Babai ends Neasden's Morrison domination
Faithfold manager Zuriel Solomon urged his side to prove "we can win a trophy" after reaching the Peter Morrison Trophy final with a hard earned win over North West Neasden A at the Hive in Edgware.
A later Paul Babai winner, which followed an own goal and equaliser by Neasden defender Kyle Bentwood, proved decisive as a jubilant Solomon looked ahead to May's final.
"My boys have been magnificent all season. We have been well organised, particularly in our defence, which has spread to the rest of the team."
He added: "It's all about getting to - and winning - finals. If it's up north, we will arrive in Manchester a day or two ahead of the final so we can spend some time together as a squad and prepare correctly." The May 15 final is a "must-win" for Faithfold who would be winning Solomon his first managerial honour.
However he said "It's not about me, it's for the players to show they are good enough to win a trophy. We don't want to go back down the motorway with runner-up medals."
The match began in storming fashion with James Frenner being denied from close range in the first minute by a brilliant block from Neasden goalkeeper Max Shields.
Matt Sofier then went close at the other end but his half volley was smartly saved by Ben Law.
The opener came on 25 minutes when Alex Levack's inswinging free kick was bundled into his own net by Bentwood.
The rest of the half saw Faithfold comfortably keep Neasden at bay, with Levack controlling the game in the centre.
The second period started well for Neasden, who were bolstered by Craig Ellis in the centre. After nearly equalising through Rob Lerner the leveller came on 50 minutes when Bentwood made amends after thumping home a header from a corner.
Despite Neasden's improvements, they still struggled to service their front three, with Faithfold playing the offside trap with consistent success. Too often Neasden's early passes were intercepted by a Faithfold defender or harmlessly left for the goalkeeper to sweep up.
The Faithfold counter punch came near the end when substitute Simon Lawrence sprinted down the left and neatly found Babai free in the six yard box to tap in a simple winner.
Neasden's Lee Cash reflected on the reality of a trophy-less season for last year's double winners and his team lost in the Morrison for the first time in four years.
"It was all them first half but in the second they had one effort and scored. We did a lot of good things - for me Craig (Ellis) ran the show when he came on but we couldn't apply those final touches- story of our season. But don't worry we'll be back next year."
Faithfold: Law, Howard, A. Taylor, Frenner, Savitz, Babai, Levack, J. Taylor (sub: Lawrence), Madanes, Phillips, Haik (sub: Spitzer)
Neasden: Shields, Revivo (sub: C. Ellis), Bentwood, J. Ellis Klein (sub: Cash), Sofier, Ross, Fierstone, Gottlieb, Gershfield, Lerner (sub: B. Ellis)