The first round of the Peter Morrison Trophy takes centre stage this week with no less than 11 ties taking place. There's also one match in the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup plus some mouth-watering contests in the JC MSFL. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the action.
DC REMINDER: THE CLOCKS GO BACK ON SATURDAY NIGHT
PHOTOGALLERY - JC GAME OF THE DAY
DANNY CARO'S MATCHDAY 8 OSCARS
JC SAVE OF THE WEEK
Elliott Gold (Woodford Wanderers)
JC SUPERSUB OF THE WEEK
David Kanter (Hendon B)
JC CELEBRATION OF THE WEEK
Dave Epstein (Oakwood B) - celebrated his first goal in eight years by running 50 yards to embrace his manager
JC REFEREE OF THE WEEK
Tony McEvoy (Glenthorne United B vs Athletic Bilbaum)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Ian Tussie (Oakwood B) - "Forget Hoy, forget Murray, forget The Ryder Cup. This was special" - Describing Dave Epstein's stunning goal
YOUR WEEKEND REVIEW STARTS HERE
PETER MORRISON TROPHY ROUND ONE
CAMDEN PARK vs L’EQUIPE
I fear for L’Equipe on Sunday as Division One promotion hopefuls Camden look to bounce back from last weekend’s narrow defeat against Glenthorne.
That was the first game they failed to score in this season and I can see them looking to fill their boots against their third division opposition.
Camden’s Nick Kagan told me that after a sluggish first half, they dominated the second 45 but we unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Kagan told JC Sport: "We're looking to bounce back from last week with a convincing win over L'Equipe. It's another chance for some squad players to impress and some of the heavy drinkers to get match fitness.
"We're looking forward to the rolling subs - it will be interesting - considering having a team for 'offence' and a team for 'defence.' Injured skipper Max Saunders may get the chance to come on just to take a penalty if required."
I can’t see Camden struggling with a lack of cutting edge against a L’Equipe team who were beaten 2-0 by basement battlers Norstar C.
L’Equipe boss David Prager is still trying to work out just how they failed to score in a match they dominated chances-wise.
But he came away from the match saying: “I’ve got a very talented bunch of lads but we are our own worst enemies at the moment.”
Two teams looking to right the wrongs of last week looks set to be a rather one-sided affair, with home keeper Max Shields looking forward to having 90 minutes to get through his copy of the JC!
Venue – Ark Academy, Ref – Laurie Benson
JC star man: Mike Khalastchi (Camden)
DC Prediction: Camden Park 4 L’Equipe 0
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC vs FAITHFOLD C
Squad rotation is the name of the game for Chigwell on Sunday as they look to book their name in the hat for round two of the Jewish FA Cup.
With several players on the treatment table, and some others away due to a Maccabiah over-35's squad get-together, player-manager Richard Slater will be forced to shuffle his pack.
He came away from last weekend’s derby against Woodford a frustrated man after they were denied a win late on.
"I’m looking forward to a welcome break from the league this weekend,” Slater told JC Sport. “The Peter Morrison is a trophy we've had good runs in over previous seasons.
"We’ve reached two semi-finals plus the a quarter-finals last season, so we're looking forwd to giving it a good go again.
"But we know any Faithfold team will be decent, so I'll make sure there's no complacency at all from the lads, and everyone is focused on making sure we're in the hat for round two."
Of course the Morrison competition has introduced the roll on/roll off subs rule and like me, Slater has his reservations.
He added: "I was against the system this season, and I doubt very much I'll be using it this weekend either, so will make no difference to me!"
Faithfold C had no game last weekend so David Garson would’ve had plenty of time to prepare his troops for battle.
In fact, Garson is one of the few managers I've spoken to in favour of the new ruling and the chances are he has something special up his sleeve.
He told JC Sport: "As you know, I’m a fan of roll-on, roll off subs. However, with James Stanton - my Tord Grip - recovering from a knee op, playing and running subs is tricky.
"Our only absentee is Josh Barnet, who was looking forward to an emotional return to his old team. I am looking forward to playing against some of my old club mates, including Lenchner.
"The great thing is there is no pressure on us we are not expected to win so this is a bonus game for us. Last year we got to the quarters, beating two Division One teams, so if the boys all turn up on Sunday who knows ...
Top-scorer Ben Simons still loves testing himself on the big stage and with Lee Hyams away sunning himself in Lanzarote, he’ll be looking to get himself on the backpage of next week’s JC.
But to do that he needs service and with Dan Castle back in the Chigwell ranks, I can only see one winner.
