North West Neasden A 3
Chigwell Athletic A 2
Joint-manager Jamie Cole admitted that treble-chasing Neasden got lucky after Chigwell were denied a last-minute penalty in a Peter Morrison Trophy tie that looked done and dusted after 80 minutes.
The holders charged into a three-goal lead thanks to a first-half penalty from captain Lee Cash followed by two close-range efforts from Maccabiah-bound Matt Stock.
But Chigwell battled on with top-scorer Steve Summers scoring twice in the closing stages and only a ruling by referee Colin Stupack denied them the opportunity to take the match into extra time.
Neasden welcomed back top-scorer Cash following a six-week suspension and it was he who opened the scoring midway through the first half after Chigwell defender Craig Sandford handled on the line. Sandford, who was also sent off when the two sides met in the league at Hadley FC, was shown the red card by Stupack.
Stock, who plays for Plabennec reserves in Division Four of the French League, doubled Neasden’s lead early in the second half.
Visiting keeper Jay Jaffa kept Chigwell in the game with a string of fine saves but he was unable to deny Neasden a third following a slick move down the right involving Daniel Stanton and Cash that enabled Stock to round Jaffa before slipping the ball home. Chigwell looked dead and buried but they did not let their heads drop and pulled one back from the spot.
Summers set up a grandstand finish when he controlled a clearance from Jaffa before volleying into the top corner from 30 yards.
The tie ended in controversy as Summers was sent tumbling but Stupack waved away the Chigwell appeals.
“It was a stonewall penalty,” said Cole, “but the same thing happened to us against Hendon in the league so these things have a habit of evening themselves out.”
Chigs’ joint-boss Greg Bookman commented: “I’m not blaming the ref for our defeat and am proud of the comeback.”
NWN: Fox 7, Cole 8 (sub: Levene 70, 7), J. Ellis 7, Shindler 7, Gottlieb 8, Daggers 7 (sub: Ross 65, 7), Stanton 6 (sub: Keterman 6), Sofier 7, Stock 7, Cash 7, Levenfiche 7
Chigwell: Jaffa 9, Brill 6, Sandford 5, Green 7, A. Hakimi 8, A. Hakimi 6 (sub: Johnstone 63, 6), Laderman 6 (sub: Ben Yosef 18, 6), Smith 7, Gevertz 6, McCarthy 6, Summers 8