Two heavyweights of Jewish football go head-to-head on Sunday when Norstar A and Hendon A meet in the final of the Cyril Anekstein Cup.
Cyril Anekstein Cup Final:
Norstar London Raiders A VS Hendon United A
KO: 2.30pm @ Wingate & Finchley FC
Hendon manager David Garbacz has already seen his side lose their Premier Division title to the Raiders and is defiant that they won’t be beaten on Sunday, saying ‘defeat is not an option’.
He said: “Hendon are a team of winners – one runners-up medal is enough for this year. We will be going all out for victory and defeat is not an option.”
Insisting Raiders don’t hold any advantage going into the game, despite dethroning them as League champions, he said: “They’ve beaten us once in numerous attempts so they hold no psychological edge at all – we had an off day that morning and were nowhere near our best – that will not happen again. They deserved to win the league but that is now history – we’ve let them get their hands on one of our trophies and will be doing everything to ensure they won’t get another.
“This game will be extremely tight though – both teams are incredibly closely matched as has been proved in the three times we’ve played them this year. If the bookmakers were pricing this up – they would not be able to split us up I’m sure.”
Despite the disappointment of losing the title, Garbacz insists winning on Sunday and then the Peter Morrison Trophy against AFC Flixton will match their treble-winning feats of the last season. He said: “If we manage to retain our two cups this year I would actually hold that achievement on a par with last year’s unbeaten treble. We have had loads of injuries and changes this year – our two best players from last year, Ari Last and Yoav Kestenbaum have only played a handful of games between them this term and we have played matches this season with 11 players and very limited and inexperienced squads. With all that we have still made it to two finals and only lost out in the league by the narrowest of margins.”
And insisting the side don’t go into Sunday’s game under any pressure, despite losing their League crown to them, he said: “Every cup final there is pressure. As always though we will treat this game like any other. We don’t make any extra or special arrangements pre-match, we won’t be producing any Cup Final training tops and will be meeting as always maybe an hour or so before kick-off. As league winners the pressure is on them plus the fact that we have another cup final later this month will mean we can be even more relaxed.”
Raiders boss Rob Richman believes a repeat performance of their league encounter with them last month, which saw them win 3-2 to effectively land the title, will be good enough to secure an historic league and cup double for the club. He said: “We’re confident we can get a result on Sunday, we played ever so well a month or so ago to beat them and will be looking for the same level of performance this time round. I’m not sure the league victory gives us an upper hand but it does make our record against them look a lot better and allows us to take confidence from that game and into Sunday.”
Knowing that Hendon will be out for revenge after losing their League crown to them, Richman said: “Hendon pushed us so close this year just as we did to them last year. Fortunately we ended up at the top this time round. Since we beat them Hendon’s attention has been focused on the two cup competitions and they will be determined to pick up some silverware this season. We are well aware of that but our intention is to make sure that it won’t be the Cyril Anekstein cup. It is about time Raiders won this trophy and there is no better time to win it than this Sunday.”
Saying how it would ‘mean everything’ to win on Sunday and secure a first ever League and Cup double for the club, he adds: “Sunday is the culmination of what has turned out, thus far, to be a really brilliant season. We wrapped up the League title a fortnight ago and ever since then our attention has been fully focused on the cup final. Sunday see’s a repeat of last season’s final but this time we’d like to go one better and win the cup. It would mean everything to us and would be just reward for a really brilliant season.”
Both men do agree the clash will be another tight, keenly-fought affair. Garbacz says: “We do know each other inside out. Sometimes that can make for a bit of a stalemate but all our match ups are always entertaining and very highly committed. They have huge strengths all over their team but our forwards are flying right now as well and everyone else is on decent form as well.
“We go into this match full of confidence after last week’s performance against Lions Spartans. It was probably our best performance of the season and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to replicate it on Sunday. We have big players like Ari Last and Tali nevies available this week who were not fully fit last time out against Raiders and this could be a major factor in swinging things our way this time around. I think there will be goals – we will certainly be going for it. You may well see a more expansive game than usual between us two and I’m sure it will be a fine spectacle between the two best teams in Jewish football.”
Richman said: “We’ve had three marvellous battles against each other with one win apiece and one draw. In my opinion it’s very much a 50-50 game. Both times are blessed with good players throughout and I’m sure it will be a great spectacle. It’s about who delivers the most on the day, we did it last time round and we will be looking to do that again this weekend.
The teams know a lot about each other but more often than not the games are open and very entertaining affairs that reflect the good standard of the league. I’m sure Sunday will be no different.”
2014/15 PREMIER DIVISION DECIDER: HENDON A 2 NORSTAR LONDON RAIDERS A 3
MEET THE SQUADS:
Jake Doffman (goalkeeper) – We are still not sure if Jake is the joker or the clown of the team but it is definitely not a quiet dressing room when he is around. Exceptional goalkeeper who keeps getting better and better. Made some outstanding saves throughout the season.
