The race for this season’s JC MSFL title is turning into a gripping contest. With defending champions Hendon wobbling, pace-setters Faithfold and Redbridge Jewish Care have built up a nice head of steam and only Oakwood,
FC Team, and possibly Lions, look capable of getting in the mix. But for me, it’s all about the big three.
Faithfold have made an excellent start, winning five out of their first seven matches. Players such as Yoni Raeburn, Alex Kaye and Rocky Spitzer have stepped up to take the pressure off the shoulders of record-scorer Daryl Phillips. The one-club MSFL man continues to pop up with important goals, with Sunday’s winner in the cup against FC Team C the perfect example.
In defence, keeper Ben Law, captain Alex Levack, Alex Taylor and Dan Howard have been on top form and the return of midfield general Paul Babai and star striker Mike Pearson, who rejoined the club this week from Lions, are most timely.
Hendon are struggling to maintain the high standards set last season. They have already tasted defeat on three occasions this term, with manager David Garbacz quite possibly regretting the decision to allow captain Josh Bentley to join Oakwood.
The reds have also been hit hard by injuries, something they avoided in their treble-winning campaign. But don’t write them off just yet, especially with gaffer Garbacz a master of the mind games. I’m sure he’d rather have a blip now than at the business end of the season.
It’s also great to see Redbridge on top of their game under manager Eilon Kennet.
Last season he was frustrated by inconsistent availability, but even though not all the big names have returned, they have undoubted strength in depth, with skipper Adam Hakimi leading by example every week. They have the quality to win the title for the second time in three years and last weekend’s win over Hendon spoke volumes.
Six games into the season, Oakwood remain unbeaten, but they have drawn four times and must start turning them into wins if they are to keep pace with the leading pack. They have quality in every position, but must find a killer instinct.
Although the last few weeks have been rocky at Rowley Lane, the interim appointment of Andy Landesberg is sure to get the best out of the Lions. They are currently well off the pace, but I believe they have the pulling power to attract some big names, and I’ve heard they will put out a very strong squad in the Peter Morrison Trophy this year.
Landesberg was expected to secure the services of goal-poacher Lee Cash from North West Neasden A ahead of Sunday’s clash against Redbridge , plugging the gap left by Pearson.
FC Team will also have a say. Manager Mitch Young is as ambitious as they come at this level, and in Ed Bloom he has one of the finest goalkeepers around in Jewish football. With Richard Salmon and recent signing Declan Selbo hitting it off up front, they will be a handful for any opponent.
And there you have it. All the ingredients for an exhilarating title race. It’s definitely one to watch.