MANCHESTER COUNTY CUP SEMI-FINAL
MANCHESTER MACCABI 1st 2 VULCAN FC 1
When Maccabi started their journey in this competition back in September, little did they expect to be standing on the brink of history in March.
With a sense of excitement in the air, Brooklands would be the venue for this historic morning.
Maccabi’s visitors were Vulcan FC from the Tameside League, a league that Maccabi are no strangers to. Knowing their own strengths, the game-plan was simple, out-run the opposition and don’t get involved with the referee - a plan which paid dividends later on.
A competition that started with over 120 teams and now we’re in the final. Just let that sink in for a moment!
Maccabi were quickest off the mark with chances being created from a fluid front three of Sam Hatton, Adam Stevens and Josh Lewis. Hatton had the first chance. After a well-timed through ball from Adam Gillman, Hatton was through on goal only for the Vulcan keeper to save.
The early pressure from Maccabi eventually worked as a Louie Basso free-kick was saved only for Gillman to pounce and square the ball for Stevens to slot home.
The second goal came shortly after, Basso picked the ball up inside the opposition half and delivered a pinpoint cross for the on rushing Josh Lewis to meet and loop his header over the Vulcan FC keeper.
With Maccabi holding a strong advantage going into half time, manager Scott McGarvey reminded the boys that the next goal was key and not to lose concentration.
Maccabi continued to control the game and create chances however that elusive third goal just wouldn’t come.
Vulcan also pressed Maccabi hard as the half went on however, Maccabi’s defence lead by Mark Bell and Adam Jackson stood strong.
With 15 minutes to go, Vulcan were feeling the pressure and after an altercation at a corner, followed by confrontational gestures to the referee, they got a man sent off. Surely Maccabi were over the line now?
To Vulcan’s credit, they continued to press and in the last minute of the game a cross into the box caught keeper Phil Pole out of position as it curled into the far corner. This was merely a consolation as the fulltime whistle blew straight from kick off.
Signs of jubilation were met with a great sense of achievement from all the players and supports on what was a historic moment for the club and Jewish football.
Maccabi manager Scott McGarvey said: "I told the boys that these opportunities don’t come around often. My assistant, Tony Gellman, has been involved in Maccabi now for around 30 years and has never witnessed an achievement like this.
"To grab the opportunity like they have and to reach the final is truly a credit to the whole team.
"A competition that started with over 120 teams and now we’re in the final. Just let that sink in for a moment!"
The County Cup final is scheduled to be played on April 19 at Trafford FC’s Shaw View.
MACCABI: Pole, Foster, Jackson (capt), Bell, Herman, Stevens, Gillman, Gellman, Basso, Lewis, Hatton, Grant, Rose
Scorers: Stevens, Lewis