HENRY SWERNER TROPHY FINAL
MACCABI LONDON LIONS A 2 SCRABBLE 0
Lions came into the game as strong favourites, having dispatched Brady Maccabi A and Chigwell Athletic in previous rounds. And although Scrabble’s league record has given their fans little to shout about, they pulled off the shock of the season in beating league leaders North London Raiders to reach the final.
And their resilience showed as time after time, Lions were thwarted by Scrabble’s back-line, ably marshalled by Nigel Goldthorpe.
After a first half notable only for its lack of clear-cut chances, the goalless stalemate resumed in a similar fashion after the break, being threatened only by Lions’ Gideon Barnett, who got a bad bounce and skied his close-range effort over the bar when a breakthrough seemed inevitable.
With just 15 minutes remaining, and with thoughts starting to turn towards the possibility of the tie being decided by a penalty shoot-out, the decisive moment arrived, when Lions’ striker Hadley Silver tussled with Scrabble defender Serge Cowan as they chased after a through-ball. Silver wrestled Cowan to the ground as they competed for possession, and despite Scrabble’s appeals for the striker to be red-carded for his aggression, referee Martin Fox brandished only a yellow.
Silver’s reprieve was to prove crucial nine minutes later, when Danny Schindler’s long-range shot hit the Scrabble post, only to bounce out to a Lions attacker, whose close-range shot was brilliantly parried by Scrabble ‘keeper Elliot Gordon. But he could only redirect it into the path of the incoming Silver who headed firmly into the net to give Lions the lead with just six minutes remaining.
Still Scrabble tried to press forward, in search of an equaliser, but four minutes later their fate was sealed as Lions’ Darren Dryer took advantage of their renewed attacking intent, and arrowed in a shot after a break down the right wing, to make it 2-0.
In the end, Scrabble may count themselves slightly unlucky, but despite their plucky performance, the result was probably a fair reflection.
Guests of Honour Lord Kestenbaum and Gary Swerner joined Masters League chairman Stuart Lustigman to present the trophies, including the Peter Moss Man-of-the-Match award, which went to Lions’ Danny Geey.
Maccabi London Lions A: Michael Abraham, Gideon Barnett, Simon Barr, Adam Brand, Darren Dryer, Arthur Duke, Dan Geey, Ory Halperin, Craig Henry, David Kyte, Pete Lazard, Bradley Lazarus, Paul Lenchner, Alex Levack, Max Radford, Danny Schindler, Hadley Silver
Scrabble: Elliot Gordon, James Kaye, Nigel Goldthorpe, Andy Miller, Serge Cowan, Dan Ruckin, Steven Moss, Jon Yantin, Lee Levenson, Paul Stein, Andrew Binstock, Jonny Summerfield, Ben Dale, Adam Barton, Jeremy Kornhauser, Stefan Simons, Tim Levene
North London Raiders have been confirmed as champions of MMFL League Division One for the second consecutive year.
Raiders’ Daniel Levy commented: “We're delighted that we won the league after a really good season. The team have done themselves proud and deserved it over the course of the season. Today was a tough game but we battled well and took our chances. Thanks to the league for all their efforts, year in, year out.”