PETER MORRISON TROPHY QUARTER-FINAL
NORSTAR LONDON RAIDERS A 1 OAKWOOD A 2
Ric Blank praised his Oakwood team after they ended NLR's treble dreams after laying their hoodoo to rest with a brilliant performance setting up a semi-final clash against South Manchester Sports Club 1st.
Having lost against NLR three times this season, there was relief all round in the Oakwood camp as a Guy Helman double condemned NLR to only their second defeat of the season.
Helman opened the scoring as he slalomed into the box and slotted it into the bottom corner. 1-0 half time and Oakwood were focused, but knew they had a lot of football to play.
Raiders came out strongly in the second half and Oli Gee pulled of a tremendous triple save. The stopper hasn't played for a while, but his performance was magnificent.
From there Oakwood broke up the pitch and Helman buried another to make it 2-0. Oakwood were solid, with ilan Scorah giving his most complete performance of the season - Stock and Dinkin cut frustrated figures, though always remained a threat.
It looked like Oakwood would press on and hit three or four, but a poor clearance from the back saw Raiders get a chance Jamie Wolfson duly converted.
The last 20 were tough, but Oakwood looked solid and lively on the break. Only some "creative linesmanship" denied them more goalscoring chances.
Blank told JC Sport: "Today was our day - we spoke beforehand about how we hadn't played anything like we can in recent weeks and we had to put that right. We know the game we're going to get against Raiders, but it's on us to get the ball down and play.
"In the semi two weeks ago we just didn't do that. Today we settled immediately and dominated the first half. Norstar are always a threat, but we were always in control. Helman, Wine and Koslover were making inroads and Bentley was totally dominant in centre mid.
"Losing Sam Jacobson after 20 minutes didn't phase us with Caaaarl Peters filling the void admirably.
"These games against Raiders have been immensely enjoyable and played in great spirit. No-one held back and there were always handshakes at full-time.
"We felt hard done by in the Anekstein semi, but today we got what we deserved. Raiders will be worthy champions and possibly double winners so to beat them at their 3g pitch is an amazing achievement."
Stand-in NLR boss Phil Peters told JC Sport: "Congratulations to Oakwood - they fully deserve to go through to the semi-final and we very much hope they go on to win the competition. They play the game in the right way and are a credit to the MSFL.
"We were sloppy in the first half today and Oakwood took full advantage. We did rally early in the second half but the Oakwood keeper made a fabulous triple save and then Helman went up the other end to give Oakwood a two-goal lead. We pulled one back but try as we might we just couldn’t grab the equaliser.
"Today wasn’t to be our day and we are all disappointed about that but we have a cup final to look forward to and we can look back on a brilliant league campaign whatever happens over the coming weeks."