There's a full league programme scheduled on Sunday with the top matches seeing Faithfold A hosting leaders Redbridge A, while second-placed Hendon A travel to defending champions Neasden A. Danny Caro looks ahead to the action.
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JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
FAITHFOLD A vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A
The JC cameras will be in pole position to see match of the day at the Hive, where leaders Redbridge A take on third-placed Faithfold A.
Both teams go into the game on the back of victories. Sam McCarthy’s men put Neasden B to the sword with goals from Steve Summers (2) and Lewis Walker.
McCarthy was particularly impressed by the efforts of centre half Joel Berg, midfielder Ben Sollosi, who also earned praise for Neasden, and Summers.
After the game, McCarthy told JC Sport: “The performance was outstanding and the score did not reflect the fact that we dominated from start to finish. We had countless chances and only heroics from the keeper kept the scoreline respectable.
“I cant recall a game that for the first 45 minutes the opposing team could not get out of their half. We kept them nailed in their half. It was disappointing to go in at half time being only one goal up. Fortunately the second half brought us just rewards and our persistence paid off.
Having stuck five past Faithfold in November, Redbridge will arrive in Edgware feeling that they hold a psychological edge. Darren Bern was the hat-trick hero that day, with Sam McCarthy jnr and Sollosi finishing the job.
RJC led at the break before the floodgates opened in the second 45. RJC coach Danny Berg told JC Sport: "We had a game-plan and stuck to it. All 14 players did exactly what they had to do. Everyone worked hard for each other and then our football and clinical finishing was the difference. If you catch us on our day then no-one can live with us."
Faithfold manager Zuriel Solomon told JC Sport: “The boys are lacking some confidence at the moment which is a bit baffling titles are not won in November! We will re group and get things right. Redbridge were up for it and we didn’t get out of the starting blocks buts it’s done now and we will keep working hard.”
Wise words indeed. Faithfold were back to their best last Sunday as they ripped nearest rivals North London Raiders A to shreds. It could have been much worse than 4-1, with the Superhoops hitting the woodwork no less than four times.
Daryl Phillips took home the match ball after another impressive performance, capped by an assist for Mike Pearson.
Now the Greens are looking for gunning for the leaders. Solomons said: “We go into the game with a lot of confidence. Redbridge are a good team but so are we, and we have players back who were not present at the last game as well.
Phillips added: “We look forward to the visit of Redbridge this weekend. We have a strong squad available. We are on a good run and fear no one!"
It’s clear that RJC have done their maths. McCarthy knows that this could be RJC’s toughest game of the season. He told JC Sport; “We need to secure wins in both the Faithfold and Hendon games in order to go into the last three games knowing that a further three points will secure us the title.
“We go into Sunday’s game against Faithfold knowing that it will not be an easy affair. Our results to date and more importantly the way in which Redbridge have applied themselves to date leaves with me with the comfort of knowing that we are fully prepared for this one.”
Faithfold will be out to prove a point on Sunday. A home win would really blow the title race wide open and if they play the way they did last weekend, you have to give them every chance.
JC team news: Redbridge have a full squad further strengthened by the return of Adam Stolerman.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – R. Bernardout
JC star man: Ben Law (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold A 1 Redbridge A 1
NORTH WEST NEASDEN A vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A
“Expect a mini-classic”. Those are the words of Hendon manager David Garbacz ahead of the crunch clash against defending champions Neasden A.
A battle that features the two most recent winners of the league is one not to miss.
Last Sunday was a massive day for Hendon. At times, they were clinging on for dear life against Lions A, with makeshift keeper Avidan Last stopping everything that Lions could throw at him. Filling in for Russell Corin, he may not have left Garbacz with a dilemma!
Garbacz described the win, courtesy of a strike from Greg Corin, as a “pivotal point in the season”. It was the type of win that, should they land the title, everyone in a Hendon shirt will look back at it and say, that was where we won it.
Garbacz will be telling his troops that every game between now and the end of the season must be treated like a cup final. Earlier this week, they were given a tough draw in the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup, but they have the players, quality and character to win that tie, and the double is well and truly on.
That said, Garbacz will be telling his boys to take it one day at a time. I managed to pull him away from his busy schedule and grab a few words.
“We go into Sunday’s big game in high spirits and full of confidence after our backs-to-the-wall performance last week.
“I have no idea why Neasden are not challenging for the league this year but despite their poor league form, they are still the team to beat as far as we are concerned .
“We are expecting a titanic battle but we are playing with a lot of belief . Hopefully that extra belief and desire will lead us to the three points but we are well aware that we will have to at our absolute best .Expect a mini -classic.”
Asking about his squad, Garbacz added: “We should have all players back who were missing last week except for Ari Last and Dovid Korman is still not 100 per cent, although might get a place on the bench.”
