Matchday 23 weekend preview

By Danny Caro, February 13, 2014
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Oakwood are up for the cup on Sunday as they host defending league champions Faithfold in one of two Cyril Anekstein Cup ties, while there's a busy MGBSFL programme scheduled on Matchday 23 of the season. Danny Caro flavours the action.

TOP-SCORERS

DANNY CARO'S TEAM OF THE WEEK

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PHOTOGALLERY - RAIDERS A vs HYDE PARK ROVERS

SEASON 2013/14 VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

SEASON 2013/14 MATCH PHOTOS

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CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

PETER MORRISON TROPHY DRAW

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YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE

CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP ROUND FOUR

OAKWOOD A vs FAITHFOLD A
It’s the clash of the titans at Brunel on Sunday as cup hopefuls Oakwood and Faithfold go head-to-head.

The Oaks continued their good run a fortnight ago when they put five past Hendon B in the cup. They just can’t stop scoring at the minute and it could be a busy morning for the Faithfold back-line.

Jonny Quinn was in top form. He led the way with a double, with Anthony Kintish on the scoresheet once more.

Faithfold have claimed a pair of 4-2 victories over the Oaks in the league this season and there’ll be an added incentive for the hosts to try and set the record straight. They certainly don’t fear them and have nothing to lose.

Oaks joint-manager Ric Blank told JC Sport: “We’re massively looking forward to Sunday’s cup quarter final against Faithfold. This is probably a bigger game for Faithfold given their title defence is over and they’ll expect silverware at the end of the season.

“For us, it’s a chance to chart our progress and see if we can give them a run for their money. We’ll approach it like any other game and turn up ready to enjoy it and get stuck in.

“We are under-dogs and have some serious injury concerns, but we’ll give it a good go regardless.”

“We’ve got a big squad to cope with this, but it’s tested to its limit this weekend. Others will have to step up.”

Faithfold had to settle for a draw against Lions Blue last weekend, but manager Zuriel Solomon will only accept one thing on Sunday – victory. Nothing else is good enough. He’s setting the bar high.

Solomon told JC Sport: “We are just itching to play and I guess Oakwood are as well.

“I don’t know if anyone is favourite to win as our form has not been great, but we will work hard and give it our best.”

Faithfold will need to call on all their fighting spirit and character, but in the end not even that may be enough to stop a determined Oakwood team.

JC team news: Faithfold will be without injured trio Alex Kaye, Elliott Stern and Dan Perkins, while Jake Gottlieb or Dan Perkins also miss out.

Venue – Brunel, Ref – Adam Lewis

JC star man: Guy Helman (Oakwood)

DC Prediction: Oakwood 2 Faithfold 1

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WOODFORD WANDERERS vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A
Woodford Wanderers are aiming to play Premier Division football next season so Sunday will be the perfect test for Tony Charles and his Division One table-toppers.

The east Londoners bounced back well from their Anekstein defeat, with Jason Goldstein and talisman Mitch Hahn on target in the 2-1 win over Neasden.

It’s important Woodford don’t lay on the red carpet treatment for the 2012 cup winners and I don’t think that will be the case with Charles at the helm, especially at the unearthly time of 9.15am in deepest Willesden.

“We are looking forward to finally playing a good team - it will certainly make a change from the teams we’ve played recently,” Charles told JC Sport.

"I know the team are excited for the game, it was only the other week i overheard one of boys saying how he used to dream about playing Hendon Sports Club A in the Cyril Anekstein quarter-final."

Hendon were beaten by the weather once again last week, but manager David Garbacz was keen to advise fans that although they have a major backlog, he won’t be rotating for a game you’d expect them to win on paper.

Garbacz told JC Sport: "The good news is that this game is definately on - with the help of my friends at Norstar, we managed to get the number of a new 3G in Willesden and we moved quickly to book it for the next few weeks.

"The weather looks no sign of abating and I can't see grass pitches being ready until mid-March at the earliest, so we had no choice. The downside is that kick-off is at the incredibly early time of 9.15 am and for the first week in 10 we have a number of crucial unavailabilities.

"However we are well aware that this is a big quarter-final against a top Division One team who have a couple of very dangerous individual players. We are bound to be rusty having had so little football, so this match is likely to be a lot closer than it might have been a few weeks ago.

"Despite the early start, we must get out of the blocks quickly and compete strongly. This one potentially could be tricky, but we missed not going to Wingate last year and our sights are firmly set there for this time round.

"We can't wait to play some football - let's just hope the trouble taken to secure the game is worth it."

It will be all about the magic of the cup and I’m looking to forward to hearing about the battle of the magicians – Greg Corin and Hahn – which will be well worth the admission fee alone.

