PETER MORRISON TROPHY ROUND ONE
SPEC FC 5 NORTH WEST NEASDEN B 4
With both manager Laurence Conway and assistant, Doug Berlin living it up in Vegas, it was down to injured goalkeeper Michael Rhodes to mastermind SPEC's first ever Peter Morrison Cup victory.
Neasden took the lead from a set piece after 10 minutes through Tony Chadwick who found the far post from a strike just outside the six-yard box.
SPEC responded well though with Ricky Lawrence cushioning home a Elliott Wallis cross just minutes later.
It was the returning Simon Lee, who hadn't played in 13 months, who then aimed to grab an unlikely goal from right back but his shot deflected off for a corner.
Craig Cohen - who had replaced the injured Dan Henig - put in a lovely ball which the Neasden defence couldn't deal with and after somewhat of a goalmouth scramble, Ricky Lawrence was on hand to poke the ball in, 2-1 SPEC.
With half time approaching, Neasden caused more trouble with another set-piece and Oli Joseph swiveled in the area before smashing the ball home past the helpless Michael Mirelman. 2-2 at half time and it definitely had the feel of a cup classic about it.
Both sides pushed to go ahead but with no goal in sight stand in SPEC gaffer Rhodes introduced Sam Freedman who then made the difference. Freedman replacing the debutant, 51-year-old Simon Lawrence, just after he had the chance to nutmeg the Neasden right winger, a trick he was known for a fair few years ago. Striker Dan Pike received a searching ball from Freedman who turned and played in Cohen whose pace was too much for the Neasden defence to handle before he looped the ball over the onrushing keeper.
Neasden weren't done though and kept pushing for an equaliser. With under 10 minutes left, yet another set-piece caused trouble in the SPEC defence and Louis Taylor found himself in space and as his shot looked goal bound, Ricky Lawrence's hand stopped it in it's tracks, penalty Neasden. Captain Adam Levene kept his cool, 3-3.
With the game heading to extra-time, a hopeful Neasden ball forward, deceived centre back Laurence Rosenthal, who got nothing but air on his clearance but with only the keeper to beat, Taylor's effort went high and wide.
With Nick Wallis having to go to his Mum's 50th, Adam Wilson filled in at centre back with Yuval Cohen on at right mid and Dan Cohen playing in the middle of the park. Rhodes' decision to put Dan Cohen in the middle worked as he latched onto a lovely ball through by Craig Cohen and made it 4-3.
Yet more poor defending from a set-piece by SPEC allowed Levene space on the edge of the area who curled home a lovely finish to make it 4-4 with roughly 10 minutes remaining.
With penalties looming, the pace of Craig Cohen again troubled the Neasden defence. Cohen cut in from the left and smashed home what would eventually be the winner. Some dogged defending in the end was enough and after what was a great game, SPEC go into the hat for the next round.