MGBSFL PREMIER DIVISION
OAKWOOD A 4 NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A 0
Dan Kristall insists Oakwood can use their impressive 4-0 victory over double winners Raiders as a springboard for next season.
A deadly double from top-scorer David Woolman lifted the Oaks into second place as they exacted revenge on an NLR team who beat them in the final of the Cyril Anekstein Cup last month.
Jubilant Oakwood joint-manager Dan Kristall told JC Sport: "It was a superb win against the champions to finish off a season of real progress.
"We will now aim to use this season as a platform for next year as we seek to win silverware."
Oakwood became the first team to beat a Raiders team who successfully defended their title, with further strikes from Sam Cantor and Jonny Quinn ensuring they finish the campaign in style.
Kristall said: "Raiders just had no answers and by the time we score the first goal in the 65th minute, the floodgates opened. We know that the Raiders squad was tested after a difficult couple of weeks with injury and the Morrison disappointment last week, but I felt we took full advantage once we scored the first goal.
"On another day, it really could have been a bigger scoreline and it was probably due to our lack of games (two in the last two months), that we didn't really punish them at times, especially in the first half.
"After a few words at half-time, I felt our second half performance was far more direct and our final ball certainly improved. They struggled to cope with the creativity of Guy Helman and the movement of Wooly and Cantor up front."
Oakwood will finish as runners-up if Redbridge Jewish Care A fail to beat NLR by a couple of goals on Sunday.
Kristall commented: "We finish the season with the best Jewish defence in the country, conceding only 12 goals which is a great achievement.
"If it had not been for three 0-0 walkovers, twice against Harmen and once against Blizzard, I feel we'd have comfortably finished second on goal difference. I certainly feel we were the second best side in the division this season.
"Finally, mazel tov to Rob and to the Raiders team. They have been by far the best and most consistent team in the league this season and fully deserve their league title.
"We know that they are the benchmark for the next campaign. It's all about starting next season well and being very difficult to beat. We can't afford the slip-ups that we had in September/October this season as they really end up costing you in May.
"We have a busy summer ahead and we look forward to next season."
NLR joint-manager Rob Richman was disappointed to see his team's unbeaten league record go. He told JC Sport: "We made the decision to fulfil the fixture despite only having eight first team regulars. We were kindly helped out by a couple of players from our ‘B’ team and ‘C’ team and I was forced into playing the entire game too.
"Oakwood were full strength and keen to set down a marker, and coming up against a weakened side they did as I would expect and ran out comfortable winners.
"It wasn’t much of a spectacle and really not the greatest game but Oakwood had too much quality in their side for our makeshift team to handle. Fair play to them."
Richman, who leads the team alongside Jonathan Green, is already concerned about availability ahead of NLR's final game of the season.
"Frustratingly next weekend when we play Redbridge is the Maccabiah men’s football trial which half our side our trialling in so it’s going to be very tough to field any sort of side," he commented.
"I obviously want all my side trialling in that and hope they all get in, but that’s going to have an impact on our ability to field a side.
"We will do our best but it’s going to be a long drawn out last few weeks of the season for us."