Hendon manager David Garbacz said he was ‘incredibly disappointed’ to his side fall to their first league defeat in more than 18 months, though believes it can serve to remind them how hard it will be for them to defend their title.
MGBSFL Premier Division:
Hendon United A 0 Faithfold A 1
Sunday, 21 September, 2014
Johnny Haik struck a dramatic injury time winner to send Hendon to their first league loss since January 2013, while it was also the first game they’ve lost in over a year, having gone last season unbeaten in claiming the league and cup treble.
Upset with the loss, though conceding it had to happen sooner rather than later, he said: “We’re all incredibly disappointed to lose our unbeaten record but in truth last season was a total freak to have gone through the entire season without losing and it had to happen sooner or later.
“I’m more disappointed with the manner of defeat today and the performance in general.”
Last experiencing defeat back in January 2013 against the Lions, he said: “This was always going to happen at some stage. We’ve enjoyed a certain amount of run of the green during this run and inevitably we were going to get an unlucky one at some stage. But we will move on from this – it’s not the end of the world and it’s only one league game – the league will be a great spectacle this year and a number of teams will be fighting for it. I have no doubt we will be up there when the honours are dished out and today might just have been the kick up the backside we all needed to remind us how tough it will be to defend the title.”
Sunday’s game was a disjointed affair, though Faithfold, despite fielding a depleted side and having only one available substitute, held their own against the treble holders. Russell Corin in the Hendon goal was forced into pulling off a stunning save to keep the scoreline goalless early in the second half, while both sides also hit the woodwork.
However, just as it seemed both sides would have to settle for a point – and Faithfold were down to ten men after having used their one substitute and Matt Kleinman was forced off injured, a long ball was played forward, and as Haik ran onto the flick-on, he kept his composure before firing the ball into the bottom corner.
Saying his players didn’t perform on the day, Garbacz said: “There were just too many players not on their A game today – the effort was there but the touch and creativity was missing.
“Ari and Greg were not their usual selves and we needed others to step up, but the inspiration wasn’t there.
“Our passing game was off especially in the first half – we improved in the second half but still found it difficult to create clear-cut openings.
“Faithfold had more desire – we seemed too complacent and we let them gain a foothold in a match we should have won easily. They defended brilliantly had a great shape throughout and committed the ultimate smash and grab at the end – for all that you have to applaud them and say well done . “We had a bad day at the office but this will only make us stronger.
But believing his side deserved at least a point from the game, Garbacz said: “I don’t think anyone would disagree that we deserved at least a draw out of the game. I don’t think they had more than about 25 percent possession in the second half and they would have been absolutely delighted with a point. We should have just taken 0-0 and moved on but we went too gung ho at the end which was probably my fault and paid the ultimate price.”
Faithfold manager Zuriel Solomon also believed a draw would have been the fair result, as well as being full of praise for his side. He said: “It was excellent to get the win and I’m extremely proud of my players bearing in mind the circumstances. They never moaned, just got on with it and showed real desire.
“There wasn’t much between the two sides on the day, but we said in the changing room that we believed we could win, we just needed to match Hendon’s work rate and desire. I don’t think we deserved to lose, a draw would have been fair but that’s football.”
Hoping the win will give them confidence, but not getting carried away, he said: “We will just take it game by game and hopefully be in with a title shout come May 2015.”