in.

Set up in a 4-2-3-1, Warwick’s defensive midfield pairing of Matthew Tuvesson and Tom Alington were having to work tirelessly to shield their back four and prevent the dangerous number 10 from finding pockets of space behind them.

Their work ethic and discipline was emblematic of the Warwick team more widely however, and despite their spell of sustained pressure, Maccabi failed to manufacture any clear-cut chances.

This looked as if it may well be costly as Warwick increasingly gained a foothold in the game as the half progressed. It was on the counter-attack that the host’s threat was most pertinent – sharp interchanges of passing from the attacking triumvirate of Bryan, Kyprianou and Davies causing the Maccabi defence real concern.

The Warwick response to going a goal behind was extremely positive – bravely committing more forward.

The home team had numerous good moments, attacking with real pace and fervour. Unfortunately, on more than one occasion dangerous attacks were halted as the final ball proved to be somewhat elusive. On the balance of play however, Warwick could consider themselves unfortunate not to go in at the break at least a goal to the good.

The second half quickly established a distinct pattern that would be evident for much of the period – Warwick content to let Maccabi play in front of them – as the away side prodded and probed, trying to find that incisive ball. It wasn’t until the halfway point of the second half that the deadlock was finally broken, and it was the away side who deservedly took the lead. A neat move resulted in Alex Moss delivering a sumptuous through ball, and Matt Stock was the beneficiary, demonstrating real composure as he slotted the ball past the onrushing Jake Allingan.

At this point, it would have been easy for Warwick to collapse, but their response to going a goal down was extremely positive. Committing more and more men forward, and exploiting the Maccabi vulnerability in the left-back area, chances began to emerge. Notably, good work down the left-hand channel from Kyprianou led to the ball being pulled back for Roberts to meet on the volley, however his horribly sliced effort served simply to confirm suspicions that his goal earlier in the season was nothing more than a fluke.

It wasn’t until the 85th minute that the pressure finally told. A dangerous cross from Cohen created havoc in the Maccabi six-yard box, and Joe Manley was on hand to smash the loose ball into the back of the net. For the remaining few minutes neither team was really prepared to throw away what they had, and, on the balance of the game, a draw probably represented a fair result.


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