Alex Bloch (Full-back) – 80 games and counting, that is how long Blochy has gone without a goal for the club. Always dependable, he has had a fantastic season patrolling the entire left flank of the pitch. Has an unbelievable engine and does everything perfectly until he gets into the opposition box!
Josh Morris (full-back) – Josh has been a tremendous player for us this season and has been excellent in his right back berth. Think most left wingers in the league have nightmares about facing Josh and also his Dad, Pete, who patrols the side-lines almost as diligently as Josh himself.
JJ Spiro (full-back) – Absolutely rock at the heart of our defence. No nonsense defender who never seems ruffled by anything opposition strikers throw at him. Egged Jake Doffman’s car.
Josh Pistol (centre-back) – Has had another fantastic season for the club. Absolute beast in the tackle and nearly won every single header he has challenged for this season. Questionable match day hat choices.
David Rhodes (centre-back) – captain of the side and another key cog in our defence which has been so solid all season. Now one of the elder statesmen of the team in his 11th season with the club and a tremendous leader.
Elliott Moslawy (midfielder) – Lulli Chops has been an intergral part of the squad since joining a couple months into the season. Always works hard, whichever position he’s playing in and has chipped in with some important goals too including a goal of the season contender versus FC Team.
Elliot Espinoza (midfielder) – There couldn’t be a greater contrast between his nice persona off the pitch and his crunching tackles on it but we are very glad that he lines up in Orange! Best man-marker in the game and must have a near 100% pass completion record. Been very unlucky with injuries this year but still a key part of the team.
Jonny Kay (midfielder) – STILL has undoubtedly the finest beard in the entire MSFL. Has been an ever present all season in the centre of midfield and has been consistently excellent. Has promised to clean shave if we win.
Adam Joselyn (midfielder) – Has fallen victim to ankle injuries this season to the disappointment of his team mates after really impressing early in the season, but has been crucial to our run in over the past 6 weeks. Box to box midfielder with tonnes of energy and potentially a goal in him.
Ben Joseph (midfielder) – midfield maestro and the creative fulcrum of the team. Normally turns up late and loves his bagels in the changing room. Has turned any dead ball situation within 30 yards of goal into a genuine threat with his unbelievable free kicks this season.
Ricky Engleman (midfielder) – Ricky joined us at the beginning of the season but it feels like he has been playing with the boys for years. Strong, classy midfielder who possibly has the hardest shot in the team. One of two Raiders boys representing Great Britain at football in the upcoming European Maccabi Games.
David Dinkin (forward) – has had another prolific goal scoring season with the club, although nothing else would have been expected. Celebrated his 100th start for Raiders with a hat-trick the day they won the league.
Josh Green (forward) – Been a brilliant option for the team throughout the season. Unfortunately has had to be shared with the B team but has made invaluable contributions whenever called upon. Also a brilliant graphic designer, see www.joshuasaulgreen.com
Matt Stock (forward) – Was missed for the first 3 months of the season but has more than made up for his time away by being exceptional in nearly every outing. Top scorer for the team this season, Matt has been un-playable in so many matches it is disappointing when he doesn’t score a hat trick.
Liron Mannie (forward) – Liron has been sensational this season in any position he has played. At time it seems that the ball is glued to his foot, another one who has got better and better as the season has progressed. Potential match winner in cup final.
Jordan Marks (forward) – Only been available for a few games this season due to uni commitments but has been a brilliant addition to the forward line when he has played. Had a man of the match display in the ‘title-deciding’ game against Hendon and few would bet against him doing so again today.
Jamie Wolfson (forward) – unfortunately Jamie has left to set up the Hong Kong division of the Raiders fan club. Loved by all in the team it is a real shame he couldn’t leave after the season had finished. All in the team miss the lovable Lego Head.
Rob Richman (manager) – Heartbeat of the team and it’s believed he bleeds orange. Commitment has not wavered even as he has faced his final accountancy exams, which shows his true love for the club. Often compared to Messi when he takes part in training and could make an appearance if the game goes to penalties.
Jon Green (assistant manager) – The legendary striker moved to the dugout for the first time this season. Loves a moan at a stray pass and also a rant at the officials but has been as important as any of the on field summer signings.
Jonny Adelman (Chairman) – his association with Raiders is now in its 23rd season. Was the proudest man in North West London when the side won the Premier League for the first time just under a month ago
Russell Corin (goalkeeper) – The big man, also the biggest softie in the squad. Like a magnificent claret gets better and better with age. Ultra consistent, superb handling and will not be shy of the limelight if we go to pens.
