North London Raiders Masters player-manager Dan Levy hopes they can make up for the disappointment of not retaining their league title, by winning the MGBSFL/Masters Invitational Cup.
Winning Sunday’s semi-final against SPEC after prevailing in a 16-penalty shoot-out, he said: “It’s important for us [to win this Cup] as we’re extremely disappointed not to defend our league title. This is our last chance of silverware so we are now looking forward to the final.”
Goals from Tony Plaskow and Ashely Davidson took them to spot kicks, after goals from Elliot Wallis and Zack Neiman had put SPEC 2-1 up. The shoot-out saw Adam Speck, Dave Lusman, Richard Sacks, Richard Fogelman, Gavin Sherman, James Cartmell, Ashley Davidson and Dan Hodes all convert, before Brian Rubinstein saved Dan Cohen’s effort to seal an 8-7 win.
Speaking about his side’s display, Levy said: “I’m delighted with how we played. We were strong as a defensive unit against quicker fitter players and showed how good technically we are when we were going forward. We had the better chances through the game but a draw was a fair result. The two teams were so close that it took 16 penalties to separate us!”
Looking ahead to the final, he said: “I think it will be a very similar game to this one, against a faster younger side. We have been beset by injuries and unavailability all season so all being well we will get a strong team out and put in a good showing like we did today.”
Marc Hecht, Ashley Burns, Neiman, player-manager Ricky Lawrence, Alex Hershman, Darren Lawrence and Wallis all converted for SPEC, before Dan Cohen saw his effort saved. Lawrence said: “We were poor today. We were massively lacking in the fitness department and we didn’t keep the ball well at all. Overall, I think we deserved to lose, not one of our players moaned about the final outcome. Raiders were fitter and used the ball far better. We wish them good luck in the final.”
Still with the possibility of securing promotion, if FC Team B fail to win their last league game against Redbridge B next week, he says: “It’s been a tremendous season, now though it’s just the difference between glory or close but no cigar. We didn’t set ourselves the target of promotion at the beginning of the season and we started off so poorly, but we put a couple of great runs together and if Redbridge can do us a huge favour it would be an incredible achievement.”