Hendon manager David Garbacz says he’s expecting a “full-bloodied encounter” when his side take on Oakwood in the final of the Peter Morrison Cup on Sunday.
Confident of securing what would be the first part of a league and cup treble, he says: “We have to be confident. We’ve been unbeaten all year so we have to believe we are better than them. However, football is a funny old game and anything can happen in a one off match.
“It will be a very tough, close match but I think our extra big match experience and the psychological edge we have will see us through in the end.
“Oakwood will look to rattle us – they always do – but in the last few years those tactics have always ended in defeat. We’ll rise above that and aim to play as much football as possible.”
Citing midfield as being key to their success, he says the likes of Ari Last, Yoav Lebens and Rafi Kon will be their most influential players, though also believes they have history on their side. “We have had an exceptional record against Oakwood in recent years,” he says. “Since they got promoted and certainly since I’ve been manager I don’t think they’ve as much as taken a point off us.”
He does though feel his side will feel the pressure as they look to become the first Jewish team to win two trebles. “No team’s ever done it, we will feel the pressure but we must not let it affect us,” he says. “First of all we need to get through this game, it won’t be one for the faint hearted. Expect a full-bloodied totally committed match, but the ribbons will be red on the famous trophy in the end. “
Oakwood player-manager Ric Blank is confident his side can spoil Hendon’s day. He says: “We’re full of confidence that we can beat them, but also fully understand the challenge in hand. Hendon are the best side – we have to perform. It’ll be an incredibly tough game against opponents we respect, we’ll go into the game as underdogs, but hope to leave as winners. I know my players inside out, some of them since they were kids. I trust them completely and know they won’t let anyone down.”
Saying he’ll set his side up with a game plan, he also believes they’ll have to stop Hendon getting too familiar with the match officials. “Hendon know how to work the referee,” he says, “they like their free-kicks and time to settle, our job is not to allow this. If we do this we’ll have a great chance.”
Unperturbed by their 4-2 loss to them in the League earlier in the season, he says: “That result won’t have any bearing on this game. We saw every side of Hendon that day, a good, ruthless side who work hard but took advantage of a shocking refereeing error, that won’t happen on Sunday.”
Extra spice will come from the fact that Hendon’s former star Josh Bentley will be lining up against them in the centre of midfield, and Blanc is hoping he can be the difference in his side’s favour. “Josh will have a big role to play, we’re delighted he’s back at Wingate but this time in Oakwood colours. He’s a born winner and we hope that extra leadership will get us over the line this time around.”
And insisting his side won’t go into the game with any pressure, even though it is their only chance of silverware this season, he said: “We love the pressure and feel privileged to be competing in the show piece game of the season. It’s a wonderful occasion and it’s where we belong.”
HENDON PEN PICS:
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.
OAKWOOD PEN PICS:
Oli Gee – Goalkeeper:
Mesut Olzil as he’s affectionately known (by me) is a terrific keeper when he’s not hungover. A stunning performance in the quarter final at Raiders went a long way to ensuring our appearance at Wingate today. Needs to be around more next season to remind everyone just how good he can be.
Dan Cohen – Goalkeeper:
I remember the day DC walked into my life. Who wouldn’t? A larger than life character (he doesn’t shut up), he gave management a heart attack with a back heel in the semi final. When he concentrates he’s a top keeper with the rare ability to dominate his own box.
Dave Cohen – Full-back:
Similarly named to the above with a slight difference in physique, Dave Cohen is enjoying his best ever season. His dedication is exemplary and the work he puts into his football is there for all to see. Rarely misses a game, DC is the heartbeat of the dressing room. Single.
Jonny Beilin – Full-back:
Known affectionately to work colleagues as ‘Jon Beilin’, he’ll always be Jonny Beilin to us. That’s because we can’t call him JB anymore – that’s what we call Bentley. Solid as ever this season – one of two remaining scousers in the first team, he is proof that Oakwood’s ethnic cleansing is nearly complete.
Ilan Scorah – Centre-half:
The world held it’s breath with the news of Scorah the King’s engagement. What length will his hair be at the wedding? Will he wear a check shirt? Will Mrs Scorah wear a check shirt? Big, big questions. Recent form has been much improved after a stop-start early season spell that saw him spend too much time in Brighton. Must have it written in the ketubah: “Oakwood comes first”.
Adam Levine – Centre-half:
Much-maligned lead singer from Maroon 5, Levine gave up the rock star lifestyle to play for Oakwood in 2008 and was made captain the following year. Perennially injured this season Levine is displaying all the signs of ‘approaching 30-itus’ – works too hard, is never fit and has a bird. Knows what he has to do to return to the heart of the side – switch lagers.
Sam Jacobson – Centre-half/mid:
No relation to Guy Helman but brother of Joe Jacobson, Shrewsbury Town’s finest. Sam is an Oakwood legend in his own right having made an enormous impact since day one. Exudes class and confidence and doesn’t mind listening to DG bang on about FFP on the way to footie. Top man.
Daniel Ailion – Full-back:
Brand spanking new to Oakwood, Ailion moved down from Manchester in February for the life of a city lawyer. Tremendous flame coloured hair, Ailion is solid as a rock with those go-go-gadget legs. Not dissimilar in style to Corluka. This is a compliment.
