Two early strikes helped Hendon United A end North West Neasden A's treble hopes as they won the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup final at Hadley FC on Sunday night.
Goals from Ari Last and Paul Bentley stopped NWN from becoming the first team to win the treble as the Reds ran out deserved winners in the Arkley derby.
In a re-run of the recent Peter Morrison Trophy final, both teams went into the game missing key players. For Hendon, Josh Lipman was absent, on leave in the Maldives while NWN were without Maccabiah trio Matt Stock, Daniel Stanton, Ricky Kennet plus Adam Stolerman and Sammy Ross.
Expected to be confirmed as league champions on Monday night, it was NWN who had the game's first chance with a speculative effort from Danny Daggers spinning and bouncing wickedly towards goal, only for some smart intervention from Hendon keeper Danny Berliner to divert the ball over the bar.
Hendon, who going into the game were the only Jewish team to beat NWN this season, then scored twice in two minutes. Excellent work from Avidan Last saw him pass to brother Ari Last who cut in from the right before his daisycutter bounced over the hand of NWN keeper David Fox and trickling into the back of the net.
One became two as Hendon's dream start was completed when Greg Corin's corner ricocheted around the NWN box before Bentley's volley flew in off the post.
NWN were almost gifted a route back into the game on 10 minutes when Ari Last's loose pass was latched on to by Lee Cash but to the amazement of a healthy crowd, the captain, in a one-on-one with Berliner, fired against the outside of the post.
Cash made amends minutes later however, as a quick Neasden break was ended in style as the NWN skipper fired into the top corner.
The rest of the half petered out in disappointing fashion before both teams missed chances. First, Hendon striker Saul Conway was denied by alert keeping from Fox. Then Danny Cole was denied by Berliner for a second time while Cash fired into the side-netting.
2-1 to Hendon at the break, both sets of supporters anticipated the second half where the next goal would be crucial.
The NWN goal led a charmed life on the hour mark as Hendon were denied by the woodwork twice in quick succession. Corin's cross-shot came back off the stanchion before the impressive Dovid Korman volleyed against the bar from the rebound. The ball fell to Alex Gilbert but he was unable to keep his shot down.
NWN then made a double change with Ben Forman and Ben Ellis replacing Danny Daggers and Daniel Levenfiche. Forman had a great chance of hauling NWN back on level terms but he was unable to head Cole's cross goalwards.
The Yellows were then denied by some brilliant last-ditch intervention from Tali Nevies who through himself between ball and goal John Terry style.
The introduction of Yishai Last, on for Saul Conway, spiced things up up front for Hendon. His Cryuff-esque turn won him time and space in the NWN box but his rasping drive whistled fractions wide.
Cash then tried his luck but his dipping volley went the wrong side of the post.
Yishai Last should have settled the contest but he was denied by the onrushing Fox in a one-on-one situation.
Jonny Ellis had a late chance to level but after surging into the box, his effort fell kindly into Berliner's midriff.
An expected late NWN onslaught never materialised as Hendon ran out worthy winners.
Delighted Hammers boss Benjy Wreschner told JC Sport: "After losing to Neasden in two cup finals revenge is sweet. I felt the pitch suited us better than at Wingate and we went at them from the first whistle. Our defence was solid although with the score 2-1 so early on, I was surprised that there was not more goals.
"Belief was a big factor as we mixed it up well and pressed them, and when we had the ball we played football."
Goal-scorer Ari Last added: "I have not scored many this season but felt like I struck my shot well. I think we were the better team and felt we were in control. Neasden ran out of ideas.
"Overall, it's been quite a hard season with the manager leaving but to end with a win sets it up nicely for the next one. I'm very happy for Benjy (Wreschner) as he's put so much effort into it. All credit to him as he's sacrificed a lot."
Matchwinner Paul Bentley said: "We went into the game frustrated after our two cup final defeats against Neasden. We know we're as good as them." Speaking about his goal, he commented: "I didn't know much about it and don't score many with my feet."
NWN joint-manager Jamie Cole reflected: "We always have great battles against them and they are still our nearest rivals. I think the score line was fair, at 2-1 both teams had chances but they defended well and they always make it a difficult for us to play our football. Neasden have the upmost respect for Hendon and they were worthy winners of this final.
“With the quality in our squad we always believed we could get back into this game, but full credit to Hendon they defended well and made it difficult in midfield. Hendon's shape, defence and organisation was excellent. They wanted it and were switched on.
“Margins for error are so small in this game and we conceded two very bad goals. We switched off for five minutes and it was very hard to come back.
"It has been an incredible season; obviously the team are on a bit of a downer as we wanted to win the treble so badly, but we still created history by being the first team to win the double back to back. For whatever reason Neasden as a club gets a lot of bad press but I can tell you now that the squad we have formed is the best we have ever assembled, the players have so much ability and they are great bunch of guys. It is a team of mates that want to be successful, next year we will aim to go one better in the non-Jewish cup and try and win that competition and our other aim will be to win the league three years in a row which also has never been achieved.”
NWN: David Fox 6, Adam Levine 7, Scott Shindler 7, Jonny Ellis 7, Jake Gottlieb 6 (sub: Lee Bibring 82, 6), Daniel Cole 6, Danny Daggers 6 (sub: Ben Forman 69, 6), Matt Sofier 7, TJ Keterman 6, Daniel Levenfiche 6 (sub: Ben Ellis 69, 7), Lee Cash (capt) 7. Sub not used: Adam Klein
Booked: Cash 68, Shindler 90
Goal: Cash 18
Hendon: Danny Berliner 7, Alex Gilbert 8, Paul Bentley 9, Alex Rosenthal 8, Tali Nevies 7, Avidan Last 7 (sub: Motti Korman 61, 7), Ari Last 7, Josh Bentley (capt) 7, Greg Corin 7, Dovid Korman 9, Saul Conway 7 (sub: Yishai Last 80, 8). Subs not used: Benji Wreschner, Ilan Scorah
Goals: Ari Last 5, Paul Bentley 7
Men of the match: Paul Bentley, Dovid Korman (Hendon)
Officials: - Ref - Gary Silver, Asst-refs - Robbie Littner, Tony McEvoy, 4th Official: Laurie Benson
JC Stat Attack
Shot of the match: Lee Cash’s 18th minute thunderbolt that flew past Danny Berliner into the top corner
Save of the match: Tal Nevies’ goal-saving block on the six-yard box preserved Hendon’s lead
Ref watch: Gary Silver used the advantage rule well before calling play back for initial fouls. He handled the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a showpiece final superbly and passed the test with flying colours
On target: 7
Off target: 6
On target: 9
Off target: 5