Jamie Cole admits that he faces a major selection headache after his patchwork JC MSFL Rep team advanced to the final of the London Inter-League Cup.
Goals from Ben Ellis and Danny Daggers clinched a 2-0 win over the North London and South Herts League side at Brimsdown Rovers as a depleted Maccabi League followed up their opening victory over the Turkish Federation League in style .
Devoid of the likes of Paul Hakim, Adam Stolerman and Daniel Stanton, Maccabi progressed thanks to graft rather than skill, and a little luck - as they survived an early onslaught.
"We've shown a hell of a lot of endeavour and good organisation out there," Cole said. "I'm very proud as it's the first time we've reached the final in a few years.
"We rode our luck early on but then came the sting when Ellis scored," said Cole, in his first campaign as the Rep team manager.
Admitting that he is faced with having to disappoint seven or eight players, who will not even be in his 16 for the final, Cole said: "I'll pick the unit which can go out and play the system that will win the game, not necessarily the best 11 players."
Deploying a five-man midfield, Cole adopted a cautious approach, putting eight men behind the ball for much of the game. The spine of the side, featuring, Danny Berliner, Adam Hakimi, Paul Lenchner and the excellent Alex Levack, held the team together, as the Maccabi's' superior teamwork and work-rate kept the opposition at bay.
It might have been a different story had their opponents, who included a former Watford trainee on the left-wing, taken their chances, but three excellent saves by Berliner kept Maccabi on terms.
Instead goals either side of the break from Ellis, after a Levack inswinging corner was volleyed back across by Lenchner for a simple tap-in, and a wondrous 35-yard half-volley from Daggers which hit the top of the net, made for a comfortable end to a game which the Reps only needed to draw to advance.
The London & Kent Border League stands in the way of Maccabi's second Inter-League success. The final will held at Brimsdown Rovers FC on May 13.
JC MSFL: Danny Berliner, Russell Leiter, Adam Hakimi, Paul Lenchner, Alex Taylor, Ben Ellis, Alex Levack (capt), Danny Daggers (sub: Andy Glynne 70), Matt Sofier, Rob Lerner (sub: Jake Gottlieb, 46), Daryl Phillips (sub: Richard Salmon 80)