MMFL/MGBSFL INVITATION TROPHY
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS MASTERS
NLR Masters came into Sunday’s final looking for their second piece of silverware after securing the Maccabi Masters League title, whilst Raiders C were looking for their first trophy of the season under Sam Rose’s stewardship.
The game’s first talking point took place in the opening minutes of the game as Liam Stein latched on to an opportunity with the goal gaping from just outside the penalty box to score for Raiders C as the goalkeeper had looked to clear up a prior opportunity.
The goal seemed to stun the Masters and Raiders found reward in a positive start. The Master’ gathered themselves however and the injury to Tony Plaskow did nothing to dampen their endeavour as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser going close on a number of occasions with strong set-piece play, so often the Achilles heel of this young Raiders side.
The Masters continued to utilise the flanks, which Rose had briefed his team on pre-match, and Callum Stein had to remain strong on the left to negate the threat posed by the Masters as they poured forward in the closing stages of the half.
Raiders C held firm to half-time though, in no small part down to a fantastic goalkeeping display from Joel Macador who saved from point-blank range on numerous occasions.
The second half started in much the same vain as the first with the Masters on the front foot, but it was again the C team that took their opportunity early on with Josh Green pouncing on an opportunity from close range to take the score to 2-0.
The midfield trio of Alex Sherr, captain Rob Samuelson and Eyal Samovich continued to hold firm and protect the defence as the Masters switched formation to go in search of goals.
The introduction of substitute Josh Goldstein for the C’s though brought a special moment with a fantastic strike from outside the box to take the score to 3-0 and seemingly out of reach for the Masters.
As the C’s began to feel more comfortable the Masters were rewarded for their endeavour with two goals in the space of five minutes via Gideon Gold and Dan Hodes led to a nervy last 20 minutes all round as the tension at Silver Jubilee Park became palpable.
C-team manager Sam Rose was barking out instructions to his team as he refreshed the flanks with new personnel as his players looked to hold out. Wave after wave of attack and save after save from Macador repelled the Masters attack with Raiders C giving away numerous set pieces in the process.
Nonetheless Raiders C held out for a famous win with the relief on manager Rose’s face plain for all to see alongside the delight of seeing stand in captain for the day Rob Samuelson lift the Invitational Trophy.
Rose told JC Sport: “I enjoy football and managing this team, but I wouldn’t want to relive those last 20 minutes.
"The Maste’s gave us a great game and we had to be at our absolute best to get anything out of the game both from an attacking and defensive point of view.
"The boys can be rightly proud of their achievements in the latter half of the season and we’ll look to use this as a springboard for a better assault on the league next season.”