PESACH CUPEngland Maccabi’s Rep Team were unable to retain the Pesach Cup as they suffered a penalty shoot-out defeat against the international Olim rep team.

Being staged in Netanya, the hosts had a strong squad, which has seen fierce competition for places, while the England side was a mixture of youth and experience, with London Lions and Berlin-bound U16 goalkeeper Reuben Rabstein between the posts.

A strong defence marshalled by Joel Barnett and Max Kyte and supported by Spec’s Rob Murray and 16-year-old left-back Dan Freedman were unfortunate to concede an early goal, scored by on loan striker Marco Lawrence who impressed in this fixture last year and signed a nine-month loan spell at the beginning of the season.

England Maccabi bounced back quickly and equalised through teenager Oscar Wagner after good work from the ever tanned Danny Daggers and skipper Michael Abrahams.

Taking confidence from the goal and good possession and with teenage Tommy Prais impressing in midfield having replaced the injured David Smouha, alongside Ricky Lawrence and Oli Donne, it wasn’t long before England Maccabi took the lead with a fine individual goal from Raiders’ David Dinkin. It looked to the large mass of spectators as if the trophy would be retained by the visitors with Ben Bazini keeping the Olim midfield quiet and the evergreen Brian Donne and Jack Wagner filling in defence equally well.

But with five minutes to go the Olim team equalised after great work from former Lions and Hendon star Motti Colman, which resulted in the match going to penalties. With every one of the first 10 scored, it went to sudden death and the Olim team triumphed.

As always the game was played with great spirit and comradely between the two teams and the match has become an eagerly awaited and permanent fixture for both teams.