Oakwood kept alive their treble hopes when they booked their place in the final of the Peter Morrison Cup with a thrilling 2-1 win over Manchester Maccabi.
In a dramatic tie that saw both sides reduced to ten men, two second-half penalties in the space of five minutes from Josh Cuby eventually saw the Maccabi Southern League Premier Division champions book a final date against North London Raiders A.
Os manager Jake Finestein said: “It was a tough game. Manchester Maccabi started really well and edged the first half. We knew if we stayed in the game, we’d get chances and going down to ten men only stirred us on more.
“We’ve shown all season, we don’t give up. This is the third time we’ve gone down to ten men and gone on to win the game.”
Jamie Hatton had volleyed the Mancunians ahead and they seemed well on their way to victory when Oakwood saw their goalkeeper Jordan Sharifian sent off for handling the ball outside the area.
However, despite the numerical disadvantage, Oakwood drew level from the penalty spot, before Hatton was given his marching orders having been deemed to have deliberately handled the ball on the goal line. Oakwood converted the resulting penalty, which proved to be the winner.
Finestein felt his side deserved the win overall. He said: “We’ve emphasised the importance of fitness all season and that was the real difference today.”
Looking ahead to the final against Raiders, he said: “It will be tough and a big test. They’re a good side with some dangerous players. We’ve played them a few times already and every game has been difficult. Anything can happen in a final. It would mean a lot to retain the Peter Morrison — not many teams can say they have won the competition two years running.”
Manchester Maccabi assistant manager Andrew Hatton said: “It was a game of two halves. We should have won the game in the first half and were very good value for a 1-0 half-time lead. They shuffled things around in the second half and started to dominate the play without creating too many chances, before they went on to score the two penalties.
“We’re very disappointed to miss out on a final, some late withdrawals from the squad leaving us unable to take advantage of a great start and first-half performance. We wish Oakwood good luck in the final.”
In the Maccabi Masters League, Scrabble saw their double hopes ended as they were beaten 2-0 by Lions in a pulsating League Cup final.
Lions had the best chances of a goalless first half through Adam Kaye and Bradley Lazarus.
Scrabble began to exert their pressure after the break, but Lions opened the scoring on the counter-attack, Gideon Barnett neatly sliding a shot into the bottom corner.
Lloyd Becker headed onto the bar as Scrabble went in search of an equaliser, but Lions made the game safe ten minutes from time when Danny Sugarman crossed from the left and, with the Scrabble goalkeeper in two minds, Michael Abrahams prodded home. Lions Manager Arthur Duke said: “It was a very tight game played in great spirit by both teams. After being beaten fairly convincingly by them twice in the league, we knew we would have to play to the best of our ability to stand a chance of beating them and thankfully we were able to do so with a tremendous team effort, with everyone playing their part.”
Scrabble Manager Jon Yantin said: “What was a very balanced game with end-to-end action was heading for a draw but ultimately big-game experience counts. Lions have an excellent, experienced front line with quality players who delivered. We’ve had a cracking season in the league, which we’re proud of, but up against our ‘friendly rivals’ we just weren’t good enough.”
In the League, St John’s Wood Tigers still hope to secure a top-three finish after five goals from Andrew Brummer helped them to an emphatic 8-1 win at Marshside. Ilan Cohen, Neville Roach and Ashley Marks scored the other three goals.
The final match in what was the 75th year of the Manchester Jewish Soccer League saw Reich complete a league and cup treble.
Taking on Broughton Park Rangers in the final of the Action Against Cancer Cup, a hat-trick from Menny Rose inspired them to a 6-2 win. Josh Mechlovitz and Rose fired Reich into an early two-goal lead, before Jamie Greene halved the deficit from the penalty spot. However, Rose’s second strike of the game gave the league champions some breathing space going into the break.
Minutes after the restart, Mick Gastwirth pulled another goal back for Rangers, but Reich stepped up their game and piled on the pressure scoring three goals in quick succession. Eli Moore claimed his first senior goal, Rose completed his hat-trick, before Mechlovitz bagged his second to complete the scoring.
Following the game, Greene was presented with the Steve Blackstone Trophy — given to the MJSL’s top goalscorer — by Manchester FA’s Joe Mathias.
League chairman Paul Rose ended the morning by thanking everyone who had contributed to the League from 1948 to the present day, before Reich lifted their latest piece of silverware to close what may be the final season of the MJSL.