The treble-seekers defeated Oakwood A 2-1 in a closely-fought encounter at Wingate & Finchley on Sunday afternoon, the win being sealed by a late David Dinkin penalty.

Richman said: “We’re absolutely elated to have retained the cup. It wasn’t the greatest cup final, it was actually quite a scrappy affair, but in the end we just had that bit of quality to get us over the line.”

Believing his team were the better side in the first half, they went into the break leading thanks to Ricky Engleman’s strike, though Oakwood, who started the second half brighter were back on level terms through their top goalscorer Dave Woolman.

However, as the game seemed to be heading towards extra time, Liron Mannie was brought down when clean through on goal, with Dinkin stepping up to dispatch the spot kick.
Richman said: “I think we probably shaded the first half, but Oakwood were much the stronger in the second half until cramp caught up with their players in the final fifteen minutes.

“Oakwood are a great side and it was a one hell of a tough game. They’ll be back and will no doubt grab some silverware in the next few years as they have a super talented squad.”

And looking ahead to the rest of the season, which sees them one victory away from retaining the Premier Division title, while also being in the final of the Peter Morrison Trophy, he added: “For us, part one is done. Our next aim is to gain the three points needed to retain the league title. We’ll be aiming to do that at the earliest opportunity.”

Oakwood joint-manager Ric Blank believed his side didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. He said: “There was absolutely nothing between the two sides. We didn’t deserve to lose – but ultimately we ran out of steam. We’d had so many injuries, so many players without football this year, we were walking wounded and I think ultimately that was what cost us.

“As I said to the boys before the game, ‘deserve has nothing to do with it’. It’s football. But the winning goal came from a clear offside that only the linesman failed to spot. This ultimately was the difference between a possible victory and a defeat.”

Despite their season now being over in terms of winning silverware, he is nevertheless delighted with his side’s performances since September, saying: “We’ve had a tremendous season. We’ve only lost two games in the league – which is a staggering improvement from the boys. We’ve played some scintillating football too. We beat Hendon five nil at their place where they hadn’t lost for years and we were one second away from beating raiders at their place. Only a penalty cost us on Sunday. It shows what a good side we are. And we’re improving. When I add Adam Levine and Kyle Bentwood back into that side next season there will be no stopping us.”

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