Ben Kon (right back/midfield) – A Hendon veteran for many years – always lets his football do the talking both in defence and further forward – has a strong eye for goal with some trademark late runs and still leyns the fastest Megilla in North West London.
Ari Nevies (central defender) – Established regular now in his second full season. Strong quick and good in the air – been fined many a match fee for late night drunken activities pre match day but still hugely reliable on the day.
Tali Nevies (central defender) – Much the more sensible of the two brothers and equally as reliable on the pitch. Older and a touch wiser, promoted from the B’s this year and has made the transition without a hitch. Juggles his Sundays with kids and exams but would never miss it for the world.
Alex Rosenthal (central defender) – Another one of the older guard – hugely experienced and a great reader of the game. Injuries have slightly restricted appearances this year but still one of the best on his day. Will always be a frustrated centre forward.
Ethan Zone (left-back) – New signing this season from today’s opponents – slotted in like he’s been a Hendoner for years – always reliable, one of the most consistent performers all season – brilliant going forward and ultra solid at the back – a fantastic addition to the squad.
Rafi Kon (midfield) – Club treasurer,admin secretary and midfield holder. Loves to play football the simple way it is supposed to be played and does with great effect. If you go on a dribbling run beating 5 men Rafi will not be impressed. Vital to the preferred 4-3-3 formation Hendon like to adopt.
Ari Last (midfield and captain) – Club skipper and last season’s league player of the year. Spent four months out with injury this term but has returned fully refreshed and on a mission to make up for lost time through leading the club to cup success. An absolute colossus in midfield and one of the best around.
Avi Korman (midfield/utility) – One of the major contenders for player or young player of the season. Superb in any position, supremely fit and full of energy can use either foot and no-one quicker. Perfect upbringing as part of the great Korman dynasty and has become a massive player for Hendon this year.
Simon Peterman (midfield) – Signed off the beach in Tel Aviv in the summer and has had a brilliant debut year. Strong in the air and in the tackle – the perfect midfield foil. Vastly experienced and a cool head in tricky situations – always the first to answer the availability emails – great attitude.
Ben Lauffer (midfield) – Has achieved everything in Jewish football and more. Back for a second stint at Hendon this year and a huge mid-season signing. Still worthy of being called the Rolls Royce of midfielders, one of the most naturally gifted players to play at this level.
Greg Corin (left forward) – Surely one of the most consistently influential players in this league over the last few years. Amazing touch and technique and will always score big goals in big games. If Greg sees a lot of the ball Hendon will win simple as that – the upper torso is still magnificent as well.
Dave Seitler (forward/stroppy teenager) – One of the most exciting young talents to burst onto the scene in years. Incredible pace and skill and a real match winner. Wants to take all corners, free kicks, penalties, goal kicks and drive the team bus. True box office material and worth the admission money alone.
Dovi Fehler (forward) – Another to burst onto the scene this year. Plucked from Division Three obscurity by the Hendon scouts his pace, skill, goals and flying Tzitzit has frightened oppositions all year. Watch out for the finest back flip goal celebration since Lualua if he scores today. Favourite for first goalscorer.
Avishai Kestenbaum (forward/utility) – Part of four brother combinations in the squad. The Right Honourable Avishai is the ultimate no fuss footballer. Gets on with it and will never let you down in any position – no nonsense, good strength and as with all Kestenbaums a great eye for goal.
Yoav Kestenbaum (winger) – Last season’s young player of the year but only a bit part this time around as a combination of University and a heartbreaking injury has kept appearances to a minimum. Might still be used for pre-match huddle and when fit, one of the best Jewish footballers in the country without doubt.
Avidan Last (forward) – After over 10 years as a Hendon player, time looks to have finally caught up with Avidan who will be hanging up his boots this year. Probably the record Maccabi League goalscorer having consistently hit 20 plus for over a decade – is a true gentleman and a genuine Hendon and Maccabi legend.
David Garbacz (manager/Mourinho lookalike) – No historic treble treble this year but still on course for an unprecedented double cup double. Loves a quote – often controversial but never dull. Like’s to refer to fellow managers as mate. Record speaks for itself but a runners-up medal will be considered failure.
2014/15 PETER MORRISON CUP QUARTER-FINAL – NORSTAR LONDON RAIDERS 0 HENDON UNITED A 1
ROAD TO WINGATE:
First Round: Bye
Second Round: VS Redbridge B 2-1 (Greg Corin, Avishai Kestenbaum)
Third Round: VS Woodford Wanderers 1-0 (Greg Corin)
Quarter-Final: VS FC Team A 6-3 (Avidan Last x2, Avi Korman x2, Avishai Kestenbaum, Ben Lauffer)
Semi-Final: VS Neasden Hendon 4-2 (David Seitler, Ari Nevies, Avi Korman, Dovi Fehler)