Peter Morrison Trophy final preview
Faithfold manager Zuriel Solomon has challenged his team to prove they are the best in the country when they take on Manchester Maccabi 1st.
Sunday's Peter Morrison Trophy, the Jewish equivalent of the FA Cup, pits together two former winners of the competition in a match that will be played at Oldham Athletic's Boundary Park.
Faithfold go into the final as underdogs but they have nothing to lose and will certainly not have an inferiority complex, having dumped holders North West Neasden out in the quarters.
Faithfold manager Zuriel Solomon said: "We have full respect for Manchester. Any team that reaches a final must be good. We know they have some quality players but so do we it should be a good game.
"The odds are stacked against, us having to travel so far, and will probably have a fraction of supporters compared to Manchester so you have to have the home team down as favourites. But it’s a final and we will work hard and see where it gets us."
Faithfold captain Alex Levack recently withdrew from the Great Britain squad competing at the European Maccabi Games in Vienna. His experience, together with that of striker and assistant-manager Daryl Phillips, will help cushion the blow of the absence of cup-tied hotshot Mike Pearson.
Phillips warmed-up for the crunch clash with a four-goal salvo in Sunday's Maccabi Masters League match against South Mancs. He scored all four inside the opening 20 minutes and he is hungry for more this weekend. The Faithfold stalwart has shown time and again that he is still one of the best strikers in the business.
The energy of tough-tackling midfielder Paul Babai, who has just been called into Ben Winston's Euro squad, and fellow power-house Alex Kaye, last season's top player in the MJSL will ensure that Faithfold more than hold their own. At the back, centre halves Alex Taylor and James Frener, along with Daniel Howard, take no prisoners and they will be looking to give protection to keeper Ben Law who has enjoyed an injury-free run to remind MSFL rivals just how good he is.
Solomon said: "Reaching the Morrison final for the second year running is a great achievement. We are a club built with a family atmosphere, belief and a professional approach.
"We have built the club back up from several years of not achieving claiming any silverware. We have an excellent balance of youth and experience which can only bode well for the longevity of the club.
"My ethos is always give someone an opportunity if they are good enough, and this year we have players ranging in age from 16 to 37 in the first team.
"The team has matured again this year and we are getting stronger and stronger.
"We have worked incredibly hard and deserve to be where we are. Our league finished earlier than usual so we have had a few weeks of no games but we have been working hard in recent weeks and I believe we are ready.
"All I ask from my team is to stay focused, disciplined, play with a smile and enjoy your football."
Manchester reached the final following a hard fought victory over North London Raiders A. Andy Rosenberg, the son of joint-manager Tony Rosenberg, scored the winner with a second half header.
Rosenberg and Stuart Delmonte are urging his troops to finish the season on a high.
The Brooklands team has performed well, finishing third in the Tameside League and County Cup, where they lost to Worsley on penalties in the semi-finals. They also reached the last eight of the Brian Brockbank Cup.
Captain Michael Sacks is the only non-Londoner in the European Games squad. The former Manchester United schoolboy has an important role to play, as has fleet-footed striker Adam Lavin.
Youngsters Jacob Richler-Kleiman and Altrincham Boys starlet Louie Basso have made a big impression on the management and they will be looking to show their quality on Sunday.
Delmonte said: "This year was meant to be a bedding in period for us in a new league with new players, but Tony and I have been surprised at how quickly we have gelled together as a team and surprised at how well we have done."
Looking ahead to the big day, Delmonte said: "We are just glad to be in the final. It has been a long time since Manchester 1st have been there.
"We hope it will be a good footballing game on a very big pitch. Hopefully we can bring the cup back up north. If we don’t then it wont be for want of trying. May the best team win."
Manchester: Dan Garman, Ben Tyer, Josh Lewis, Michael Sacks, Adam Tauber, Alex Lee, Marc Woolfe, Ashley Loofe, Mike Greene, Andy Rosenberg, Alex Singer, Amos Vaizman, Louis Basso, Rafi Leeker, Jacob Richler-Kleiman, Adam Lavin, Adam Stevens. Managers: Stuart Delmonte and Tony Rosenberg
Faithfold: Ben Law, Bradley Lee, Daniel Howard, Alex Taylor, James Frener, Paul Savitz, Alex Levack (capt), Jonny Haik, Benji Dymant, James Taylor, Alex Kaye, Paul Babai, Simon Lawrence, Lorian Madanes, Daryl Phillips, David Lederman, Dan Perkins, Rocky Spitzer, Dan Harrod, Joe Cohen. Manager: Zuriel Solomon