Venue – Peter May, Ref – Quentin Fox
JC star man: Russell Yershon (Chigwell)
DC Prediction: Chigwell Athletic 3 Faithfold C 1
GLENTHORNE UNITED B vs AC MILL HILL
Both Glenthorne B and Mill Hill go into this tie on the back of defeats so it’s a big match for both players for many reasons.
The Thornes were beaten 3-0 by Bilbaum last weekend and managers Liam Stein and Jordan Sapler are determined to get back to winning ways. Indeed, the attitude of the home team will be key on Sunday as their know their opponents from Division Three have nothing to lose.
Sapler told JC Sport: “We know we need to forget about last week's one-off result and get back to winning ways on Sunday, but make no mistake about it - the only reason Mill Hill are in Division Three is because they are a new team looking at their early results; they are a team with ability and we will not be under-estimating them.”
The red-hot topic of the roll-on/roll-off subs has been the talk of the Glenthorne training ground this week and Sapler offered some forthright views.
“It’s something that I just don't understand,” he told JC Sport. “It makes me feel like were involved in kids seven-a-side football. I believe there is no advantage to it that will not be abused by managers. For example, at a free-kick in a shooting opportunity, we could bring on our free-kick specialist and then take him straight off after. Then, in the final 10 minutes, and say we're winning, we could bring three defenders on and sit on the goalline. It just doesn't make sense. Personally, I'm not a fan of the system at all, but we'll give it a try on Sunday and see how it goes."
AC Mill Hill were stuffed 5-1 by FC Team C last Sunday – a result everyone at the club will want to forget and put firmly behind them.
The experience of keeper James Grabiner and Rob Kleinmann will be key on Sunday as manager Joe Levy knows, victory that a win of any description could be the springboard for something special.
The first 20 minutes will be crucial for Mill Hill. If they can keep things tight and silence the passionate Glenthorne fans, I believe they have enough quality to get something going forward.
If they turn up with belief and the right attitude, and dare I say a couple of the Glenthorne boys are nursing a hangover following a heavy session at Faces, I can see the north London boys coming away with a famous victory.
JC team news: Glenthorne welcome back joint-player-manager Jordan Sapler who has been away for three weeks.
Venue – Ford Sports & Social, Ref – Robert Benardout
JC star man: Loz Bloom (Mill Hill)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd B 1 AC Mill Hill 2 AET
NORSTAR C vs BRADY MACCABI MASTERS
Having claimed their first win of the season last weekend, Norstar C will go into this game believing they will have an easy run out, but they should think again.
A quick glance down the JC archives will show them that Brady are far from a bunch of alta kakas. Many of them have been there, seen it and done it in Jewish football and still have a lot about them.
Granted, Daniel Collins’ troops have experienced one or two problems this season, but for the Morrison, they will be boosted by the presence of the cream of the crop from North London Raiders Masters.
The key point for Norstar boss Zack Gothelf is that they will be up against a number of players who will be representing Great Britain at next year’s Maccabiah Games in Israel.
It’s fair to say that neither side knows much about the other, but I managed to get a few words of wisdom out of the most successful manager in Masters football history.
Collins told JC Sport: “As ever, I’m confident in my side, but I am sure Norstar C will give us a game.”
Nick Haringman and Oli Nathan were the marksmen in Norstar’s historic victory at L’Equipe last weekend. Although L’Equipe boss David Prager described it as a ‘smash and grab,’ Stars gaffer Gothelf wasn’t complaining.
He nominated four players in keeper Lee Benson, defenders Oli Nathan and Jonny Samuel plus midfield maestro Ali Gordon for a place in Team of the Week on the back of sensational performances. More of the same will be needed on Sunday.
Gothelf described it as ultimate team performance and “the best we’ve played all season”.
In recent years, Brady’s defence has been water-tight, but some cracks have started to appear plus defensive stalwart Nigel Goldthorpe is still haunted by his recent own goal of the season contender.
If Norstar allow Brady time and space they will get hurt, especially with some foxes in the box on the loose.
Ref – Barry David
JC star man: Ashley Davidson (Masters)
DC Prediction: Norstar C 1 Brady Masters 3
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs LONDON MACCABIAH MASTERS
The Lions Masters team are determined to out-do the Brady Masters team in this season’s Jewish FA Cup and they will be well-suited to the 3G surface at Raiders’ home ground.
I’m not exactly sure just what kind of XI the Lions put out, but no doubt, it will be a competitive one.
Raiders warmed-up for the tie with a well-earned point against Division Two leaders Neasden B. Daniel Garb, the latest export from the club’s famous academy in Australia, popped up with goal of the game, direct from the corner flag. And he meant it.
