It's NLR's to lose now, says Garbacz

David Garbacz turned up the pressure on Norstar London Raiders after watching his Hendon team drop points against FC Team in a thriller at Rowley Lane.



David Garbacz turned up the pressure on Norstar London Raiders after watching his Hendon team drop points against FC Team in a thriller at Rowley Lane.

David Seitler gave the defending champions an early lead, but Team stuck to their task doggedly, with Shim Bensoor ensuring they came away with an impressive point.

Garbacz told JC Sport: "We were incredibly disappointed not to come away with all three points today. After Dave Seitler put us ahead early on with a great finish, it looked like it would be quite a routine morning.

"However it proved anything but as FC Team put us under a lot of pressure with a barrage of long balls and for some inexplicable reason we could not turn our possession into goals.

"We were nowhere near as sharp as we usually are, but even so there is no excuse for letting them back into the game and for not killing it off ourselves."

Having reached the last four of the Morrison last weekend, Garbacz believes the luck went against his players on Matchday 28.

He added: "We then found ourselves getting increasingly frustrated by a succession of poor refereeing and offside decisions culminating in a complete shocker in injury time.

"I accept this will sound like sour grapes but we had a goalmouth scramble where the ball was a good two yards over the line before being literally scooped out by their defender. If he doesn't see the ball go in, then the handball could be seen by everyone yet unbelievably he waves play on. It simply is not good enough in a match of this importance. He got a good 50 per cent of all corners and throw ins wrong and their goal comes from a corner which was a clear goal-kick.

I don't like complaining about officials and we fully appreciate they are doing their best but this was not good enough by a long way.

"All credit to FC Team - they got their tactics spot on - defended well and put us under pressure with their big guys.

"We wish them well for the rest of the season - hopefully they will be as committed when they play Raiders.

"This result gives Raiders a huge advantage - we will fight to the end of course and never give up but it is now very much theirs to lose."

FC Team head coach Ben Gilbey believes the result shows how far his side have come this season, having lost to the treble hopefuls three times, in the league and cup competitions.

He told JC Sport: "Sunday was a great result for us and we really deserved it. Over the last month or so we have really started to play together as a team, with more concentration on our shape and to stop leaking as many goals as we have been this year.

"It was the fourth time we have played Hendon this season on Sunday and we were determined to get something out of the game, as we had lost the three previous encounters.

"We knew that we were going to have to dig in and make it hard for them, so we sat a bit deeper, got in behind that ball and then pressed them. After Hendon scored, we didn't let this effect us too much and stuck to our game-plan. As the game went on and Hendon pushed for a second, they started to become very frustrated and we began to grow into the game, as spaces began to open up.

After hitting the bar, post and forcing a few great saves from their keeper, we finally scored in the 85th minute, which was well deserved.

Responding to Garbacz comments on the late penalty shout, Gilbey commented: "He claimed it was a handball on the line in the dying moments of the game. I can't have been more than 20 yards away from it and honestly I didn't see any handball. It was a goal-mouth scramble, with bodies piling in, I don't know how he can be so sure that it was a handball.

"I thought overall the ref had a good game, in my opinion at the lower levels of football, one of the best things a ref can do is to try his best to let a game flow, rather than stop start and that is what he did.

"I do think Hendon are the best team in the league, which is why I personally was so happy with the result and if I had to put money on a team winning the league, I would probably still put it on Hendon.

"On Sunday though, I think that we got our tactics spot on, we pulled together as a team, which was far from full strength and worked hard to get that point.

"We still have to play Norstar this season, so we may be Hendon's enemy this week, but we may be their best friends in weeks to come.

"There is a real character about our team and some great players, we are unbeaten in THREE now all against teams above us. We still have SIX games left and I strongly believe that we can finish in that top five. Up the Team!"

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