Redbridge B player-manager Sam Rank says the “seeds for winning next season’s Division One title” have been planted after winning this season’s MGBSFL/Masters Invitation Trophy.

Ben Shernoff’s superb second half winner proved to be the difference as they beat North London Raiders 1-0, and Rank hopes that can now spurn them on for further success next year.
He said: “Our second half of season form has been very impressive, the seeds have been planted. I’m hopeful of winning the Division One title next season, and after winning yesterday’s final, there is only one direction for this side – and that will be to the title.”

Their victory was solid if not spectacular, in what was a game of very few chances. Reflecting back on their performance, Rank said: “Overall I felt we turned in a good performance. Defensively we were not really tested, but going forward we found it hard at times to break down a very well organised Raiders defence.

“I felt in the second half we moved the game into their half, and this put a lot more pressure on their back line, eventually we scored the winner, with a great team move, which was finished fantastically by Ben – a great goal and 100 percent worthy of winning any cup.”

Believing they deserved the win, even the scoreline gave the impression of it being a close game, he said: “Cup Finals are always known for being very cagey affairs, and this game was no difference. I think we deserved to win the game with our second half performance. We dominated possession and if it wasn’t from a resurgent Raiders back line, we would have scored a few more goals. I think the main difference was fitness in the last 20 minutes. We were able to keep going, and then using this to our advantage by keeping the ball, this also meant they couldn’t attack our goal

“I expected it to be a close game as they pushed Chigwell all the way in the Masters Division, with some of the Redbridge A team also playing for Chigwell, we knew this would be a tough game. But when you have committed, passionate and talented boys, I knew there was only going to be one winner.”

Looking back on the season overall, he said: “Winning silverware means a lot to the boys. Representing such a great club and wining the trophy for club and the players is just brilliant and I am honoured to be managing this side. This season the plan was consolidation, and set a platform for next year. The second half of the season, since the management restructure, the boys have been brilliant and outstanding. They work for each other all over the field, they are hungry, and most importantly they love playing football.

“Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to David Wolff and his team for putting on such a great competition.”

Disappointed with the result, Raiders Masters player-manager Dan Levy said: “We gave our all, but just couldn’t find the goal our efforts deserved. It was a tight game with few chances won by a great curling effort that deserves to be the winning goal.

“I think Redbridge edged the game. There was very little in it, but their younger legs gave them the edge and just prevented us from playing as well as we would have liked. 

“It probably summed up our season, where we just could not get over the line and were so close. We will come back fighting again next season and challenging for trophies.”