PETER MORRISON TROPHY SEMI-FINAL
South Manchester Sports Club 0 Oakwood 1
Oakwood boosted their double hopes by claiming a famous 1-0 win over South Manchester Sports at the Armitage.
A header midway through the second half from super-sub James Abrams settled the contest.
South Manchester finished with 10 men after Mark Stewart was sent off for two bookable offences.
The closest South Manchester came to scoring was when Ben Peppi hit the underside of the bar from a free-kick.
After the game, Oakwood striker Jason Lindsay was sent to hospital for treatment on a jaw injury.
Oakwood joint-manager Ric Blank told JC Sport: "What a day yesterday was. We knew we had a chance against a good South side, but we had to execute our game-plan perfectly – and we did.
"We had a very good idea of what team South would play and there were no surprises when we saw their line-up. From there on it was all about the players and the attitude and commitment from the boys was spot on. They turned up with a smile on their faces and enjoyed themselves every step of the way. They played the game and not the occasion and that won us the tie.
"We were without Eddie Manson, Rob Davidson, Josh Rose and Ben Myers yesterday and saw Jason Lindsey go off with a head injury at half-time, but we were undeterred. We were stronger and sharper all over the pitch and should have won by more – missing so many chances at the end that my nerves were shot by the full-time whistle.
"The game was a very tight affair on a small pitch and we always felt one goal would be enough. A header from James Abrams with his first touch having come on at half time proved enough in the end.
"Two minutes later Stewie was sent off for a second yellow and we knew we’d have too much for South. Despite the odd scare, we were comfortable and got better and better as the game went on.
"I don’t like singling out individuals on a day like yesterday but Adam Levine at centre half was captain marvel. He’s always been a fantastic player, but has taken his game to a new level at Oakwood. The same can be said of all the players at the club. Ilan Scorah at centre half also showed his old club what they’re missing.
"Jonny Beilin at full back was sensational and Dan Geey, in centre midfield, ran the show. Everyone played well – as we knew would have to be the case."
Darryl Lee told JC Sport: "I think it was a pretty poor game of football. Oakwood were very dogged and deserved the win. Adam Levine and Ilan Scorah was the best two players on the pitch. They negated Adam Lavin.
"Our best player, Toby Levy, limped off after 20 minutes, and with that, our best hope winning the game limped off.
"They were average and we were poor, but good luck to them in the final, whoever they play. I know a lot of their boys. They are a top bunch of lads who were gracious gracious in victory and I hope they gone on to win it, although they may find things tougher on a big pitch at Wingate & Finchley.
"We've been playing poorly since Christmas and it makes beating Manchester Maccabi irrelevant, who no disrespect to Oakwood, are twice the team they are.
"It's very disappointing as we will never have a better chance of reaching the final."
Speaking about the sending off, Lee added: "Mark was a little bit naive and I have no complaints with the red card.
"We now look ahead to next weekend potential title decider against Mace."
Responding to Lee's comments, Blank added: "Darryl has the right to his opinion of course, but I think South were poor because we made them look poor and they ran out of ideas very quickly once Lavin was negated. And I’ll take being average and still winning a Peter Morrison semi-final!
"We fear no-one, on any pitch and can’t wait for the final. We wish South all the best in their trophy quest and thank all the boys for their messages after the game – real class.
"Though the Morrison is a nice distraction, we now we attend to our real priority for this season – the league and Sunday is our biggest game yet. We know victory over Harmen B will give us the title and we’re determined to continue our winning run.
"We well remember Harmen beating us last season and ruining our promotion dream – we’re out for revenge and are looking forward to the game."