David Garbacz has labelled Sunday’s Cyril Anekstein Cup Final as the one “the Jewish world wants to see” as his Hendon United A side take on Norstar A as they bid to complete the second part of a history-making treble.
Fresh from last week’s penalty shoot-out win over Oakwood A in the Peter Morrison Trophy final, Garbacz thinks this week’s encounter could be easier for them, though won’t be complacent facing the Premier Division leaders.
He said: “Last week was a bit of a battle as expected but this week both teams will want to get the ball on the deck and I really think the crowd could be in for a treat, I also hope the referee lets the game flow as this would lead to a much pacier match which will be good for both teams.
“We will respect our opposition as always and will have to play exceptionally well, but overall our big match experience, big match players and sheer will to win will see us through. We sit on the brink of history – no team has ever won two trebles and with the greatest of respect to our remaining league opposition, this is the one which will truly determine whether we will complete this achievement. We are confident – we are buzzing and absolutely raring to go.”
In terms of injuries from last week’s 120 minutes, Rafi Kon is a slight doubt, while one or two others are nursing knocks from the final but should be fit. Yehuda Korman has been added to the squad.
Garbacz says: “We’re nursing one or two bruises from the Morrison final but the Hendon physios have been hard at work and we should be at full strength for Sunday.
“This is a competition where we have been on fire this season. We’ve scored an amazing 45 goals in five rounds, with Yishai Last smashing in 13 of them. I will run through Wingate with my boxer shorts on if both of those are not all-time Anekstein records! However, all that now counts for nothing if we don’t go on to finish the job on Sunday and if we win this one by a scrappy own goal that will be mightily fine for me.
“The game should be a cracker – for all the hype the real talk can only be done on the pitch and once the referee blows his whistle no amount of winding-up from my opposite number will make the slightest bit of difference.
“The main pre-match analysis will be on the fact that Norstar have not played for weeks – this could make them either incredibly fresh or incredibly rusty. I am sure they have been organising friendlies and intense training sessions so we will be preparing for this match knowing that we will be up against a fit strong speedy unit that will genuinely be as fresh as daisies. We have been putting our bodies on the line in all or nothing scenarios for weeks now but every time we have come up trumps and got the end result.”
And believing they may have an advantage playing on grass, given that the majority of Norstar games are played on an artificial surface, he says: “The game could also turn on how they adapt to playing on grass. Ironically their strength – their 3G pitch, could prove to be their weakness. They have played practically every cup game and every league game at home this year and finished their season in January, but that has now come back to haunt them as we get closer and closer to snatching the title off them .
“It must have been torturous for them to watch us claw back their seemingly unassailable lead in the league and it is an incredible effort from my boys to have got this close. Norstar have set us an enormous challenge and should be hugely congratulated for accumulating as many points as they did, however up to now we have been up to the challenge. We will aim to finish that job in the coming weeks but this game is a one off and many will see it as a straight shoot out to prove who is the best Jewish team in the country. Having got last week out of the way and secured one trophy we will now be under slightly less pressure. We will aim to really put on a show this Sunday. We want to play some exciting football but it will not be at the expense of leaving open spaces for Norstar to exploit.”
Norstar player-manager Phil Peters concedes his side go into the game as underdogs, though says his side will go all out attack.
He says: “We drew twice with Hendon in the league, but they’ll certainly go into the game as favourites as they’ve been playing competitive football every week whilst we’ve had our feet up. That said, we won’t be changing too much and after a couple of decent friendlies we’ll be looking to attack and take the game to our opponents.”
Confident his side will end be triumphant, they have lost Adam Joselyn to injury, something he describes as being “incredibly disappointing.” But looking at the positives, he says: “I do though have so much talent in the squad that if everyone performs to their potential then there’s no doubt in any of our minds that we’ll win the game.
“Both sides are strong throughout but whichever side manages to dictate the game in the middle of the pitch will most likely be successful.”
And having an added incentive going into the game, knowing not only would a win deprive Hendon of winning a history-making treble, but also keeping alive their hopes of securing a league and cup double of their own, he says: “
Of course we want to win the double but this is the only game we have left to influence. David has done a phenomenal job with Hendon this season and I’ll be the first to congratulate him if they pip us to the title. But on Sunday the battle lines will be drawn and we’ll be playing for ourselves and our fans.”
