A stunning second half free-kick from Jake Gottlieb helped North West Neasden A retain the JC MSFL Premier Division title for the third consecutive season as they drew 1-1 against London Maccabi Lions A in a title at Rowley Lane on Wednesday night.
Both teams were missing key men. Lions were without Motti Colman and Ricky Kennet, while for Neasden, Daniel Cole was in New York.
It was the Lions who made the better start, pressing Neasden back into their half. Sam Arghebant had the first chance but fired wide.
The Lions, who needed to win to wrestle the trophy from Neasden, forged ahead midway through the first half when Aviel Schwarz’s corner was flicked on at the near post for top-scorer Mike Pearson to tap home from close range.
Gottlieb came close to equalising after 35 minutes. His wickedly curling free-kick was kept out by an excellent save from Lions keeper Declan Green.
The full-back levelled things up a minute into the second half with a 35-yard strike curling into the top corner past a helpless Green.
Knowing that a draw would be enough, Neasden were comfortable in the last half and hour to complete a hat-trick of league and cup doubles.
The visitors edged the second half with James Gershfield curling a free-kick inches over.
Lions could have nicked it in the last 10 minutes when a clever lofted through ball over the Neasden defence found Max Fieldgrass but he headed straight at Neasden keeper Max Shields. With that went Lions’ final chance as the final whistle spark wild celebrations from the touchline.
Jamie Cole, the Neasden joint-manager, said: “There is not a better feeling in Jewish football than winning our third consecutive league title at Rowley Lane. We came here to win and scored at a crucial time, but credit to Lions for pushing us all the way.
“We came here to win and put out an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation. I felt that our tempo was too slow in the first half but told the boys to keep going, battling and working in the second half. We knew that we had only 45 minutes left for our season and our equaliser came at such a critical time. I didn’t know Jake could do it from that far out.
“I felt that we could’ve got a couple more but am so proud of the boys for their great achievement. It’s all about them and our team spirit.”
NWN coach Darren Yarlett added: This season’s double is so special because we’ve suffered from a lot of injuries. The boys have shown great passion and desire.
“Six members of the squad have finished the season with four pieces of silverware. The boys have been absolutely brilliant over the last few weeks of the season and Jamie and I am very proud of them.”
Lions boss Eilon Kennet said: “Neasden are worthy champions. They have done very well but we have still had a phenomenal season and won some silverware.”
“It was a very even game but in the end an outstanding free-kick proved decisive. We went into the game confident of not losing and I felt that we were the better side in the first half while the second period was more even.
“For us, last Sunday’s double-header against Faithfold was do or die. Not many teams win double-headers and it clearly took a lot out of us.”
Lions: Declan Green, Adam Myeroff, Guy Morris, Pete Lazard, Ben Graham (sub: Aron Barnes 60), Max Fieldgrass (capt), Aviel Schwarz (sub: Ollie Leslie 82), Yoav Lebens, Ben Joseph, Sam Arghebant (sub: Lee Bibring 65), Mike Pearson. Subs not used: Tony Gold, Josh Morris
Goal: Mike Pearson 27
Bookings: Mike Pearson (dissent), Aron Barnes (dissent)
Neasden: Max Shields, Adam Levene, Kyle Bentwood, Jonny Ellis, (capt), Jake Gottlieb, Andy Glynne, Danny Daggers, Matt Sofier, TJ Keterman (sub: Elliot Stern 78), Lee Cash, James Gershfield. Subs not used: Scott Shindler, Kane Swerner, Alex Bowman, James Abrams
Goal: Jake Gottlieb 46
JC Man of the Match: Adam Levene (NWN)
JC Big Match Stats
On target: 5
Off target: 7
On target: 5
Off target: 8