JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP ROUND TWO
GLENTHORNE UNITED B 5 SHIRLEY PARK 4
In a game where the stakes were more than just who gets through to the next round of the CA Cup, Glenthorne came out victorious against Shirley Park who I'm sure will fight Glenthorne all the way to the division three title.
This game had added significance as the two sides are scheduled to meet this weekend in the league and a psychological advantage would go to the winner.
Glenthorne came out the traps first with joint-player-manager Craig Sandford missing two long-range lob efforts.
Shirley Park started to find there feet with Nicky Plotnek and the Benfredj brothers looking the most likely to hit the target.
On 15 minutes, Glenthorne's early pressure paid off when the ball broke to James Rubin just inside the box and he coolly slotted past the keeper.
The lead didn't last long as Shirley stepped up a gear and caused the Thornes defence to make an error and allow an equaliser. The yo-yo match continued and Glenthorne took the lead for the second time and made it 2-1.
After good work from Jamie Bernstein, the ball fell to Josh Wynne who smashed it in from 12 yards.
Half time came and both sides took a well needed breather.
Ten minutes into the second half Shirley Park were taking Glenthorne's punches and dishing out there own when the long throw specialist hurled the ball into the six yard box for a flick on to end up in the back of the net and make the score 2-2.
Chances were coming at both ends but both defences and keepers did an excellent job at keeping the score level.
On the stroke of 80 minutes, Shirley Park's possession paid off when they created a great chance and took the lead to make it 3-2.
After two Shirley Park comebacks and now leading for the first time, the writing was on the wall for a great away victory when Jamie Bernstein popped up in the final minutes to bring the score to 3-3 and take the game into extra time.
The next goal was always going to be the most important and when Sandford chased down and put the keeper under pressure for him to spill the ball, the striker slotted it in from a very tight angle.
The tide was turning back to the home team and when Elliott Coulton headed in a great cross with a pin-point header, the game was surely won for Glenthorne.
No-one could leave the ground early as Shirley stayed professional and determined and made it a grandstand finish. Another good piece of play ended with Benfredj rifling a shot into the top corner.
Glenthorne absorbed the remaining pressure and saw out the victory in what was a great game and tickets being nearly sold out for this week's fixture.
Shirley's other goals came through Sacha Benfredj, Gideon Gold and Benfredj.
Glenthorne joint manager Sam Rosenthal told JC Sport: "Wow, what a game. Both sides battled and played excellent stuff, I'm just delighted we shaded it and think we deserved the victory.
"Once again our boys did us proud and hopefully we can produce a similar performance next week."
Shirley Park manager Dave Lusman told JC Sport: "It went to the wire and could have gone either way, and this time it wasn't our day.
"Fair play to Glenthorne. We know they're a good team and were clinical in front of goal. We wish them well as they progress in the cup.
"Fortunately we're up against them next week in the league and hope to set the record straight."