Premier Division giants Redbridge and Hendon will do battle for the fourth and final time on Sunday morning in a fixture dubbed “the most entertaining game in Jewish football”.
In three previous meetings between the sides Redbridge have won both league encounters, 4-3 and 3-2, while Hendon claimed an epic Cyril Anekstein Cup win on penalties after a 6-6 draw.
Believing this weekend’s Peter Morrison Trophy quarter-final tie can live up to the hype and follow in the footsteps of the three previous encounters, Hendon boss David Garbacz said: “Although I have full respect for Raiders and Oakwood and for what they’ve achieved this season, there’s no doubt that in terms of entertainment, Redbridge and Hendon are the teams to watch. We’re more gung-ho this season, which is why we haven’t been as successful this year, but it means these games are the ones to watch.
“Both referees in our recent two encounters, Richard Jaye and Martin Lavender, went on record to say they were the most entertaining games they had officiated and there is no reason to expect anything different this weekend.
“We’re two incredibly closely-matched teams who both play very open attacking football. Our two league losses to them could have gone either way and we’re confident we can beat them. Let me assure you – we won’t go out wondering that’s for sure.”
His Redbridge counterpart Jon Jacobs said: “Both teams know each other’s games so well, there’s never more than the odd goal in it, excitement is guaranteed.
“The teams know each other so well, the managers have the utmost respect for each other and the football played is open. There are always goals galore, saves aplenty. One thing’s for certain, the game will be exciting and I’m confident of another epic match.
“The boys realise the importance of the game but as the teams are so evenly matched, it will take a bit of magic to win this tie.”
Redbridge go into the game with the better head-to-head record, though despite the cup being their best avenue of success, seeing as they sit five points off top spot in the League having played a game more than the Raiders, Jacobs insists his side aren’t under any pressure going into the game. “I fully expected this season to be about consolidating our Premier League status, so to be in the hunt is a massive bonus for me,” he says. “The boys are going to enjoy themselves and we will see what happens between now and the end of the season. But like I said, anything we achieve now will be a bonus to what my initial expectations were.
“All I can say is that the boys realise the importance of the game but as the teams are so evenly matched, it will take a bit of magic to win this tie.”
Confident his team can keep their season alive by winning on Sunday, Garbacz adds: “We have to make sure our hotshots score once more and welcoming back players for the game, we will be going all out for the win.
“We’re two incredibly close matched teams who both play very open attacking football. Our two league losses to them could have gone either way and we’re confident we can beat them. We need to nullify their best threats as best we can and make sure we defend to the absolute top of our abilities.
“We’re confident we can come out on top. Let me assure you – we won’t go out wondering that’s for sure.”
Both managers are also hoping this weekend’s game can serve up as another great advert for the League after Jewish News’ video highlights of last month’s Cyril Anekstein Cup tie went viral on the internet, attracting more than 140,000 views, 1,700 likes and 500 comments.