RAFI

Rafi Kon opened the scoring for Hendon

Last season’s treble winners Hendon United A suffered an almighty test of their credentials against Redbridge, before a last minute own goal saw them book their place in the third round of the national Jewish Cup.

Peter Morrison Cup Second Round:
Redbridge Jewish Care A 1 Hendon United A 2
Sunday 9 November, 2014

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS TO FOLLOW:

MATCH REPORT 2

While the build-up to the game had centred on the heated exchanges from both managers from their last game a fortnight ago, this time all the talking was reserved for the pitch, as a dramatic 90 minutes of football was played out at Fairlop.

Both sides were missing key personnel, though as was the case two weeks ago when Hendon eked out a win in the Cyril Anekstein Cup, Redbridge can consider themselves terribly unfortunate not to have claimed the scalp of the Premier Division champions.

Conceding his team didn’t play anywhere near their full potential, Hendon manager David Garbacz said: “We were not at our best today. In the first half in particular after they equalised, they played with more desire and commitment. We were dealt a blow when Ari Last went off injured and this did contribute to putting us out of our stride, but overall we were nowhere near as fluent as we should be.

“It was a game of fine margins. We clearly missed Russell [Corin in goal] today although were grateful that Jeremy stepped up to the plate and this was a bit of a leveller. They had chances and on another day might have nicked it, but ultimately our slightly greater experience just about got us over the line.”

They did take the lead with just ten minutes on the clock when Brad Grant in the Redbridge goal spilled a cross, Rafi Kon was on hand to gratefully fire in the rebound.

However, Redbridge, spurred on by a vociferous crowd, took just ten minutes to level the score as Daniel Garfinkle capitalised on another goalkeeping spill to lash in the loose ball.

While that may have been how the scoreline stayed until the 89th minute, it wasn’t for a lack of trying from the home side. Denied by goalline clearances on no fewer than three times, they also spurned several guilt edge chances, though Kon came within inches of scoring his second goal of the morning at the other end when he crashed a header against the bar.

However, just as it seemed the game was heading towards another 30 minutes, Greg Corin produced some magic on the right flank, with his low cross into the box inadvertently turned into his own net by the unfortunate Adam Goldman.

Praising Corin for his match-winning moment, Garbacz said: “The difference between the sides was Greg, whilst all around him are panicking he is the one with the best football brain to do the simple things well and it needed a moment of his brilliance to see us home.”

And still pursuing a third consecutive treble, Garbacz says there’s still a lot more to come from his side. He said: “We haven’t played as well yet this season as we did last but we are still nicely placed in the league and are in both cups. We definitely have another couple of gears to step up and as long as we still have a chance in each competition, once we start playing to our true potential we will be very difficult to beat. That’s what comes with being winners and cup holders – it gives you the belief to take you through games like today. The treble treble is still on but we won’t do it if we don’t start to improve quickly, starting with next week’s big league game against the Raiders.”

Redbridge manager Jon Jacobs was proud of his team and felt his team deserved to win the tie. He said: “We were the better team, I’m so disappointed we didn’t take our chances but everyone knows how good we are now and that was with a weakened team.

“Aside from the first 20 minutes, we were the better team all over the park, they had one shot on target and we didn’t take our hatful of chances. The difference between the sides – our finishing and their ability to grind out results.”

And taking positives from the two performance against Hendon over the past couple of weeks, Jacobs said: “We can compete at the highest level on a weekly basis and have nothing to fear from any team in Jewish football.”
And after the shenanigans from the aftermath of their last meeting, both Garbacz and Jacobs shook hands at the full-time whistle, and insist there’s not bad blood between them.

Garbacz said: “I would be amazed if I’m not on Jon’s chanukah list – we shook hands today on a great committed cup tie between two good teams – there were no shenanigans and probably last week’s row was slightly blown out of proportion – I would look forward to locking horns with Redbridge again next year – they are a proper team who are at least as good as a number of Premier Division teams and they deserve to be in the top division. It’s safe to say we have well and truly buried the hatchet especially since we won!”

Jacobs said: “David was very gracious in victory, banter and passion is what Jewish football is all about, we wouldn’t do it otherwise so there is no hatchet to bury and today was a game played in a fabulous spirit between two well matched sides.”