Smash and Rab
FOOTBALL REUBEN Rabstein was the penalty shoot-out hero for the second consecutive week as Lions A avoided another cup upset to book their place in the final of the Cyril Anekstein Cup.
Having been eliminated from the Peter Morrison Trophy by Lions under21’s a week ago, the A-team called up Jack Mattey, Max Misrahi, Sam Hamerton and Rabstein into their squad. And it proved to be a wise decision.
Defences dominated in the first half before the lively Sam Arghebant started to dictate. Sammy Kingston had the B-team’s best chance – his header crashed back of the crossbar – while Rabstein produced a stunning reflex save to keep out a close-range header from Ed Brafman.
There was little goal-mouth action of note until the latter stages of extra-time when Adam Arnold side-stepped several challenges before he was clipped in the penalty area. Arnold dusted himself down before firing past James Harpin from the spot.
With time running out, Lions B threw players forward in a bid to keep their double hopes alive. A free-kick from Ben Winters caused confusion in the penalty area and striker Josh Bloom was on hand to fire home.
Rabstein then came to the fore, saving the opening penalty from Michael Kenley. The rest were successfully converted, with Ben Lampert, Max Misrahi, Jon Ellis, Arnold and Elliot Stern holding their nerve to send the A-team through.
They now await the winner of the other semi-final between Redbridge Jewish Care A and Finchley City in the final at Wingate & Finchley next month.
Lions B boss Sam Marchant commented: “The conditions meant neither side could really play the football they would have liked. Nonetheless the game was a spectacle.
“Once it goes to penalties, it really is a lottery. Congratulations to the
A-team for reaching the final. I hope they can go on to lift the cup. “This cup run was purely a bonus for us, our focus has been on the league. Promotion to the Premier is now within touching distance and we believe we can achieve it.
“Our heads are held high, it was a strong, passionate and spirited performance. It’s now in the past and we look forward to finishing the season on a high and achieving something great.”
LIONS B: James Harpin, Daniel Behar, Ed Brafman, Nathan Anders, Sammy Kingston, Adam Abadi, Dan Green, Benji Weinberger, Charlie Cohen, Ben Winters, Josh Bloom. Subs: Michael Kenley, Dom Feldman, Matt Perlman, Elias Cohen
LIONS A: Reuben Rabstein, Sam Hamerton, Will Beresford, Ben Lampert, Max Hassell, Jon Ellis, Elliott Stern, Jamie Jackson, Adam Arnold, Jack Mattey, Brad Sharp. Subs: Max Misrahi, Sam Arghebant, Harry Marlow
Left: Reuben Rabstein is congratulated, while (above) Ben Lampert battles with Adam Abadi (right)