Mi­nor mir­a­cles

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - BYDANNYCARO

A won­der strike from Jeremy Teacher helped UJIA book their place in their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive JC Barry Gold­stein Tro­phy final fol­low­ing a hard-fought win over Di­vi­sion Three ri­vals Bl­iz­zard Storm.

Miss­ing sev­eral key play­ers for the Mi­nor Cup clash, in­clud­ing Matt Rad­stone, Ben Sokel, Tony Plaskow, Paul Sham­plina and Alex Selig­man, it needed a mo­ment of magic from Teacher to set up a final against North West Neasden C at Win­gate & Finch­ley on April 22.

UJIA player-man­ager Dar­ren Rolfe said: “De­fen­sively, we were su­perb and ‘Cap­tain Mar­vel’ Gavin Sher­man or­gan­ised the team from top to bot­tom.

“Bl­iz­zard Storm, un­der Si­mon Lin­den, are a fab­u­lous set of lads and gave us a good game. How­ever, we re­stricted them to long-range shots and pinned them into their half.”

Is­raeli striker Assi Avi­tal was look­ing to main­tain his record of scor­ing in ev­ery BGT game this sea­son, and he came close with a loop­ing header that was tipped over the cross­bar.

Af­ter a goal­less first 45 min­utes, UJIA edged the sec­ond half and there was no way back for Bl­iz­zard af­ter Teacher’s swerv­ing 25-yard ef­fort found the net.

Rolfe said: “The play­ers are now fo­cused on re­turn­ing to Win­gate and we’re go­ing back to win it this time.”

Bl­iz­zard boss Si­mon Lin­den com­mented: “De­fen­sively our game-plan worked and the work-rate from ev­ery­one was spot on. Un­for­tu­nately we didn’t cre­ate enough chances and as the game wore on, UJIA got bet­ter and took con­trol.”

F i r s t - h a l f e f f o r t s f r o m O l i Joseph and Benjy Gourgey steered Neasden C past Di­vi­sion Three cham­pi­ons Glen­thorne United B in the other semi-final. Top-scorer and joint­player-man­ager Craig Sand­ford pulled one back for Glen­thorne.

NWN player-man­ager Louis Tay­lor said: “When we set out the team for this game, I sim­ply had to play the same team that won in the last round against cup favourites Faithfold B.

“I asked for the same level of com­mit­ment, con­cen­tra­tion and ef­fort that we showed in that game, and my team did that to­day and more.

“We de­fended as if our lives de­pended on it and com­pleted a de­served vic­tory. I think I aged a few years watch­ing from the side­lines. I am so proud of my team - we’re on our way to Win­gate.”

Sand­ford said: “Con­grat­u­la­tions to NWN. They were ex­cel­lent for 90 min­utes and de­serve ev­ery­thing they got.

“It was a story of two halves with NWN be­ing clin­i­cal in the first and Glen­thorne dom­i­nat­ing the play in the sec­ond. They were very or­gan­ised and de­ter­mined.

“Some­times you have to hold your hands up and ad­mit when you have been beaten by a bet­ter team and to­day NWN were bet­ter.”


Head strong: UJIA’S Ben Nas­sim ( right) shows great de­sire

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