Manager Oli Shorts was well pleased with the point, describing the performance of captain Josh Fineman at left-back as “immense”. Keeper Nick Grosse was another stand-out performer in the famous Orange shirt.
This weekend, Raiders no. 2 Richard Abrahams will be taking the reigns again as Shorts has gone on yet another scouting trip to Europe, hoping to get a few transfer dealings done ahead of the January window.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Abrahams told JC Sport: "It'll be an interesting game this weekend against the Masters team who we know are technically very good so we'll be looking to stifle them as much as possible.
"It'll be interesting to see how the game plays out with the new rulings for the cup this season - especially with a younger squad than the opposition - as it should hopefully lead to a higher quality 90 minutes, but this weekend may not play to our significant advantage of youth!
"Hopefully we'll be talking about another positive performance on Sunday afternoon, but this time with a positive result to go along with it this weekend."
This promises to be another intriguing tie, with neither side knowing much about the other. That’s the beauty of the cup. Let’s hope the action is just as beautiful.
Venue – Brunel, Ref – Steve Russell
JC star man: Nicky Woolf (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders B 3 LM Lions B 2
OAKWOOD B vs BLIZZARD STORM
Ian Tussie has shot up in the managerial ranks just weeks into the season, in my book at least. You want a great comment, the boy never fails, and I’m pleased to report he was on top of his game once again in his midweek press conference.
Tussie and co will be looking to play their cards right against higher division opposition – a team that certainly won’t scare them.
“It’s the magic of the Morrison, Danny, and I love it,” Tussie told JC Sport. “What a cup, steeped in history. We are pragmatic about our chances of winning the thing but we would love a tidy cup run nonetheless.
“Sunday will be hard against Blizzard Storm -their results have been up and down the last few weeks, but they're riddled with classy players and we know it will be tough.
“It's a great chance for the boys to test themselves against a team from a higher division - it's where we want to be innit geez.
“We are without a lot of players but I'm sill confident we have the quality to go through.”
We then touched on the new rule and Tussie had this to say. “Rolling subs is an interesting one. I know David Wolff is a staunch supporter of the initiative and has been battling with UEFA for it for years.
“My players will be warming up in their Roll it Out t-shirts before the game to show their support, although rumours that Dave Epstein is refusing to wear his are wide of the mark.”
The Blizzard boys finally hit top form last weekend, hitting Catford for six in the process. Michael Woolfe was the star man. He fired a hat-trick in a brilliant performance. Manager Simon Linden has been tempted to wrap him up in cotton wool to ensure his troops aren’t victims of a famous cup upset.
It was also good to see Adam Speck, Andrey Greyson and Oli Simons pop up on the scoresheet.
I hope none of the players on show have any early lunch plans as I can see this going the distance.
Venue – Parmiters, Ref – Nigel Burns
JC star man: Andrey Greyson (Blizzard)
DC Prediction: Oakwood B 1 Blizzard Storm 1 (Oakwood to win on penalties)
SPEC FC vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN B
What a difference a week makes. Last week SPEC FC manager Laurence Conway was having to tell people they didn't make the squad, where as this week we are having to beg people to play.
Word has it that SPEC FC are really scraping the barrel and having already been beaten by Neasden B this season, and with so many key players out on Sunday, it will be something of a giant killing if we are able to progress to the next round.
Midfielder Ricky Lawrence told JC Sport: “We are capable of it though and with Simon Lee returning after over a year out who knows what can happen?"
Lawrence is in the majority over the new PMT ruling too. "I'm pleased the rollings subs rule didn't come into the league, I can't imagine what the games would have been like with subs taking place all the time but it'll be interesting to see how it works on Sunday.
“With numbers at an all time low for us, maybe the rule will help us out on Sunday but I guess we'll have to wait and see."
Neasden were frustrated by Raiders B in a 2-2 draw in the league last Sunday. It needed two strikes from stalwart defender Adam ‘Shaggy’ Leveson to earn them a point.
It was a day when NWN left their shooting boots at home and they will need to polish and pack them to ensure they come out on top in their second meeting with SPEC FC this season.
I’m predicting a tight contest between two well-matched teams. NWN boss Adam Levene has the utmost respect for SPEC FC. He knows they’re organised, hard working and play the game the right way. It’s tough to pick a winner in a tie that could swing either way.
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – Neil Cooper
JC star man: Adam Leveson (NWN)
DC Prediction: SPEC FC 1 Neasden B 2 AET
TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs BOCA JEWNIORS
Last Sunday was a dark day for anyone connected to Temple Fortune FC. Arguably the darkest, in fact.
