Flixton can surprise Hendon, says Delmonte


Stuart Delmonte is confident his AFC Flixton side will cope with the mental demands of three cup finals in a week.

Flixton’s quadruple bid is on the line this month — with the Peter Morrison Trophy their first assignment as they prepare to take on holders Hendon United Sports Club at Boundary Park on Sunday.




Having already steered the club to the Manchester Accountants League title, Flixton joint-manager Delmonte said: “We face three finals in a week so it’s a test of our mental strength. I feel we can finish the job.

“No doubt the Morrison will be our toughest assignment. Hendon are arguably the best team from the south. They eliminated us last year and will be desperate to retain their trophy.

"We also have not been helped by losing four key players through injury. It’s not ideal timing and we will only have two substitutes on the bench, but you have to deal with the hand that is dealt you."

Flixton warmed up for the Jewish FA Cup final by beating South Manchester 3-0 in the last four of the Kings Cup. Strikes from Ashley Reece (2) and Paul Abels set up a final showdown against Lawds or PWC in the final on May 24.

That is sandwiched in between the Handicap Cup final outing against Manchester Maccabi 1st, but Delmonte, who co-manages the team with Tony Rosenberg, says they are taking one game at a time.

"Obviously we want to win," he said. "We hope the final is a good one, a great one, but if it’s a boring one, an ugly one or a stop-start one, Tony and I do not care, as long as we win."

Asked which team starts as the favourites, Delmonte said: “It has to be Hendon, they are the holders. They have been in this position before, they’re very strong throughout the team and give nothing away."

Hendon will be missing Ethan Zone, Alex Rosenthal and Ben Lauffer, along with long-term absentees Yoav Kestenbaum and Avidan Last. But manager David Garbacz believes last season’s treble winners are equipped to deal with Flixton and quash their hopes of a clean sweep.

He said: “We are readying ourselves for one of our biggest games in recent years. For a number of reasons there is a lot at stake on Sunday — there is the north versus south rivalry, the fact that we’ve already got two runners-up medals this season and the huge prestige which winning this trophy would bring.

"Once again we have a number of injury and availability problems, with the loss of Ben Lauffer a hugely significant blow. But we will not be wheeling that out as an excuse. If anything, it should unite those who are available and make them more determined than ever."

Hendon concluded their MGBSFL campaign with a 2-2 draw against North West Neasden, thanks to a double from Dovi Fehler, and Garbacz insists they will be driven on by their recent defeat in the League Cup.

"As good as Raiders were, particularly in the first half of the Anekstein final, we helped them out through some very uncharacteristic mistakes and a general lack of steeliness and fight which was not at all like us.

"We learnt some harsh lessons that day and in retrospect we were possibly over-relaxed and a touch complacent leading into that game which I believe contributed to making such a slow start.

"Flixton will look to adopt similar tactics — they are a tough, old-school northern team who have swept all before them this season and are going for an incredible quadruple.

"We will show them respect but we will need to match them in that department and any complacency, much as it did against Raiders, will be punished."

Hendon ended NLR’s treble hopes when David Seitler scored the winner at the quarter-final stage of the competition and Garbacz has told his troops they will need to adopt a siege mentality as they look to finish the season with silverware.

"We are under no illusions that Flixton start this match as favourites,” he said. “Apart from Dave Seitler’s Mancunian grandparents, our only supporters will be in the dugout and it will well and truly be like a proper away match.

"However, we will use that to spur us on and not allow it to intimidate us. The key is to stay in the game for as long as possible and to remain calm and composed.

"I have a good feeling about Sunday. We know our big players must perform. I’m expecting the likes of Ari Last and Greg Corin to take the game by the horns and lead the way for our youngsters to shine through."



FLIXTON: Daniel Garman, Michael Sacks, Adam Tauber, Daniel Selwyn, Jon Alexander, Leor Sidle, Stephen Peck, Oshri Amar, Adam Wilson, Mark Bell, Alex Singer, Adam Gilman, Michael Warwick, Andy Rosenberg, Adam Stevens, James Rosenberg, Rob Jacobs

HENDON: Russell Corin, Ari Last (capt), Ben Kon, Ari Nevies, Tali Nevies, Alex Rosenthal, Ethan Zone, Rafi Kon, Avi Korman, Simon Peterman, Ben Lauffer, Greg Corin, Dave Seitler, Dovi Fehler, Avishai Kestenbaum, Yoav Kestenbaum, Avidan Last



Semi-final - bt Harmen 4-0 - Gilman, Sidle, Warwick, OG
Quarter-final - bt FC Team B 2-0 - Stevens, Sidle
Round 3 - bt Manchester Maccabi - Jacobs
Round 2 - bt HMH 3-1 - Tauber, Peck, Sidle
Round 1 - Bye

Semi-final - bt Lions Spartans 4-1 - Seitler, Avi Korman, Fehler, own goal
Quarter-final - bt NL Raiders A 1-0 – Seitler


Venue - Boundary Park, Oldham Athletic FC, KO - 3pm

JC star man: Stephen Peck (Flixton)

DC Prediction: AFC Flixton 3 Hendon 1 - as David Garbacz says, the absence of Ben Lauffer is huge for Hendon. Midfield will be the key area for me on Sunday, and I can see Flixton's big-hitters bossing it on the big Oldham pitch. I also can't see Dovi Fehler getting much change out of Michael Sacks, but at the other end, Leor Sidle has been superb in his first season at Flixton who I expect to win by a couple of goals.





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