Redbridge B player-manager Sam Rank says he’s confident his side can win the MGBSFL/Masters Invitational Cup.
Rank saw his players defeat Scrabble Masters 5-2 on Sunday morning, and says, fired up for the 5 June final, his players can see off NL Raiders Masters.
He said: “The boys will be fired up for final, and I’m confident our fitness, technique and passion will bring the trophy home.”
Redbridge’s place in the final never looked in any real doubt, and they went ahead when Brad Gayer’s delicious cross was stabbed home by centre-back Dan Andrews. They doubled their lead when Daniel Bean played a one-two with Craig Sandford which saw him race clean through on goal, where he slotted the ball home.
Alex Chernoff’s deflected cross all but wrapped the game up, and although Raiders pulled one back soon after, a thumping near post header from Ben Chernoff, from another excellent Gayer delivery made it 4-1. Raiders Masters pulled another goal back, before Sandford rounded off the scoring in the final minute.
Reflecting back on the performance, Rank said: “I felt it was a very workmanlike performance. We were on top for the majority of the first half, the key point being how we won the first and second balls, while not giving them any time to settle. I still feel there’s room for improvement as we are a very talented side, and for the final I hope we can go the extra gear.
“I think the final scoreline was fair overall, but there could have been a few more goals for us. The main difference between the sides was fitness, which was obviously due to the age differences and winning the first and second balls. Scrabble produce a spirited performance, but it was always going to be very difficult for them, against a fit, hungry and committed Redbridge side.”
Now up against another Masters side – the Raiders – in the final, he said: “After the semi-final win, the big point I made to the players was that we shouldn’t take them lightly. They’ve defeated a team who finished second/third in Division One, and deserve a huge amount of respect for their semi-final victory.
“However, what I’d say is there isn’t a more committed team in Jewish football at the moment. If they could train every day of the week they would, they love playing the game and it’s a great pleasure to manage the boys when you have a team who are passionate as I am about Jewish football, especially in the current decline of grass roots football.”
One more game to come before the final is their final league game of the season against FC Team B – who need to win to secure promotion themselves. He said: “I feel very strongly that with the current state of Jewish football, teams shouldn’t be trying to win games in the classroom and the love of playing the game should be the winner.
“This means Sunday’s game will be a real firecracker, with Redbridge boys very fired up to stop them securing, and also to show playing football matches is how you win games.
“We have shown signs of a real team. At the start of the season we just wanted to build a good platform and I can say, we’ve done that, and the second half of the season has just been brilliant. With these points next year, I’m confident we can pick up the Division One title – and with the current form of the players, this will mean more selection headache for Jon Jacobs and myself.”
Hoping though first they can add some cup silverware to this season, he added: “To get to any cup final is a great achievement for players and also a great pleasure to represent such a great club, who backs its teams 100 percent. The boys will be getting their suits on for the occasion and we very much hope we can bring silverware back to the club.”