JC team news: Hendon are "severely depleted" at the back this week, with Josh Lipman Alex Rosenthal and Ari Nevies all unavailable. Yoav Kestenbaum also misses the game.

Venue - 3G Willesden, Doyle Gardens, Ref – Andy Myerson, KO – 9.15am

JC star man: Greg Corin (Hendon)

DC Prediction: Woodford 1 Hendon 2

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MGBSFL PREMIER DIVISION

LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORERS
11 - Matt Stock (NL Raiders A)
10 - Mike Pearson (Faithfold A), Adam Stolerman (Redbridge A), Richard Salmon (FC Team A)

BRADY MACCABI A vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A
Bouncebackability is the name of the game for Redbridge on Sunday as they look to get over their bad cup result against Chigwell.

Three points are essential as they look to close the gap on table-topping NLR. Manager Sam Rosenthal hopes his troops fare better than they did on their last visit to Rowley Lane – they were beaten 2-0 by a young Lions team and if lightning strikes twice, their season will go up in smoke.

Ahead of the game, Rosenthal told JC Sport: "The boys are desperate for the next game after the freak result against Chigs in the derby. We have a league to challenge for."

Brady looked good against FC Team last weekend, and manager Joel Nathan was relieved to see Josh Hershman return to the scoresheet in a game where Jordan Nathan and Josh Gordon caught the eye.

The young guns coped admirably in testing conditions and a repeat performance would leave RJC’s title hopes in tatters.

JC team news: Adam Shafron, Danny Hakimi and Ben Sollosi are all back in contention.

Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Martin Lavender

JC star man: Josh Gordon (Brady)

DC Prediction: Brady 2 RJC 2

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FC TEAM A vs CAMDEN PARK
Well beaten in one relegation six-pointer last weekend, Camden Park know that defeat in another is isn’t an option ahead of the trip to FC Team.

I expect a big reaction from Nick Kagan’s men who came out second best against LML Blue last weekend. Indeed Kagan read his troops the riot act after the game and locked them in the changing room for almost 30 minutes, with one or two teacups flying around in the process.

Ahead of the trip to Mill Hill, Kagan told JC Sport: "Last week was one of the poorest performances we have put in as a team in the three years we have been together - everyone has made all the right noises over the past week about putting it right, but actions speak louder than words. I expect a massive reaction on the pitch on Sunday."

Team have four games in hand on Camden and manager Mitch Young isn’t hitting the panic button just yet. He came away from the Brady game last weekend feeling they’d done enough to earn a point and that’s the minimum requirement on Sunday.

Young believes the luck is going against his troops at the minute but it’s important they keep their destiny in their own hands – and they certainly have enough talent from front to back to do just that.

JC team news: Dan Baneth and Jake Saunders are both out for Camden, Sam Bennett returns.

Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – Gary Silver

JC star man: Dec Selbo (Team)

DC Prediction: Team 2 Camden 1

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LONDON MACCABI LIONS BLUE vs NORSTAR LONDON RAIDERS A
Having safely booked their place in the fourth round of the Morrison, it’s all about the league on Sunday as Phil Peters’ troops visit the Lane.

However, NLR’s title rivals will not be happy to hear that the match against LML Blue will be played on 3g – a surface NLR thrive on.

L’Orange showed a new-found maturity last week as they beat MJSL outfit Heaton Park Rovers 3-0. It was an even contest for the first 45, with Jake Doffman back to his best, and when he was beaten the woodwork came to their rescue.

NLR remained patient and when the chances came, they took them, with Dinkin, Grossman and Stock steering them through.

On Sunday they go in search of league win number 12. If they get it, they’d move on to 39 points and make things incredibly tough for Redbridge and Hendon.

Ahead of kick-off, Peters told JC Sport; “We’re looking forward to going to Rowley again and facing our good friends at Lions.

“It’s another week where Hendon don't play in the league so a great chance to extend our lead over them.”

LML are not safe yet and manager Jamie Kyte will send out his team organised and hard to break down.

Before Peters confirmed the match has been moved to 3g, Kyte had this to say about the pitches at their Arkley home. “We're on one of the new grass pitches at Rowley which must be one of the only pitches in London (not including Premier League grounds) that hasn't been rained off this year.”

As well as praising his groundsman, it’s clear he also holds L’Orange in high regard. “Phil's done a great job at Norstar Raiders and like always, it will be a tough game.”

I can’t there being more than a goal between the teams on Sunday and can see a moment of magic by one of the magicians on the NLR teams deciding it for the team with the momentum.

JC team news: LML are without both Arghebants and Will Beresoford is rated 50-50, but other than that they’ve “pretty much got a full squad”.

NLR have an almost full squad with exception of Oli Henry who is out for a few weeks.

