CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP ROUND TWO
MACCABI LONDON LIONS WHITE 11 FAITHFOLD A 0
Cyril Anekstein cup holders Lions White faced division 1 league leaders Faithfold in the second round of the competition. On was a crisp pitch at Rowley Lane, Lions boss James Gershfield was bolstered by the return of a number of senior players including; Alex Taylor, Max Hassell, Jamie Jackson and Connor Perl – 3 of which returned from suspension. Poor availability had left Gershfield’s squad depleted in recent weeks, impacting results in the league, so he knew how a strong performance in the cup could be the perfect catalyst to help kickstart their season.
Lions lined up with a mix of experienced and young players, with both Jack Mattey and Hammerton looking lively in the attacking third early on – the latter opening up the scoring with a rebound off the cross bar from a trademark Perl free-kick, executed from some 25 yards out.
Lions dominated possession, seeing plenty of the ball in Faithfold’s defensive third. However, against the run of play, a rare attack from the away side saw their front man latch onto the end of a through ball into the Lions box when the onrushing Jordan Sharifian appeared to smother the ball cleanly, the referee awarded a dubious penalty to the visitors. However, their lifeline didn’t last long, as Lions’ Israeli keeper kept his 100 per cent penalty record, saving a spot-kick for the second time this season.
Lions reacted well, knowing it was time to up a gear and before half-time both Hammerton and the impressive Levin finished well to put Lions 3-0 up at the break.
Although very much in control, Gershfield knew his side had plenty more to offer and his message was clear – to play the visitors off the park. Over the next 45 minutes Lions quite literally mauled their opponents. Tyler Smith and Sam Arghebant kept possession, knocking the ball around midfield at pace, as James Gold threatened his marker every time he surged forward down the left.
The goals kept coming, as Hamerton completed his hat-trick with a fine strike. However he wasn’t the only one going home with the match ball…further strikes from Perl, including a perfectly struck first time volley as well as some slick finishing saw him complete his treble.
Then Levin really turned it on, scoring from an acute angle after good link-up play with Mattey. Will Beresford got himself onto the scoresheet, having played a neat one-two with Perl, he feinted with his left foot sending both his marker and the goalkeeper to the floor, before placing the ball home with his right.
Josh Weiner added to the rout with a tidy finish, followed by the imperious Levin who completed a much deserved hat-trick.
Lions boss James Gershfield was quick to praise goalkeeper Jordan Sharifian for a crucial penalty save and Scotsman Jamie Jackson for bossing the midfield.
Gershfield told JC Sport: "It’s amazing what you can achieve with a full squad and no-one being sent off. It’s a first for us this season.
"We were brilliant all round today and our attacking play was sensational and a pleasure to watch.
"It was great for Sam Hammerton to score a hat-trick on his debut and at only 17 years old, he’s showing signs of becoming a great player as too is Kiki Levin who also at the age of 17 has now scored seven goals in his first season at men’s level."
Faithfold player-manager Avi Markiewicz told JC Sport: "Not really sure what to say. Unfortunately for us we just had too many players unavailable. The commitment of some was more than just questionable. There are things going on in people's lives that are unavoidable but Sunday morning football should be a priority over anything else other than that and today too many of my players chose things that were avoidable.
"We had about five or so debutants, had to call up a couple from the B team and 5 players playing out of position. Lions had some good young players, Akiva Levine looking excellent but they were certainly no better than Redbridge A maybe not even B and with our full team I have no doubt who would have come out on top.
"At 1-0 down we had a penalty and missed it and from there Lions kicked on and we didn't. It's a shame as we had a really good cup run last year and would have liked to go one further this year, but now we go on to concentrate on the league with a huge game next week against Blancos."
LIONS: Jordan Sharifian, Sam Arghebant, Will Beresford, James Gold, Sam Hamerton, Max Hassell, Jamie Jackson, Kiki Levin, Jack Mattey, Michael Perkins, Josh Weiner. Subs: Tyler Smith
SCORERS: Hammerton 3, Perl 3, Levin 3, Weiner, Beresford
FAITHFOLD: Ben Gabay, Avi Garson, Joseph Gordon, MB LEWIS, David Leiwy, Jonny Leiwy, Aaron Luftig, Avi Markiewicz, Gavriel lewis, ben Shirbini. Sub: Zalmy Cohen