JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
OAKWOOD A 0 HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A 3
Defending champions Hendon boosted their hopes of retaining the title with an impressive victory over the Oaks at Parmiters, thanks to goals from Ari Last, Avidan Last and Yishai Last.
Oakwood started off brighter and more aggressive, with Brad Wine absolutely terrorising Alex Rosenthal who had been given the unenviable task of playing at left back.
However, in that opening spell Josh Rose couldn't convert the golden chance to put us ahead - but in truth it was fantastic goalkeeping from the always excellent Russell Corin.
Hendon came into the game and were the better side for the next 20 minutes with Danny Kon causing the Oaks problems with his pace and movement in treacherous conditions.
A mistake at the back saw Oakwood give the ball away in a dangerous area and Adam Levine's tackle was adjudged to be a foul by referee Warwick Blake, although Oakwood felt that although he clearly got the ball, the conditions meant he took the man too. It was a tough decision but Ari Last tucked it away coolly.
Oakwood were excellent in the second half and should have equalised through Toby Levy and Josh Rose who both failed to hit the target. When they did have a strike at goal Corin's handling was immaculate in the wet.
Trailing 2-0, Oakwood went to three at the back and Avidan Last nicked a third - just as he did in the final) to put a gloss on the scoreline that Oakwood believed flattered Hendon.
Jubilant Hendon boss David Garbacz told JC Sport: "We put in a fabulous shift today. This was an all-round team effort with everyone working their socks off and overall we out-battled and out-fought an excellent Oakwood team where ultimately our extra desire saw us home.
"Russ Corin and the whole defence stood up so strong and further forward we had pace and skill up front - Danny Kon was different class, which was too much for the Os to handle.
"I love Oakwood's attitude - they never give up and have some great players - I thought Josh Bentley was superb - but eventually our extra experience told and took us through to another three massive points.
"Today was a real old school Sunday morning battle which was really well refereed, marvellous to watch and no doubt, great fun to play in. We will not be giving up our title without an enormous fight I can promise you that."
Disappointed Oakwood joint-manager Ric Blank told JC Sport: "We were gutted to lose a game in which for huge chunks, we were the better side.
"The game turned with the second goal and I don't want to go on too much about the referee but all I'll say is that when he asks us to run the line, he should at least acknowledge when the flag goes up. Yishai Last was half a yard offside from a flicked on free kick, I put the flag up immediately but that made no odds apparently. I would never ever cheat running the line and would never encourage my players to do so. It was very tough to take and, in the end, it cost us.
"At 1-0 were far the better team. Bentley and Dan Geey in the middle were the outstanding players on the pitch (along with Josh Lipman for Hendon) while Dave Cohen gave Greg Corin absolutely nothing - again.
"Brad Wine was terrorising both full backs showing a will to win and love for the game that makes him such a great player.
"I honestly believe that if the offside is given we go on and win that game. Hendon are a great, solid team and we've played them three times since May and can see why they're champions.
"I haven't seen Faithfold or Redbridge yet but I'd be surprised if anyone pips Hendon this season. They don't have outstanding individuals (a la Lions or Faithfold) but they work unbelievably hard as a unit and haven't put a foot wrong in the three games we've had. In all honesty, that's the difference between us and them at this moment in time. We made a few mistakes, missed two glorious chances, gave away a few stupid free kicks and a penalty - Hendon didn't.
"It's fine margins at this level and it's something we need to learn. I have absolute faith in my players - the way they took the game to such a good Hendon side was exhilarating at times - and I know that one day soon it will click and we will be challenging Hendon and Faithfold for that title."