Cham­pi­ons at last

L’Equipe cel­e­brate 10-year an­niver­sary in style with 14th vic­tory of the sea­son se­cur­ing MGBSFL Di­vi­sion Two crown

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY DANNY CARO

FOOT­BALL NICK Stern be­lieves L’Equipe’s MGBSFL Di­vi­sion Two ti­tle suc­cess was writ­ten in the stars af­ter braces from brothers Mark Smith and Andy Smith guided the club to their first piece of sil­ver­ware fol­low­ing a crush­ing win over Faith­fold.

Last Septem­ber, Stern pre­dicted the party of all par­ties if L’Equipe were crowned cham­pi­ons in their 10th an­niver­sary and he looked back with pride on a day when tears were shed af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle at the Hive in Edg­ware.

“To win it in our 10th year with this spe­cial group of play­ers is pretty mon­u­men­tal,” said Stern.

“To be hon­est, the whole game was a bit of a blur but as we said in the buildup, we were all aware of the scale of the task and we didn’t shy away from it for one sec­ond.”

L’Equipe made the per­fect start when a trade­mark long throw-in from Matt Gil­bery was flicked on by Andy Smith and met by the late run of older brother Mark Smith who nod­ded home from eight yards.

The lead was dou­bled when Gil­bery’s cross was di­verted into the net by a Faith­fold de­fender. Andy Smith added a third on the stroke of half-time.

Faith­fold were un­able to stem the tide and Andy Smith main­tained his un­blem­ished record from the penalty spot with a com­posed fin­ish.

Mark Smith en­gi­neered the fifth goal be­fore the tal­is­manic play­maker headed home his younger brother’s cross. Faith­fold top-scorer Richard Fo­gel­man dis­patched the con­so­la­tion penalty but L’Equipe’s cel­e­bra­tions were soon in full swing.

Stern com­mented: “It was in­cred­i­ble to see grown men drop to their knees as though they’d won and then lost an Os­car, oth­ers cried tears of joy. What a day, what a per­for­mance, what a team and what a sea­son.”

Re­mark­ably, five play­ers from the club’s orig­i­nal line-up in sea­son 2006/07, in­clud­ing club founder Mark Singer, were in­volved in the em­phatic vic­tory as L’Equipe ex­tended their un­beaten league run to 16 matches.

Stern said: “Mark started this team so to de­liver it for him in the 10th year while he cap­tained the club ev­ery sin­gle year was pretty spe­cial.”

Stern went on to thank Josh Lewis, Jules Bohm and David Prager for their ef­forts and as­sis­tance on and off the pitch.

“I must also con­grat­u­late those that have stuck with us for 10 years,” he said. “The work that goes on be­hind the scenes is what makes this club tick.

“We won the ti­tle this year be­cause we have the best team spirit I have ever seen. We have won 14 out of 16 matches and still have four games to go, so I couldn’t be hap­pier.”

PHO­TOS: MARC MOR­RIS

(Above): L’Equipe play­ers hold man­ager Nick Stern aloft at the fi­nal whis­tle, (be­low) Andy Smith runs to­wards goal and (left) the ti­tle cel­e­bra­tions be­gin

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