It’s been a tough old season for Neasden and their manager, Jamie Cole. His plans for a fourth consecutive double have been scuppered by the recent rule change that enables players from London Lions to play in the European Maccabi Games. Jake Gottlieb was the latest Neasden player to join the Lions Saturday squad, and now Cole is down to the bare bones.
With the expectation of big wins over Neasden B, Raiders and Glenthorne A, Neasden have struggled. And last week, they were taken the distance by third division Redbridge C in a game they fell behind in. In the end, strikes from Lee Cash (2) and Rob Lerner saved them.
The bottom line is that Neasden still have 21 points to play for, and as Cole says: “If we turn up, we can beat anyone.”
It’s hard to call this one but given that Hendon are playing well, winning ugly and have the bit between their teeth, I’m tipping them to nick it.
JC team news: For Neasden, Matt Sofier faces a late fitness test. Andy Glynne and Ben Ellis could join the squad.
Max Shields, Elliot Stern, Jonny Ellis, Kyle Bentwood, Goldberg
Matt Sofier, George Fierstone, James Abrams, Lee Cash, Rob Lerner, Jake Gottlieb, Shai Revivo, Andy Glynne, Ben Ellis
Venue – The Hive, Ref – M. Cohen
JC star man: Josh Lipman (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Neasden A 0 Hendon A 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN A
Raiders and Harmen have shared some epic battles over the years and it should be a case of more of the same here on Sunday.
L’Orange produced arguably their most disappointing performance of the season last Sunday when they were played off the park by Faithfold.
Matters were not helped as keeper Danny Berliner was sent off for a professional foul 30 minutes in, but in fairness, they were already second best.
The challenge now is for the team to get back on the winning trail immediately.
Harmen were back to their brutal best in the cup last Sunday, when they smashed eight past second division strugglers FC Team B.
It was a game where midfield maestro Ben Graham sparkled. He found the net four times including a sensational goal of the week contender. Elliot Wallis (2), Grant Taylor and Adam Velleman completed the rout.
A Harmen win on Sunday would move them to within two points of Raiders with a game in hand.
Dan Uzan’s men have claimed three wins in their first season in the Premier Division. They are packed with quality and hard-working players around the pitch with Lee Hyams and Taylor offering bags of experience. And in Ben Murrell and Graham, they have two potential match-winners.
The battle between two teams in the last 16 of the Morrison should be an enthralling contest.
Venue – Brunel Univeristy, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man: Adam Joselyn (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders A 3 Southgate Harmen A 1
LONDON MACCABI LIONS A vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN B
By all accounts, the Lions were desperately unlucky not to come away from last week’s game against Hendon with at least a point.
They threw the kitchen sink at the Hammers but were unable to reproduce the goals that recently saw them destroy Neasden A.
Eilon Kennet, the Lions manager, told JC Sport: “Full marks to Hendon who managed to nick a goal with three minutes left, but I have never seen us so totally dominate a game and come away with nothing.”
On Sunday, they have the opportunity to put things right when they take on a Neasden B team smarting from a 3-0 defeat against Redbridge. It would have been even worse for Neasden had it not been for the heroics of keeper David Fox, who produced a number of “worldies”.
Neasden have not won since the opening weekend of the season. But if you look a little closer at their results, they give as good as they get most weeks and they will be looking to put in a big performance on the big stage at Rowley Lane.
I can see the likes of Alex Bowman, Ben Wulwik and Danny Daggers giving the Lions some problems, but ultimately, I think that the Lions will take the points.
JC team news: For Neasden, Danny Cohen and Ryan Sher return from six months out spells on the sidelines
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – S. Ansher
JC star man: Lee Bibring (Lions)
DC Prediction: LM Lions A 3 NW Neasden B 1
LONDON MACCABI LIONS C vs CHIGWELL ATHLETIC
Richard Slater, the Chigwell manager, has labelled Sunday’s trip to Rowley Lane as “a must-win”.
He takes his troops to north west London on the back of a Neil Tilley win in the derby against Redbridge B.
Looking ahead to the match, Slater told JC Sport: “We must keep the momentum going again on the back of the RJC win, against Lions C this Sunday
“It’ll be a tough game for us, esp. as they now have a B team squad to choose from and, like RJC B, are fighting for their survival.
“The boys are in great spirits on the back of three wins. The vibe is great at training and on Sundays. We still have to play FC Team and Brady twice, as well as Raiders again it’s still all up for grabs.
“The fact of the matter is we’re going to Rowley for three points, anything less and we’re out of the title race.”
The Lions showed great character against table-topping North London Raiders B last Sunday. They looked dead and buried at 3-0 but late strikes from Shai Davidi and Max Kyte proves that the team are playing for their manager. Jamie Kyte
The gaffer admits that they have some concerns going into the Chigwell game, but he remains optimistic nonetheless. “Due to Arsenal playing on the Sunday we might have a slightly diminished squad but we still hope to put out a strong team,” Kyte told JC Sport.
