PETER MORRISON TROPHY QUARTER-FINAL
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC 2 SOUTH MANCHESTER SPORTS CLUB 1st 3
Jody Marks praised his team's character as they came through a tricky encounter against MGBSFL first division outfit Chigwell to set up a semi-final trip to NLR A or Oakwood.
Chigs made a dream start when after just two minutes, James Jaconelli latched on to a loose back-pass to lob the keeper.
Lucky not to be 2-0 down, South started to control the remainder of the first half and after missing a host of chances, top-scorer Adam Lavin hauled the visitors level on the stroke of half-time.
Chigwell came out in the second half with the grit between their teeth and deservedly regained the lead when
Brad Gayer played the ball into channel for Dean Ben Yosef who turned his man to cross, Steve Summers flicked the ball into path of Ryan Cole who finished, although South will have been disappointed to have allowed the goal with a couple of chances to clear the ball.
A few changes by South made the difference and with 25 minutes to go, Marc Yaffe popped up to make the tie all square, with Chigs appealing in vain for offside.
Then it was time for Lavin. With the ball sticking to his feet, he turned three players inside out and buried the ball into the bottom corner to send the South team in hysteria.
Chigwell pushed hard for the equaliser but couldn't find the chance they needed.
In the last minute, Chigwell had a player sent off for a second booking after he comically dived trying to win a penalty, but it was South who were smiling at the final whistle as they stretched their unbeaten run to 16 games.
Marks told JC Sport: "Missing five regulars from our starting XI, we showed great character to come back twice to win and move into the semis.
"We made hard work of it, but we never expected an easy game and making the semi-finals for the third year in a row is a fantastic achievement for the club and with our full squad, we're going to take some beating.
Proud Chigs boss Richard Slater told JC Sport: "Today was tough to take - we were 1-0 and 2-1 up, without too much bother, but a five-minute loss of concentration means we've missed a semi-final place.
"Hats off to South Manchester - they battled well and just had the edge on us. They're a nice bunch of lads, but very beatable today. We had assistant referees but how their second goal stood is a complete disgrace.
"Sadly we never got over that decision and took our focus off for five minutes after, which allowed them to score a great winner. We're all gutted but that's life."
Marks added: "Thanks to Richard and his team for the hospitality, and to the referee for not being conned into a joke of a dive at the end."