The team has struggled on the disciplinary front this season, but it doesn’t get much worse than three red cards in one game. Club chairman Nigel Kyte issued an immediate apology and has promised to take strong action against the offenders.
Fortune fans are confident normal service will be resumed when they welcome Boca to the Hive. It’s a game where the likes of Michael Goldberg will be looking to fill his boots as the boys in yellow and red look to register a handsome victory.
Goldberg, Jack Schofield and Avi Kon excelled in the 4-4 draw against Shirley Park last weekend, with Goldberg’s last-ditch strike, his second of the match, earning them a point.
The Boca boys were brought down to earth with a big bump last Sunday, despite the best efforts of keeper Ryan Monk, once again. Monk has been one of the busiest and best stoppers in Division Three this season and I can see him needing to pull off some big stops to keep the score down.
This game isn’t a case of who will win. Just how many will Fortune win by?
Venue – The Hive, Ref – Rob Caplin
JC star man: Avi Kon (Fortune)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune A 5 Boca Jewniors 0
TOTTENHAM CHUTSPAH vs GLENTHORNE UNITED A
Glenthorne A are going great guns in the league at the minute and they know the Tottenham boys have nothing to lose as they go in search of a famous giant-killing.
Cult hero Dan Lassman was their matchwinner against promotion rivals Camden Park last Sunday, a game in which young keeper Jordan Davidson and defender Adam Shafron also caught the eye.
Sunday promises to be an emotional day for one member of the Glenthorne camp – manager Sam Rosenthal. He told JC Sport: “I’ll have split loyalties as a lifelong Tottenham fan, but we want to have a good cup run starting with a win on Sunday and continuing our good form"
"As for the roll on/roll off, I'll be tempted to bring myself on for any penalties and free-kicks and show the boys how it should be done!"
Tottenham boss Ariel Tamman has been spending hours, no days researching Glenthorne, but as yet he would’ve found very few weaknesses or areas to attack.
Star man Jono Gaon has been scoring for fun in Division Three, but it will be interesting to see how he copes with a defence famous for taking no prisoners.
I think it will take Glenthorne about an hour to stamp their authority before their talented strikers do the rest.
Ref – John Feenstra
JC star man: Dan Lipman (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Tottenham Chutspah 0 Glenthorne Utd A 2
UJIA vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C
Ben Radstone, the new UJIA manager, had a tough first outing against Lions B last Sunday, but he’s looking forward to steering the team towards their first win of the season when minnows Hendon C visit the Lodge.
James Press scored the UJIA consolation in a 3-1 defeat and Radstone will challenge his troops to turn the famous Mill Hill venue into a fortress as he knows bigger challenges lie ahead.
Hendon C were also well beaten last Sunday, with Saul Stern making the scoresheet in the 4-1 defeat against Jewventus.
Experience will be key in this tie and UJIA have just that in virtually every position.
Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Neal Cohen
JC star man: James Press (UJIA)
DC Prediction: UJIA 3 Hendon C 0
JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP ROUND TWO
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A vs ATHLETIC BILBAUM
Earlier this week we had Barcelona against Celtic. On Sunday, we’ll have former MSFL champions Redbridge taking on Athletic Bilbaum, so if you love a good romance (are you listening Bronzite!), take my advice and get down to Fairlop on Sunday.
RJC boss Eilon Kennet is confident his team can go all the way in the cup competitions this season. I wouldn’t bet against them.
They warmed up for the tie with an impressive 4-0 success at Brady, and ominously for the Baums, the goals are starting to flow.
Adam Stolerman, Steve Summers and Danny Hakimi were in the goals last weekend in a game where Richie Caplan caught the eye.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Kennet told JC Sport: “We’re looking forward to a run in the cup to complement our run in the league.”
The Baums know they have nothing to lose when they make the long journey around the A406, but manager Mark Pasha realises that RJC have some top quality players in their ranks.
However, he’ll remind his troops that they claimed a handsome and equally impressive victory in east London only last Sunday, when Jake Gilbert put in arguably his finest performance in a green and white shirt.
No doubt, the ante will be upped big style this weekend, but the Baums are relishing the challenge.
Pasha told JC Sport: “The complexities and intricacies surrounding Sunday's showdown are tough to summarise in writing, but perhaps this short video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM7ANaNSznc&feature=related) will best condense my sentiments towards the occasion and outline the tactical thinking going on behind the scenes in camp Baum in the build up to such a massive game. It’s certainly different, I’ll give him that.
I’d like to write the script for what would arguably be one of the biggest ever shocks in Jewish football – away, against the former double winners – but I’m just can’t see it.
JC team news: For RJC, Marc Pollack could feature, Ben Graham and Danny Sugarman return, while Jack Van Gelder set to start. However, fresh from appearing in my Team of the Week, Richie Caplin misses out through suspension.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – Keith Goodman
JC star man: Danny Hakimi (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC 2 Athletic Bilbaum 0
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
7 - Lorian Madanes, Mike Pearson (both LML A)
6 - Daryl Phillips (Faithfold A)
5 - Alon Hershkorn (Brixton A), Adam Stolerman, (Redbridge JC A), Brad Wine (Oakwood)
FC TEAM A vs BRIXTON OLD BOYS
The odds are stacked on FC Team A to win comfortably on Sunday, but such is the MSFL’s top-flight this season, anything is possible.
Mitch Young’s men earned their best-ever result in Maccabi League history last weekend when they put defending champions Hendon to the sword with a resounding 3-0 victory.
Young’s face was a picture at full-time as his best-laid plans came to fruition. “”e won all our individual battles all over the pitch,” he told JC Sport after the game. “The midfield worked tirelessly, we were strong at the back and they could not handle us up front.”
With a fully fit squad name once again, home fans will arrive confident of seeing their heroes in yellow and blue notch up their third league success of the campaign, but Young knows this game is capable of slapping you in the face, just when you least expect it.
"It is vital we back up last week’s great performance and victory with another win this week,” he told JC Sport.
“I am concerned about complacency and will be looking to my players to show me they have it in them to be mentally strong and continue their levels of performance against Brixton.
“We don’t know too much about Brixton, but they have already beaten Lions and Raiders so we will show them the respect they deserve.
“I am expecting a lot from my team and believe in my squad that we can mount a challenge and Sunday we show that.”
As Young says, there were monster performances from his men last Sunday – notably keeper Ed Bloom, James Korn, Jason Wood, Simon Peterman, Jonny Breger and summer signing Declan Selbo.
Brixton were stunned into submission by Oakwood last weekend. John Nitka’s troops were hit for six, meaning they have now conceded 24 goals in just five games. Nitka knows an improvement is needed, but attack could be the best form of defence on Sunday.
He told JC Sport: “I had eight first-team regulars out last Sunday. I hope some will be fit and am able to field a stronger team this week.
“With everyone available we are strong enough to beat any team but that is not the situation at present.”
Young will have no time for any hard luck stories and will insist his men go for the jugular from the very first whistle.
Venue – Meadow Park, Ref – Martin Lavender
JC star man: Declan Selbo (FC Team)
DC Prediction: FC Team A 3 Brixton 0
FAITHFOLD A vs NORSTAR A
On paper, this has home banker written all over it, and I don’t think things will pan out much different on grass.
Faithfold look the real deal this season and they harbour silverware hopes in four competitions.
Last weekend, with victory within sight, they were frustrated after the opposition manager saw red in an LFASIC tie and the match was abandoned five minutes from time with the Superhoops leading 2-0. Jonny Haik and Daryl Phillips had found the net.
Now manager Zuriel Solomon is looking forward to their first meeting with a Norstar yet to win a game this season.
Looking ahead to the match, Solomon told JC Sport: “Although they have not had the results they would have hoped for, we will not under-estimate them as I am sure they will come to us with no fears and nothing to lose, and these are the games that can be tricky.
“We are starting to click into gear now and have had some good performances, but Sunday is another game and another opponent.
“We will show them as much respect as we do everyone we play. Phil will definitely get his boy up for this and so will I.”
Norstar boss Phil Peters hopes to reveal a new striker before the transfer deadline after Eli Houri was ruled out for the season with ruptured a ruptured ACL.
It’s clear Peters has maximum respect for Faithfold and I expect them to put numbers behind the ball, soak up lots of pressure and try to nick something on the break.
For me, Norstar’s tactics will be key on Sunday and they mustn’t go in all gung-ho.
“Faithfold are clearly a top team and the fact that they're top of the table is very deserved, but hopefully complacency will creep in for them on Sunday,” Peters told JC Sport.
“We haven't been far off in the last few weeks and if we manage to confirm our centre forward in time for the game then there's every chance we might get something.”
I think Faithfold’s superior quality will tell on the day and they should take the points without needing to find second gear.
JC team news: Faithfold are without skipper Alex Levack and Alex Taylor, who are both suspended. They are otherwise at full-strength.
For Norstar, Jonny Kay returns from a lengthy holiday and has vowed not to shave until he scores a goal. Alex Jacobs is missing as is star left-back Jamie Freed.
Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Andy Myerson
JC star man: Jonny Haik (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold A 4 Norstar A 0
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A vs BRADY MACCABI A
All eyes will be on Hadley FC on Sunday as last season’s champions look to recover from their first defeat in Jewish football for as long as I can remember.
David Garbacz’s boys were simply blown away by an inspired performance from FC Team. Sunday is all about bouncebackability.
The champions failed to cope with the FC Team throw in particular and rumour has it that Brady boss Joel Nathan has been trying to lure Rory Delap to Rowley Lane this week. He’s failed so far, but there’s still time, he just needs to find a mohel!
Hendon’s strength in depth has been put to the test already this season. Having already tumbled out of the London FA Sunday Intermediate Cup, Garbacz will pull out all the stops to ensure they don’t suffer their third defeat of the season when Brady come to town.
“This is a time when we need to show some enormous character and stand up and be counted,” he told JC Sport. “We have been decimated with injuries over the last few weeks, but we are well aware that no-one will be sympathetic on that score and we just have to get on with it with what we’ve got, which incidentally is still more than capable of getting the right result against any opposition.
“Last week was a strange one – we were actually excellent for 60 minutes, but horrendous in the last 30. On another day, against a lesser keeper, and with a better run of the ball, we would’ve taken the lead and gone on to win the match. That didn’t happen and suddenly there is a mini-crisis on and massive pressure to put it right this week.
“The league is going to be so tight this year and Brady are more than capable of stringing a few results together to start to challenge, despite their disappointing start. They have some truly class players to call upon and will be very difficult opposition.
“We have to tighten up defensively – we have not been anywhere near last year’s standards in that area and we will be making sure we get that right on Sunday.
“I believe the first goal will be crucial and I am delighted that young Yoav Kestenbaum is back to bolster up the team and add some fresh impetus. I think he could be just what we need to abolish the demons of last week and get us back on the road to challenging for top spot.”
Brady were bashed 4-0 by Redbridge last Sunday and manager Joel Nathan has been trying to work out just why things haven’t clicked into gear. On their day, they have arguably the strongest squad in the league, but the big names haven’t done it yet this season.
Nathan is determined to put things right, starting on Sunday. He told JC Sport: “Following last weekend's dismal second half performance, there has been a lot of soul searching by the boys which has resulted in what I can only hope is the kick up the backside the squad needed.
“Hendon are a great outfit and whoever finishes above them will be for me champions.
“They, like us, had a bad day at the office last week and will be looking to bounce back on Sunday so we know we have to be on our A-game.”
Both sets of players will arrive focused and determined I can see this leading to a tight, tense and, ultimately, tactical affair. With the surface expected to be a touch on the slippery side, it’s vital both keepers are on top of their game, with Hendon stopper Russell Corin key to the outcome.
I can’t see there being much to separate the teams. No doubt, there will be some great battles all over the park and can see home advantage proving decisive in a game where Hendon could nick the points late on.
JC team news: Once again, there is mixed team news from Hendon: Still missing are midfield general Ben Lauffer and full-back Alex Gilbert, with major doubts continuing over Greg Corin, Dovid Korman and Jacob Gold, and Alex Rosenthal is doubtful as well . On the plus side, Yoav Kestenbaum is available this week for his first game of the season.
Brady are missing long-term injury victims Jordan Nathan, Josh Gordon and Josh Herne, while Jonathan Green is away on Maccabiah futsal duty.
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – Richard Jaye
JC star man: Yoav Kestenbaum (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon 2 Brady 1
14 - Jamie Kent (Shirley Park)
10 - Yishai Last (Hendon B)
9 - Gideon Gold (Shirley Park)
8 - Chaim Gothold (Hendon B)
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB B vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN A
With leaders Glenthorne A involved in the cup, the Hornets will be looking to close the gap at the top when they welcome a star-studded Neasden team to their west Hendon home.
The joint-top-scorers in the league, Hendon were at their free-flowing best when they hit Faithfold B for six last weekend – the third time they have achieved that landmark this season.
The team, co-managed by Chaim Gothold and Motty Korman, scored four in the first match, five in the second, six in the third, two in the fourth followed by six apiece in matches five and six. Quite incredible stuff.
Yishai Last and Gothold are having a real blast this season, scoring for fun and thriving on excellent service. Both bagged braces last weekend, with Avi Marcowitz and Raphael Noe putting the icing on the cake.
The thing about Hendon is that they go into every match confident believing they can win. They know each other inside out and always go the distance.
Going into the game, Korman singled out RA Noe for special praise, describing him as “immense over the last few weeks”.
Looking ahead to Sunday, he told JC Sport: “Neasden are a top team and we are surprised that they haven’t won more games.
“They have the quality and experience and know they can match any team in the league if they turn up on the day. We’re expecting a tough game.”
NWN boss Dan Hodes has been locked in meetings in the USA in a bid to stop Lee Cash and Danny Daggers joining the MLS. He believes he’s the man capable of getting the best out of them, but managerial duties will be in the safe hands of Jonny Blain on Sunday, who coincidentally is set to return to the forward line.
I can see this being an open and entertaining affair – a match settled by a moment of pure genius.
JC team news: Gav Noe and James Josephs are out for Hendon.
Joey Glynne misses out for NWN who are otherwise pretty much full-strength. Keeper Declan Green remains sidelined.
Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Steve Levy
JC star man: RA Noe (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon B 3 Neasden B 2
SHIRLEY PARK vs FAITHFOLD B
The Shirley boys were left kicking themselves last weekend after conceding a late goal in the controversial match against Temple Fortune A that forced them to settle for a draw.
Manager Dave Lusman is working with limited resources at the moment with key players picking up injuries. He feels his flair players are being targeted by opponents and believes that “serious foul play must be addressed” by league officials.
Saul Conway, Jamie Kent, Ilan Shaki and Dan Oade registered in the 4-4 epic last Sunday and Lusman hopes his defenders are able to concentrate for the duration when Faithfold B visit Norseman FC.
Lusman told JC Sport: “We’ve got a couple of big names out with injuries picked up in recent games, but with several others back in the squad we’re shaping up a little better for this one.
“We’re expecting a tight game so lets hope we come out on top.”
Faithfold B go into the game on the back of another heavy defeat. That’s four now and although it’s still early days, they really must start to eliminate defensive errors from their game or else it will be straight back to Division Two.
Kent helped himself to four goals when the teams met last month, a game that Shirley romped home 7-1 in.
This looks like one of the weekend’s safer bets with Shirley sharp-shooters helping them run away with it.
Venue – Norseman FC, Ref – Aaron Djanogly
JC star man: Ilan Shaki (Shirley)
DC Prediction: Shirley Park 4 Faithfold B 1
9 - Adam Hersh (Los Blancos)
7 - Adam Goldman (Glenthorne Utd B)
6 - Jamie Sinai (Catford & Bromley), Dan Hildebrand (Brady B)
BRADY MACCABI B vs CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI
The transfer merry-go-round continues – it feels like only yesterday that Brady B announced one of the double-signings of the season in Sam Castle and Alex Bowman, but already they have moved on. Next stop Harmen.
It was only a matter of time until Brady rediscovered their winning formula and they ticked all the boxes in last week’s victory against Redbridge.
James Joseph, Reiss Mogilner, Josh Dagul, Daniel Hildebrand and Sam Frolich were the goal men in an impressive 5-1 victory in east London.
Obviously, the loss of messus Bowman and Castle is a double blow, but they were already an excellent team before they joined and I expect them to take maximum points against an inconsistent Catford team.
The added incentive for the Brady bunch is that maximum points would lift them into second place, right behind Neasden B. No doubt they will be looking to make a fast start and take the game to Catford. Dagul hopes they win and manage to keep something in reserve ahead of next weekend’s big cup clash against Neasden.
The Cats were hit for six by Blizzard last Sunday – a performance manager Lester Jacobs described as the “worst of the season”. Although there has been signs of unrest on the terraces, Jacobs isn’t hitting the panic button just yet as he’s confident that when he has a full-strength squad available, they can give most teams in the division a match.
But the million dollar question is, how often will that happen? Already the signs don’t look great for Sunday, as captain Adam Luria told JC Sport: “For the third week running we'll probably be lucky to get a team together.
“The last few weeks have been very poor from us, so hopefully we'll see some improvement in attitude and performance.”
I’m banking on another Brady win.
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Warwick Blake
JC star man: Josh Dagul (Brady)
DC Prediction: Brady B 4 Catford & Bromley 0
LOS BLANCOS vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B
Redbridge are still reeling from the heavy defeat against Brady B last Sunday and things won’t get any easier when they travel to in-form Blancos this weekend.
Jimmy Castle fired a consolation in the 5-1 drubbing and manager Jon Jacobs will be looking for a positive reaction from his young team.
Without a game last weekend, Blancos are handily and with their rivals in action in the cup, victory on Sunday would lift them up the table.
Blancos fans will be delighted to hear that player-manager Adam Hersh has a selection headache with a close to full-strength squad.
Looking ahead to kick-off, Hersh told JC Sport: “As always, our aim is to win and build on our good start to the season.
“Fitness is the key and hopefully the two-week break won’t cause us any problems.
“I expect a very tough match, but I have a lot of belief in my team and believe Sunday should be another three points.”
JC team news: Left back of the season contender Ben Annis is missing for Blancos along with Dovid Greenberg.
Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Stuart Ansher
JC star man: Joel Kutner (Blancos)
DC Prediction: Los Blancos 2 Redbridge 1
12 - Terry Jeffries (Temple Fortune B)
10 - Ben Zloof (AC Mill Hill)
9 - Jono Gaon (Tottenham Chutspah), Terry Jeffries (Temple Fortune B)
8 - Alex Elf (Hendon Utd SC C)
JEWVENTUS vs FC TEAM C
Jewventus go into Sunday’s game in good form, having taken seven points from their last three matches.
Gaffer John is pleased the defence has started to gel and the return of defensive king pin Jay Ilsen has worked wonders.
With new signings Adam Kay, Mark Fenton and Paul Shinwell also all now starting to exert strong influences on the team, Jewve look a much better side than early season results show.
Add to that the goal-scoring prowess of Richard Fogelman and James Alexander, John is pleased with the progress.
That said he is taking nothing at all for granted against a strong and goal-crazy FC Team side.
"I'd like us to compete for all 90 minutes, then who knows what will happen," John told JC Sport.
Quietly I think he's a little scared, but he always backs his boys in black and white.
On a side note, John has made one of the signings of the season in Daniel Cohen, on a one-year deal.
Cohen was heard saying at the signing: "It’s been a dream of mine to play for Jewventus and Gabe, he's a good friend and I'll do him proud." (Ed … only thing Gabe, I don’t think he meant this Jewventus!)
With joint-leaders Oakwood B in cup action, FC Team C will be looking to pull clear at the top. The only team still boasting an unbeaten record in the division, they have been in absolutely stunning form of late, especially David James Cohen.
But managers Ben Gilbey and Michael Myers should be warned that Sunday could provide something of a banana skin unless they have their match heads on from the off.
Myers told JC Sport: “We’re hoping to maintain our unbeaten streak as well as take our winning streak to six in a row.
“The boys have displayed that we have the quality to dominate opponents, but also to grind out nitty, gritty wins. If we start well, we are a tough team to breakdown.
Myers was keen to push the credentials of Adam Aminoff as the danger man this week, saying: “He’s in a rich vein of form at the moment - creator and goal-scorer.
If you’re looking for five-star entertainment on Sunday, this could be the one to watch.
Venue – Chase lodge, Ref – Laurence Thorne
JC star man: Adam Aminoff
DC Prediction: Jewventus 2 FC Team C 3
LOUGHTON ORIENT vs TEMPLE FORTUNE B
It’s become the Jeffries and Kemp show at Temple Fortune B this season and it’s great to see two marksmen hitting it off together in the same team. I can’t think of many sides with such a potent strikeforce in the division.
The goals have been flying in from all directions with both men crashing home hat-tricks against the Loughton boys last weekend.
But player-boss Jeffries is aware that his troops started last season off before tailing off in disappointing fashion and he’s determined to avoid a repeat.
Jeffries told JC Sport: “We will not be taking this game lightly just because we beat them last week. We are expecting a tougher game as it’s an away game, but will be going there hoping to carry on our good start to the season and get the three points.
Loughton Orient boss Dan Curtis know his team didn’t do themselves any favours last week. It’s a long way back from a 6-0 and their confident is a little fragile.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Curtis told JC Sport: “Following a very poor display last week it's vital we get our season going straight away.
“As a team we know we have not played how we can and after a good meeting this week we just can't wait to get back out on the pitch and start getting results.
“I'm delighted to announce the signing of centre forward Scott Warren and hope he will start banging in the goals.”
I’m confident Warren will thrive in Division Three, but the only thing is that two is better than one and I can Fortune’s twin strikeforce causing havoc once more.
JC team news: Fortune are expecting to take the same team as last week.
Loughton Orient welcome back goalkeeper Marc Jacobs who pulled out late last week.
Venue – Peter May, Ref – Adam Yuchetel
JC star man: Scott Warren (Loughton)
DC Prediction: Loughton Orient 2 Temple Fortune B 4