Oaks are new powerhouse of Maccabi football
THERE WAS an air of inevitability about Oakwood’s last-ditch winner against Hendon United.
Over the two matches, they were worthy winners. There’s no doubt about that.
And it was fitting Leor Sidle popped up with the golden goal that looks to have dealt a fatal blow to Hendon’s title aspirations.
Oakwood have been the nearly men in Jewish football for the last few seasons, but they finally have the strength in depth to seal the deal. As joint-manager Dan Kristall said: “Nothing is won yet but we’re in the mix.”
The team now have four matches left to claim their first title under the new regime. This Oakwood team have a very different look and feel to the side Jamie Cole led to glory in 2003. The club name remains the same, but there is a distinct northern flavour.
It was hard not to be impressed by the performance levels and commitment of the Oakwood team over the past fortnight. The defensive unit of Harvey Kaye, Alex Lee, Dale Bradman and Lee Warner take no prisoners and it’s no surprise that they have conceded the fewest goals across the league.
In midfield, skipper Adam Levine and Guy Helman have been notable absentees, but the return of Kyle Bentwood has really inspired them. In recent years Oakwood have done well for three quarters of the season but injuries for key matches have hampered their push for silverware.
They have really kicked on since the Peter Morrison Trophy final defeat against Hendon a couple of years ago and are top of the league on merit.
For me, Sidle is the final piece in a very talented jigsaw. Together with Sam Cantor, they are a nightmare to play against, with the industrious Brad Wine and David Woolman in support. They never stop running.
Sidle had no right to score that winning goal on Sunday but he could smell blood and his late, late show hit Hendon were it really hurts.
I’m sure there will be plenty of mind games from the likes of David Garbacz and Jon Jacobs between now and May, but the stage is set for Oakwood to go from nearly men to champions. And boy would they deserve it.
Canadian Davis Cup player Denis Shapovalov wins my award for villain of the week. Born in Tel Aviv, Shapovalov, 17, was fined £5,600 after hitting an umpire in the eye with a ball. Just what was he thinking?
Some exciting news for motor racing fans in Israel. The country’s first full-size auto-racing track is nearing completion in the southern city of Arad.
See Danny Caro’s weekend round-up at thejc.com/mgbsfl. Email dcaro@ thejc.com and/or follow Danny on Twitter:@DjCaro