“Last week’s game was a great battle and we hope to take a lot of positives out of it. Last time we played Chigwell it was a very close game and no doubt it will be the same again this time.”
I can see the Tilley factor playing a big part on Sunday, with Glenn Michaels, Jon Swead and Dan Castle inspiring the visitors to a crucial three points.
JC team news: Chigwell are without Simon Felstein (work) and Marc Jacobs (work) as well as Paul Lenchner who is still around three weeks away from a return with a knee injury.
Marc Radzan (Calf), Dean Michaels (Back) face late fitness tests and may not be risked this week.
Rob Shepherdson comes in between the sticks, club captain Jon Swead returns to the squad and Adam Goodman also hoping to make first appearance for club.
Chigwell squad: Rob Shepherdson, Glenn Davis, Adam Shafron, Jon Swead (capt), Adam Conway, Sam Rosenthal, Daniel Castle, Richard Slater, Adam Goodman, Michael Witzenfeld, Russell Becker, Russell Yershon, Doron Weinstein, Glenn Michaels, Neil Tilley
Venue – Rowley Lane 3G, Ref – N. Bloom
JC star man: Jon Swead (Chigwell)
DC Prediction: LM Lions C 1 Chigwell Athletic 2
BRADY MACCABI vs CAMDEN PARK
Camden must be sick of the sick, or mention of Brady Maccabi. The Edgware club have beaten them for fun this season and another win will complete the box-set.
The latest episode finished 4-0 with Rob Kleinman, Josh Hershman, Darren Stern and supersub Steve Field doing the damage in the Anekstein. By all accounts, Kleinman performed exceptionally and was rewarded with a place in JC Team of the Week.
Josh Rosenfeld, the Brady boss, is taking nothing for granted on Sunday. He told JC Sport: “We need to keep the momentum going and prepare for the game well with the right attitude. We know Camden have quality in their side and its going to be a tough game.
“Three points is a must if we are to achieve promotion and we want to keep scoring goals..Our defence have been in outstanding form keeping two clean sheets in our last two games.
“We have a few key players out for Sunday so we may need to have a reshuflle.”
Camden are starting to flirt with relegation and that is something I’m sure manager Justin Rockberger will want to stop. His troops are without a league win since October 31 and it’s clear that they start as second favourites here.
Rockberger told JC Sport: “We’re hoping for a much better performance this week and to get three points.
“I think the older Camden heaped enough misery on Brady over the years. It’s just a shame Brady are taking it out on the younger generation!”
I can see Camden trying to put number behind the ball but on the day, I think that Brady will have too much.
Venue – Little Bushey Lane, Ref – I. Viner
JC star man: Darren Stern (Brady)
DC Prediction: Brady Maccabi 3 Camden Park 1
FC TEAM A vs OAKWOOD
Two teams playing catch-up get ready to rumble as third-placed FC Team face what could be a very rusty Oakwood.
The Oaks have been the biggest victims of the bad weather this season, playing just seven games. However, on the flipside, it has given several players carrying niggles the opportunity to recover and now they are ready for business.
Mitch Young, the FC Team manager, was a relieved figure at the final whistle last Sunday, when his team squeezed past Harmen B 4-3.
The prodigious talent of Danny Moss were there for all to see, while Jonny Breger and Richard Salmon also made the scoresheet.
Young knows that a win of any description could prove vital come the end of the season. “Every game is an important one in this division, with not much between all the teams it is vital we try and keep picking up points.
“Oakwood are an excellent side with talented individuals and we will have to be really focused to get something form the game. We played some excellent football last week and having Jules Noti back as captain makes a big difference to us. I am looking forward to the game.”
It’s clearly been a frustrating season so far for both FC Team A and Oakwood. Neither team will want to lose on Sunday and ultimately, I can see both teams setting their stalls out not to concede. In the end, one moment of inspiration could settle it.
JC team news: For FC Team, Jake Weiner is away on holiday, while Young says that “the whole club is delighted to see Andy Sheena back from a long-term injury”.
Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – W. Blake
JC star man: Jules Noti (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: FC Team A 1 Oakwood 0
MONTANA BOCA UNITED A vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B
Montana are slipping dangerously towards the relegation zone so it would be fair to describe Sunday’s meeting with Redbridge as a bit of a six-pointer.
The Redbridge boys beat Montana 2-1 earlier in the season and they also claimed a memorable victory at Montana last season so the signs look positive.
A Redbridge insider told JC Sport: “Our manager, Mike Winehouse, gets back over the weekend, probably not in time for Sunday though.”
