Oakwood A joint-boss Daniel Kristall admitted he wasn’t expecting to see his side land the Premier Division title this season – and thanked Hendon for helping them out after they beat Redbridge 4-3 to see them finish top of the table.
He said: “We’re absolutely buzzing to have won the title. Though we deserve it – it was a little unexpected given that Redbridge beat Hendon 6-0 a few weeks ago. We weren’t expecting yesterday’s drama to unfold as it did. We take our hats off to Hendon for doing us a favour, but in the end maybe the pressure of the games in hand understandably caught up with Redbridge.
“Redbridge have a great squad and will be disappointed to end the season without a trophy given the talent at their disposal. We have no doubt they’ll be challenging for major honours next season.
“We didn’t win the title just because Redbridge slipped up yesterday. We won the title because from December onwards following our shock Morrison exit, we really kicked on. We won almost every match since and the squad availability from that week onwards was superb. We had 16-18 players knocking on our door each week, and every single player played their part in this achievement. It was a team effort. Whether it was Lee Warner scoring a corner with five minutes to go against Woodford or Quinny coming off the bench to score the winner against Brady in the last minute, the goals were spread throughout the team and our defensive record speaks for itself.”
Pinpointing two wins in particular which he said were key – he said: “They were both at Hadley – against a previously unbeaten Hendon. Leor Sidle’s 91st minute winner in the second fixture gave us the belief that this was our year. The ‘title decider’ at Redbridge was ruined in part by the wind and although Redbridge were certainly happier with their point that day, we knew it could be a big draw for us come May – which it proved to be.
“Overall we feel we have the most complete squad and have been vindicated by the league table. We know though there is room for improvement and plans are already afoot for next season. We know Redbridge especially will come back strong – so we have to be ready to go again in September if we want to repeat our success. We have already challenged the boys to win it again – and they are up for it.
“Finally, I just wanted to put on record our thanks to Ric. What a way to go out. He deserves this more than anyone for his incredible devotion to this club over the last decade.”