Doffman was the difference, says Richman
FOOTBALL ROBRichmandescribed goalkeeper Jake Doffman as the gamechanger after holders North London Raiders boosted their treble hopes by reaching the semi-finals of the Cyril Anekstein Cup with a 5-1 win over Harmen. But only after a scare.
NLR looked in trouble early on as topscorer James Gershfield put Harmen in front from the penalty spot and they were only denied a second by the reflexes of Doffman who kept out a sweetlystruck effort from Sam Castle.
Ricky Engleman hauled Raiders level before they were handed a numerical advantage after Gershfield was dismissed for allegedly kicking out at NLR full-back Alex Bloch.
Doffman was forced into a series of important saves and his efforts were rewarded as David Dinkin (2), Nick Lewis and Jordan Marks ended Harmen’s hopes to move Raiders to within 90 minutes of a return trip to Wingate & Finchley.
NLRbossRobRichmansaid:“We are delighted to have got through this tricky tie. We had a tough 10-minute spell after conceding first but as soon as we managed to equalise through the excellent Eng- NLR’s Alex Bloch on the march leman I felt confident we would go on and win the game.
“Obviously the sending-off after half an hour made our task a lot easier but we made sure we were professional and clinical to secure a really pleasing win. “There were some very good performances throughout but for me the turning point of the game was a superb save by Doff- man with the score 1-0 to Harmen. If he doesn’t make the save then we could be looking at a very different result.
“We have reached the cup final for the last two years and are determined to make it three in a row.”
Harmen joint-manager Oliver Leslie agreed the red card incident cost his team. He said: “We dominated the first half and in truth should have been a few goals ahead, but if you don’t take your chances against the champions then you will get punished and that is exactly what happened.
“We’ll keep our heads held high and move on from a game that could have finished very differently.”