Manchester Maccabi’s treble hopes were dashed as they came out second best against Old Ball in a tightly contested League Cup semi final.
Des Barnes put Old Ball ahead only for Adam Lavin to equalise for the Peter Morrison Trophy quarter-finalists. But a late strike from Gary Souter settled it.
Maccabi manager Stuart Delmonte said the best team won.. “They are a big team. We played some nice football, but I think it was the right result in the end, even though we were unlucky.”
Chances were at a premium in the first half but it was Old Ball who forged ahead from the penalty spot just before half time. Barnes stepped up to take the kick but saw it cannon off the post and straight back to him, and his subsequent shot was then parried by Dan
Garman, allowing the striker to fire home at the third time of asking.
Maccabi had good spells of possession but it took until the 65th minute for them to level the game. Andy Rosenberg through ball found Lavin who beat two defenders before hitting a fierce shot into the back of the net.
But it was not to be as a brilliant effort from Souter nestled into the top corner.
Delmonte’s assistant Tony Rosenberg felt that it was Old Ball’s physical advantage which won the game. “They are top of the table and the only team in the league who we have lost to all season (1-0). Probably physicality was the difference. Of the six players we had out on Sunday four were six foot plus and I think that showed in the last 15-20 minutes.”
Maccabi are struggling with injuries, which threaten to wreck their preparations for the Peter Morrison Trophy quarter final with Leeds Maccabi on April 3, with Delmonte admitting that his side are not in the best shape physically at the moment.
“We’re looking forward to the game but are really struggling with injuries. It will be a very hard battle against a team who play in a very strong league, and will probably come down to a battle of fitness.”