Neasden win cup tie on penalties
Penalty practice pays off as treble-chasers hold their nerve in cup-tie shootout
You beauty: Max Shields guesses correctly as he keeps out a tame effort from Josh Gordon, one of two saves he made in the shootout
North West Neasden A 3-3 Brady Maccabi AET (NWN won 4-2 on penalties)
Treble-chasing Neasden showed that practice makes perfect as they came from behind to deny Division One Brady Maccabi a giantkilling in a JC Cyril Anekstein Cup tie settled by a penalty shootout.
Joint-manager Daniel Fox praised his side for holding their nerve after they converted all four of their spot-kicks to Brady's two, after 120 minutes in which North West Neasden A came back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, only to be pegged back late in extra-time. He said: "Our success in the shootout was no fluke. We practice them every week after training. After what happened to Britain [losing to Argentina in the final of the Maccabiah], we know penalties are often required to decide ties."
A deflected Lee Platt shot early on, which spun over Max Shields, and a first time effort by the energetic Josh Gordon that crept inside the far post, gave Brady a deserved two-goal advantage at half-time.
Lee Cash pulled one back and a bullet header from Neasden captain Jonny Ellis took the tie into extra time. Sammy Ross completed the comeback to put Neasden ahead after 99 minutes but the tireless Rob Lerner made it 3-3 after 112 minutes.
The shootout was never in doubt as Cash, Gershfield, Jonny Ellis and Jake Gottlieb converted for Neasden. Gordon and Platt were denied by Shields, the latter courtesy of a brilliant stop to his right-hand side. Fox said: "They were the better side in the first half. But after that we played well, particularly in the wide areas, and we always looked like we were capable of scoring.
By contrast Brady manager Simon Hakim admitted he "hadn't given penalties a moment's thought", adding: "We proved that we are a very capable side in pushing them so close."
Neasden: Shields, Ross, Levine, J. Ellis, Sharp (sub: B. Ellis); Cole, Gottlieb, Sofier, Levenfiche, (sub: Schindler), Cash, Gershfield
Brady: O. Colmans, Lassman, Harvey, Sears, Meltzer (sub: J. Colmans), G. Sidi (sub: Shuster); Gordon, Platt, Weston, Winton, Lerner