Cup winners showed character, says Rolfe

By James Martin, April 22, 2012

UJIA 1 North West Neasden C 1 AET (UJIA won 4-2 on penalties)

UJIA’s match-winning goalkeeper Darren Rolfe praised his side for “showing the character to come back from losing the final last year” to win the JC Barry Goldstein Cup final in a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Neasden C at Wingate & Finchley.

Rolfe, who is also team manager, saved North West Neasden C substitute Elliot Setyon’s spot kick low to his right, brilliantly, to give his team the advantage after two penalties in the shoot–out in the final on Sunday. A miss by Benji Gourgey ensured victory for UJIA.

Rolfe, whose teammates converted all four of their kicks after a gritty 120 minutes between Division Three rivals who both lacked fluency in their play, told JC Sport: “We made errors last year and made up for it this time. We showed character to come back from one down - and to put to rest the disappointment of last year.

"I thought we had the better of the first half and were very unlucky to go behind. After getting an equaliser it became a game for defences. We practised our spot-kicks and that in the end won us the lottery.”

A first half of few openings saw UJIA’s Tony Plaskow fire a brilliant 30-yard shot just wide of the post and strike partner Ben Nassim hit a good effort straight at Michael Perkin, before a scissors-kick from Neasden’s Oli Joseph put his side 1-0 up against the run of play on 40 minutes.

UJIA came out for the second period strengthened by the arrival of veteran Jeremy Teacher and drew level when a long throw from the left was only half cleared to full back Ben Radstone, who neatly half-volleyed home from 10 yards.

The rest of the 90 minutes passed by without much positive play, with the match frequently interrupted for fouls.

The final briefly came to life in extra time when Rolfe made a miraculous reflex save from Joseph whose header from six yards looked set for the net. A minute later, Plaskow hit a stupendous 40-yard drive that forced a brilliant save from Perkin.

The shootout was perfection for UJIA as Assi Avital, Matt Radstone, Gavin Sherman and Ben Radstone tucked their kicks into the corner, compared with Neasden who only scored two out of four.

Neasden manager Louis Taylor told JC Sport: “We should probably practise spot-kicks next time. They had the best of the first half but I felt we were better in extra time. Credit to both sides. We are disappointed but we gave our very all.”

Neasden: Perkin; A Levene, Isenwater, Chadwick, Benjamin; S Levene, Cohen (sub; Braham), Engel (sub: Lewis), Gourgey; Taylor (sub: Setyon), Joseph

UJIA: Rolfe; B Radstone, Rhodes, Sherman, Leigh; Freeman, M Radstone, Russell (sub: Sokel), Avital; Nassim (sub: Jeremy Teacher), Plaskow. Subs used: Teacher. Subs not used: Paul Rodin, Elliot Norman

Last updated: 5:53pm, April 23 2012