ROUTE TO THE FINAL:
Round 1: Hendon 17 Boca Jewniors 1
Scorers : Yishai Last 5, Greg Corin 3, Ben Kon 3, Avidan Last 2, Ari Last 2, Rafi Kon and Avi Korman
Round 2: Hendon 11 Shirley Park 1
Scorers : Danny Kon 3, Greg Corin 2, Yishai Last 2, Avidan Last 2, Ben Kon and Yoav Lebens
Round 3: Chigwell 0 Hendon 6
Scorers : Yishai Last 2, Rafi Kon 2, Danny Kon and Josh Lipman
Quarter-Final: Woodford 1 Hendon 6
Scorers : Yishai Last 2, Avidan Last 2, Ari Last and Danny Kon
Semi Final: Hendon 5 Camden Park 2
Scorers : Yishai Last 2, Avidan Last 2 and Danny Kon
Round 1: Bye
Round 2: Norstar 10 Hendon C 1
Scorers: Josh Green 4, David Rhodes 2, JJ Spiro, Matt Stock, J Peters, Rob Richman
Round 3: Norstar 8 SPEC 0
Scorers: Matt Stock 3, David Dinkin 2, Zack McLeod, Josh Green, Oli Henry
Quarter-Final: Norstar 4 Los Blancos 1
Scorers: Josh Morris, Josh Pistol, Zack McLeod, Matt Stock
Semi-Final: Norstar 2 Oakwood 1
Scorers: Jamie Wolfson, Matt Stock
Russell Corin – Goalkeeper:
An ever present in goal for the last 5 years. Magnificent handling and surprisingly nimble for a big man. Ultra consistent- you can count his mistakes on one finger never mind one hand, and an inspiration to the team.
Alex Rosenthal – Central defence:
Smokes 20 a day and is a terrible trainer, but on match day will never let you down. Is strong and vociferous and an excellent defender. Gave up his job to ensure Sunday morning football which was a fine measure of loyalty and madness combined.
Avi Korman – Full-back:
Another gem out of the world famous Korman dynasty. Has been a massive factor in Hendon’s success this season adding youth speed and brilliant technique. Can play anywhere on the park and is a vital cog in the armoury.
Ben Kon – Full-back:
Been a Hendon stalwart for nearly 10 years. Adapted from midfield to full back and provides great attacking option down the right to go with his solid defence. Quiet man of the team but leyns a great Megillah.
Ari Nevies – Centre-half:
Second year in the team and a huge improvement this year has seen Ari become an integral part of the defence. Very strong in the tackle and good awareness. Learnt his trade from the great Josh Lipman.
Ari Last – Midfield:
Club Captain. Truly a man on a mission. Taken over captaincy reins since Josh Lipman’s Aliyah and will not rest until he lifts the trophy.Even more inspirational on the pitch since taking over the armband. Surely one of the finest midfielders in Jewish football and a big contender for player of the year.
Rafi Kon – Midfield:
Excellent reader of the game and opta stats on passing have him at over 90% completion. Great delivery from the dead ball. Seems a lot happier this year – combination of marriage plus taking over as club treasurer could be the reasons.
Yoav Lebens – Midfield:
Marquee signing from London Lions has been well worth the hype,massive fees and the extra expense on ear plugs. Huge presence in midfield – exceptional in the air and very intimidating to play against. Has also ensured our weekly attendance average has been trebled which has been good for gate receipts.
Yishai Last – Striker:
New fitness regime has meant goals galore this season especially in the cup competitions. Promotion from the Bs and has not looked back all year – huge improvement,extra strength all round. Team weather expert and pitch selector has also relished in extra admin role. Will be sorely missed next year.
Yoav Kestenbaum – Striker:
One of the most exciting young talents to emerge in this league for many years. Strong as an ox-mesmerising ball skills and scorer of big goals in big games. Son of the good Lord himself and a genuine potential match-winner.
Greg Corin – Striker:
Still the pin up boy of Jewish football despite advancing years, two kids and dodgy ankles. One of the most feared and skilful players around- in a tight game this is the man to unlock the key. Club vice-captain and full of experience-always a cool customer whatever the circumstances.
Avidan Last – Striker:
Hendon’s longest serving player having made his debut in the year before the Israeli war of Independence. Consistent year in year out and anything less than 20 goals per year would be considered a failure. Still the most natural finisher at the club and no one better one on one with the keeper. A massive threat.
Danny Kon – Striker:
The club enigma- brilliant one week-frustrating the next, but a far better attitude this year combined with better sleep patterns has led to more consistency on the pitch. Great pace, fiery, hot headed, but always a threat and a great asset.
