Stock takes Neas­den to the dou­ble

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT -

them a merry dance. Neas­den be­gan very cagily and were lucky not to be a goal down in the open­ing five min­utes as a Saul Con­way shot was de­flected wide by Jake Got­tlieb, who had girl­friend Lacy Turner (aka Stacey Slater from Easten­ders) watch­ing in the stands.

Man­ager Jonathan Kesten­baum spent most of the match in the stand, all smiles as he watched his team adopt tac­tics that be­gan to sti­fle Neas­den.

The reds con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate and de­servedly broke the dead­lock on 16 min­utes. A long throw from Josh Bent­ley was par­tially headed clear but landed invit­ingly for Corin who made the per­fect con­nec­tion to vol­ley into the bot­tom cor­ner for his sev­enth goal in this sea­son’s Jewish FA Cup.

Things went from bad to worse for Jamie Cole’s men when his younger brother, Daniel, was harshly sent off for a late chal­lenge on Corin. Cham­pi­onship ref­eree Jar­nail Singh de­scribed it as “a dis­gust­ing late tackle”. The Neas­den camp were clearly in­censed by the de­ci­sion as Cole made the lonely jour­ney down the tun­nel.

A goal and a man down, Neas­den ap­peared con­tent to hold on un­til half time when they could reshuf­fle, but they were given a scare when Saul Con­way’s goal­bound ef­fort was bril­liantly blocked.

Neas­den’s upped the ante in the se­cond half, in­tro­duc­ing Stock and Adam Stol­er­man. Stock should have done bet­ter with a bounc­ing ball in the box but he shot straight at goal­keeper Danny Ber­liner. The pres­sure paid off on 70 min­utes as Stock did well to keep the ball in play, passed to Danny Dag­gers whose pin­point cross to the near post was met by a loop­ing header from Lee Cash. The ball flew over Ber­liner and nes­tled in the top cor­ner for his sev­enth goal in the com­pe­ti­tion.

It was game on and with the bit be­tween their teeth, Neas­den went in search of the win­ner as Hen­don tried to hold on for ex­tra time.

The 10 men of Neas­den were re­warded for their grand­stand fin­ish when a hope­ful ball into the box fell invit­ingly to Stock who was the coolest man in the ground, slip­ping the ball past the on­rush­ing Ber­liner to win the cup. He was mobbed by his team, at least the ones that didn’t col­lapse in a heap with cramp. There was no way back for the Ham­mers, who fin­ished pot­less for the first time in two sea­sons.

Neas­den boss Jamie Cole told said: “My team were ab­so­lutely amaz­ing. I have been say­ing all sea­son that this is the best team I have ever man­aged from a foot­balling view­point, and the team spirit is the best I have ever known.

“Hen­don were up for it and they dom­i­nated for the first 25 min­utes. We needed to show great re­solve and deter­mi­na­tion af­ter what was one of the worst ref­er­eer­ing de­ci­sions I have ever seen. I be­lieve the send­ing off was in­cor­rect and it was a shame the com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­is­ers chose a ref­eree from out­side the league. I was gutted for Danny as he did not de­served to be sent off. It left us with 10 men for 70 min­utes. But we held on un­til half time. The boys showed amaz­ing char­ac­ter in the se­cond half to cap an un­be­liev­able sea­son.”

Re­veal­ing that Jonny El­lis was named Neas­den player of the sea­son on the eve of the match, he added: “Hav­ing beaten Hen­don twice in the league I think we had a psy­cho­log­i­cal edge and had bet­ter qual­ity go­ing for­ward. The hard­est thing will be re­tain­ing the cup.

“They are the best team we have played this sea­son and will no doubt fin­ish se­cond in the league. But to­day is all about Neas­den and the dou­ble is the per­fect way to com­plete the sea­son. It would not have been pos­si­ble with­out my as­sis­tant Daniel Fox and chair­man Sammy Carr.”

Match­win­ner Stock said: “It feels un­be­liev­able to score the win­ner. I was lucky to get on to the ball and slot it home, but I think in the end we played bet­ter with 10 men rather than 11.”

Hen­don man­ager Jonathan Kesten­baum re­flected: “I thought we re­ally per­formed well in the first half and we were com­fort­able un­til the last quar­ter of the game. Our in­ten­sity and tempo dropped, Neas­den picked up on it and that proved to be the dif­fer­ence.”


Head boy: Neas­den’s Danny Dag­gers hold off Hen­don mid­fielder Josh Bent­ley in the mid­field en­gine room


Neas­den’s Josh Rosen­feld re­leases the ball as Greg Corin closes in, ( left and clock­wise) Lee Cash, Jamie Cole and Matt Stock pa­rade the cup and Cash’s header flies into the top cor­ner past a div­ing Danny Ber­liner

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