This is only the beginning, says Rosenfeld
Josh Rosenfeld described his team as “unplayable” after they lifted the National Trophy for the first time following a 3-0 victory over South Manchester at Oldham Athletic’s Boundary Park.
Second-half strikes from Jon Ellis, Josh Hershman and Jonathan Green steered Brady to their first major piece of silverware since 2001 in a game where the Rowley Lane team executed their game-plan to perfection, with midfielder Josh Gordon the star performer.
"The win tops off how far we have come this season,” said Rosenfeld. "We deserved to win as we have been on a great run since before Chanucah where, at times, we’ve been unplayable.
"The boys deserve this for all the hard work and effort every individual in the squad has put in. They all deserve their special day and have the right to call themselves champions."
South Manchester went into the game on a high after retaining their Manchester Accountants League Premier Division crown. But their hopes were dealt a blow when goalkeeper Akiva Lieberman was forced off with an ankle injury after 30 minutes. It was left to top-scorer Adam Lavin to fill in.
The match came to life in the 50th minute when South Manchester’s Harvey Kaye was sent off. Brady capitalised 10 minutes later as Ben Joseph was brought down in the area and captain marvel Ellis slotted home the opener from the penalty spot.
South went in search of an equaliser but when Gordon produced an important tackle on the edge of the Brady area, the north Londoners launched a brilliant counter-attack, with Hershman collecting the ball in his own half before completing a stunning solo effort with a swerving shot into the bottom corner.
There was no way back for South and Brady sealed the victory when Hershman’s shot smacked against the crossbar allowing Green to tap home. Rosenfeld said: “If you look at our cup run, we smashed Lions, Redbridge and came through two hard away days in Manchester. The boys are fantastic, the squad are close-knit and everyone plays for one another.”
As captain Jon Ellis lifted the trophy, co-manager Joel Nathan reflected on a job well done. He said: “We came here with a game-plan and the boys executed it to perfection. Our keeper didn’t have a save to make and, for me, even when the score was level, we never looked like losing.
"I have either played for or managed the club for 33 years and this has to be my greatest moment, especially as my son, Jordan, was playing. Special mention has to go Josh Rosenfeld as without him this team would not be together.
"We now have three matches left in the season and are still in with a chance of finishing second in the league and that is what we will be aiming for."
South Manchester player-manager Laurence Newman finished the match in goal after taking over from Lavin who returned to the forward line in a bid to salvage something from the game.
He said: "It felt like everything that could go wrong went wrong for us. The game changed on two moments — the injury to our keeper and the sending off."
Newman praised his players for their title success. “It’s a fantastic achievement for the club to have retained a non-Jewish League title for the first time ever,” he said.
"It was a great occasion and whilst many of this current side now move on to pastures new we hope to be back next year."