Sunday's a must-win for Hendon, says Garbacz


David Garbacz has described Sunday’s crunch clash against title rivals Raiders as “a must-win” in what is effectively a title decider, even though nothing will be won or lost.

Some believe the recent cup win, courtesy of a fine early finish from David Seitler, will give Hendon a slight psychological edge, but that will all be forgotten once that first whistle blows.

Hendon kept Raiders at arms-length that day, but I can see L’Orange giving them a sterner test this time.

Hendon’s recent draw against FC Team opened things up for Raiders who know that a victory of any description would virtually secure the title, as they have games in hand.

The tension is bubbling nicely ahead of kick-off, although Hendon fans will be concerned to hear they have some key men missing, especially in the attacking third, while Raiders have named a full-strength squad.

But Garbacz told me he “believes he knows where NLR’s weakness lies in what promises to be an enthralling encounter.

Speaking exclusively to JC Sport, Garbacz said: “It is marvellous that the season comes down to this huge must win game between the best two teams in Jewish football.

“For us nothing less than three points will do – with the greatest of respect to Raiders remaining opponents a draw is not enough and we will be going all out for victory on Sunday.

“We know they will be nervous – they will probably not be too sure whether to stick or twist and I feel all the pressure is on them.

“We have not lost to them for many seasons and this will be playing on their minds. Previous matches between us have been quite cagey but I expect this one to be far more open.

“We have enormous respect for them as a team and a club and but when it actually comes down to it – when they have always been the bridesmaid – will they have the bottle to do us on Sunday ? Fasten your seat belts because this will be an absolute cracker.

Asked what he has learnt from Hendon’s two previous meeting against L’Orange, Garbacz commented: “They are strong all over the park – their defence and keeper are water-tight and the midfield will hound you and bustle you all day and up front they possess potential match-winners.

“However, we believe we know where the weakness lies and we will be exploiting that particular area to the full.

“We have our own match-winners and they know it. The first goal is so crucial though – if they score first they will be exceptionally hard to break down. They are a great team, but we go into this match totally full of belief that we will get the job done.”

As for where the game will be won and lost, he added: “This match will be more open than previous encounters which could potentially suit both teams. Although we are missing the brilliant Yoav Kestenbaum, we have unearthed an absolute diamond this season in David Seitler and they will know how dangerous he can be. If they double up on Dave this will leave space for the likes of Greg Corin and Ben Lauffer to exploit.

“We cannot afford any mistakes at the back – one error and our league title has gone – we will try to stretch the play and attack their full-backs and get in behind them.

“We must not let the likes of Liron and Stocky have too much space or they will kill us. The key could well be which one of the big four turn it on the most – those two for Raiders and Seitler and Greg for us.

NLR have nothing to lose on Sunday. Defeat would not end their title hopes. Far from it. With Neasden and FC Team to follow, it’s still all to play for.

Rob Richman’s troops have responded magnificently since the cup defeat against Hendon. Back-to-back 4-0 away wins have lifted everyone in the camp. Now they are ready for the ultimate test.

Richman told JC Sport: “We all know the importance of this game on Sunday. We have put in a lot of hard work across the season and that has put us in a really strong position with just a month of the season to go.

“Quite simply a win for us on Sunday and we would need just a point for the title. There will be no holding back and we will be going all out for the victory.

“It’s a great opportunity to show how strong we are and also to make up of the disappointment of the Peter Morrison Trophy exit to Hendon. We obviously respect Hendon, they are an excellent side but we fully believe we are the better side and we will be looking to show that Sunday morning.

“David and Hendon will no doubt mention their better head-to-head record, but that is all in the past and it will have no bearing when we come out on Sunday. The two previous games this season between our sides have been very close and tight encounters and we are very focused on making sure we come out victorious this time round.

“We had the luxury of resting both Stock and Engleman last weekend to get them ready for Hendon. Whereas we were missing a few important players for the Morrison game a few weeks ago we are at full strength on Sunday.”

As Garbacz says, the first goal is crucial, with the key battle, for me, between the Hendon defence and Raiders attack.

JC team news: Yoav and Avishai Kestenbaum, Alex Rosenthal, Avidan Last and Tali Nevies are all out for Hendon. Both Kons return after being away and Yehuda Korman is back and available for one week only.


CAC Final - Raiders
MGBSFL - Neasden (a)

MGBSFL - Neasden (a)
MGBSFL - FC Team A (a)
CAC Final - Hendon

Hendon - Dovi Fehler 11
Raiders - Matt Stock 14

Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref - Neil Cooper, KO – 10am

JC star man: David Rhodes (Raiders)

DC Prediction: Hendon 1 Raiders 1

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