North London Raiders Masters’ saw their treble dreams ended on Sunday morning as Chigwell Masters defeated them in a penalty shoot-out to clinch the MMFL/MSFL Invitational Cup.
MMFL/MSFL Invitational Cup Final:
North London Raiders Masters 1 Chigwell Athletic Masters 1 AET – (Chigwell won 4-2 on penalties)
Sunday, 14 June, 2015
Raiders went into the tie as slight favourites having already landed the Division One title and Henry Swerner Cup, and came into the game on the back of a 7-0 semi-final win over Faithfold.
However, in a thoroughly entertaining match, Chigwell took a first half lead through assistant manager Glenn Davis, when he converted Mark Conway’s cross, though Tony Plaskow deservedly drew the sides level after the break with an emphatic header.
The shoot-out saw Paul Lenchner, Davis, Hadley Silver and Conway all convert for Chigwell, while Daniel Sugarman saw his effort saved by Martin Leslie. Goalkeeper Mark Jacobs saved Raiders’ efforts from Danny Hodes and Darren Cohen, though he was beaten by Wayne Davidson and Adam Levene.
Player-manager Richard Slater felt his side just about deserved the win on the day, saying: “We were by far the better side in the first half and deserved our lead. Predictably our tempo dropped slightly in the second half and they scored a good equaliser. I freshened up our wide players on the hour which helped, but thought we deserved the win.”
Delighted with their first half performance, he said: “We were excellent, our shape and work rate were outstanding. The boys have been really up for this and determined to put things right after they beat us in the [Henry Swerner Cup] semi-final. We pressed them high forcing them to play quickly. We know after playing them now five times that they’re a very solid, organised team. We had to put a real shift in to win today and we’ll give them serious competition next season.”
And satisfied with their first season in Masters football, which has now ended with silverware, he added: “Before Christmas we were awful and had no consistency. So to be second bottom in February and finish the season runners-up, to reach a semi-final of one cup and win another, I’d say it’s been a steady first season in masters football.
“I said all along we have too much quality not to be seriously challengers. They’ll be much more from this squad next season and we are aiming to again push raiders all the way in every competition. I’m proud of the lads today, there were some awesome performances out there. Everyone contributed and we wanted it more which showed.”
Raiders’ player-manager Elan Ovits felt the better side on the say won, saying: “Over the 90 minutes I thought we created more chances and also had a controversial goal disallowed. However, Chigwell were excellent today, battled hard and deserved their victory.”
Reflecting back on the game, he said: “I thought Chigwell came flying out of the blocks and won a lot of second ball in central midfield. Whilst we thought we thought we had scored, we then conceded and lost the initiative.
“We then decided to go from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 formation which changed the game in our favour and scored a fantastic team goal in the second half. We were unlucky not to score a second and I also thought our defence was magnificent and kept Chigwell at bay.”
But despite the defeat, he was able to look back on a great season for his side. “It’s been an fantastic season for us”, he said. “To win the league back to back was amazing having scored more than three goals a game and conceding less than one a game.
“To win the league cup after three finals was relief and joy. Winning today’s cup final would have made history, but we just couldn’t be that greedy! We will be back next season with no doubt some new signings and hope that we will continue where we left off.”
In its second season, tournament sponsor and MMFL Committee Member, Jeremy Silverstone, said: “It’s a great way of providing continuity between men’s and veterans football and supporting the community through the generations and we will certainly be looking to continue to back it in future seasons.”
MGBSFL chairman David Woolf, who co-chaired the tournament with Stuart Lustigman, said: “This was a great advertisement for Jewish football: a terrific game for the neutral, rounding off what has been another excellent tournament. Lots of people have worked hard behind the scenes to ensure that we have the privilege to play in and watch games like these, and it’s great for the community.”
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS SQUAD:
Martin Leslie, Adam Levene, Adam Harvey, Dan Hodes, Darren Cohen, Tony Plaskow, Rob Cohen, David Fox, Richard Sacks, Elan Ovits, Gavin Hodes, Rik Harris, Braham Hockenberg, Andrew Wolfin, Jon Isaacs, Wayne Davidson
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC SQUAD:
Mark Jacobs, Jaimie Sinclair, Richard Jaye, Joel Berg, Daniel Castle, Glenn Davis, Russell Yershon, Steve Summers, Richard Slater, Robert Burgerman, Mark Conway, Marc Silver, Paul Lenchner, Jonathan Swead, Alex Levack, Daniel Sugarman, Paul Gold, Hadley Silver