Hertswood Vale in dreamland after knocking Hendon out of Morrison

Jacob Emanuel was lost for words after watching Hertswood Vale cause one of the biggest-ever upsets in Jewish football as they knocked double winners out of the Jewish FA Cup in dramatic fashion.




"It's difficult to put into words if I'm honest," Vale joint-manager Emanuel told JC Sport. "We led three times before deservedly winning the shoot-out against the most successful team in Jewish football."

Emanuel proudly declared: "We won today against all odds. When I say all odds, I'm referring to the fact that we went into this match with only 12 players and missing our first and second choice goalkeepers. Would our rapidly decreasing chances of winning this match stop there? No, they wouldn't. Our third-choice keeper (Director of Football, Jack Shulman) got injured in the warm-up leaving Adam Morrow, a player without any experience in goal to step up at the 11th hour. So, there we were, facing the best team in Jewish football with a flat 11 players, no substitutes and one of our smallest players in goal. Did it phase us? Did it hell!"

Vale started the game strongly, and with confidence that we could put Hendon to the sword. After a few pot=shots from both teams, Vale took the lead that their start deserved. A ball over the top from the evergreen Tony Gold found Harry Graham who finished off in a one-on-one at the first time of asking after seven minutes.

Hendon grew into the game and equalised just eight minutes later after VAle failed to clear a corner - the Hendon player absolutely lashed the ball in off the bar from the edge of the box.

The equaliser was a setback, but it was no surprise when Vale regained the lead in the 25th minute. After Graham was fouled when chasing down yet another ball played over the top to him, Josh Gorb played an absolute peach of a ball from the free-kick that found James Millet at the front post to nod home his 16th goal of the season. "That player is quality" were the words of Hendon boss Jordan Sapler.

An incredible 45 minutes full of hard work and commitment looked to be coming to a close with Vale taking a 2-1 lead into half time, but Hendon had other ideas. With just seconds to go until the break, Hendon equalised to give them the upper hand going into the second half.

The second half was relentless pressure from Hendon. "It's easy to see why they're so successful. Quick passing, knocking the ball around the pitch with ease. Incredible footballers like Jonny Kaye, Josh Bharier, Chaim Korman, Dovi Fehler were doing their absolute best to get through a solid formation, and they couldn't do it," said Emanuel.

Despite being under the cosh, Vale took the lead for the third time, in slightly fortuous circumstances, as a defensive error from Hendon was closed down by Graham who smashed the ball home for his second of the match in the 59th minute to send the Vale faithful into euphoria. 

Whilst Hendon had the majority of the posession, Vale were still creating chances on the break and were unfortunate not to extend their lead after Graham had the ball in the net for his hat-trick, only to be denied by the offside flag.

Hendon equalised 17 minutes from time through Chaim Korman, "who is without a doubt the best player" Vale have faced. Jordan Harris did a brilliant job in attempting to keep him quiet for most of the game but as the team were caught up the pitch after an attack broke down, Korman showed great pace to grab Hendon's third equaliser.

As the clock was winding down to the end of the match and penalties loomed, there was still time for some controversy after Hendon were reduced to 10 men after Bharier was sent off for tripping Harry Graham when through on goal.

With 89 minutes on the clock, Vale were able to make a substitution. Think Tim Krul for Cillessen for Netherlands in 2014. Despite being struck down with Shingles and only being named on the bench on the off chance that he could get through the pain and play his part, Adam Zaidman, Vale's no. 1 entered the pitch primed for penalties.

Despite missing their first two penalties, Adam Zaidman made two crucial saves to deny Hendon and keep proceedings even. The next three penalties were scored by both teams - James Neidle and Harry Graham scoring for the Vale. Sudden death. Jamie Steinberg scored for Vale, leaving Hendon needing to score to stay in the match. Zaidman took his moment of glory with both hands, diving at full stretch to keep out the penalty. Hertswood Vale had won the shoot-out 3-2. Cue the celebrations!

Emanuel told JC Sport: "This result means the world to Danny, Viv, Jack and I and it has made all the hard work over the last three and a bit years worth it.

"Every single player deserves their plaudits for today's performance (which is why I'll be nominating all of them for the team of the week, and we're absolutely buzzing to be in the quarters! Adam Morrow gets a special mention for stepping up to play in goal today and keep Hendon at bay."

He went on to say: "We're elated with the win, and if we'd had a bench of players to bring on and keep things fresh, I have no doubt that we could've won that game in normal time.

"I have to say, it's clear to see why Hendon are such a successful team - not only are they brilliant players on the pitch, but they're a quality group of lads that congratulated each and every one of us for the win. We wish them the best for the rest of the season."

Hendon boss Jordan Sapler told JC Sport: "It was not a good day at the office today for us. Neither team had a recognised goalkeeper and when that happens you can't afford to have concentration lapses in defence.

"Unfortunately we lapsed three times and they scored three times. Full credit to Vale who played really well and suffocated a lot of our attacks with a strong and disciplined defensive performance."

Sapler went on to praise Vale and he said: "They are a good team who would compete with many in the Prem. They have a couple of standout players, especially at right-back and at number 10.

"Ultimately the difference was being able to call upon a penalty specialist in goal who produced three outstanding saves in the shoot-out."






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