Rolfe: Prac­tice made us per­fect

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - BY JAMES MARTIN


Dar­ren Rolfe was the hero as UJIA made amends for last sea­son’s cup final de­feat by beat­ing Neasden on penal­ties to lift the tro­phy.

Player-man­ager Rolfe was mobbed by his team-mates af­ter pro­duc­ing a cru­cial save to see off their Di­vi­sion Three ri­vals at Win­gate & Finch­ley.

The stopp e r d i v e d low to his right to keep out a spot-kick from Neasden sub­sti­tute El­liot Se­tyon to give his team the ad­van­tage af­ter two penal­ties in the shoot–out in the final on Sun­day. A miss by Benji Gourgey sealed the win.

Rolfe said: “We made er­rors l ast year and made up for it this time. We showed char­ac­ter to come back from one down — and to put to rest the dis­ap­point­ment of last year.

“We had the bet­ter of the first half and were very un­lucky to fall be­hind. Af­ter get­ting an equaliser it be­came a game for de­fences. We prac­tised our spot-kicks and that, in the end, won us the lot­tery.”

A first half of few open­ings saw UJIA’S Tony Plaskow fire a bril­liant 30-yard shot just wide of the post and strike part­ner Ben Nas­sim hit a good ef­fort straight at Michael Perkin. Neasden forged ahead with an a c r o b a t i c s c i s s or s - k i c k from Oli Joseph, which came against the run of play on 40 min­utes.

UJIA came out for the sec­ond pe­riod strength­ened by the in­tro­duc­tion of veteran Jeremy Teacher and they drew level when a long throw was par­tially cleared to full-back Ben Rad­stone who fin­ished with aplomb from 10 yards.

The re­main­der of nor­mal time passed by with­out much pos­i­tive play and with the match fre­quently interrupted for fouls.

The final briefly came to life in ex­tra time when Rolfe made a mirac­u­lous re­flex save to keep out a header from Joseph.

A minute later, Plask o w hit a stu­pen­dous 4 0 - y a r d drive that forced a bril­liant save from Perkin. UJIA held their nerve in the shoot-out to score with all four penal­ties, with Assi Avi­tal, Matt Rad­stone, Gavin Sher­man and Ben Rad­stone con­vert­ing, while Neasden suc­ceeded with two out of four.

Neasden man­ager Louis Tay­lor said: “We should prob­a­bly prac­tise spot­kicks next time. We are dis­ap­pointed

but we gave it our all.” Neasden: Perkin, A. Levene, Isen­wa­ter, Chadwick, Ben­jamin, S. Levene, Co­hen (sub: Bra­ham), En­gel (sub: Lewis), Gourgey, Tay­lor (sub:

Se­tyon), Joseph UJIA: Rolfe, B. Rad­stone, Rhodes, Sher­man, Leigh, Free­man, M. Rad­stone, Rus­sell (sub: Sokel), Avi­tal, Nas­sim (sub: Teacher), Plaskow. Subs not used: Rodin, Nor­man


Cel­e­bra­tion time: UJIA play­ers go in search of ’keeper Dar­ren Rolfe af­ter his hero­ics helped them win the JC Barry Gold­stein Tro­phy at Win­gate

Rolfe and Sher­man ( right) lift the cup

Richard Salmon

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