Second Division Mill Hill Dons knocked out Premier League Faithfold A; arguably the biggest shock of the Peter Morrison Trophy second round.
An Isaac Virchis, braced together with Zach Cohen and Nick Phillips’ strikes, secured a 4-2 triumph.
“I’ve known for a long time this season that we have the quality to challenge the bigger teams in Jewish Football, today we proved that,” commented Dons boss, Brandon Hamme.
“We dominated and played superbly throughout. I’m extremely proud of the boys and undoubtedly the best result in the history of the club.
“To be in the final eight is an incredible achievement but we don’t want to stop there. I believe this journey may have only just begun.”
Player-manager Avi Markiewicz and Daniel Garfinkle struck the Faithfold goals.
“It was another tough day at the office and yet again we really struggled to make a team,” commented Markiewicz. “We dominated in the first half and should have been ahead by more than just the one when we went in at half time but a good free kick was the difference between the sides as we went in at the break.
“Unfortunately we suffered two injuries and with only nine men it was always going to be an uphill struggle. Dons continued to push and as we left space at the back until the last, they punished us.”
Liverpool Haroldeans came from behind to defeat Hendon United 2-1 in their round clash.
Avi Korman fired home after a Zack Lewis free kick was blocked, but the Merseysiders bounced back to claim victory. Hendon, who had only 12 players available for the clash, missed a late chance to level the tie.
“We went a goal up through an unbelievable strike but conceded two set pieces,” commented Hendon boss, Jordan Sapler. “We had a great chance to level in the 90th minute but couldn’t convert.”
Los Camden A secured a quarter final place with two late goals to overcome a determined North London Raiders.
After an even opening period, the game sparked into life when Aron Gale slotted home on 65 minutes.
But Camden levelled when skipper Johaan Jordi whipped in a free kick for Gav Krieger to powerfully head home into the bottom corner.
Camden keeper, Steven Murad, pulled off a terrific stop from a fierce Gale strike and moments later Sade Sade dinked a through ball for Sacha Nusenbaum to lob home the winner on 85 minutes.
“I am happy with the result and fight the boys showed but we were far from our best today,” said Camden manager, Stirling Kay.
“The boys know they are capable of better performances which they have showed throughout the season. We had a few chances but our finishing was not up to scratch.”
Redbridge Jewish Care A came from 2-0 down, inside eight minutes, to move into quarter finals against a youthful MJSL XI in an eight-goal thriller.
Nate Kashket struck, then debutant Lewis Rackham fired into the roof of the net to level the scores at half time.
MJSL edged ahead again but Kashket converted a free kick then delivered a first time cross for Rackham to tuck away.
“It was a great advert for Jewish football,” summed up Redbridge boss Sam Rank. “To play as well as we did in the conditions is a real credit to the boys.
“We are the only team unbeaten this season after Fairlop’s defeat, which is a real credit to the boys so our dream of the treble is still on.”
Brady Maccabi came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 at Fairlop FC.
Brady opened the scoring when Rob Cohen drove through the middle, only to see his shot saved. But then, Ben Kohler slotted home the rebound from a tight angle.
The lead didn’t last long as Adam Goldman fired in from the edge of the box. Both teams then missed opportunities to score before Brad Gayer lobbed it in from 30 yards.
Brady equalised when Kohler slotted in a penalty, then Ricky Rinder released Cohen for the winner.
“It was great to come away with a win,” said Brady boss, Joel Nathan. “We showed that we can battle when we need to and let our feet do the talking.
“Roll on next week when we face Hendon in the league, we need to beat our best to get a result.”
Jewdinese defeated Oakwood Old Boys 2-1 in a tight contest, while Manchester Maccabi 1st thumped FC Team 6-1.
In Premier League league action, HMH and Oakwood A shared the spoils in a hard-fought 2-2 encounter.
Oakwood are now three points adrift of league leaders and the title favourite Hendon. And HMH can move within a point of Oakwood, if they win their matches in hand.
“Given the amount of big hitters we were missing, we dug in really well and we were only six minutes away from what would have been a great win,” said Oakwood manager, Daniel Kristall.“We played an unnatural system given the injuries and absentees. At times finding the front men was tough but we defended really well in the main.
“On reflection, we did not deserve the points. We worked really hard for a point and it’s no surprise HMH are challenging for the title. They will rule a lot of missed chances in the second half but we also had our moments.
“Our squad was stretched to its maximum so it was a point gained whereas given their chances, I am sure HMH will say it is two points dropped.
“As for the title, we have to win as many games as we can and see where it takes us. We can’t do any more than that. But I am sure there are plenty of twists and turns ahead.”
Oakwood B continued to show renewed belief in a comfortable 5-2 win at Bayern Mincha.
Ben Loofe, Max Clynes, Daniel Selwyn, Zac Summerfield and Jacob Richler Kleiman all hit the target for Simon Field’s team who came from 2-1 behind before sealing the points.
“Great attitude all round and a brilliant second half performance as we outclassed Mincha,” said Field. “We let them back into the game but the boys took what we said pre-match and played the football we know that we can play.
“Three goals late in the second half sealed a well-deserved and long-awaited victory.
“It was also great to have Ben Annis back with us after battling a long-term injury all season. His pace down the left caused Mincha problems.”
Hertswood Vale are top of Division Two after a crucial 4-1 win over Faithfold B.
Vale moved two points clear of Spec FC and three ahead of Faithfold with this triumph, but they were fortunate not to go behind when their title rivals struck the crossbar from a freekick early on.
Stung into action, Vale opened the scoring on nine minutes, Zach Mandel firing home from 25 yards into the top corner.
Vale then doubled the lead with a solo counter-attack; Josh Gorb picking up a loose ball to slot coolly beyond the keeper, for his first goal of the season.
Jordan Harris and Ben Mandel were close to making it 3-0 before half time, and Faithfold hit back with a penalty in the 54th minute.
Adam Zaidman produced a couple of outstanding saves to deny Faithfold an equaliser.After riding the storm for much of the second half, Vale struck on the break, Mandel (Ben) scoring six minutes from time.
Mandel grabbed his second goal in as many minutes, then headed wide in the final minute.
“The score flattered us,” admitted Vale’s Jacob Emaunel.
“Faithfold were a brilliant opponent, and based upon their performance, I believe they’re the toughest opponent we’ve faced in the league this season. But this result was testament to an immense team performance from the boys today.
“Every player put in an incredible shift, and ultimately we were clinical with our chances. This was a must-win game to get our season back on track and the boys delivered.
“We find ourselves on 28 points, our highest points total in the league since we formed three seasons ago. With five games to go, we’ve achieved what we set out to do this season, which was to better our points tally from last season. Moving forwards, the sky is the limit.”
SPEC FC eased to a 5-3 win against Temple Fortune, with goals from Zack Neiman (2), Elliott Wallis, Ashley Burns and Josh Green.
“It was a decent game and we had to work very hard to take all three points,” said SPEC boss Ricky Lawrence. “But it was the same old story of looking good, going forward and a bit shaky at the back, however we got the job done in the end.”
NL Raiders Masters 0 Faithfold C 0.
By David Saffer