Richard Bronzite, the club’s C team manager, has been charged with selecting a squad. But there have been problems. “With Arsenal on at 12, this is a little tricky.” Bronzite is also trying to get a manager for the day. He said: “I have no idea who is around or not as the case may be. The game is at the Hive, I know that. It is a massive game as we are desperate for the points and it truly is a six-pointer as we need to keep Montana within touching distance.”
RJC gave a good account of themselves against Chigwell last week with Danny Sugarman their stand-out performer.
Bronzite added: “I will field a competitive team to make sure we do that, will take players from C team and one from the A team.”
Montana have lost their last three matches and have not scored for more than 270 minutes. They might be at home but it’s clear that little is going right for them right now.
RJC won’t have any time for hard luck stories. They will turn up primed for thee points and I can see them getting at least a point.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Danny Sugarman (Montana)
DC Prediction: Montana A 1 Redbridge B 1
SOUTHGATE HARMEN B vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B
With the club’s respective first teams meeting in the Premier Division, it seems quite fitting that Harmen B entertain the leaders.
It was a case of close, but not quite good enough for Harmen last Sunday. They took FC Team A to the wire before eventually going down 4-3.
Two goals from Lloyd Becker and one from the in-form Dan Beckwith gave Mitch Young’s men an almighty scare.
The Raiders were involved in a high-scoring contest of their own, but unlike Harmen, they managed to come away with the points, courtesy of strikes from Lewis Blitz (2) and Nicky Woolf.
Lying three points clear of the chasing pack, Raiders manager Rob Richman knows that L’Orange must be on top of their game.
Richman told JC Sport: "Harmen always pose a big threat and last season, when we won the second division, they successfully took four points from our matches.
“They are an experienced team with a number of top class performers and we are aware that on they will be a tough obstacle.
“We were delighted to pick up three points against Lions last week but the hard work has only just begun and we must put in another big shift this Sunday."
Raiders have no game next week so I expect them to give 200 per cent effort on Sunday. It’s clear that they will get chances and with Blitz, Woolf and David Dinkin in top form, I can see them doing enough to come away with maximum points.
JC team news: Harmen will have one or two regulars at the Arsenal game otherwise they continue to have a full squad to choose from. They also wish Jamie Myers farewell and good luck on his new venture in Spain. Engel said: “He has been a great asset to the team and club this season.”
Venue – Ashmole School, Ref – B. David
JC star man: Richard Angel (Raiders)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen B 2 NL Raiders B 3
FAITHFOLD B vs BRIXTON OLD BOYS
Game of the day in Division Two sees third travel to fourth.
Title-chasing Brixton have really put the pressure on the top two. Last week they overcame a plucky L’Equipe team with two goals from Jamie Kent and one from Alon Hershkorn earning them a 3-0 victory.
The former South Manx star have added another dimension to John Nitka’s team and they will be looking to lead boys in red and black to their eight league win of the season.
Kent will have fond memories of the previous encounter against Faithfold. He went home with the match ball after claiming a stunning five-goal salvo. Gavin Rhodes and Dan Warwick finished the job in the October meeting.
Nitka describes this as “a big game” and said that he “has a few injuries, however we will treat the game as normal and do our best to pull off a win.”
Faithfold, for whom, Doron Hershkorn, Nick Roman, Avi Marcowitz and Daniel Hildebrand scored that day, will be licking their wounds after being edged out in a five-goal thriller at Woodford last Sunday.
Ben Lewis, the assistant-manager, was full of praise about Sunday’s opponents. “Brixton are probably the best team in the division, so we’re expecting a difficult challenge. But with a full squad, and a mixture of results, we are looking forward to the game.
“We lost away in the league in a close affair to Brixton before the winter break and would like to get at least a point in the return fixture.”
I can see this being a high-octane affair and am not brave enough to call a winner.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – M. Fox
JC star man: Alon Hershkorn (Brixton)
DC Prediction: Faithfold B 1 Brixton Old Boys 1
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB B vs L’EQUIPE
The Hornets take on L’Equipe for the first time this season with both sides going into the game on the back of defeats.
The Hendon boys were beaten 4-2 by title hopefuls Temple Fortune A – a result I believe that has ended their automatic promotion hopes once and for all.
Hendon’s home form has been something of a mixed bag this season. On their day they are capable of beating anyone in the division, but they have blown hot and cold far too often this season. The fact that they have conceded more than they have scored says it all.
L’Equipe have plenty to do still if they are to avoid relegation. Although their level of performance has picked up over the last couple of months, back-to-back defeats against promotion chasing Faithfold and Brixton have kept them on the back foot.
They go into this game as underdogs but that does not mean that we should write them off altogether.
Venue – West Hendon Playing Fields, Ref – L. Eppel
JC star man: Chaim Gothold (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon SC B 4 L’Equipe 1
TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs FC TEAM B
Second-placed Fortune will be missing some key men who would rather watch Arsenal play a League 1 club in the FA Cup than play a game of football. This is something that clearly irks Andrew Souber, the manager.