Harvey Kaye – Full-back/winger:
Harvey must be battery-powered. It would certainly explain his excessive fitness and dynamic pace as he joins attack after attack. Crossed the departing Toby Levy on the M6 on his way down and hasn’t looked back since. Will be looking to avenge last year’s personal disappointment with South.
Dan Geey – Centre-mid:
Oakwood’s Edward Scissorhands has got the x-factor back into his game after an enforced absence over Christmas. Still Mr. Reliable the only noticeable difference between now and the 2012 final is the birth of his daughter Issy. She now captains the seconds.
Josh Bentley – Centre-mid:
An absolute gem of a player and simply the nicest guy you could wish to meet. The secret captain of Oakwood, Josh Bentley broke Oakwood hearts with a knee injury that cut his debut season short. Mild mannered with well-channeled aggression JB is back on imperious form in season number two. Possibly used to play for Hendon – not sure.
Dan Rose – Centre-mid:
Riddled with knee injuries since joining Oakwood in 2009 Rosey is back and fitter than ever. Has shown immense commitment and determination to force his way back into the reckoning and should be proud to be involved in what I hope is the first of many finals. Also loves a shnout.
Josh Rose – Centre-mid:
One of 23 midfielders at the club Josh played some of his best football this season up front on the 3G surface at Brunel. Strong with a good touch, Josh will establish himself as a regular starter in time. 90% of the squad now lives vicariously through Josh. The other 10% are lying.
Alex Koslover – Centre-mid:
Wrote himself into Oakwood folklore with a semi final winner in extra time against his old club South Manchester. Celebrated in typical Kossy fashion – at his own pace, to his own beat. Class footballer who will be sorely missed today after an encouraging debut season.
Carl Peters – Centre-mid:
Sometimes spelt Caaaaarl, other times Caaaaaaaarl. Either way this is a man’s man who runs a bar and drinks ale for breakfast. A fine passing footballer, Carl was transformed last season into a central midfielder capable of dictating the biggest games. Did I mention he runs a bar?
Bobbie Cousins – Centre-forward:
Had the Germans employed Bobs in the war their coded messages would never have been cracked. I have spent hours on end trying to decipher a Bobs text message, wondering if he’s playing on a Sunday or not. The answer I hope for is ‘yes’. A massive, massive player and one the league’s best when fit.
Antony Kintish – Forward:
Star man for 200 out of Oakwood’s 205 games in the past 8 years, the 2014 vintage is a slightly different Kintish. Now with his own business, a baby girl and a new house, Kintish has it all – except a PM winner’s medal. Retains incredible natural athleticism and fitness despite never going to the gym. Sees something of himself in Harvey, but Harvey’s probably better.
Brad Wine – Winger:
Brad is getting better with each season – a terrifying thought for the opposition. His natural aggression and pace have played an enormous role in getting Oakwood to this final and he’s hitting form at the right time. We’ve seen less winter wear at training this year which may be the biggest statement on climate change to date.
Dan Ash – Winger:
Crazed lunatic who masquerades as top investment banker during the day, Ashy is one on his own. Has something of the Bruce Wayne about him given his split personality but I’d be surprised if Ashy was out saving the city at night. He doesn’t like most people. Not really said anything about football here have I? He’s fast but needs to stop going away so much.
Guy Helman – Winger:
The football Gods have well and truly cursed me this season. First I get David Moyes, then Liverpool win the league and now this – Guy Helman misses the final. He’s on a cruise. Lucky cruise. Brilliant player and fantastic bloke Guy has fitted in seamlessly at Oakwood and we’ve seen the best of him in recent weeks. Will be missed today but will probably make the back page of the JC regardless.
Jonny Quinn – Striker:
There are not enough words to describe Quinny. A tremendous addition to the dressing room he’s worked hard to integrate himself to the side. A 6am start in Clapham is proof of his commitment to the cause. Reliable for a goal, the best of Quinny is still to come. Surname also rhymes with Kinny.
Dave Woolman – Striker:
Had a stop start season with illness but has worked hard in the past few months to re-establish himself. The nicest Leeds boy you’ll meet, his hatred of MUFC is subtle and more complex than most.
Eddie Manson & Josh Rubin:
Both must be mentioned as integral parts of our squad who’re battling the Oakwood knee curse with the hope of returning next season. Two class acts with differing personalities. One shrugs his shoulders and gets on with it – the other is Eddie Manson.
Alex Schock – Co-manager:
Doesn’t get anywhere near as much grief as he should from the boys for saying things like “I’m in back-to-backs all day” and “it is what it is”. Made a typically huge contribution to this season but was happier than anyone with the return of Josh Bentley. Front-seat-in-the-Audi jackpot.
Ric Blank – Co-manager:
Thoroughly excited to be back at Wingate for a chance to pick up some silverware. Promises to do his best to remain in the technical area but apologises in advance for any encroachment.
**SUNDAY’S MATCH KICKS-OFF AT 2PM AT WINGATE & FINCHLEY FC**