PETER MORRISON TROPHY SEMI-FINAL
Brady Maccabi A 1 Hendon United Sports Club A 2
Goals from Ari Last and Avidan Last boosted Hendon's treble dreams as they held off the challenge of double-chasing Brady in a thriller at Rowley Lane.
The Reds rode their luck at times, with Brady hitting the woodwork on two occasions, but it's the Hammers who go through to the final against first division champions Oakwood at Wingate & Finchley on April 29.
Hendon boss David Garbacz told JC Sport: "Brady were the toughest team we have come up against this season. They had quality all over the pitch, especially up front, and we had to dig very deep to come through.
"We managed it because we have unbelievable spirit and togetherness and no end of skill and guts.
"After a pretty even first half which we managed to edge thanks to a great team goal finished expertly by Ari Last we started to turn the screw in the second and managed to score the all-important second.
"We kept our shape brilliantly all game and despite them getting one back late on we were able to hold out for the win.
"All the Hendon boys were superb today against a tremendous Brady team, but if I were to single out anyone it would be the spine of Russ Corin in goal, Josh Lipman at centre half and Ben Lauffer in midfield.
"I am so proud of all my boys for the way they play their football and for what we have achieved.
"Do not underestimate the difficulty in reaching two finals and challenging for the league but together the whole squad is pulling us through.
"Now we have to go on and win the lot. We can't wait."
Brady manager Josh Rosenfeld told JC Sport: "I think Hendon are a strong side and they have done extremely well to be in the position they are in. They have a lot of quality and are difficult to break down.
"However, in all honesty, I think we should have won the game. I think we had the better chances to win the game. We hit the post, hit the bar and missed a few very good chances. We matched them for 90 minutes, competed with everything and took it down to the wire.
"The most upsetting thing is the manner in which we lost the game. I don’t like complaining about officials, but everyone watching the game, except the ref and his two assistants, saw the Hendon second goal was scored with the palm of his hand. It was like Thierry Henry against the Republic of Ireland, and it's embarrassing how over 40 people could see the handball except the officials. I find it funny how Hendon haven’t said anything about their second goal in the report. They all know it as well.
"It was the biggest game in some of our boys' lives and they lose by a blatant handball, its not good enough and there’s no excuse ...
"I cannot wait to play Hendon again in the league and the cup because we believe we can get one over them. We still have plenty to play for and will not stop working hard. Good luck to them in the final."
Responding to the criticism of the winning goal, match referee Tony McEvoy told JC Sport: "Josh Rosenfeld’s comments are disappointing after I fully explained to him and his team what happened and didn’t happen. I and my officials did not see any infringement with the second Hendon goal."
After hearing of Rosenfeld's post-match comments, Hendon manager David Garbacz had this to say. "Josh is a lovely guy and an excellent young manager and as I said after the game Brady were the toughest team we have come up against this season.
"With regards to his comments, in practically every game of football at every level there will be contentious decisions , the referee is doing his best and can only give what he sees. It certainly wasn't clear-cut at all and some refs might have given it and some would have let it go.
"For the record, their goal came from a corner that was blatantly headed out by one of their players but you just have to accept the decision of the man in the middle.
"Yes they had good chances but so did we in what was an open great game of football. Both keepers made saves but as suggested before the game I believe it was our extra big game experience that saw us through. If he thinks they can turn the tables in our remaining games good luck to him and let's bring it on.
“Now we have to go on and win the lot. We can’t wait."