LFA Cup success would be icing on the cake for Faithfold
I was there when Faithfold A saw their hopes of making history fall through their fingers in 2002 and I’m looking forward to my return to Wingate & Finchley as the boys in green and white look to make history on super Sunday.
Much has changed at the club since then, with only manager Zuriel Solomon, assistant-manager Daryl Phillips and captain Alex Levack still in the squad and it would be fair to say that the trio have unfinished business as far as the London FA Sunday Intermediate Cup is concerned.
I could sense the determination in Phillips’s voice when I spoke to him ahead of the game. Rarely has a day gone by when he hasn’t thought about the painful 5-2 defeat at the hands of Libra Arms. 4,015 days to be precise.
The team has been on a long and eventful journey since but the trio have overhauled the squad with a combination of young and committed players who deserve their moment in the spotlight. And if ever there was a team who deserved to put their name on the trophy, that team is Faithfold.
The other two big games on super Sunday come in the Peter Morrison Trophy. There is more than a striking resemblance to the semi-final line-up in the Jewish FA Cup to the real thing, with Brady Maccabi A taking on Redbridge Jewish Care A in the clash of the titans. That’s similar to Chelsea taking on Manchester City at Wembley a week later.
The other pairing sees South Manchester Sports Club host Camden Park — the equivalent of Wigan Athletic and Millwall. The smart money is on South, who hold home advantage, but Camden have thrived on being the underdog this season, just as Republic of Flixton found out in the last round.
With two regulars missing, South boss Loz Newman has drafted in a couple of 2nd team players. A star of the European Maccabi Games futsal competition in Vienna two years ago, Newman spoke of what it would mean to reach the final.
"I would love nothing more, especially for Mark Stewart and Jody Marks who have put so much hard work in this season. I still see retaining the Accountants League as being the big prize this year, but I know this competition means a lot in Jewish football, particularly to Jonny Davis, Neil Collins and everyone connected with our great club."
The big games have been coming thick and fast for Camden and player-manager Josh Marks believes his troops are ready for the challenge.
"If you asked me before our Anekstein semi-final against Redbridge, ‘would you take being in one cup final now’? it would have been difficult to say yes. Having lost that match and knowing how it feels to lose in a semi-final was horrendous.
"If that wasn’t motivation to get to that extra gear this week that we didn’t find against Redbridge then I don’t know what is. Last time we travelled the 200 miles up north we did what had to be done and this time again we will do what has to be done.
"Redbridge in the final has to be the dream … but we won’t under-estimate the task we currently have at hand."
The other last four clash sees Premier Division rivals Brady host Redbridge at Rowley Lane. Redbridge ran out 4-0 victors when the teams met in the league last October but I’m confident things will be much tighter this time.
RJC boss Eilon Kennet has an excellent cup semi-final record but having conquered 2011 winners Manchester Maccabi 1st away in the last round, Brady have shown they have what it takes to go all the way.