4-2 winner over Hendon B last weekend, Souber knows that FC Team B pose the mother of all banana skins as on paper, they should not stand a chance. As a result, the bookies have revised odds on a home win although Souber is keeping his fingers crossed that strength in depth will be enough on the day.
Souber told JC Sport: “We won't underestimate our opponents and expect a tough game.”
The visitors are 10-1 against upsetting the form book. But manager Ben Simon hopes to unleash new signing Guy Ben-Ahron, who played for Australia at the 2009 Maccabiah Games, on high-flying Fortune.
Simon appears quietly confident. He told JC Sport: “We hope to welcome back David Gordon in goal, after he missed the cup defeat at the weekend, along with Dave Silver and Simon Buchler, whilst Darren Freed, Alex Brodkin and Matt Kenler are hoping to recover from injury.
So with FC Team about as strong as they have been this season, Souber is urging one or two of his stars to think again about travelling to the Emirates.
JC team news: For Fortune, wing sensation David Gance is unavailable but Ben Issacs returns.
Venue – Hatch End Playing Fields, Ref – H. Raffe
JC star man: Ben Isaacs (Team)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune A 2 FC Team B 1
WOODFORD WANDERERS vs FC MARYLEBONE
Pick a number and double it. That is what I would say to any Marylebone fan ahead of the trip to Redbridge.
I’m not financial expert but I advise followers of the Frenchmen to save their petrol money and stay at home on Sunday as I expect them to suffer a heavy defeat.
It’s the ultimate battle between the haves and the have-nots and I can only see Woodford filling their boots.
Last week they claimed a crucial 3-2 win over promotion rivals Faithfold C.
Alex Aviram, Woodford’s player-manager was mightily relieved. “We have been really unfortunate with injuries all season and have struggling to field 11 at times,” Aviram told JC Sport..” The last four fixtures we have started or ended the game with 10 men. Each and every time we have dominated and look the better side but sometimes u need some luck in football.
“Last week we was sensational. We had 10 men for 80 minutes and dominated the game. We have belief and strong spirit. We breed winners at this club and it's that mentality that will get us straight back into this title race. I expect three points and nothing less this weekend.”
I think damage limitation is Marylebone’s best bet.
JC team news: For Woodford, in-form and free-scoring player manager Alex Aviram is a doubt with an ankle injury. The also red-hot Jerome Marks misses out through travel commitments. David Geeen (nose, strikers Elliott Winner (hamstring) and Darryl Green (hamstring) definitely miss out while left-winger Samm Pearey remains doubtful with travel commitments on his mind.
This game comes at the right time for Woodford, and a very bad time for Marylebone. Enough said.
Venue – Redbridge Sports Centre, Ref – A. Myerson
JC star man: Jamie Golding (Woodford)
DC Prediction: Woodford Wanderers 6 FC Marylebone 0
FAITHFOLD C vs HOLY MOUNT ZION
Defeats in their last two games has seen Faithfold slip out of the promotion zone. And the chances are that things won’t get much easier on Sunday.
Going into their second meeting of the season against surprise packpage HMZ, David Garson knows that Sunday will be a big day for his men. I’d go as far as saying that it’s the day of reckoning for the Superhoops who have recently been edged out by leaders Glenthorne and Zig Zag.
It finished 6-4 to HMZ in October and the Zionists will fancy themselves again, especially on the back of a 5-0 drubbing of Los Blancos in the cup.
Hat-trick hero Danny Potter, Mikey Stirton and Jonny Natas eased the pressure on star men Danny Marti and Mariusz Mielnisczuk, two players Garson knows will be out to gun him down.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Garson told JC Sport: “My hope is that we bounce back. We welcome back our star left back, and leading light, and inspiration (me), and regular keeper Dave Grabiner. This means that Simon Beresford will return to outfield duties. The boys played pretty well last week so I may have to bring a tracksuit!”
Quite incredibly, HMZ have only played seven league games. They start the match seven points behind Faithfold, with seven games in hand.
A quick look at the stats will tell you that Faithfold have scored the most goals in the division, but they have also conceded far too many. And with a tough game against Norstar this week, it’s vital they pick up three points here.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – N. Burns
JC star man: Dave Grabiner (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold C 3 HMZ 3
GLENTHORNE UNITED A vs UJIA
A match that has home banker written all over it sees leaders Glenthorne A looking to notch up their 12th league win of the season.
Going into their first meeting with UJIA this season, the Thornes have not been at their best in recent games. Last week, they edged a five-goal thriller against Faithfold B, but I expect them to have things a little easier against a team lying seventh in the table.
That said, it’s clear that Glenthorne will not under-estimate the U’s. Player-manager Dan Lipman told JC Sport: “Every game is a big game now. We are in a good position at the top but can’t afford to take our foot off the gas. One poor result and the chasing pack are all back in the race.”
