As the highest-ranked team in the JC Barry Goldstein Trophy this season, Southgate Harmen B have been the favourites to win the competition from the outset.
On Sunday they take on Division Three outfit Faithfold C in a curtain-raiser to the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup final at Wingate & Finchley.
Harmen, managed by Paul Gold and Simon White, have struggled to score goals in the competition and their route to the final has been based on keeping their composure to win two penalty shootouts.
“Our run has been most enjoyable and interesting,” said White. “It has kept a season, which was in danger of petering out, alive, and we hope to contribute to a good and fair final.”
White was part of a Harmen team which lost a semi-final to Faithfold A on Wingate’s pitch and is “hoping for a different result on Sunday. Faithfold have represented Jewish football in a most honourable way and we are delighted to be facing them”.
An opening victory over Zig Zag was followed by a shock defeat by fourth division Hendon United C. James Naylor helped himself to a hat-trick in the vital win over Hendon Hawks to set up a quarter-final against Holy Mount Zion. White scored one of the quickest goals in cup history but it was keeper Elliott Gordon who was the hero as, with the team dropping like flies, the stopper took them through the penalty shootout.
The semi-final was also decided on penalties with Elliot Wallis the star. White said: “It was not the most convincing spot kick you will ever see, but if it goes in, who cares? Harmen B became the first Harmen team to make it to a men’s cup final and they will be hoping to do themselves proud on Sunday.”
Faithfold, whose player-manager David Garson has led the team since its inception in 2004, start as clear underdogs. Jonathan Mack, one of the last of the club’s original players, personifies the term utility. The pair are the last two players from the club’s original Under 16 team. Mack has worked his way back from centre forward to goalkeeper and has now settled in midfield with the occasional venture upfield. He is the team’s master tactician while summer signing Ben Simons is the team’s top-scorer.
Garson said: “This is the C team’s first final and, for many of the team, possibly their last chance for silverware.”