Jacob Gold – Striker:
Work commitments has limited Jacob’s appearances this year but very keen and enthusiastic and extremely talented on his day. Another with excellent pace and undoubtedly the best and most consistent tan in the team. A quiet season but where better to make a big difference than in a final…
Yehuda Korman – Anywhere:
Arguably the most talented out of the famous Korman dynasty – can literally play anywhere- fantastic skill and pace and a genuine potential game changer. Has filled in brilliantly in latter part of the season and watch out for his impact late on – truly sensational talent.
Josh Lipman-Dovid Korman-Alex Gilbert – Forgotten Men:
Dovid and Alex have been out injured all season and Hendon legend and former club captain Josh Lipman recently went on Aliyah. All will be cheering the boys on this afternoon .
David Garbacz – Manager:
Known as the Jose Mourinho of Jewish football but possibly more because of his salt and pepper locks and ability to rile opposition managers rather than any tactical brilliance. Never shy of a media interview and always willing to find the odd quote or two for the press. Going for an unprecedented second treble in 3 years so must be doing something right. Speculation he may retire this year.
Jake Doffman (Goalkeeper) – Ever present this season, managing to keep a club record 10 clean sheets. In his spare time Jake enjoys visiting famous London hotels. Likes keeping clean sheets and Maya Lightman. Dislikes Hints.
Rob Blackman (Full-back) – One of those handy players that every squad loves to have, can play anywhere across the defence or midfield. Played predominantly at full back this season but masquerades as an attacking midfielder for his Saturday side. Joint-chief scout.
Alex Bloch (Full-back) – Athletic full-back who will be especially motivated for today’s game as has often been linked with Hendon in the past. Once dated David Garbacz’s daughter but has yet to score for Norstar London Raiders in over 62 games.
Josh Morris (Full back) – Made the move from Lions the season before last and has never looked back. Last year’s player of the season. Scored in the quarter final win versus Los Blancos. Remarkably his dad Peter Morris has actually been to more NLR games than Josh this season.
JJ Spiro (Full-back) – Cultured left-back who set NLR on their way to Wingate with their first goal in this season’s competition back in October.
Daniel Grossman (Centre-back) – The oldest player in the squad. A natural leader who is hugely loyal and committed to the Raiders’ cause. His son Levi is one of 2 Raiders mascots today.
Josh Pistol (Centre-back) – Formed a formidable partnership with Rhodes at heart of NLR defence with just 12 goals conceded during the league campaign. Man of the match in the semi-final. Mr Norstar.
David Rhodes (Centre-back) – Captain and colossus of the team. Now in his tenth season at the club. Highlights his hair the same colour of his shirt – orange. Mr Raiders.
Elliot Espinoza (Midfielder) – Vice captain and master of the sideways pass. Known to be willing to give up his wife to be for a chance to win the cup for his beloved Raiders.
Oli Henry (Midfielder) – One part of the powerful Zone, Doffman, Henry triumvirate (Doffman – look it up) who are central to nearly all jokes and wind-ups at the club. Henry was part of the GB U18 Maccabiah squad in 2009 and has been a vital cog in Raiders’ successful season to date.
Jonny Kay (Midfielder) – Has undoubtedly the finest beard in the entire MSFL. Formed an intimidating central midfield partnership with Espinoza over the course of the season. JK got engaged the same weekend Raiders got to the Anekstein final. What a great weekend, mazel tov Sam and Jonny!
Adam Joselyn (Midfielder) – All action central midfielder and most talented actor, plumber and mechanic in the Raiders squad. A jack of all trades.
David Dinkin (Forward) – Currently in his fourth season at the club having spent most of his youth career at Lions and Wingate and Finchley. Dinkin has 60 goals in 81 appearances in an orange shirt and is favourite to open the goal scoring for Raiders this afternoon.
Josh Green (Forward) – Single handily knocked out Hendon C in the 2nd round of the cup with a fabulous four goal performance. Brilliantly quick and lethal central or out wide, known to be the longest in the shower.
Matt Stock (Forward) – Scored in every round of the cup thus far including a hat-trick versus SPEC in the third round. Potential match winner. If you don’t believe us Google ‘Matt Stock Cambridge vs. Oxford’ and enjoy the video.
Jamie Wolfson (Forward) – Described as being the Jewish Messi. Diminutive, tricky winger who is averaging a goal every other game this season.
Ethan Zone (Forward) – Youngest in squad, graduated to the first team after successful season with second team last year. Pacy winger who loves nothing more than eating chicken nuggets.