The home side will have to make do without a couple of regulars but Lipman believes that his squad is “ more than capable of filling the gaps.
UJIA recorded one of their best displays of the season last week. Matt Radstone and Assi Avital bagged braces in the 4-0 drubbing of Team JLGB.
Player-manager Darren Rolfe was a happy bunny after keeping his first clean sheet of the season.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Rolfe told JC Sport: “We hope to have a good squad available for Sundays game. It will be a tough encounter at the leaders on Sunday, however we are unbeaten in four games and anyone that has played against UJIA know we don’t just roll over.
“We will be committed to a man and hope to continue our good form and keep moving up the table. I hope to field the same side as last week, Radstone and Avital are on fire at the moment.”
So it’s clear that Glenthorne will need to hit the ground running or else this one could be closer than many expect.
JC team news: Glenthorne are now without club captain Craig Mervish for at least 6-weeks after breaking his hand last Sunday, and winger Biller is also unavailable this week.
Venue – The Old Chigwellians, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Darren Rolfe (UJIA)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd A 2 UJIA 1
HEATH BANTA vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C
There’s a top game in store in Edgware as second-placed Heath Banta look to preserve their six-point advantage against Redbridge C.
Starting with Redbridge. I have to take my hat off following their heroics against Neasden A in the cup last Sunday. I didn’t give them a chance, but they put in a super-human performances with perfect 10s all around the pitch.
Dan Gordon added a few zeros to his asking price with two goals against a Premier Division defence, although I wholeheartedly deny that North London Raiders have made a bid for him, yet!
Bronzite knows that Sunday will be much tighter than the corresponding fixture which his men won hands down. The boy Gordon hit the target four times, with Marc Silver, James Ryan and Lee Ballen joining the party.
Looking ahead to the trip to HA8, Bronzite told JC Sport: “I have a few boys away but should have enough quality on the pitch to compete. We beat Heath towards the end of last year, outplayed them in the first half. I expect a completely different opposition. They will want revenge and will have to be focused and sharp.”
Heath Banta have played four games more than RJC. Manager Ben Nathan knows that they will have to pull out all the stops on Sunday.
They warmed up for the clash with a 7-2 drubbing of Real Life. Oli Joseph is gradually coming to terms with the fact that he did not make JC Team of the Week after a four-goal salvo. For what it’s worth, I can assure Oli or any of the other Heath stars that four goals against Redbridge will mean a shoo-in for my top team next time around.
The infamous Edgwarebury slope could be something of a leveller but I’m tipping the visitors to do just enough.
JC team news: RJC are without Jamie Chapman, Elliot Fox, Marc Silver, Daniel Howard and James Ryan.
RJC squad: Paul Sanders, Marcus Starr, Jon Kaye, Lee Ballen, Grant Pomeroy, Hadley Silver, Ra’naan Firmin, Elliot Castle, Lee Grodent, Sam Sollosi, Steven Clements, Daniel Gordon
Venue – Edgwarebury Park, Ref – P. Lavelle-Maurice
JC star man: Steven Clements (RJC)
DC Prediction: Heath Banta 2 Redbridge JC C 4
REAL LIFE vs NORSTAR B
Norstar were back to their best last Sunday when they put Catford to the sword with a resounding 4-0 win.
Now manager Jonny Bunt has challenge his men to do exactly the same when they travel to Edgware to take on a Real timing battling to avoid the drop.
Bunt told JC Sport: “This is a must-win game as we have 13 from a possible 15 points against teams below us and intend to extend that to 28 from 30 by the end of the season. If we are to have any hope of promotion we must take these points.
“We’re missing a few players this week but we were delighted with Zac Newman’s introduction to the side last week as well as the overall team performance which was a statement of intent for 2011.
Real Life are a team that we have played a number of times as Norstar and Norstar B in the last few years and last season our 3-3 draw cost us the title. But we are unbeaten against them in five games and I expect us to have enough in this one.”
Real Life took Norstar the distance earlier in the season. Having lost the October 3 clash 4-3, manager Jamie Beaumont will be pulling out all the stops on Sunday.
They were well beaten at Heath Banta last week in a game where Kenny Markeson and Jonny Bruck registered.
The thing I like about Real is that you are guaranteed entertainment. They have scored and conceded in every game and for most of them, football is not a matter of life or death.
Asked for a prediction, I’ll go for a handsome Norstar win.
Venue – Edgwarebury Park, Ref – R. Caplin
JC star man: Josh Green (Norstar)
DC Prediction: Real Life 0 Norstar B 4
TEAM JLGB vs CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI
Do or die. That is how Rob Silverman, the JLGB manager, has labelled this game.
“This is it. JLGBs last chance to avoid relegation,” he told JC Sport. “I fear if we do not win this game, we will have no chance of staying up.”
