Korman late shows helps Hendon United retain Morrison Trophy

A last-minute wonder strike from Avi Korman ensured the Peter Morrison Trophy stayed firmly in the clutches of Hendon United Sports Club A as they retained the coveted prize for the third year in a row following a nail-biting final against North London Raiders A.



A last-minute wonder strike from Avi Korman ensured the Peter Morrison Trophy stayed firmly in the clutches of Hendon United Sports Club A as they retained the coveted prize for the third year in a row following a war of attrition against North London Raiders A.




Hendon went into the final as underdogs – in the eyes of many, including their manager David Garbacz – but they defended resiliently against the double-double champions, denying them a first-ever treble in the process.

Chances were few and far between in the first 60 minutes. Hendon settled first against a Raiders team missing the presence of first-team regulars Ben Joseph, Oscar Wagner and Jonny Kay, who although named on the bench, did not feature in the showpiece final at Wingate & Finchley FC.

The best opening came early on when neat first-time link-up play between Moses Seitler and Dovi Fehler set up Yoav Kestenbaum in acres of space at the far post but he got under the ball and sent his shot well over the bar.

Raiders made the first substitution, with Josh Morris replacing Josh Pistol. NLR came close in the closing stages of the first half when a floating cross by Liron Mannie threatened to dip under the crossbar but Russell Corin was alert to move across his goal well and tip the ball to safety.

Hendon were gifted an opening following a slip by Pistol but Greg Corin’s pull-back was volleyed straight into Jake Doffman’s midriff by captain Ari Last.

Avi Korman was first into Martin De La Fuente’s notebook after tugging back Alex Moss as a half that lacked fluidity and noteworthy action drew to a close. But just before ref De La Fuente blew his whistle, the industrious Mannie swung over a delicious cross that Engleman could only head over, with the goal gaping.

Engleman joined Korman in the notebook two minutes into the second half for a late tackle on Seitler, who was intent on taking the game to NLR at every opportunity. He drove forward with great purpose and always looked to bring his teammates into the game.

Korman gave NLR a taste of things to come on 52 minutes when he hit a screamer that whistled inches past the post. The Reds then had a goal chalked off for offside two minutes later when Kestenbaum’s shot was superbly parried by Doffman, into the path of Fehler, who was adjudged offside by assistant-referee Neal Cohen.

Russell Corin produced the save of the match five minutes later, showing top-class reactions to somehow keep out a buller header from Engleman.

NLR showed their intent by bringing on Hendon FC wonder kid Nyv Bogaire for Matt Stock and he lit up the Harry Abrahams Stadium with some excellent touches and close control, not to mention several Cryuff-turns.

Hendon responded with a change of their own, with Zac Lewis coming on for Fehler. He was quickly into the action, sending a deft dink agonisingly past the post with Doffman beaten.

Although it was not a dirty game, the cautions continued with Greg Corin added to the list for a trip on the marauding Mannie.

As the match ended the final quarter, Hendon realised the importance of closing down the dangerous Bogaire, and Last produced a fair but bone-crunching tackle on the youngster, who reacted with a equally tough challenge on the former Player of the Year.

NLR then threw Ben Ellis into the mix, but Simon Peterman and the evergreen Alex Rosenthal stood firm against a top-quality strikeforce, with Ethan Zone and Ben Kon giving Corin in goal ample protection.

With extra-time looming, Hendon mounted one final attack and Seitler found Korman who sent a crackerjack of a shot arrowing into the top corner before being mobbed by his teammates.

There was no time for Raiders to respond and their treble hopes had been crushed as Hendon were all smiles at the final whistle.

Garbacz told JC Sport: “I am so very proud of all the squad today – we had a determination and a drive from the very off today and really had a good feeling that this was going to be our day.

"We spoke about not making the same mistakes as last year in the Anekstein final when we found ourselves out of the game by half-time and this time we wanted to keep a good shape for the first part of the game and open up more once the game would inevitably get more stretched.

"Raiders are such a hard team to break down and it was always going to need a special moment and the winning goal Avi Korman struck in the last minute was good enough to win any cup final at any level.

"We felt that overall we definitely deserved the win – we had the better chances and more of the possession and I felt our midfield three of Avi Korman, Ari Last and Moses Seitler had the upper hand all day. We felt aggrieved with the offside goal, but thankfully that did not come to cost us in the end.

"Once again, congratulations to Raiders on a tremendous double-winning season but it feels good to only say double and not treble. The win today caps what was ultimately a successful season for us – if not so the league, we have still proved we were the team to beat in the cups and to win this national Cup for a third successive season is a remarkable achievement which we are all very proud of."

After Ari Last and his teammates collected the Jewish FA Cup for the third time in a row, gaffer Garbacz announced that he would be stepping down following six successful seasons in charge.

"From a personal point of view, I leave with a heavy heart but have no regrets and really do feel the time is now right – I have loved every minute of the last six years and it has been a true honour to have managed some really great players over the years and to have won nine trophies in that period including two trebles.

"I will always be a massive Hendon fan and will probably find myself watching from the sidelines next year anyway, especially if my younger son gets in the team!

"I have enjoyed all battles with all my managerial mates and I hope the league and Jewish football in general is around for many more years to come.

"But it’s time for someone else to take the reins – I don’t want to do an Arsene Wenger and carry on too long, and I’m delighted to be leaving on a winning note."

NLR joint-manager Rob Richman was magnanimous in defeat. He told JC Sport: "It wasn’t a great game - the heat and state of the pitch made it very difficult for both sides to play much exciting football.

"In addition, you have two sides who are very evenly matched who in truth cancelled each other out. Congratulations to Hendon - they pushed us close in the league last season and we know they are a very strong outfit and a great group of players and they deserved the win."

Co-boss Jonathan Green told JC Sport: "It’s never an enjoyable experience to lose a cup final in the last minute and the boys were all disappointed, but we have much to be proud of this season.

"To win back-to-back doubles is a huge achievement and one we are quite rightly proud of. It hasn’t been done since 1977-78 so we made our own little bit of history this season.

"The boys have done everything asked of them this season, given absolutely everything and have shown along the way what a talented group of footballers they are. They have been a delight to manage and a credit to themselves so congratulations to all them on a tremendous season."

National Football Committee chairman Laurence Thorne said: "Congratulations to Hendon United A for winning the Peter Morrison Trophy for the third year running, and commiserations to North London Raiders A. It was a very close game in extremely hot temperatures played in a fantastic spirit.

"We will now begin to plan for next season's Peter Morrison tournament and I'd like to thank my committee for all their input."

HENDON: Russell Corin, Ben Kon, Simon Peterman, Alex Rosenthal, Ethan Zone, Moses Seitler, Ari Last (capt), Avi Korman, Yoav Kestenbaum, Dovi Fehler, Greg Corin. Subs: Rafi Kon, Gav Krieger, Chaim Korman, Zac Lewis

GOAL: Avi Korman 90

RAIDERS: Jake Doffman, Josh Morris, Justin Spiro, David Rhodes, Alex Bloch, Alex Moss, Ricky Engleman, Liron Mannie, Matt Stock, Jordan Marks, David Dinkin. Subs: Josh Pistol, Adam Joselyn, Jonny Kay, Ben Ellis, Nyv Bogaire

OFFICIALS: Ref – Martin De La Fuente, Asst Ref: Callum Foster, Asst Ref: Neal Cohen.
4th Official/Reserve Referee: Neil Cooper

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