A last night of freedom - then it’s back for the final
Sunday’s JC Cyril Anekstein Cup final brings the curtain down on the season as treble-chasing North West Neasden A take on Hendon United A at Hadley FC.
The match is a re-run of the Peter Morrison Trophy final that Neasden edged 1-0. Both camps hope to put on an entertaining affair with a bumper crowd expected for a 6pm kick-off.
Whereas Neasden enjoyed an easy win in the semi-finals, Hendon were taken the distance by London Maccabi Lions A, eventually going through on penalties. With revenge the name of the game for the Hammers, it will be interesting to see if Benjy Wreschner’s troops adopt a more attacking approach than for the Jewish FA Cup final.
Hendon keeper Danny Berliner has been in magnificent form this season and, along with Neasden duo Matt Stock and Daniel Stanton, recently back from a Team GB Maccabiah training camp in Spain where they played at Real Madrid’s training ground.
Although both sides have played plenty of football recently, it is clear that they are ready for one last push. However, members of the Neasden camp may be a little worse for wear as they return early from chairman Sammy Carr’s stag weekend in Bournemouth.
With the Morrison already in the bag, Neasden welcome back man-of-the-moment Daniel Levenfiche for the crunch clash. Lev missed the last four win over Hendon B as his girlfriend had booked tickets to see the muscial Oliver.
Wreschner looks forward “to a great climax”. Like Levenfiche, Wreschner missed his team’s semi-final but reflected: “Having four quality players on the bench was the biggest factor in our victory over Lions.
“We may have rode our luck at times, but we have a never-say-die spirit, and even when 2-1 down with four minutes to go, there was always the belief that we would equalise.”
Hendon remain the only Jewish team to beat Neasden this season, comimg from behind to win 2-1 in the league in February. Neasden will not underestimate the Hammers, with joint-manager Jamie Cole describing the final as “our toughest test of the season, particularly as they beat a very strong Lions side which was bolstered by members of their Saturday team”.
Hendon are hell-bent on preventing NWN from crushing their cup dreams for a third time. Greg Corin could be the one to watch. He was in sparkling form against Lions and will be keen to do well against his former teammates. His battle against Daniel Cole is key.
Hendon have not been as free-scoring as in seasons gone by but their best form of defence could be to attack, going for the jugular from the whistle. Ari Last and Dovid Korman are also capable of leading the Neasden backline a merry dance but it is vital that they boss the midfield to stop Neasden’s pacy strikers getting in behind them.
Despite being a former Neasden player, I would like to see Hendon get their hands on the cup. Their never-say-die spirit paid dividends in the semis and I can see the final coming down to which team keeps its composure and takes their chances.
Team GB ladies’ netball squad will be off court on Sunday for their final fundraiser before the Maccabiah.
They will be running a sponsored car wash in Elstree — dressed in their netball outfits.