However, it may not be all doom and gloom for the JLGB brigade as Sunday’s clash sees them play the only team they have beaten this season.
Joe Cullum and Michael Marks were the scorers on the memorable day in early October. Silverman felt his troops should have won “by a bigger margin” in a game the Cats felt aggrieved having had a strike ruled out for offside.
Silverman has instructed his team that they can only focus on the next 90 minutes. “I am sure there are going to be goals in this one as I expect attacks to come out on top.”
Asked where he thinks this game will be won or lost, Silverman said: “We are down to the bare bones this week but luckily, with Lee Stone returning, I expect him along with Barry Green and Mike Marks to step up and make a big impression in midfield. Joe cullum is always a danger up front.”
Catford have not won an away game all season. They start the match four points ahead of JLGB but they have played a game more, so it would be fair to say that a home win would really put the cat amongst the pigeons.
This game will come down to the team that takes its chances and holds their nerve.
JC team news: JLGB are still missing long-term absentees Paul Black, Neil Lux and Ian Levy, Justin Freedman is unavailable, Paul Rich and Oli Shofferen are doubtful. Jon Temerlies has left the club. The in-form Lee Stone is available. Rob Levene is back between the sticks.
Venue – Peter May Sports Centre, Ref – M. Vandermolen
JC star man: Lee Stone (JLGB)
DC Prediction: Team JLGB 3 Catford & Bromley 2
JEWVENTUS vs TEMPLE FORTUNE B
With home advantage, Jewventus look a decent bet for three points on Sunday.
Last Sunday, they became the latest team to succumb to the brilliance of North London Raiders C, but manager Gabriel John was keen to pick out some positives from the game.
Having drawn 2-2 against Fortune earlier in the season, John believes that this game has come at a good time, against a team low on confidence.
“I’m looking for a good, strong performance and a return to winning ways,” he told JC Sport.
John will be reinstated to the starting 11 and he has not featured for a long time. His desire and leadership on the place will be seen from the off.
Asked for his prediction, and a pun, John added: “I expect three points and a turn in both form and fortune.”
The wheels came off for Fortune last week as they were thumped by Glenthorne B. The only real highlight saw long-throw specialist Gideon Wetrin score his Fortune goal of the campaign.
It’s Jewve all the way for me.
Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – D. Jorden
JC star man: Mark Martell (Jewventus)
DC Prediction: Jewventus 2 Temple Fortune B 0
INTER BOREHAMWOOD vs GLENTHORNE UNITED B
It’s the clash of the titans in Borehamwood at the Inter boys return to their spiritual home in a match moved from the Hive.
Several members of the Borehamwood squad claimed that Glenthorne were running scared when the original fixture was postponed. But now it’s time to stop the talking.
It was back to business for the Thornes last Sunday. Two goals from Dan Lassman wrapped up a comfortable 4-1 win over Temple Fortune B and the good news did not end there as, following crisis talks with star striker Fabio Revieccio, Elliot Coulton, the Glenthorne boss, revealed that he is back in what will be a full-strength squad.
The incident reminded me of the Wayne Rooney saga and Revieccio will need to be at his best to keep visiting fans onside.
Oluseun Thomas, the Borehamwood manager, has no such issues with his stars. “This game is one we are very focused on,” he told JC Sport. “We are aware three points can really swing things in our favour so we will not under-estimate Glenthorne. But at the same time not show them too much respect.
“We definitely have the quality to punish them if we stay focused and stick to our game plan.
“We have been waiting for this game for some time and we are definitely up for it. We will be taking the game to them from the off.”
It should be a mouth-watering contest on Sunday and I believe that there are still a handful of seats available.
Let the show begin.
Venue – Aycliffe Road, Ref – D. Cohen, KO – 10am
JC star man: Joe Levy (Borehamwood)
DC Prediction: Inter Borehamwood 2 Glenthorne Utd B 2
ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs PINNER JFC
Although it seems a little early to be talking about the wooden spoon, this match features two sides propping up the league.
The saying ‘the table never lies’ could not be more appropriate. Bilbaum and Pinner have scored the least and conceded the most, and as someone said to me earlier this week, they were made for one another.
Pinner go into the game with a slight psychological edge. Josh Marlow and Anthony Moss were the scorers when they beat Bilbaum 2-1 in November. But Vivian Emanuel’s troops have failed to pick up points in any other games this season.
With this in mind, the Bilbaum boys can smell victory. As manager Josh Ejdelbaum explains: “This has become a massive game for us. After recent results, it is a game we can win, but it wont be easy.
“Last time we played Pinner, they deserved to win, and we are going to have to work hard to grind out a result.”
If Bilbaum can get last week’s 9-1 mauling at Inter out of their system, it would be foolish to write them off.
One thing is for sure, though. Both teams will go into the game believing they can win. Something that they might not be used to.
