Pinhas powers Finchley City into Anekstein semis

A late winner from Alon Pinhas saw Finchley City reach the last four of the League Cup for the first time after edging a five-goal thriller against first division rivals Scrabble FC.




Jono Gaon and Sam Leader also registered as Finchley beat Scrabble for the second time this season.

This was a thrilling cup tie played between two committed sides with different styles.Scrabble with their passing and neat build-up play, and the more direct style of Finchley playing quick long balls through to their three fast front men.

Finchley came out the blocks quickly and could have gone a couple of goals up. The link-up play between their front three, especially Oli Sade and Jono Gaon, was a joy to watch.

The visitors went into the half-time break a goal to the good via Gaon. The second half was always going to be a classic and with the game nicely poised Scrabble began the half the stronger and on 50 minutes Josh Bharier making a mazy run into the penalty box was brought down before he could finish and referee Andy Myerson had no hesitation in awarding a penalty to the home side.

Before Josh Bharier stepped up to take the penalty, the Finchley coaching staff, (having analysed recent JC video highlights of Scrabble's performances) notified  goalkeeper Yossi Lanning that he tends to place his penalties to the keeper's left. When the ball was struck, Lanning knew where to dive and pulled off a heroic double-save and the onrushing Scrabble forwards who could not force the ball over the line

The momentum was then with Finchley and when Sade jinked past a couple of defenders and crossed to Sam Leader to finish, there was only going to be one winner.

Scrabble pulled one back via a looping corner from Adam Waters which curled into the top corner of the net to set up a tense finish, but Pinhas was able to keep his composure in the final few minutes to put the game out of reach.

For the last 10 minutes and with Scrabble pushing defenders forward to try and save the game their efforts were rewarded three minutes from time when centre back Brandon Sassoon slid the ball over the keeper to make it 2-3.

Wave on wave of Scrabble attacks followed in stoppage time but Finchley stood firm to confirm their place in the hat for the semi-final draw in their first season in the league.

Proud Finchley boss Joel Holder told JC Sport: "For the past few months, I have congratulated the collective effort of the squad.

"We are a brand new team that is improving every week. To be in the semi-final of a competition in our first season is a testament to the quality of the players we have throughout the squad.

"The boys really deserve a lot of credit and are buzzing to know they are now one game away from a final at Wingate."

Scrabble manager Ray Abrahams told JC Sport: "We came into this game with six regulars missing from the side and our third choice keeper who had a fantastic game between the sticks and pulled off some great saves.

"I'm so proud of the way we battled for 90 minutes without a sub to bring on. I thought that we showed today a lot of the qualities that have taken us to where we are since we returned to the league.

"Obviously it's a huge disappointment to be out of the competition at this late stage, but it's been nice to have a cup run and now we have to turn our attention to the more important job of trying to get promoted to the Premier Division and doing our best to get into the top two.

"Good luck to Finchley City for the rest of the competition.I hope they go all the way.They are a great bunch of lads who like ourselves play the game the right way and today they defended well against us and were more clinical in the final third.

"I just hope we get a few more players back for next week and we can get back to winning ways.

"Promotion has always been our number one priority this season and we have to now target maximum points from our remaining games as we try to go up."

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