Manager David Garbacz introduces us to his Hendon squad.
ROUTE TO WINGATE
Semi-Final - bt Los Blancos 4-1 - Josh Bentley Paul Bentley Greg Corin Yishai Last
Quarter-final - bt Faithfold A 2-1 - Josh Bentley, Ari Last
Round 3 - bt Chigwell Athletic 6-1 - Avidan Last 2, Greg Corin 2, Ben Kon, Josh Bentley
Round 2 - bt North London Raiders A 1-1 AET (won on penalties) - Yishai Last (won 5 – 4 on penalties)
Round 1 - Bye
Russell Corin - goalkeeper - Had to fill big goalkeeping boots this season once Danny Berliner left the club and Russell has been a revelation. A huge dominant presence (in more ways than one) his handling has been superb and is a totally reliable performer. Plus he does not shut up even for one minute constantly yelling encouragement to the back four.
Alex Gilbert - right-back - Club statistician and club Maccabi representative. Vastly experienced and is a top performer both defensively and coming forward. Had baby issues at the beginning of the season but thankfully the thumb seems to have lifted in time for the latter stages of the season.
Martin Smulovitch - left back - Another vastly experienced performer. One of three vital close season signings from Hendon B, Martin has been Mr Consistent and despite being one of the teams elder statesmen is certainly one of the fittest. You do not beat this man for pace. Will be looking to hang his cup medal around the neck of his brand new baby.
Paul Bentley - centre back - A newly formed career at the Daily Mail will soon take this Hendon legend off to New York for a few months. A truly solid defender, superb in the air and tough as nails in the tackle. Watch out for some great runs in the opposition area as well. Passport issues will hopefully enable Paul to have this one last Hendon hurrah before flying off to the Big Apple.
Alex Rosenthal - defender - Wannabe midfielder wannabe attacker but too good at the back so keep dreaming. Back after a long injury lay off this season and despite being the clubs worst trainer does make up for it with some highly committed performances on a Sunday. A great squad player who might just be reaching his peak for this showpiece occasion.
Josh Lipman - defender/midfielder ) The engine room of the team. Magnificent at the back and superb in midfield. Will do a top job wherever and energy levels to match even the longest lasting Duracell batteries. Never stops running and is a fine example to all team members both young and old. In pre-match team huddles renowned more for his strange noises rather than eloquent words but more than makes up for it once the whistle blows.
Rafi Kon - defender/midfield - One of the stars of the Hendon academy and an inspired pre-season signing from Hendon B. Rafi has started the majority of matches this year and has excelled either at centre half or as a holding midfielder. Combative, creative and has great vision. Has quickly established himself as a crucial team member. Very scary man if left out of starting 11.
Ben Kon - midfield - One of the stars of the season not only for Hendon but probably in the entire league. Incredible Stevie Gerrard type energy in central midfield running up and down like a man possessed . Has scored some crucial goals as well as providing numerous assists. Travesty how he has not been included in Rep team this year and a genuine contender for player of the season. A shrewd bet for 1st goal-scorer this afternoon. You will never hear Ben do much talking on the pitch – he lets his boots do that!
Josh Bentley - midfield - Team captain and previous Player of the Year winner. Back from injury this year and has worked enormously hard on his fitness to get back to his dominating best. If there is a better header of the ball than Josh in this league please sign him up. Strong and dominant, not the box to box player of old but still returning a decent goal tally and a crucial part of the best midfield in the land. A gentle giant, will have tears in his eyes if he lifts the cup this afternoon.
Ari Last - midfield - A true class act. Is serious about his football and do not mess while Ari is about or else be prepared for one of his famous stares. A very experienced performer at this level who has undoubtedly inspired the Kon brothers and others around him to great heights. Very strong whether part of a midfield four or five and a fixture in the team for many years. Still desperate to score a picture book goal in a showpiece occasion and today could be the day. Another crucial member of a dominant midfield.
Yishai Last - winger/forward - will be checking the weather forecast from a Monday morning to Saturday night desperate that the game goes ahead on a Sunday. Due to get married in August but try telling him that his wedding day will be bigger than cup final day. Has had a brilliant season weaving his magic on the wing and has scored many crucial goals including the equaliser in the 1st round of the cup v NL Raiders in the last five minutes. A tremendous attacking option and vital to the preferred 4-3-3 formation that Hendon like to play .
Greg Corin - winger - winger, player-coach and assistant-manager. Dazzling to his team-mates and the opposition on the pitch, and dazzling to himself in front of the mirror. Returned from a season on the side-lines last year to be one of the players of the season this year. Countless assists and some brilliant individual goals. Can pick out a pass like no other and delivers a wicked cross whether from the right or his preferred left. In a tight game Greg is the one to produce the magic and the watching wags will be hoping for a Corin special leading to a removal of the shirt. Do not bet against for MOM.
Dovid Korman - forward - Part of the famous Korman dynasty who could surely produce a brilliant team merely from their own family. A superb touch and a brilliant turn of pace. Has the ability to score some absolute net-busters and is a real danger man. Soon to marry the beautiful daughter of former Hendon boss Lord Kestenbaum in a shrewd move which assures him of Arsenal tickets for the foreseeable future but hopefully will not detract from his game. A natural forward and a natural finisher – could well be the match winner.
Saul Conway - forward - The classic fox in the box. Scores goals year in year out and has superb movement and holding up skills. Is equally comfortable playing in a front two or leading the line by himself. By his own admission needs to be just a little more composed in front of goal but still a great attacking option. His ever-reliable bike will be adorned with red ribbons and ridden with extra pride should Saul provide a champagne moment.
Avidan Last - forward - Eldest brother in the Last clan Avidan has been dogged by injuries all season and consequently has found it tough to really get going. Is a fitness freak and if injury free has fantastic pace and an Andy Gray attitude in front of goal and has no aversions to women linos as well! Tremendously enthusiastic and like his brothers counts the day’s until match day. Will be desperate to make an impact today to make up for his unlucky campaign.
The Right Honourable Yoav Kestenbaum - forward - son of Lord John and a clone of his father’s early playing days. Likened to young Jack Wilshire, Yoav has incredible strength and balance for a 17-year-old and must have a brilliant future in the game. Could be a real Hendon star for years to come. Has matured as the season has gone on and impressed greatly in several substitute appearances. With his father due to present Today’s trophy who would bet against a script which has Yoav providing a great David Fairclough moment today?
Michael Slavinsky - defender/supersub - Committed squad member and easily the most intelligent and sensible team member being a teacher. Has only played a bit part this year in what is a very difficult team to break into but has had notable highlights including a heroic substitute goalkeeping performance as well as some solid games at right back.
David Garbacz - manager - Now in his second year as Hendon boss. First year provided two runners-up medals in League and cup and would clearly love nothing more than to see his nephew Josh lift the famous CA Cup to taste silverware for the first time. Has encouraged an entertaining attacking brand of football and has done well to manage some big personalities and has had to keep a highly talented squad happy with some difficult team selections. Is a journalist’s dream with some great Mick Mccarthy like interviews and expect some pearls of wisdom today should Hendon prove victorious.
CUP FINAL PACKAGE: