There's some mouth-watering action in store in the top two divisions of the JC MSFL as well as in the JC Barry Goldstein Trophy. Danny Caro flavours all the action.
LATEST NEWS: CAMDEN PARK CLINCH PROMOTION
MATCHDAY 25 HIGHLIGHTS
JC MSFL SAVE OF THE WEEK
Reuben John (Jewventus) - tremendous save from a Jonny Lee free-kick
JC MSFL SUPER-SUB OF THE WEEK
Josh Toff (Camden Park) - scored the goal that clinched promotion
JC MSFL ASSIST OF THE WEEK
Dan Abrams (Oakwood)
JC REFEREE OF THE WEEK: THE CONTENDERS
David Lazarus (Catford vs Jewventus)
JC MSFL QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Spectator - After Mattey ran the pitch beating three players, the spectator said "You just can't teach that."
PETER MORRISON TROPHY SEMI-FINAL DRAW
South Manchester Sports Club vs Oakwood
Brady A vs Hendon A or Hyde Park Rovers
Dates to be confirmed in due course
YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE:
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
13 - Mike Pearson (Faithfold A)
12 - Danny Kon (Hendon Utd SC A)
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs FAITHFOLD A
Sunday is a must-win for Faithfold is they are to stay in the title race and I’m expecting the Superhoops to put in a strong performance on their second trip of the season to Brunel.
Faithfold have beaten Raiders’ A team twice this season, but so far the B team have been something of a bogey side. That is something that manager Zuriel Solomon and co will be looking to put right on Sunday.
The visitors start the match seven points behind leaders Hendon, who have a tricky match away to defending champions Redbridge A, so Solomon and co are determined to ensure they don’t slip up for a third time against the famous orange shirts.
“We’re looking to push on from last week’s disappointing result,” Solomon told JC Sport. “We know Raiders will be tough as they have beaten us twice this season in games where we really didn’t perform to our normal level. But it’s another week and another game.”
Rob Richman’s Raiders start the weekend locked on 20 points with their illustrious rivals. That’s a brilliant return in what is their first season in the top-flight.
With four games left to play, Richman is looking to finish the season strongly. The have found the going tough in recent weeks with a 2-2 draw against Harmen followed by a 3-2 home defeat against Redbridge.
Looking ahead to Sunday, he told JC Sport: “We have already played Faithfold twice this season and both games have been very close game where we have had a bit of luck and managed to win the games.
“They are a top side and have strength throughout and I am sure they will be very keen on getting the three points on Sunday.
“Our form has dropped off slightly the last few weeks and that has a lot to do with only being able to call on 11/12 players. Unfortunately this is still the case this week but we will give it our very best shot.”
A key battle of the first two games has been the one between Faithfold talisman Alex Levack and Raiders’ Elliot Espinoza. Levack is fresh from a romantic weekend in New York with his missus and he raring to go in round three.
Another intriguing battle will be the one between Raiders top-scorer David Dinkin and Alex Taylor. But with Faithfold rumoured to be in the market for Dinkin this summer, I’m sure a good battle with earn with a firm handshake and a cheeky smile.
I’m predicting a high-octane affair, with Faithfold edging it, but only just.
JC team news: There is no Rik Sherman, Jonny Hesselberg or James Foley-Comer for Raiders this week. The squad is likely to be a similar to last week. A-team captain David Rhodes could be drafted in.
Faithfold will be missing top-scorer Mike Pearson, who was injured two weeks ago. Otherwise Solomon is reporting a full-strength squad, bar a few long-term injured players and long-term travellers.
Venue – Brunel Uni, Ref – C. Stupack
JC star man: Alex Taylor (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders B 1 Faithfold A 2
NORTH WEST NEASDEN A vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS A
Few would’ve predicted that Lions would be above Neasden going into March at the start of the season, and the boys from Rowley Lane will have their sights set on finishing the weekend top of the pile on Sunday.
The teams have shared a win apiece in league and cup this year and Lions managers Malcolm and Josh Newman will be quietly confident that their tried and tested formula will pay dividends once more.
The Newmans know that with leaders Hendon playing Redbridge this week and Faithfold the following weekend, they must capitalise on any potential slip-ups.
Eight wins out of 12 merits an excellent season so far, although they are out of both cup competitions. It’s been a real team effort for the Lions so far with goals coming from all over the park. So as far as they’re concerned, it’s still all to play for.
Neasden are coming to terms with their second consecutive trophyless season. They are already planning for next term, with talk of Jamie Cole returning to the dugout in true Jose Mourinho style.
NWN are playing for pride now and they won’t need any motivating ahead of another trip to Rowley Lane – a venue where they won the title two seasons ago.
Looking ahead to Sunday, NWN joint-manager Lee Cash told JC Sport: “With five games left we can still finish second which would be a great achievement.
“After our very poor result and performance against Brady the guys owe the club and themselves a performance to get the season back on track.
“We know Lions will be out for revenge after the 5-1 result and we expect a tough game.
“Darren and I hope for a positive reaction from the players and for them to show the fight, passion and desire it takes to play for NWN.”
There’s a chance Neasden could finish fifth. Unless they finish with a flourish that looks a distinct possibility right now.
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – W. Blake
JC star man: Yoav Lebens (Lions)
DC Prediction: LM Lions A 2 NW Neasden A 2
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A
Match of the day sees defending champions Redbridge host title favourites Hendon at Fairlop.
It’s the start of a testing couple of weeks for a Hendon team still recovering from last week’s epic cup semi-final that went to extra time. They take on Faithfold next weekend.
Anyone at last Sunday’s match will see exactly why Hendon are gunning for the treble. They have resilient characters in every position and just never know when they’re beaten.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s, Hendon boss David Garbacz told JC Sport: “The squad is still buzzing from last week’s dramatic events in the Cyril Anekstein Cup. We looked down and out yet thankfully found a way to get through.
“There is a great spirit amongst the boys as we approach a real pivotal game in our quest for title glory.
“I’m sure Redbridge are going to be really smarting after the recent cup shenanigans, but we will be putting that aside as we concentrate fully on a massive game.
“The two games we have against Redbridge will go a very long way towards deciding the championship and although we are in the box-seat, we will not be giving anything away.
“In recent games between us, we have dominated but they have always made us pay with their great pace up front – we will aim to shut that option out for them this week and the first goal in the game will be even more important than usual.
“Assuming Robin Van Persie does not show up for them in some sort of disguise, I am confident that we will have the willpower, strength and the skill to come away with the right result . We are looking forward to it.”
Knowing the Redbridge boys as I do, they will be believing they still have a chance of retaining their crown. With Daran Bern now back in the fold, only a fool would write them off from winning their last eight games.
His pace will certainly keep Martin Smulovitch on his toes, while the battle between Adam Bolle and Josh Lipman will be worth the admission fee alone.
Sunday is a day for cool heads and will come down to which team wants it most. Both teams have won the title in recent years and as Garbacz says, the first goal will be crucial.
JC team news: For Hendon, Paul Bentley is still injured and there are minor doubts over Ari Last and Rafi Kon. Gaffer Garbacz has named an otherwise full strength squad.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Alex Rosenthal (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC A 1 Hendon Utd SC A 1
SOUTHGATE HARMEN A vs BRADY MACCABI A
It’s tight at the bottom and as good a second half of the season as Brady have had, they still need points to get out of trouble.
Going into Sunday’s relegation six-pointer against Harmen, Josh Rosenfeld told me that full focus will be on this game rather than next week’s JC Cyril Anekstein Cup clash against Brixton A.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Rosenfeld told JC Sport: “Sunday is big. Three points are a must as Premiership safety is still our main priority this season.
“We hope to push on from our last game against Neasden and get another result here before our first semi-final next week.
“We are without Jon Green this weekend who is playing futsal after his fantastic display against Neasden.
“We know Harmen will be a tough challenge and they also are desperate for points so we will be ready for them.”
Harmen earned a battling 2-2 draw against Raiders B a fortnight ago and manager Dan Uzan will be calling for cool heads against opponents they have one or two run-ins with over the years.
With the team expecting to pick up three points from the recent postponement against Neasden A, it’s approaching squeaky bum time and I expect them to take the relegation battle down to the wire.
It’s hard to believe that Brady have yet to win away in the league this season. But only a brave man would bet against them getting something from the game on Sunday.
Venue – Southbury Leisure Centre, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man: Zak Presky (Brady)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen A 1 Brady A 2
22 - Jamie Kent (Brixton Old Boys)
16 – Dan Orgel (Redbridge JC B)
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC vs OAKWOOD
It’s show-time. Yeah baby. You’d better believe it. The MSFL’s version of the Rumble in the Jungle takes place in Walthamstow on Sunday with table-topping Oakwood looking to put more daylight between themselves and fellow high-flyers Chigwell.
The Oaks came through a bruising affair against Redbridge last weekend and it’s clear they will be up for the challenge of Chigwell.
Bradley Wine and Josh Rubin were their goal-scoring heroes in a 2-1 victory that their opponents finished with eight men.
Joint-manager Ric Blank is calling for more of the same on Sunday. “The boys are really enjoying their football at the moment and Sunday can't come soon enough for us,” Blank told JC Sport.
“We’ve had a run of unbelievably big games in 2012 and Chigwell away is another one.
“We've done well to overcome every challenge so far, but this is our biggest one yet. The boys have beaten Chigwell already this season, but we know Chigwell fancy themselves to return the favour.
“That said, we have a good record in Essex and will turn up and give it everything. We're not thinking about anything other than coming back with three points. We are bang up for it and ready for the fight.
“In terms of team news, Dan Abrams is away, but we're in good shape other than that. Vic Librae returns after a six-month absence. Apparently he's actually been available - I just ruled him out because he looked injured!"
With Oakwood showing no signs of slipping up, revenge is the name of the game for a Chigwell team who are fighting tooth and nail with Norstar for the other promotion spot, although Brixton may also have something to say about that.
Beaten 3-1 by the Oaks on the opening weekend of the season, player-manager Richard Slater is looking for a big reaction following their recent Peter Morrison Trophy defeat at the hands of the northern boys.
Slater told JC Sport: “We let ourselves down massively second half against Oakwood two weeks ago, so it’s great our next game is against the same opposition to put things right.
“There's no second chances after this weekend. We have to get three points if we want to keep the pressure on. The lads know what I expect from them this Sunday.”
Fans are advised to arrive early for what should be the mother of all MSFL games, a contest I think is too close to call.
Venue – Peter May Sports Centre, Ref – B. Pieters
JC star man: Josh Rubin (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: Chigwell Athletic 1 Oakwood 1
TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs NORSTAR A
Promotion-chasing Norstar will be hoping that Oakwood do them a favour in the big game in E17, but first they must take care of themselves ahead of the tricky trip to Edgware where they take on lowly Temple Fortune A.
With a hat-trick of consecutive wins under their belt, the Stars have the bit between their teeth once more and gaffer Phil Peters hopes they can maintain their recent record of scoring three goals a game between now and the end of the season.
Talisman Adam Jason looked sharp on duty for the club’s B team last weekend while wing wizard Jeremy Elster, a man very much of my own heart, has plenty to be cheerful about right now. He didn’t gamble on his girlfriend popping the question on February 29 but instead did the business in the Big Apple.
Peters takes up the story: “Jeremy Elster will be captaining the side for the first time as an engaged man as a surprise trip to New York finally convinced his good lady to say 'yes'.”
The Norstar medical room has been a hive of activity in recent weeks and Peters has new of some of his other key men. “Josh Pistol is fighting to be fit after a knee injury and an imminent ski trip are playing on the youngster’s mind,” he said.
“Pistol has been a revelation this season and with Jeff Gotch struggling with a virus, Norstar could be very short at the back with Sammy Kalms still out with long-term back problems.”
Peters has other injury worries with striker Eli Houri nursing a neck injury picked up last time out against Woodford, whilst Adam Graham is slowly coming back from a knee problem.
That man Gotch was Norstar’s match-winner on the opening weekend of the season and Peters is confident his boys can do the business again.
“We’ve got four games to go and promotion is still very much in our hands. Oakwood look like they're going to run away with the title now which is a shame as we've done the double over them this season.
Fortune are a good side and whilst they’re not the same team who won the league last year, they’ve proven that on their day they can beat anybody plus they’re in a relegation battle and desperately need the points.
“That said, if my lot turn up and have their heads in the game we should get the three points that we need.”
Fortune have conceded 11 goals in their last two games so manager Lee Fegan is looking for some new-found resilience from his troops.
Assistant-manager Lee Fegan has some positive news coming out of the treatment room ahead of the game.
Fegan told JC Sport: “Thankfully, this weekend, for the first time in months, we have a very strong squad available.
“We gave Norstar a run for their money first game of the season when we were very depleted, so we hope to give them an even better game this Sunday and get some much needed points in our battle for survival.
The Hive has been anything but a fortress for Fortune this season, but they must change that quick-smart. Norstar have won three out of five on their travels and I can see them making it four out of four on Sunday in a game that promises goals.
JC team news: Fortune are Josh Marks, while Daniel Natoff is away, but other than that “everyone else is available”.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – M. Lavender
JC star man: Jeremy Elster (Norstar)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune A 2 Norstar A 3
BRIXTON OLD BOYS A vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN B
Sunday is a must-win for Harmen B. Simple as that. You have to think they have a marginally better chance of beating Brixton than they do title favourites Oakwood in their final game of the season, but already, most people have written them off.
Marc Cohen’s men go into the game on the back of a 4-1 defeat against Woodford. The bottom line is the table doesn’t lie. They have lost the most games in the division and conceded the most goals. Hardly a recipe for success.
Harmen’s last win came on December 18. Since then they have conceded a hatful of goals and the signs don’t look good for Sunday. It’s clear they will have to overcome all the odds against the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup semi-finalists.
Having thumped Harmen 7-1 last month, Brixton boss John Nitka shouldn’t lose too much sleep over a striker shortage.
Alon Hershkorn (2), Simon Lindall (2), James Kaye, Rob Hershkorn and top-scorer Jamie Kent were the goal men in the demolition in Southgate.
Ultimately it was a game in which Brixton’s class told and the Brixton boss hopes that it’s a case of more of the same at the weekend.
Looking ahead to kick-off, Nitka told JC Sport: “We’re hoping for another three points. However, once again I have injury problems with no established forwards available and will do what we did last Sunday.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that I will have at least one available against Brady A in two weeks time, but it doesn’t look good at present.”
A wonder goal from Dan Sherman was the icing on the cake for Brixton in the 3-0 win over Neasden B last Sunday. He will be looking to cement a cup semi-final place with a dazzling display against a Harmen defence that is trying to shake off it’s soft centre.
Harmen couldn’t have asked for a tougher run-in and I think tears will be shed as reality kicks in at the final whistle.
Venue – Clowes, Ref – L. Benson
JC star man: Dan Sherman (Brixton)
DC Prediction: Brixton OB A 4 Southgate Harmen B 0
NORTH WEST NEASDEN B vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B
Neasden finished with 10 last week and Redbridge eight so referee Nigel Burns will have to check he doesn’t leave his cards at home when he sets off for the game on Sunday.
Redbridge somehow managed to stay within a goal of leaders Oakwood last Sunday, and they remain firmly in the promotion race for now. But any more misdemeanours and manager Stirling Kay and co can wave goodbye to any hopes of a top two finish.
Last Sunday was a day for forget for the Redbridge boys. Scott Kay, the manager’s son, and Jamie Cooper were dismissed while goal-scorer Doron Weinstein was forced off injured. Having played much of the game with reduced numbers, heavy legs could play a part against a Neasden team looking to bow out on a high.
It would be fair to say that season 2011/12 has been something of a learning curve for both sets of players. Neasden boss Daniel Hodes knows there is plenty of room for improvement next season. His idea of mixing youth and experience has had mixed results, although Ricardo Engleman and Jonny Blain have been two success stories.
Hodes hope to keep both at the club next season and he will surely look to build his team around them. He could do worse.
Neasden were at rock bottom after the corresponding fixture in November – also known as the Daniel Orgel show. The RJC hotshot smashed a sensational five-goal salvo in a 10-1 drubbing, with other goals coming from Joel Faugh, Oli Brooks and Josh Orgel. That result must now seem like a distant memory for the east Londoners who have lost their last five games.
What they need right now is a bit of luck – a goal of someone’s knee, backside or even a hefty deflection. Oh, that and keeping 11 on the park would certainly boost their chances.
RJC have won four out of six on their travels and I can see them returning home with something to show for their efforts.
Ref – N. Burns
JC star man: Scott Kay (RJC)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden B 2 Redbridge JC B 2
20 - Doron Weinstein (Redbridge Jewish Care C - includes one for B team)
14 - Ben Simons (Faithfold C), Raph Noe (Hendon B), James Gold (LM Lions B)
FAITHFOLD C vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C
Redbridge C are in freefall right now so this could be the perfect time for Faithfold C to be playing them. Or at least that is what player-manager David Garson will be telling his troops.
It’s hard to believe the green and whites have registered just one league win all season, but not even the goals of Ben Simons have been enough to keep them out of the danger zone.
I expect gaffer Garson to deliver the ultimate rallying call on Sunday. Defeat is not an option. Home fans hope to see Matty Kleinman, Adam Barton and possibly Richard Fogelman in the team, alongside Simons, although I’ve heard talk that Fogelman is on the verge of a return to Jewventus.
Faithfold have yet to keep a clean sheet this season so it’s clear attack will be the best form of defence on Sunday.
The east Londoners hit Faithfold for six earlier this season, when Doron Weinstein went home with the matchball after a superb hat-trick. Even though the hotshot went off injured for RJC’s B team last weekend, I expect manager Dan Gordon to patch him up as with just two games left of their season, he’s leading the way for the Division Two Golden Boot.
The battle between RJC’s Josh Barnett and Simons was key to the outcome in October but he might just find things tougher second time around, especially when you glance at Redbridge’s away results.
In summary, this is a game Faithfold can win and must win if they are to survive as things will get tougher against Lions B next weekend.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – N. Cohen
JC star man: David Garson (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold C 2 Redbridge JC C 1
GLENTHORNE UNITED A vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB B
Hendon are odds-on favourites to take the second automatic promotion spot but they won’t settle for anything less than the title. At least that is their aim for now.
Edged out 3-2 by a Camden Park team who sealed their own elevation last weekend, the Hornets will be looking to leapfrog Glenthorne once again when the two teams go head to head in east London on Sunday.
Last week’s match was not without its talking points, but the Reds are keen to stay focused on the task at hand and do their talking on the pitch.
As joint-manager Motty Korman told JC Sport: “We were disappointed last week not to take anything from the game against an excellent and well-organised Camden.
“As always we will take the positive out of last week’s defeat and hopefully make amends this week.
“With games in hand over the other teams promotion is still on the cards, but will be very difficult if we don’t get a result on Sunday against Glenthorne.
“Much has changed since our 2-1 win over them on the opening day of the season and our last five games are all going to be cup finals for us if we want to end the season in top two.
“There’s not much more to be said as the boys know that the next few games will determine whether we play Division One or Two football next season.”
Glenthorne’s promotion hopes were dealt a major blow last weekend when they were mauled 4-0 by Lions B.
Going into their penultimate game of the season, player-manager Dan Lipman knows that nothing less than three points will do.
The goals have dried up for the Thornes in recent weeks and Lipman will be calling for his midfielders to step up to the plate and adopt a shoot-on-sight policy, especially with doubts over the Hendon keeper.
Having won Division Three in style last season, Glenthorne fans were confident of a top two finish but the signs are that they will finish just short.
The Thornes have failed to register in their last two home games but they will be looking to avenge an early season defeat in north west London when Parys Hammond and Chanania Englesman fired Hendon to a 2-1 win.
Last Sunday was a bitter pill for Glenthorne to swallow and I can only see Hendon adding to their misery.
JC team news: Eytan Storfer and Pinty Baddiel are unavailable for Hendon but Alon Blitz has been passed fit and Motty Korman will also be returning this week. Arthur Kaplan will face a late fitness test.
Venue – London Marathon Playing Fields, Ref – A. Myerson
JC star man: Parys Hammond (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd A 1 Hendon Utd SC B 2
NORSTAR B vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS B
Watch out for Lions B. That is my message this weekend. There is a chance they could yet mount a late push for a third place, and they will be looking to register a fourth consecutive win and score four goals for the fourth game in a row. There is a pattern here!
That man James Gold did the business again. Both I and Lions boss Jamie Kyte have ran out of superlatives for the player who is fast becoming the hottest property in the MSFL.
At the moment, everything he touches turns to goals.
Gold was at his fearsome best against Glenthorne last week, in a game where the Lions simply blew away a decent team.
On Sunday they’ll start as favourites against a Norstar team not yet out of the woods.
Jonny Bunt’s men earned a morale-boosting 4-0 success over Faithfold C. Josh Gaon was the star of the show, firing home a quality treble. His head-to-head against Gold will guarantee bums on seats on Sunday.
Looking ahead to the game, Stars manager Jonny Bunt told JC Sport: “I was chuffed to get the win last week and hoping to regain some pride after the defeat to Lions a fortnight ago. Perhaps home advantage will tell!
“Also, I’d like to add that I submitted a typo last week and Jono Gaon is in fact 16 years old and a strapping 5”2 in height!”
On paper, Lions hold all the aces and I can’t see it panning out much different on grass.
Venue – Ark Academy, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Matt Green (Lions)
DC Prediction: Norstar B 1 LM Lions B 4
21 - Dan Hildebrand (Brady B - includes 7 for Faithfold)
17 - Terry Jeffries (Temple Fortune B), Edward Green (Bilbaum)
FC TEAM C vs BRADY MACCABI B
Brady will go top of the table if they win at FC Team C on Sunday.
Josh Dagul’s troops cemented their title credentials with the recent 3-1 win over leaders Bilbaum and I can’t see them fluffing their lines in pursuit of the title.
“The boys were fantastic against Bilbaum, played great football and fought until the final whistle,” Dagul told JC Sport. “If we put in the same effort and performance then we should win on Sunday against a strong FC Team.
“Our target has always been to win the league and a win on Sunday will take us closer to being crowned champions, so I am expecting everyone to be up for it and another strong performance.”
In Jerome Colmans and Jonny Meltzer, Brady have two players who won the Division Four crown last season, in Inter Borehamwood colours, and their experience will be vital between now and the end of the season.
The division’s only game of the day features two teams that have claimed some excellent results, but if the Brady bunch expect the red carpet treatment then they can think again.
Michael Myers’ FC Team have had a decent first season and with the sides scheduled to go head-to-head again next week, players and officials from Bilbaum and SPEC FC hope they pull something out of the bag.
A fourth-place finish is still a possibility for FC Team and if they play their cards right, there could still be another twist in the title race.
Venue – Hatch End Playing Fields, Ref – R. Benardout
JC star man: Michael Beaber (Brady)
DC Prediction: FC Team C 1 Brady B 2
JC BARRY GOLDSTEIN TROPHY
Shirley Park Pl, 1. Pts. 3
NL Raiders C Pl, 1. Pts. 1
SPEC FC Pl, 1. Pts. 1
FC Team B Pl, 1. Pts. 0
FC TEAM B vs SPEC FC
SPEC FC have had an excellent first season back in the JC MSFL, but they will be looking for their biggest scalp yet when they travel to Borehamwood to take on second division FC Team B
Laurence Conway’s men have been like a breath of fresh air, both on and off the pitch this season, and they certainly won’t have an inferiority complex when they take on a side lying 15 places above them in the ladder. In fact, I think it could be the making of them.
Although some SPEC fans may have one eye on the match between FC Team C and Brady B, it’s clear that the players will not. Conway just wouldn’t allow it.
On Sunday the SPEC boys will be fully focused on claiming their first win in the JC Barry Goldstein Trophy competition. And the signs look encouraging.
As Ricky Lawrence told JC Sport: “We were left a little disappointed to come away with only a point against Raiders last Sunday, especially after being 1-0 up.
“However, we are determined to make it out of this group but know that three points this Sunday are a must.
“We must address our lack of goals with only three players scoring for us this year.
“Playing against a team two divisions above us, we know it is going to be a tough game, but we are hoping to rise to the test.
“After practicing our aerial prowess at training on Tuesday, we are hoping to head to the top of the table come Sunday.”
Ben Simon’s FC Team have not won since mid-November. They have taken some right royal beatings in recent weeks and it’s important they start well on Sunday. Otherwise the unthinkable might just happen …
Visiting fans have yet to see the best of striker James Segal but I have a feeling he’s about to come good.
Venue – Meadow Park, Ref – A. Yuchetel
JC star man: James Segal (SPEC FC)
DC Prediction: FC Team B 1 SPEC FC 3
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C vs SHIRLEY PARK
There’s a good game in store in Hatfield as fourth division Raiders C host Division Three promotion hopefuls Shirley Park.
Raiders’ 3G surface should suit Shirley’s passing game down to the ground and Dave Lusman knows that another three points would all but seal qualification from the group.
Gideon Gold was the star man for the Park life in last week’s opener against FC Team B.
Now all eyes are on the trip to Hatfield. Lusman told JC Sport: “Park go into this one expecting a difficult encounter with Raiders.
“Again were missing a few key players due to commitments off the field, including Plotnek, Stefan Benfredj and Gideon Gold to name a few, but on the flip side we welcome back Saul and Ian Bean back to the fold.
“The group is already starting to shape up and we’ll take a draw worst case scenario, but we’ll be gunning for the win. Park life!”
Raiders showed good character to come from behind to draw against SPEC FC last Sunday but they’ll start as the underdogs on Sunday.
L’Orange have been hard to beat this season but they appeared to have mis-placed their winning formula.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Raiders boss Oli Shorts told JC Sport: “Unfortunately we're still missing a host of players but as last Sundays result suggests we've still got brilliant squad depth.
“Shirley Park have shown this season why they are one of the favourites for the cup and I’m sure they'll get promoted.
“For my players it's a big step up and they'll need to show Rich and I that they can mix it in the division above. We're looking forward to it.”
Even with one or two key men missing, I think Shirley will have too much on the day.
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – K. Goodman
JC star man: Ian Bean (Shirley)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders C 1 Shirley Park 3
Glenthorne Utd B Pl, 1. Pts. 3
UJIA Pl, 1. Pts. 3
Athletico Finchley Pl. 1, Pts. 0
Los Blancos Pl, 1. Pts. 0
ATHLETICO FINCHLEY vs LOS BLANCOS
Both Athletico and Blancos are looking to break their Barry Goldstein duck on Sunday with three points order of the day.
Zach Margolin, the Athletico supremo, is relishing rubbing shoulders with one of the top teams in the division above in a match that could keep their season alive.
Josh Barnett (2) and Ben Mandell were the goal-scorers for Margolin’s men last Sunday as they put Boca Jewniors to the sword. The in-form Daniel Mattey was rewarded for a series of eye-catching displays with a place in my Team of the Week.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Margolin told JC Sport: “This Sunday is a huge game for us. If we lose or even draw, it seems we will be out of the Barry Goldstein Cup. Therefore it is a must win game for us and we are going to give it our all.
“Los Blancos are a good side and it is a shame to lose two key players, but I still believe we have the heart and fight to cause an upset on Sunday. Come on you Finch!”
Having disappointed in the league so far, Blancos boss Joel Minsky is calling for something special from his team who last season reached the last four of the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup.
Despite the best efforts of Josh Cohen, Blancos have conceded too many goals and I can see Athletico asking some questions of the visiting defence with Mandell and Mattey keen to impress.
Experience could play a factor, at least that is what Minsky hopes. He told JC Sport: “Sunday is a must-win game as our minimum aim for the BG is to make it to the knockout rounds.
“Whilst Athletico are the lowest ranked team in our group, being a new side they are an unknown quantity so we must be wary.
“Having gone down by a single goal to a strong UJIA side a few weeks back, we know that Sunday won't be easy and we'll have to fight for the points.
“Our squad is almost at full strength for the first time in what seems like months, and I envisage having a problem that most managers would love to have of having to pick a squad of only 14.”
Athletico have offered value for money week in, week out this season. They are playing with great flair and confidence at the minute and if Blancos under-estimate them, they could be in for a rude awakening.
JC team news: Athletico are without Andrew Greenwall Cohen and Joel Barnett in midfield, but Charlie Hollis returns.
Ref – H. Raffe
JC star man: Charlie Hollis (Athletico)
DC Prediction: Athletico Finchley 2 Los Blancos 2
GLENTHORNE UNITED B vs UJIA
Division Three rivals Glenthorne B and UJIA will be looking to make it two out of two when they go head-to-head for the third time this season.
The Thornes have claimed respective 4-2 and 3-1 wins over the U’s this season and with home advantage, only a brave man would bet against them.
Whichever teams come out on top on Sunday will as good as secure a place in the next phase of the competition.
Looking ahead to the crunch clash, Glenthorne joint-manager Craig Sandford told JC Sport: “We go into Sunday’s game knowing it will be battle as have all games against UJIA been. They are strong, experienced and organised.
“Both league games this season have seen us come out on top, but it hasn’t been easy. They are always a threat from set-pieces and if you give them time on the ball then they can punish you.
“We both won our opening BG cup games and we both want to top the group so there is a lot to play for.
“We had a wake up call in our last game against Los Blancos, where we 3-2 down with 10 minutes to go. We were lucky that our character and determination shone through and we turned the game around to win 4-3.
“We have some players coming back and a few players out, but I’m keeping my cards close to my chest this week.”
UJIA go into the game on the back of a 3-2 defeat against Shirley Park. Assi Avital and Paul Shamplina were the marksmen. Indeed Avital netted for the second successive week following a goal in the win over Athletico Finchley in their BGT opener.
Having reached the final only last season, Darren Rolfe’s men are keen for a return trip to Wingate & Finchley, but they will have their work cut out on Sunday.
Rolfe has been spending the week concocting a master-plan on how to stop Glenthorne. He’s hoping it’s a case of third time lucky.
Sandford has scored three goals over the two games and he could be the thorn in UJIA’s side again.
Venue – London Marathon Playing Fields, Ref – N. Cooper
JC star man: Craig Sandford (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd B 3 UJIA 2
Faithfold B Pl, 1. Pts. 3
Catford & Bromley Maccabi Pl, 1. Pts. 1
Jewventus Pl, 1. Pts. 1
Temple Fortune B Pl, 1. Pts. 0
CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI vs FAITHFOLD B
Faithfold will look to maintain their grip on the group when they take on third division Catford at the Hive.
The highest-ranked team in the competition, it would be a major surprise if they didn’t get out of the group with a 100 per cent record.
Having said that, they should take nothing for granted after only just squeezing past Temple Fortune B last weekend. James Sandler and Johnny Horwitz were the goal men for Rob Shooman’s men.
With home advantage, I don’t expect them to have any problems against the Cats, and can see them winning emphatically.
Faithfold assistant-manager Ben Lewis told JC Sport: “A hard fought victory last week shows us how hard we need to work to get anything from these games. We have a full squad available.”
The Cats are in a good moment and they will be relishing the prospect of taking on fancied opposition. There was genuine disappointment when they dropped two points by Gabriel John’s late leveller last Sunday, but the challenge of Faithfold won’t scare them.
Catford joint-manager Adam Lewis told JC Sport: We’re looking forward to this Sunday’s game. We’ve put in two very good performances in the last two weeks and only a last-gasp equaliser prevented consecutive wins.
“Although we should have been out of sight by that point, we're thrilled to be playing to a level which we always knew was possible, even if we haven't achieved those standards frequently enough.
“We have only one or two absentees this week and several players returning who will really help our cause.
“We know Faithfold B are going well in the division above, but we've already comfortably beaten higher division opposition this season so we'll be going into the game without any fear.
“Quite a few of our players would walk into teams at a higher level and Sunday will be a great chance for the likes of Yonni Bord, Ashley Stokes, Rafi Marom and several others to show what they can do.
“It'll be tough but we'll give it everything we've got.”
It’s clear the Cats will need to play out of their skins if they are to cause what would be a major upset. That and Faithfold under-performing in a very big way. And I just can’t see that happening.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – M. Cowan
JC star man: James Sandler (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Catford & Bromley 0 Faithfold B 3
TEMPLE FORTUNE B vs JEWVENTUS
Jewventus go into their second Barry Goldstein game glad to have come out of their last with a point.
They had tough game against old foes Catford and this Sunday sees them pitted against a stung Temple Fortune side.
Gaffer Gabriel John feels there is unfinished business between these two sides and will demand nothing but three points in what will prove to be a tough, well-contested affair.
Johns Jewve are at full strength and welcome back super striker Mike Lax and long time stalwart Olly Weingarten.
“He also has Bobsie Cohen in top form at centre back and Mark Martell playing some vintage football down the left.
John told JC Sport: “It’s a huge game neither team can afford to lose.”
Fortune gave an excellent account of themselves against group favourites Faithfold B last Sunday, although it’s fair to say that striker Joey Glynne owes them big time after going to the wrong ground. Manager Terry Jeffries has instructed one of the more reliable members of the team to pick him up to ensure he doesn’t go missing again!
Fortune have already beaten Jewve twice this season and Jeffries scored against them in both games.
So Jewve will feel they have a score to settle and with Lax back in the mix, I can see them doing just enough on the day.
Ref – M. Fox
JC star man: Mike Lax (Jewventus)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune B 2 Jewventus 3
NW Neasden C Pl. 1, Pts. 3
Blizzard Storm Pl. 1, Pts. 3
Athletic Bilbaum Pl. 1, Pts. 0
Team JLGB Pl. 1, Pts. 0
BLIZZARD STORM vs TEAM JLGB
Group D could really start to take shape on Sunday with the two winners of the opening round of games favourites to make it two out of two.
Simon Linden’s Blizzard Storm could be real dark horses in the competition and I expect them to have too much for JLGB on Sunday.
It was a case of Simons says for Blizzard last weekend with both Oli and Stefan on target in the win over Bilbaum. Linden will be looking for more of the same from his experienced pairing on Sunday, while home fans will be looking for another eye-catching performance from wonder kid Daniel Vandermolen.
The JLGB brigade have endured a tough season, but they didn’t roll over against Neasden in match one in a game where James Wright impressed and I expect them to stand up and be counted against Blizzard.
Simons (Oli that is) (2), Stefan and Vandermolen were the scorers when Blizzard beat JLGB 4-1 in the league in December and I can see home fans cranking up a red-hot atmosphere in a bid to get the best out of their heroes on Sunday.
Ref – S. Russell
JC star man: Michael Woolf (Blizzard)
DC Prediction: Blizzard Storm 3 Team JLGB 1
NORTH WEST NEASDEN C vs ATHLETIC BILBAUM
Neasden are confident of booking their place in the next phase when they entertain Division Four high-flyers Bilbaum on Sunday.
Louis Taylor’s troops did just enough to see off JLGB in their first match but the manager will be looking for a big improvement here.
“We have an almost full squad to choose from on Sunday,” Taylor told JC Sport. “We need to raise our performance from our last game against JLGB.
“We enjoyed playing against Bilbaum last season but we know it won't be an easy match.”
Defeated in their first match against Blizzard, the Baums know that they will need to play out of their skins to live with what is ultimately an experienced Neasden team.
With Mike Perkin in goal, Adam Levene either in central defence or midfield and Taylor up top, it’s clear NWN have a solid spine and Bilbaum will do well to match them all over the park.
Teenage wing wizard Jake Gilbert has been on his game in recent weeks after joint-manager Mark Pasha demanded someone help Ed Green out in terms of sharing the burden of scoring goals, and like Neasden, they are sound at the back so this could be a game of few chances.
Ultimately it will boil down to which team holds their nerve in front of goal. I can see Bilbaum huffing and puffing but in the end NWN will blow their house down.
Venue – Copthall, Ref – M. De La Fuente
JC star man: Aron Lewis (NWN)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden C 3 Athletic Bilbaum 2