Magic Meranda hands Brady Masters third double
HENRY SWERNER MACCABI MASTERS CUP FINAL
Glenthorne United A 2 Brady Maccabi A 2 (Brady won 5-4 on penalties)
Adam Meranda was the hero as Brady Maccabi came back from the dead to clinch their third consecutive league and cup double following a gripping final against Glenthorne at Wingate & Finchley on Thursday night.
Glenthorne went into the game missing injured captain Richard Goldstein but they made the better start against a Brady team that has dominated the Masters scene for the last few years – having recently won the Division One title for the fifth year in a row.
The east Londoners opened the scoring after five minutes when a delicious cross from Mickey Nathan was met by a brilliant diving header from the unmarked Paul Allen which rocketed into the roof of the net.
Brady gradually came into the game and a couple of chances fell to striker Nick Collins in quick succession. The first saw him curl a free-kick narrowly over Darren Hymos' crossbar and just seconds later, he was denied by the onrushing keeper before failing to connect with the rebound.
Glenthorne were dangerous on the counter-attack throughout as Brady failed to capitalise on a strong wind in the first half.
The champions continued to take the game to Glenthorne and David Rose should have done better but his weak attempted lob was easily held by Hymos.
With Brady frustrated, Glenthorne spurned a golden opportunity to double the lead when another precison cross was headed wide by the unmarked Nick Belkin.
Glenthorne brought on Marc Jacobs in place of Hymos at the start of the second half and the stopper, who also plays for Chigwell Athletic in the JC MSFL, needed to be on top form as Brady looked to even things up.
However, for all their pressure, the goal did not come and player-manager Dave Michaels put Glenthorne in dreamland with the goal of the game – an exquisite 30-yard chip over Meranda. It was a trademark effort that fans of North West Neasden would have seen many times during the 1990’s in the Maccabi League from the commanding central defender.
There was drama seconds later as Allen broke clear in the Brady half. An audacious lob crashed down off the underside of the bar and without a Russian linesman in sight, assistant-referee Nigel Burns kept his flag down amid protests that the ball had crossed the line from the stands.
Brady remained patient as the match moved into the last 10 minutes, and seconds after having a header cleared off the line, they were given a lifeline when Gideon Barnett beat the offside trap before smashing his shot into the bottom corner. It was game on.
Glenthorne were under the cosh in the closing stages and, with the ball ricocheting around the six-yard box, Jacobs showed great bravery to deny Barnett and Mark Wagman in quick succession.
It looked as though Glenthorne would hold on but Brady were not finished and there was to be one final twist.
A period of incessant pressure saw the ball fall to Jonathan Vandermolem on the edge of the 18-yard box and his sizzling drive took a slight deflection before nestling in the bottom corner.
There was just about time for referee Steve Feiger, who was taking charge of his 75th game of the season, to restart but with Glenthorne heads down, the final moved straight to penalties.
It was advantage Glenthorne after the first round of kicks as Jacobs produced a brilliant stop low to his left to keep out a spot-kick from Collins. Jason Levy showed great composure to convert his effort before Jason Sears did likewise for Brady. Michaels capped an excellent performance with a confident strike before the mercurial Max Radford found the net for Brady.
Then Meranda came into his own, keeping out a shot from Lloyd Schaverien, who had clearly been taking penalty-taking tips from Barnet FC striker Izale McLeod. Both teams had now netted three kicks out of four and Scott Ansher and Mickey Nathan soon made it 4-4. It was advantage Brady as the consistent Adam Gishen found the net and it was left to Meranda to deny Belkin to win the cup for Brady.
Brady boss Dan Collins told JC Sport: “That’s three doubles in a row now and I’m very proud of the boys.
“Glenthorne were excellent tonight and initially, they wanted it more. It took us a while to get into gear but we showed that we’re winners.
“I was worried when we were 2-0 down but confident once it went to penalties. I was confident that Adam would save one or two as he has done so over the years.
“It was a good advert for Masters football and I thought the match was well refereed.”
Masters League chairman Stuart Lustigman told JC Sport: “The MMFL Cup final was a credit to football in general and Jewish football in particular.
“With just one caution near the end of the match and less the average number of fouls, the game was played in an exemplary spirit of fair play and sportsmanship and both teams can be proud of their contribution.”
Glenthorne: Darren Hymos, Yaron Woolf, Dave Michaels, Hadley Vernon, Darren Young, Nick Belkin, Amir Nathan, Mickey Nathan, Paul Allen, Jason Levy, Adam Kaye. Subs all used (roll-on): Marc Jacobs, Lloyd Schaverien, Mark Radzan, Lloyd Nygate, Greg Morris
Scorers: Paul Allen 5, Dave Michaels 50
Brady: Adam Meranda, Jason Harris (capt), Adam Gishen, Nigel Goldthorpe, David Rose, Max Radford, Paul Shamplina, Jonathan Feldman, Jonathan Vandermolem, Nick Collins, Mark Wagman. Subs all used(roll-on): Jason Sears, Scott Ansher, Laurence Beck, Gideon Barnett, Perry Yam
Scorers: Gideon Barnett,
OFFICIALS: - Referee – Steve Feiger, Assistant-referees – Nigel Burns, Gaby Meranda, Fourth official: David Goldberg
1. Collins (B)– MISS (saved), Levy (G) – SCORED
2. Sears (B) – SCORED, Michaels (G) – SCORED
3. Radford (B) – SCORED, Schaverien (G) – MISS (saved)
4. Barnett (B) – SCORED, Woolf (G) – SCORED
5. Ansher (B) – SCORED, M. Nathan (G) – SCORED
6. Gishen (B) – SCORED, Belkin (G) – MISS (saved)
JC MATCH STATS
Shots: - On target - 4, Off target - 2
Cards: - Yellow – 1 (Woolf), Red - 0
Shots: - On target - 5, Off target - 12
Cards: - 0