North London Raiders C manager Sam Rose hopes Sunday’s dramatic 3-2 win, which saw them clinch the season’s final piece of silverware, can propel them to future success next year.
MMFL/MGBSFL Invitational Trophy Final:
North London Raiders Masters 2 North LOndon Raiders C 3
Sunday, 21 May, 2017
Taking on their own Masters side in the final of the MMFL/MGBSFL Invitational Trophy, goals from Liam Stein, Josh Green and Josh Goldstein saw them take a seemingly commanding 3-0 lead. However, the Masters produced a spirited comeback, Gideon Gold and Daniel Hodes scoring two goals in five minutes to set up a grandstand finish, but Rose’s side held out to claim the win.
Delighted with the win, Rose said: “This was exactly what we were hoping for. I said this was the start of laying down the foundations for next season and I still believe that that is what today represented. I’m incredibly proud of the team. The effort and tenacity they’ve shown since the turn of the year has been rewarded by winning this competition.
“The players can take a huge amount of confidence in their performances over the second half of the season and carry that spirit and everything they’ve learnt into next. Whilst silverware is great our priority next season will be an improved league performance first and foremost as we look to stamp our authority on the division in September.”
Admitting they weren’t at their best, he said: “We struggled at times as the game ebbed and flowed towards the latter stages of the second half, but overall we showed good defensive solidity, Joel Macador put in a great performance in goal and we took our chances when they fell to us. I also thought they gave us a really tough game, they utilised the flanks as we knew they would and they were unlucky at certain moments in the game – we had to fight for the victory.”
Believing they deserved their victory, even if their lead looked far from secure after they saw their lead pulled back to 3-2, he said: “I didn’t fear the worst when we were pegged back as I know the mental strength of this team. We spoke in the dressing room beforehand that if things didn’t quite go our way in the match then we remember the basics and we stick to them. Once we regrouped at 3-2, I felt confident we could defend the result out or catch them on the break.
“Yes I felt we deserved the victory, we took our chances and we’ve worked hard in our attempts to be a solid defensive unit. Every man played their part today in the victory.”
Gracious in defeat, Masters joint-manager Elan Ovits said: “I would like to congratulate them on their well-deserved win.
“Having been three goals down in the second half with 30 minutes to go, my team made a gallant effort to get back into the game with two quick and well-taken goals, but unfortunately, we just couldn’t find the equaliser due to some excellent goalkeeping.”
Preferring to look back on what he called a ‘fantastic season’ for his side, he said: “We played some incredible football, winning the league for the third time in the past four seasons, and got through to another cup final.”
Also singing the virtues of Masters football, and hoping to encourage players to take part in it, he added: “I’d also like to send out a message to those guys who stopped playing 11-aside-football who are now 35 or will be 35 next season – give Masters football a go as the standard is good and the organisation and pitches are fantastic.
“Most of my Raiders team over the past few seasons have played at a high level and some will be joining me at July’s 20th Maccabiah games.”