JC team news: Nick ‘Twinkle-toes’ Herman should return in goal for Bilbaum after missing the last match.
Venue – Hampstead Heath Extension, Ref – T. Littner
JC star man: Nick Herman (Bilbaum)
DC Prediction: Athletic Bilbaum 3 Pinner JFC 2
BLIZZARD STORM vs LOS BLANCOS
Bouncebackability is the name of the game for leaders Blizzard Storm on Sunday.
Simon Linden’s boys were well beaten by Neasden C last week. But they must put it behind them and remember that they are still top of the pile.
Lying three points ahead of Glenthorne B, who have two games in hand, the Blizzard boys will be out to complete a league double over a Blancos side they beat 2-0 in mid-October courtesy of an Alex Rubin double.
The big news coming out of the Blizzard camp is that they have snapped up Andre Grayson on a loan with a view to permanent move. Linden describes him as a “very exciting prospect”.
Los Blancos are still handily placed in terms of the title race. As manager Joel Minsky explains: “We still very much hold hopes of winning the league this season, and there will be no better signal of intent by beating Blizzard on Sunday.
“We have games in hand over pretty much everyone in the league, but that means nothing unless we put some points on the board, so hopefully we can pick up three points on Sunday and really kick on over the second half of the season.
“Blizzard beat us first time round back in October, but it was a tightly contested game and I saw enough there to know that we have the ability to turn them over this week.
“If it is anything like our first match up it'll be another superb advert for Jewish football.”
I don’t expect there to be much between the sides on Sunday but think that home advantage will be key.
JC team news: Blizzard are missing Sean Ladier, Ryan Colet, Alex Rubin and Alex Stolerman. However, Linden hopes that Lee Caplin will make his return while Matt Jaffa gives the whole squad a boost. Jaffa has won eight in eight so far this season for Storm.
For Los Blancos, it’s a case of three in, three out this week. Adam Cohen, Daniel Sher and Dany Kon are unavailable for selection, but Yosh Radomsky, Eddy Nathan and Daniel Horowitz return to the squad. James Joseph, who made his début last week coming off the bench, is in line for his first start.
Venue – Edgwarebury Park, Ref – L. Thorne
JC star man: Matt Jaffa (Blizzard)
DC Prediction: Blizzard Storm 2 Los Blancos 1
NORTH WEST NEASDEN C vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C
If I had a pound for every time someone had asked me: “What’s happened to Raiders C,” then I’d be a very wealthy man.
The plain truth of the matter is that manager Oli Shorts and his friends (well, little black book of contacts, in facts), has come good. The boy has struck gold and he’s loving it.
L’Orange have enjoyed a major turn-around in fortunes over the past few weeks and they are playing with a big smile on their face right now. Good luck to them, I say.
They completed a hat-trick of wins last Sunday, with Jewventus their latest victims. Brothers Jack and Harry Franks have been making a mockery of Division Four defences in recent outings and, as one Raiders supporter told me, some of their goals have been “sick”.
Louis Taylor, player-manager of Neasden has the utmost respect for Sunday’s visitors. But having steered his men to a five-star win over the leaders last weekend, and chipping in with two goals for good measure, it’s clear that he won’t stand back and admire the Raiders.
“We were beaten 8-0 by this team last time round,” Taylor told JC Sport. “They have made an amazing turn around from a team going nowhere to scoring more than 20 goals in three weeks. We are intent on doing out very best to give them a battle this time round.”
Sunday looks set to be a big day for Neasden, come what may. Taylor added: “Elliot Setyon is fit for his first game of the season. We have a full squad out and welcome league chairman David Wolff to the game,-although we probably won't name him on the bench.
It’s clear that the chairman knows a good game when he sees one. I expect Taylor and co to lay on the red carpet treatment and even get out some Ferrero Rocher!
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – D. Nathan
JC star man: Darren Russell (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden C 2 NL Raiders C 4
SHIRLEY PARK vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C
Shirley Park will be looking to finish the weekend above the Hustlers when they take on the Reds for the second part of a week-long double-header.
Usual suspects Gideon Gold and Jason Lindsay were at it again last weekend, bagging brace in the 5-1 in over Avi Gelley’s men.
Managed by Daniel Oade and David Lusman, the Park boys face a big few weeks with trips to Glenthorne B and Los Blancos on the horizon. But they must look no further than Hendon on Sunday.
I doubt the mental scars would’ve healed for the Hendon team who surrendered long before the final whistle against a Shirley team who play with great heart and passion.
I’m not sure the Hendon team has the armoury to keep Shirley’s golden boys quite second time around and will be surprised if the home team don’t win by a couple of goals.
Venue – Gladstone Park, Ref – A. Yuchetel
JC star man: Dave Lusman (Shirley)
DC Prediction: Shirley Park 3 Hendon Utd SC C 1