JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP QUARTER-FINAL
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A 0 LONDON MACCABI LIONS A 0 AET (Lions won 3-1 on penalties)
Holders Hendon were eliminated from the competition after the Lions held their nerve to win on penalties at Rowley Lane.
Lions put in a magnificent performance today, keeping a clean sheet for the whole 120 minutes against last season's treble winners.
In a game where the strong wind and difficult conditions made playing decent football very hard, Lions probably edged a very tightly contested game.
Lions defence and goalkeeper Max Shields put in a huge shift, keeping the Hendon forwards quiet throughout the game. Chances for Max Kyte and Charlie Rubin in the first half were not converted, but that didn't stop them continuing to create a series of further chances.
Early on in the second half James Gershfield was replaced by David Nezri through injury. A reshuffle of the midfield saw Lions take hold of the game, but still no goal came.
After about 20 minutes of the second half a good chance fell to Hendon and only a miraculous point-blank one handed save by Shields continued to keep the score at 0-0.
The game went into extra time, and a few tired legs started to become evident, both sides made substitutions, but still no goals. Penalties loomed.
Penalties became a reality ,and Lions took and missed the first as did Hendon. Keeper Shields took Lions second and again it was a miss. Hendon converted and it was 1-0 Hendon after four penalties. The experienced Myeroff converted Lions' third, which was followed by a saved Hendon penalty. Nick Landesberg converted Lions' fourth and again Hendon missed the target making it 2-1 Lions and needing Charlie Rubin to convert to make it a Lions win. He duly delivered and Lions deservedly made the semi-finals.
Jubilant Lions boss Andy Landesberg told JC Sport; "This result today clearly shows that this team is going from strength to strength - yes we missed our goal machine Lee Cash, but the way every single player gave 100 per cent and more today showed that at last Lions have got back their roar.
"Hendon are a great side, with several quality players - they play as a team and that is why they are so hard to beat, today we stepped up to the plate and I believe that whilst at no time were Hendon complacent. We did surprise them with the tempo and strength with which we played.
"Lions, went up a level today, and that is the very minimum we must achieve on a week by week basis from every member of this great squad."
Hendon manager David Garbacz told JC Sport: "This was a real heart-wrenching defeat. I’m not sure we have ever lost on penalties before and all the old clichés about it being the most painful way to lose are definately true.
"I thought we edged a very tight match possession and chances wise where the swirling wind made it very difficult to play flowing football.
"Their keeper made a fabulous save from Greg Corin late in the second half and shortly after that Dovid Korman missed a great opportunity from only a couple of yards out.
"We looked like the team who most wanted to win the game where as Lions seemed content to sit back and play for the lottery of penalties.
"As expected they brought out a number of Saturday team big guns, but we still felt we had enough to go through. It is the end of a great run for us especially in this competition where we have reached the last three consecutive finals.
"We are all hurting but will still be coming out with all guns blazing in our pursuit of the other two trophies left on offer.
"We wish Lions all the best in the latter stages of this cup and congratulate them on a hard battling win."