Oakwood A defeated arch rivals Hendon United Sports in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to lift the Cyril Anekstein Cup for the first time at Rowley Lane.
Hendon’s Dovi Feuler missed a chance to win the cup after Oakwood missed their second spot kick at five goals apiece before O’s ‘keeper Joe Botchin kept out a Ben Lauffer strike to win the cup.
Oakwood took the lead in a thrilling final three times thanks to Brad Wine and a Josh Cuby double only for Premier Division champions to strike back with two goals from Avi Korman, the first a penalty, and a Yoav Kestenbaum 119th minute strike after man of the match Botchin had saved two point-blank efforts taking the match to penalties.
“I was gutted with the third goal because I saved twice with my feet and the last one rolled under my leg,” recalled Botchin after the match.
Hendon ‘keeper Russ Corin, who had to depart the game during the second half due to cramp, bravely returned to make two saves in the shoot-out, but Botchin’s third save in the finale earned the spoils 6-5 on the night.
“Thankfully we won the shoot out,” said a beaming Botchin.
“You have to pick a place and not be stuck in two minds with each penalty. I look where their feet are placed and eyes are focused and then hope you go the right way. It went my way today.”
For Oakwood boss Daniel Kristall, after winning the Premier Division last season, this win was a sweet moment.
“It’s just relief, it was the most helter-skelter game,” he said.
“Watching those games is absolute torment, it’s such hard work but I think we just deserved it.
“Hendon just about edged the first half, we had words and came out after half time, got a goal which was a bit fortunate but brilliant for us.
“To take the lead against Hendon three times, then have the lead in stoppage time, have the lead in extra time stoppage time, and to then have the character in a shoot-out to win after Hendon had a chance to win it was amazing.”
Kristall added: “We’ve never won a shoot-out before and lost three finals so this win is massive. We stood up today and did the job.
“They could not deal with Josh (Cuby) whenever he was in possession on the wing and Joe (Botchin) was incredible today, a deserved man of the match.
“We showed real character but won because of our bench, everyone played a part.”
“Credit to Hendon, they deservedly won the league but we know how to win it and now also the cup so have a big summer ahead of us.
“We won’t sit still, we’ll build on this and be ready for the new campaign even stronger.”
“I didn’t think there was a point when we had the game,” said Hendon boss Greg Corin.
“We competed tremendously and going into penalties I thought we had the momentum, and it did swing our way. Russ made a great save and we stepped up to take our seventh penalty to win it but these things happen.
“Penalties are a lottery, a team had to win and it was not our day today.”
He added: “I’m very proud of the team, we have a lot of great players and we showed a lot of spirit and heart.
“It was not a weak performance, we are winners, so every loss is hard to take. I prefer to lose like that than to lose with a poor performance.
“Oakwood are tremendous competitors, without them the league would not have been as enjoyable, we need each other to improve. We’ll definitely be there competing again next season.”
“It was a hard-fought game and a great battle,” commented Maccabi GB Southern Football League chairman David Woolf.
“It’s always sad to see it won or lost on penalties but Oakwood about edged it, their keeper was superb and Cuby was magnificent.
“Hendon have a lot of great performers and are a very compact team but it was not their day today.”
Faithfold B ended the season with silverware after a deserved 4-1 victory against Temple Fortune A in the Barry Goldstein Cup final.
Jon Kaye and Stuart Haring gave them a 2-0 half time lead.
Fortune worked hard to get back into the game before Gav Levis and David Kizneris sealed the win.
“There was a hairy moment at 3-1 up but other than that we were in control,” said manager David Garson.
“We hit the ground running and the third goal at the start of the second half won it for us.
“To win a final is always special, when you are the bottom team in the league, it’s even more special.
“And on a personal note, it’s a great way to sign off after 25 years and see Faithfold in a good place to move forward.”
In league action, Oakwood B ended the Division 1 campaign on a high with a 2-1 win against Los Blancos.
Daniel Seligman and Louie Libbertstruck goals to secure third spot.
Boss Jason Stein thanked Daniel Kristall and Simon Field for managing the side in his absence.
“That was a huge win for us to seal third place,” he added.
“I made it clear pre-match how ridiculous it was Blancos and Oakwood were level, given they’d had so many walk-over wins so I’m thrilled we’ve come away from them with a win.
“I know they came into the game hoping to be promoted, so it shows how up for it they were. We end the season with our highest ever finish and back to back away wins so there is plenty to build on.”
Daniel Garfinkle struck the all-important goal as Fairlop FC moved within two points of the Division 2 title with a 1-0 win at Mill Hill Dons.
Needing four points from their remaining three games to be crowned champions in their debut season, the result delighted boss Aaron Dias.
“It was tricky conditions with the grass being heavily overgrown.
“Dons are used to playing on this pitch, and fair play to them, they came at us in the first 30 minutes. But we grew into the game and snatched an undeserved lead before half time.
“Today wasn’t our best performance but in some ways it was the most satisfying game of the season. We dug really deep and got the win, which at this stage of the season is the only thing that matters.
“We’ve got bags of goals in our team but what will see us over the line is our defensive ability to keep clean sheets. Roll on next Sunday, champagne will be on ice.”
Real Hendon enjoyed a stunning 7-2 win against Hertswood Vale.
Sharpshooter Lolu Hibbert struck a hat-trick and Benni Goldberg bagged a brace together with strikes from twins Bennyand Joel Kutner.
“Altogether a fantastic day at the office for the Bees of Hendon and we’re looking forward to our final game of the season next week,” said boss Rafi Addlestone.
Bradley Loretta and Simon Englander scored consolation goals for Vale.
“We left one of our worst performances of the season to last unfortunately,” said manager Jacob Emaunel. “There were numerous individual errors leaving us with a heavy defeat and performance that ultimately deserved nothing.”
He added: “Compared to last year, we find ourselves 11 points and five places better off and although we’ve finished on a low, the season overall has been successful.”
Cup final stats
Hendon United Sports Club 3
Oakwood A 3
(Oakwood win 6-5 on penalties)
Hendon: Russell Corin, Mordy Weiler, Ari Nevies, Dudi Edreyi, Ben Lauffer, Alex Rosenthal, Larry Cohen, Josh Bentley, Avi Korman, Simon Peterman, Ari Last, Rocky Spitzer, Josh Harris, Yoav Kestenbaum, Zac Lewis, Moses Seitler, Dovi Fehler, Yehuda Korman, Greg Corin.
Oakwood: Joe Botchin, Dean Caplin, Harvey Kaye, Jakey Norton, Lee Warner, Alex Lee, Tom Cantor, Dale Bradman, Tom Prais, Toby Levy, Josh Cuby, Bradley Wine, Zack Collins, Leor Sidle, Sam Cantor, David Woolman, Jonny Quinn, David Cohen.
Referee: Luke Steel
Faithfold B 4
Temple Fortune A 1
Faithfold: David Garson, Stuart Haring, Nick Stern, Tony Plaskow, Josh Lewis, Naftali Dove, Ben Kifir, Josh Martin, Mark Singer, Yoss Brownson, Jon Kaye, David Pragar, Gav Lewis, Sam Garson, JJ Marache, Dan Yossman, Josh Barnett, David Kizneris.
Temple Fortune: Lloyd Becker, Steven Black, Conor Brand, David Brown, Gideon Caplin, Joel Carlowe, Simon Cohen, Lee Fegan, Michael Goldberg, Lee Hyams, Jacob Kalms, Gab Saul, Adam Speck, Declan Spiro, Brett Stead, Gab Stone, Daniel Vandemolen, Mike Woolf, Ami Wynbourne, Darren Zitren
Referee: Daniel Fox