Venue – Rowley Lane 3g, Ref – Steve Levy, KO – 11am

JC star man: Jake Doffman (NLR)

DC Prediction: LML 0 NLR 1

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DIVISION ONE

LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORERS
17 - Harrison Midda (Woodford)
15 - Jono Gaon (Blancos)

BRIXTON OLD BOYS vs CHIGWELL ATHLETIC
Man of the moment Richard Slater has ordered a repeat dose from his all-action heroes who crushed Redbridge cup dreams in the Morrison last week.

With three hitters back, Slater has some tough decisions to make as everyone who started and finished the RJC game surely deserve another chance.

It’s vital Chigs build up a head of steam ahead of their next cup outing, but before that they have important league points to pick up to ensure they steer clean of the danger zone.

“Last weekend was superb,” Slater told JC Sport. “Everything came together for us and it was great to beat friends and local rivals so convincingly, but it's done now.

“We have to improve our league form starting with Sunday against Brixton. I'll make sure the lads are focused and we go there looking for three points, no question about that'.

Brixton need at least a point to ensure they stay above Chigs, but I’m sure they’ll go out for all three in a game that has goals written all over it.

But if Chigs arrive with the same levels of focus and application as they did last weekend, there can surely on be one winner.

JC team news: Chigwell welcome back Daniel Castle, Paul Lenchner and Craig Pearl who missed last week’s famous win that dominates the backpage of this week’s JC.

Venue – Clowes, Ref – Robert Benardout

JC star man: Jonathan Swead (Chigwell)

DC Prediction: Brixton 1 Chigwell 3

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HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB B vs LOS BLANCOS
“We’re ready.” Those were the words of Blancos boss Jonathan Ison ahead of the derby day meeting with Hendon B.

Jono Gaon was the matchwinner when Blancos beat the Hornets last time out and he’s the man Hendon will need to stop again on Sunday.

Speaking to JC Sport this week, Ison said: "If the game goes ahead this week, we'll be ready. We have been keeping fit with regular 5-a-sides when the games have been cancelled and with a squad of 14, we are really hoping the game is on - but that is extremely unlikely unfortunately."

A quick look at Hendon’s defence record will tell you why they are rock bottom, but they still have time to get themselves out of trouble. It really is a must-win for the Reds.

Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Steve Levy

JC star man: Alex Lewis (Blancos)

DC Prediction: Hendon 2 Blancos 3

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NORTH WEST NEASDEN vs BRADY MACCABI B
Neasden – 20 points from 11 games – take on Brady – 20 points from 11 games and I expect things to be just as close on the pitch as they are off it.

The next few weeks are absolutely massive for both clubs – Brady have a cup game against Shirley in between a busy league programme, but manager Josh Dagul will approach each game believing they can win the lot.

The forthcoming matches against Southgate Harmen and Shirley (again) sold out weeks ago, although fair-weather fans may think better if the heavens stay open.

When all is said and done, the stats point towards a narrow NWN win – Stirling Kay’s men have scored more and conceded less, but I’ve learnt never to write Brady off as their big-match players step up to the plate more often than not.

Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – Neil Cooper

JC star man: Dan Orgel (NWN)

DC Prediction: NWN 2 Brady 1

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SPEC FC vs SHIRLEY PARK
“We swim when we want, we swim when we want, we are SPEC, we swim when we want.”

I urge all SPEC FC fans to sing this song at the Ark on Sunday, when record signing Noah will be right at home and looking to impress )Ed. apologies for the bad bad weather-related gag!)

The predicament fancy Laurence Conway is certainly no laughing matter and I’ve heard reports the club’s wealthy Russian investor will be in the stands to see if changes are needed as relegation isn’t even worth thinking about.

I expect the SPEC FC players to turn up with a steely focus and maybe parking the bus will be the best way forward against a free-scoring Shirley team.

SPEC FC’s Ricky Lawrence told JC Sport: “With relegation staring us in the face, we know we need to start to pick up wins. Sunday is a big game for us and only three points will do.”

Shirley face some important games in league and cup over the coming weeks. Man for man they are superior to SPEC FC, but much depends to how they adjust to the surface.

The battle between Jamie Kent and Marc Hecht will be key.

Venue – Ark Academy, Ref – Darryl Colmans

JC star man: Jamie Kent (Shirley)

DC Prediction: SPEC 1 Shirley 3

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DIVISION TWO

LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORERS
22 - Ben Zloof (AC Mill Hill)
17 - Nicky Woolf (Raiders B)

ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs FC TEAM B
FC Team will give Mitch Lassman a late fitness test ahead of the meeting with Bilbaum – knowing a win would lift them off the foot of the table.

