PETER MORRISON TROPHY
LEEDS MACCABI 1ST 2 SOUTH MANCHESTER SPORTS CLUB 3
Jody Marks praised his team's resilience as the 10 men of South Manchester set up a mouth-watering clash against Maccabi Manchester following a thrilling 3-2 victory over Leeds, with the ice-cool Toby Levy settling a high-octane affair from the penalty spot late on.
A closely fought game was played out in Leeds on Sunday in gale force wind conditions with South Manchester edging victory by the single goal.
The game started at a ferocious pace, with some strong tackling from both sides. With the wind playing havoc, it made it difficult for both teams to play their passing games and was definitely not one for the purists.
Leeds took the lead against the run of play after 25 minutes from the penalty spot through Maccabi captain Adam Gilman.
South soon hit back with two quickfire goals. First, Marc Yaffe drew the scores level with a fine header, but the Leeds team will no doubt have been disappointed with their defending. The second came two minutes later with a rare goal by inspirational centre back Mark Addis.
The half petered out with very few chances and at 2-1, both managers would have satisfied with how their teams had performed.
The second half started at a similar pace to the first, but five minutes into the half, South's skipper Mike Stratton was sent off for a clumsy challenge.
Down to 10 men, it was back to the walls stuff for South, and Leeds dominated but couldn't find the breakthrough until 10 minutes to go when a great through ball broke the offside trap and Gilman played the killer ball in to Bradley Lander who tapped home from close range.
There looked only one winner from here, but from nowhere South's left back Antony Jacobs got forward for the first time in the game and won a decisive penalty. Levy stepped up, slipped and just about got the ball through the keepers body.
Surely that was it, but Leeds remarkably won another penalty in the final minute following a goalmouth scramble ending in a handball. Gilman stepped up but blasted his kick over the crossbar which was very unfortunate as his performance deserved more.
The referee blew up a minute later and South came out on top in a game which was not pretty but deserved on balance.
Marks commented: "I am proud of my players. We have created a never-say-die attitude over the last couple of years and I'm not sure in years gone by we would have come away with a victory after going down to 10 men with the wind in our faces.
"The way we're held out a strong Leeds team in that second half was fantastic and I'm delighted for everyone involved in the performance.
"On to the next round now as we look to go one better than last season in the competition and we look forward to welcoming our old friends Maccabi to the Armitage on March 16.
Leeds Maccabi manager Simon Marks said: "Despite being narrowly beaten by a very good South Manchester side, I am pleased with the way we performed in what turned out to be a very close game.
"The weather conditions were awful and didn’t help either team who were not able to play the quality passing football that they are both known for.
"We had a chance right at the end to equalise from the spot which would have taken us into extra-time with a man advantage. If the game had gone to extra-time, then I would have really fancied our chances of going on to win. However, we wish South Manchester the best of luck in the next round and hope they go on to do really well in the competition."