Zuriel Solomon described Faithfold’s historic victory in the London FA Sunday Intermediate Cup as a proud and special moment.
Dan Perkins’s strike was worthy of winning the trophy as he ended a mesmerising run with a top quality strike that nestled perfectly in the top corner to spark wild celebrations.
The 1-0 victory over Shoots & Leaves FC saw Faithfold become the first Jewish team to win the prestigious competition and it came exactly 11 years to the day they were beaten in the same final in such heartbreaking fashion.
It was clear from the first whistle that Faithfold were determined to exorcise those demons and seal the first part of the double. Stalwart striker Daryl Phillips fired the first effort goalwards inside the opening 10 seconds at Wingate & Finchley.
Faithfold’s record scorer had an even better chance midway through the first half after man-of-the-match Dan Howard was fouled in the area, but his powerful spot-kick was superbly kept out.
Shoots & Leaves threatened on occasion, with Faithfold keeper Ben Law relieved to see the crossbar come to the rescue, not once, but twice.
Faithfold edged the contest, accumulating 22 shots on goal. Then, as the match entered the 75th minute, up stepped Perkins. The former Bafana Bafana winger cut in from the left on to his weaker right foot before unleashing a venomous shot into the net. The sense of euphoria was a sight to behold.
Solomon said: "It feels amazing, I can’t describe it. I think my half-time teamtalk did it. I told the boys that I would not leave the ground without the trophy. I thought we deserved it.
"I'm proud of all the boys who dug in and defended brilliantly. The longer it went on the more I thought one goal would settle it.
"We missed a lot of chances and I felt the game could have been over by half-time, but we’ve waited a long time for this and I’m looking forward to celebrating."
The cup success saw Faithfold win their first piece of silverware since 2005. "Daryl Phillips and I have worked hard for the last three to four years to get the club back to where it belongs," Solomon said.
"This team is different to the one who reached the final in 2002. It has a lot of pace and power.
"We were missing two key players in Alex Kaye and Dan Stock but football is all about the squad.
"I'm proud to be Jewish and this win is also for the MSFL. It puts Sunday amateur Jewish football on the map and I feel there are bigger implications from here.
With the league and cup double still on, Solomon added: "We’ll continue to take it one game at a time. It’s all about the next game.
"We've got a double-header against Oakwood which will be tough, followed by Norstar before we take on champions Hendon."
Assistant-manager Daryl Phillips commented: "It feels great to win this cup after 25 years. It’s the only thing I hadn’t won with Faithfold.
"It feels even sweeter after what happened 11 years ago so well done to the boys who did well and kept going. They saved me after my penalty miss.
"We now focus on the league which is in our hands."
Faithfold: Ben Law, Alex Taylor, Dan Howard, Alex Levack (capt), Jamie Taylor, Elliot Stern (sub: Benji Dymant 60), Paul Babai, Sam Reeves, Dan Perkins, Jonny Haik (sub: Paul Savitz 85), Daryl Phillips (sub: Mike Pearson 70). Sub not used: Ben Lewis
Scorer: Dan Perkins 75
Booked: Alex Taylor 13, Sam Reeves 61
Man of the match: Dan Howard
JC BIG MATCH STATS
On target: 12
Off target: 10
Yellows: 2 (A. Taylor, Reeves)
SHOOTS & LEAVES FC
On target: 4
Off target: 4