HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A 1 OAKWOOD A 2
FOOTBALL DAVID Garbacz compared Leor Sidle’s late winner to being burgled as Oakwood extended their lead at the top of the MGBSFL Premier Division to four points after completing a league double over their title rivals.
Having beaten Hendon 3-1 at the same Hadley FC ground last week, Oakwood arrived in a confident mood at a pitch surrounded by thick fog.
Hendon were given an early let-off when Brad Wine latched on to a dangerous far post cross but placed his header wide.
Kyle Bentwood opened the scoring from close-range after 15 minutes, slotting home the rebound after an exceptional reflex save by Arthur Caplin, who was standing in for the injured Russell Corin.
Hendon equalised early in the second half, with the industrious Moses Seitler tapping home.
There were chances for both teams in the last 20 minutes. Sidle pulled his shot wide of the far post but just when it appeared both teams had settled for a draw, he produced a piece of magic that turned the tide in Oakwood’s favour.
Alex Rosenthal looked favourite to deal with a through ball, with Sidle for company. He was looking for help, but his goalkeeper opted to stay on his line and after being shrugged off Sidle showed brilliant predatory instincts to get in front of him and lash his shot into the net, sparking a mini-pitch invasion from the Oakwood bench.
A dejected Garbacz said: “This was the cruellest way to lose such an important game. I’m sure the Oakwood managers would agree a draw would have been a fair result.
“I left the pitch with the feeling like someone had broken into our home and had stolen a sentimental family heirloom in broad daylight.
“However the truth is the winning goal was all our own fault. We deal with that situation 99 times out of 100 but for some inexplicable reason Alex and Arthur were each waiting for the other one to come and in nipped their forward to take advantage of the hesitancy.”
Oakwood joint-manager Dan Kristall praised his players for executing their game-plan to perfection. “This win was a huge sign of character and determination,” he said.
“We still have to play Lions, FC Team and Raiders so we are fully aware of how difficult it will be to win the title from this position.
“The other teams also have tough run-ins though, with Redbridge and Hendon still yet to face each other. It all makes for an exciting end to the league season.
“We know full well we’ve won nothing yet but we’ve put ourselves right in the mix.”
Leor Sidle shrugs off Alex Rosenthal to score the winning goal