PETER MORRISON TROPHY (SOUTHERN SECTION) ROUND ONE
REDBRIDGE JC B 0 SHIRLEY PARK 4
Two goals from man of the match Nicky Plotnek, including a stunning goal-of-the-season contender inspired Shirley Park to one of the shocks of the day as they destroyed Division One high-flyers Redbridge B at Fairlop.
Missing their top marksman Saul Conway, the Bushell brothers and Sammy Gold, Park went into this fixture with a depleted squad and we knew we had to put in a full 90 per cent if they were to dump Redbridge out of the cup and that they did.
As expected, Redbridge started brightly with a shot straight from the kick off which screamaed past the post. After that it was all Park life.
This solid back-line has given the forward the players the opportunity to get the ball down and play. The Jewish Makele, David Lusman has made the defensive midfielder role his own. This role can often go unnoticed,
but is invaluable to Shirley Park. His tiny malteser head rising above what can only be described as giants compared to Lusman more often than not to win the header.
The game was as good as over by half time as the visitors marched into a 3-0 lead. The first goal game from a free kick just inside the Redbridge half. Plotnek curled a sweet left-footed cross from the right hand side of the field which was almost impossible to defend. There was little the Redbridge defence could do, and the ball bounced into the back of the net.
With most of the possession now deep into the Redbridge half, another long throw-in from Dan Mitman was only half cleared to 10 yards outside the edge of the box. The on-rushing Plotnek release a 30-yard Rooney-esque thunderbolt volley bang in the top corner. It was still on its way up when it hit the roof of the net. Even if the keeper had got a hand to it, it would have taken his hand straight off.
This was the wake-up call that Redbridge needed. They now started to raise their game to try and match the silky skills of Shirley Park, and started to create a few half chances. However Simon Shelley, who did not stop running for 90 minutes, and even ran back to his car after the game was too much to handle in the Redbridge box. He took a week off last week, he says "to work on his guns", and as a result his superior strength won Shirley park a penalty.
There was never any doubt who was going to step up and take the penalty (especially as he has been know to cry if someone else gets to take it) - Stefan Benfredj. For 15 years in the MSFL his eyes have been sending Jewish keepers the wrong way. Stefan, cool as a cucumber strolled up and slotted the ball into the bottom the corner.
Redbridge improved in the second half and test Dan Oade inbetween the sticks with a few tame shots from range but it just was not gonna be their day as ultimately, they could not get past the Shirley back line.
With Shirley Park 3-0 up it was time to introduce Mr. Adam Roundhouse to the scene, to lock up shop. With Roundhouse now in the back four, there was almost no chance Redbridge would break the Shirley Park back line.
Dan Beckwith was causing all kinds of problems for Redbridge now down the left-hand side. After several promising runs, he found himself inside the Redbridge box. Full of confidence he decided to go for an audacious chip, which was just gathered by the keeper.
In the closing minutes of the game, Redhouse played a sweet one-two with Gideon 'thumb' Gold on the wing and after beating a few of the players for pace. Gold coolly slotted home to make it 4-0 and Redbridge were well and truly Park-lifed on our return to Gladstone Park for the first time this season.
Shirley Park manager Dave Lusman told JC Sport: "Overall, it was a fair display from the lads, although definitely not our best performance of the season which is encouraging compared with the football and results we’ve racked up away from home.
"But a win is a win and we’re pleased we’re through to the next round of the cup.
Park hope their lads were not too burnt up after the game after witnessing them get some serious hairdryer treatment from their gaffer.
Lusman added: "We wish Redbridge well in their push for promotion this season. Park life!"
Goal-scorer Gideon Gold said: "Rebridge clearly have some quality players, but it was just not their day today. Shirley Park are now starting to build a quality squad with strength in depth, and are also looking forward to our top-scorer Saul Conway returning from a well deserved break next week. I would say we missed Mr Lee Oscar Bushell, but we didn't."