Cyril Anekstein Cup Final:
Hendon United A 3 Norstar London Raiders A 0
Sunday, 4 May, 2014
Goals from Ben Kon, Yoav Kestenbaum and an Ari Last penalty saw them to a relatively routine 3-0 win against Norstar at Wingate, to go along with their Peter Morrison trophy success last week, though Garbacz says they can’t afford to get complacent as they close in on the Premier Division title.
He said: “We mustn’t let ourselves get carried away and believe the job is done. We have three games to go where the margins are still tight and the prize for our opposition is to try to beat us for the first time this season. Saying that we are extremely confident that we will be able to go and finish the job. I am a little concerned about a few walking wounded, but hopefully we should cope.”
Knowing what’s at stake, but also how much it would mean to him and his players should they also lift the league title in a couple of weeks’ time, he said: “We’re now extremely close to becoming the first team to win two trebles in more than 55 years of Jewish football and to do it by going through the season unbeaten would mean so much to these fantastic players. We’re all very excited at the prospect and I’m unbelievably proud to be associated with such a squad.”
Despite the fact that Sunday’s final pitted them against the current Premier Division leaders, the game proved to be pretty much a one-sided affair. “I thought the game would be more evenly contested”, he said. “The fact they hadn’t played for a long time definitely played into our hands – all they’ve thought about for weeks was this match and the build-up probably wore them out.
“We didn’t have a chance to really think about this match until this week and we were able to play in a much more relaxed natural way. They did look magnificent in their cup final suits and ties and training tops though and would certainly be worthy winners of the best turned out award.
“They have had a tremendous season and should be hugely congratulated for that – they set the bar very high this year and still have a shout in the league but it’s not in their hands which must be very frustrating.”
Reflecting on his side’s performance on the day, he said: “It was a textbook one. We were well organised throughout and were always confident going forward – we took our chances well and never looked like conceding – it was a great performance all round.
“It was a massive team effort. For many this was one of the biggest games of their careers with so much on the line and the chance to be part of a team to make Jewish football history.”
Having taken the lead through Kon, it was Kestenbaum’s strike on the stroke of half-time which both managers felt was decisive in the outcome of the game.
Garbacz said: “That was a massive moment in the match, I could tell from their faces that they were stunned with that goal. From our point of view, we took our experience from last week when we conceded an immediate equaliser in the second half into the changing room and were determined to keep it very tight for the first part of the second half . We felt totally in control and never really looked like losing that grip.”
And speaking about what he felt was the difference between the sides on the day, he added: “This was their first cup final and it showed. I genuinely think they over played their build-up whereas we are much more used to the experience. They hadn’t played competitively for a number of weeks which was also a big factor and whilst playing on grass itself was not a problem, the fact that they had finished their season so early on the 3G all contributed to this.
“Overall though we just played a lot better than them on the day and we are blessed to have a very talented squad of players with a perfect combination of youth and experience and at the moment that is proving to be a very successful formula.”
Norstar player-manager Phil Peters said his side’s performance on the day simply “wasn’t good enough”. He told jewishnews.co.uk: “For all our first half possession, we came off 2-0 down and without having threatened Hendon’s goal. We looked tired and lacking the attacking fluency that has helped us all season. I’m more disappointed with the performance than the result but can’t fault the effort levels of all my team.”
Not believing the timing of Hendon’s second goal killed them off, he said: “It definitely helped them but if we’d scored early in the second half, I have no doubt we’d have gone on to get the result with the adrenaline flowing again.”
Having to now sit back and see if Hendon win their remaining games to pip them to the title, he said: “It’s our first season together and we’re neck-and-neck with an exceptional Hendon side. It will be disappointing but we’ve already started planing for next season.
“It’s been a great season and we’ve already secured our first big-name signing of the summer.”