Lewis keeps Faith in cup
A hat-trick from Faithfold's Ben Lewis helped the former cup winners come from a goal down to beat Premier Division rivals Bafana Bafana in the first round of the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup.
Paul Lenchner and Matty Kleinman also scored for the Greens in a tie in which Bafana's Adam Lawrence had twice equalised for the visitors.
A thrilling contest started with both sets of players struggling to impose themselves on the game as footing on a slippery surface proved tricky.
It was clear a goal was needed to open the game up, and that is exactly what happened after 17 minutes. Bafana's Dan Perkins showed great technique, producing a dangerous centre which was eventually driven into the bottom corner by Lawrence.
The lead lasted just four minutes as Faithfold responded. Great work by the ever-impressive teenager Roie Spitzer saw the former Golders Green man cross beautifully for Lewis to volley home.
Spitzer, 17, was involved in the next goal as he threaded a neat ball into Alex Levack who crossed to the unmarked Lewis who headed into the top corner for his second of the day. Lawrence levelled things up minutes before the break. This time the Bafana boss spectacularly rifled a 20-yard shot in off the bar to ensure the sides went in level.
Elliott Cohen came close to restoring Faithfold's advantage. His vicious right-foot drive from the edge of the area forced Bafana keeper Simon Davies to make a superb save. Moments later, home striker Daryl Phillips eased past three defenders before rifling over from close range.
Faithfold's patience finally paid off in the 72nd minute, Levack's teasing corner causing a scramble in the box. Goal-poacher Paul Lenchner was in the right place at the right time, adding the final touch to put Faithfold into the lead for a third time.
The hosts did more than just hold the lead this time as they killed off the game in the last four minutes. Lewis completed his hat-trick, following a cross from Bradley Cohen.
Matty Kleinman added insult to injury a minute later, heading home a Levack corner at the far post.
Faithfold goal-scorer Paul Lenchner said: "In recent weeks we have played really well but failed to kill off teams. Today was different. We played well and the goals eventually came to take us through.
"I think, with Neasden running away with the league, we want to look to do something in the cup competitions this season."
Disappointed Bafana player-manager Adam Lawrence reflected on the "absence of some key players" including Aron Lawee and Seth Green through injury. This left his squad "down to the bare bones". He said: "We just didn't capitalise on the chances we had. Faithfold wanted it more than us."
Faithfold A: Lee 7, Baum 6 (sub: Lederman 6), E. Cohen 7, Kleinman 7, Spitzer 8 (sub: D. Cohen 6), Taylor 6, B. Cohen 7, Lewis 9, Levack 7, Phillips 7, Lenchner 7
Bafana Bafana: Davies 7, Ossack 6, S. Lawrence 7, A. Lawrence 8, Gishen 6, Davis 6, Igra 6, Jaff 6, Mandel 5 (sub: Waiman 6), Perkins 6, Avital 6
JC star man: Ben Lewis (Faithfold)