Maccabi make Flixton pay the penalty

Manchester Maccabi held their nerve to lift the League Cup following a dramatic final victory over league champions AFC Flixton.


MANCHESTER MACCABI 1st 2 AFC FLIXTON 2 AET (Maccabi won 4-2 on penalties)

Manchester Maccabi held their nerve to lift the League Cup following a dramatic final victory over league champions AFC Flixton.

On a lovely sunny evening in Manchester, the stage was set and the crowds were ready for the season finale. With no love lost between the two teams, this was sure to be a fascinating encounter between two of Manchester’s premier clubs.


Flixton knew they had to start quickly in order to put Sunday’s Peter Morrison Trophy defeat behind them however, it was Maccabi who first took the initiative. Maccabi’s high pressing and fast tempo proved rather difficult for Flixton to deal with and it only took 15 minutes for the initial breakthrough.

A well-executed corner by Josh Lewis caused havoc in the Flixton box, giving David Herman the opportunity to smash home a flying volley from six yards.

Maccabi knew that they would have to stay strong, with Adam Stevens spearheading the Flixton attack and they stood firm until the stroke of half-time when Ashley Reece tucked the ball home tidily, bringing the scores level at the break.

After a robust but fair challenge by Ashely Loofe, Flixton’s Adam Stevens had to be substituted at half time for striker James Rosenberg. This proved to be one of three turning points in the second half.

Maccabi were aware of Flixton’s threat from set-pieces and this was further justified when a Stephen Peck free-kick was met by Michael Sacks who headed the ball down for substitute James Rosenberg to score. Flixton took the lead for the first time in the game and with 25 minutes to go Maccabi knew they needed to dig deep and show character.

The time was ticking away, tackles were getting harder and tempers were starting to flair. Maccabi had already been issued a couple of yellow cards however, it was a Flixton player who saw red. After kicking through the back of Maccabi’s Louie Basso, Reece received a straight red card from the referee. Turning point no. 2.

The final turning point came when Maccabi’s Oli Grant was replaced by Max Rose. Down to 10 men and tiring, Flixton struggled to cope with the fresh Rose who was the instigator for the equaliser. After holding off the Flixton defenders, Rose was able to pick out on coming winger Sam Van-Gelder who took one touch to compose himself and one touch to finish past the on rushing Garman.

Extra-time was upon us and both managers knew that fitness would be key. Maccabi still had another gear and it was clear their fitness sessions with coach, Scott McGarvey were paying off. The next 30 minutes provided Maccabi with Daniel Taylor coming close twice and Rose grazing the cross bar.

Despite Maccabi’s constant pressure, Flixton still managed to create an opportunity and Phil Pole pulled off a miraculous save at point-blank range to keep the scores level.

The full-time whistle eventually came and penalties would decide where the cup would be going. The penalties unfolded as follows:


Flixton - Adam Gilman - SCORED
Maccabi - Ashley Loofe - SCORED
Flixton - Michael Sacks - SCORED
Maccabi - Louie Basso - SCORED
Flixton - Yoni Green - MISS (over)
Maccabi - Josh Lewis - SCORED
Flixton - Stephen Peck - MISS (saved)
Maccabi - Sam Van-Gelder - SCORED


After a fantastically well supported game of football Maccabi came out victorious and the Manchester Accountants League Handicup will be heading to the Brooklands trophy cabinet.

Maccabi manager Martin Simons said: "It's a successful end to a most enjoyable season for us. It’s been a while since we won some silverware, so it’s nice to end the season on a high.

"Credit must go to the squad for their team spirit and work rate through the whole 120 minutes."

Flixton joint-manager Tony Rosenberg commented: "We had the game in the bag at 2-1, but the turning point was a spectacular save from Michael Sacks. Then our centre forward did something inexplicable for which he was correctly sent off. That was the turning point.

"Overall I felt Maccabi deserved to win. We'll learn from this and we'll have to go again.

"They're a fantastic bunch of lads and Stuart Delmonte and I couldn't be prouder of them."

MACCABI: Pole, Maynard, Jackson, Foster, A. Loofe, Hatton, Lewis, Basso, Herman, Van-Gelder, Grant. Subs: B. Loofe, Rose, Silvester, Gellman, Taylor

Scorers: Herman, Van-Gelder

FLIXTON: Garman, Sacks (capt), Tyer, Peck, Gilman, Saeed, Stevens, Reece, Jordan, Paul, Rob. Subs: Green, Wilson, Tauber, J. Rosenberg, A. Rosenberg

Scorers: Ashley Reece, James Rosenberg

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