JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
Hendon United Sports Club A 0 Redbridge Jewish Care A 1
Double cup winners Hendon will need to wait a few more days to clinch the league title and cement the treble after they were beaten 1-0 by defending JC MSFL champions Redbridge at Hadley FC on Sunday morning.
The Reds went into the game needing two points from their last four games to win the title, but they came up against a strong, well-drilled and determined Redbridge team who came away worthy winners.
Goal-mouth action was few and far between in a match settled by a second-half strike from man-of-the-match Adam Bolle.
Both teams were missing key players for the crunch clash. Hendon were without Avidan Last, on his stag weekend, and the injured Greg Corin, while RJC were missing Joel Berg and Brad Frankel.
It was Hendon who created the first opening when Dovid Korman's low drive was comfortably held by Dan Lee in the RJC goal.
Bolle had the best chance of the first half. After outjumping Josh Lipman, he raced on to the loose ball only to be denied by the legs of Hendon keeper Russell Corin.
Bolle tormented the Hendon defence throughout and it was from an excellent run and cross that Steve Summers skewed wide early in the second half.
Hendon came close to breaking the deadlock when a sliderule pass from Ben Lauffer found Danny Kon who was denied by the onrushing Lee.
RJC boss Eilon Kennet introduced Danny Berg and Adam Stolerman midway through the second half and the change paid dividends as RJC continued to threaten.
The decisive moment saw a brilliant, raking pass from David Soutar find Bolle who coolly went around Corin before rolling the ball home from an acute angle.
The home side finished the game strongly, but the closest they came was when a pile-driver of a free-kick from Paul Bentley was blocked by Lee.
Hendon will look to complete the treble when they take on North London Raiders A at Borehamwood FC on Wednesday night.
Hendon boss David Garbacz told JC Sport: "I had a horrible feeling about today's game when I woke up this morning.
"The boys knew we had four games left to win the title and I feel the intensity wasn't there today. In a one-off game, I think we'd have been more motivated.
"Redbridge defended well. They always play well against us. For the most part, we also defended well and didn't look like conceding.
"We were missing some creativity with Avidan away and Greg injured but I've always said we've got the squad to cope with absentees.
"We were keen to make a fast start as I felt that Redbridge's heads would've dropped and we could've won the title in style, but because the early goal didn't come they were extra competitive in the second half.
"Redbridge had extra incentive to win today with what happened in the Peter Morrison Trophy and they were never going to lie down.
"The intensity was lacking today and it needs to return on Wednesday night as we were given a sharp reminder of how tough this league is and there's still a chance we could blow this, but we're determined not to let that happen."
RJC manager Eilon Kennet told JC Sport: "We've shown today that when we get a full squad of players out, we can give anyone a game. This includes match-changing substitutions.
"My goalkeeper was superb today in what was an even game where both teams had chances.
"We were under siege for the last few minutes but created the best two chances of the game.
"It was a good team performance and very pleasing. It went exactly as I wanted the season to end."
Redbridge coach Danny Berg added: We've just proved we're the best team in the league."
Hendon: Russell Corin, Alex Gilbert, Alex Rosenthal (sub: Martin Smulovitch 78), Paul Bentley, Josh Lipman, Josh Bentley (capt), Ben Lauffer, Rafi Kon, Dovid Korman (sub: Ari Last 60), Danny Kon, Yoav Kestenbaum.
Redbridge: Dan Lee, Sam McCarthy, Danny Sugarman, David Soutar, Adam Hakimi (capt), Danny Hakimi (sub: Danny Berg 68), Ben Sollosi (sub: Ben Lampert 45), Sam Sollosi (sub: Adam Stolerman 68), Adam Bolle, Steve Summers, Steve Gevertz
Goal: Adam Bolle
Man of the match: Adam Bolle (RJC)