Lassman has been a key player in recent weeks and with five players currently unavailable for David Gordon this week, it’s vital they maintain the good habits that have helped them in recent weeks against a team with little to play for.

Gordon told JC Sport: “We’re looking to continue our good run this weekend and put in a strong performance again.

“We have dropped points in the last two league games, albeit against opposition at both ends of the table, and that makes three points absolutely vital this weekend.”

Bilbaum have gone off the boil and it might just be a good time for Team to be playing them. The chances are they’re already starting to look ahead to next season and perhaps one or two players are playing for new contracts.

Venue – Hertswood, Ref – Henry Raffe

JC star man: David Gordon (Team)

DC Prediction: Bilbaum 1 Team 2

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FAITHFOLD B vs OAKWOOD B
There’s an almighty relegation battle in store at the Lodge as Faithfold take on an Oakwood team that has fallen below the high standards set by manager Ian Tussie.

The Oaks have been a bit more solid in their last two outings after overcoming a crisis of confidence, and they’ll be looking to repeat the thrilling 4-3 victory over the Superhoops back in October – when Haydon Davidson (2), Charlie Cohen and Vic Librae saw them home.

But Tussie has doubts as to whether or not the game will actually go ahead. He told JC Sport: “It’s not looking good for Sunday with the weather is it.

“We’re at Chase Lodge which has been known to cancel games at the drop of a hat. I heard a rumour that a game was once postponed after a player, desperate to relieve his bladder after having drunk a one litre bottle of water and a Lucozade Sport Lite prior to kick-off, urinated in the bushes next to the pitches. The groundsman was apoplectic with rage and cancelled all games due to a waterlogged bush. It was quite a scene. All five games were called off at once leading to an almighty crush in the car park where cars struggled to get away cleanly.

“Anyway, yes Sunday. I’ve forgotten what amateur Jewish football looks like - it’s been so long since we last played. We’ve got a very strong squad for the game with lots of competition for places. The lads are champing (or is it chomping) at the bit to play and desperate to impress.

“The transfer window came and went and we strengthened with a couple of new additions. Johnny Pressman, at the back, has settled in and we should hopefully hand a debut to 80s heart-throb and Daniel Sylvester this weekend. Fortunately David Epstein hasn’t recovered from a defective personality in time to make the squad.”

Faithfold have shown big hearts in recent weeks and they’re capable of beating Oakwood, but it’s vital they adopt a no-nonsense approach where finding row Z is order of the day. Long gone are the days of beautiful tippy-tappy football at Chase Lodge – like Spurs used to play under Klinsmann, Lineker et al.

Having worked so hard to climb out of the relegation zone, they must play the perfect game and not give Oakwood any encouragement.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Stuart Ansher

JC star man: Daniel Sylvester (Oakwood)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 1 Oakwood 1

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FC TEAM C vs AC MILL HILL
Mill Hill have little more than pride to play for but that won’t stop them wanting to put a spanner in FC Team’s promotion dream.

With Ben Zloof in top form, Joe Levy’s boys will be looking to make it three league games without defeat ahead of the journey to Mill Hill.

Levy told JC Sport: “We know FC Team C well having been promoted with them last season. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get the better of them last season so we will be doing all we can to set the record straight.

“We are still missing a few with suspensions and injuries and are likely to be largely unchanged from the Blizzard Storm victory.”

FC Team C have not played in the league since December 15 – I joke you not – and rumour has it some of their players have actually forgotten what a football looks like.

The boys in yellow and blue are in the midst of a six-match unbeaten streak, but the conditions could be something of a leveller on Sunday.

Fans are encouraged to turn up with pitchforks as there’s quite a bit of surface water at Camdenians for a game where the big battle is between Zloof and David Cohen – take your pick which one!

There will be plenty of spills and thrills and I’ve marked this down for a few goals as well.

Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – Laurence Thorne

JC star man: Adam Aminoff (Team)

DC Prediction: Team 3 Mill Hill 2

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DIVISION THREE

LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORERS
24 - Richard Fogelman (L’Equipe)
19 - Dan Gordon (Faithfold C)

AC WHETSTONE vs TEMPLE FORTUNE
It will be men against boys at Chase Lodge on Sunday as promotion hopefuls Whetstone take on a resurgent Temple Fortune.

The Whetstone wonder kids have bounced back superbly from the 5-0 drubbing against NLR, with 20 goals flying in in the four games since.

Revenge will be the name of the game for the team co-managed by Anthony Cohen and Clive Nathan – Fortune beat them 1-0 through a Dave Sawyer spot-kick at the beginning of the season – a day when Whestone left their shooting boots behind.

Fortune were absolutely fabulous against Jewdinese last time out and manager Jonathan Cohen is hopeful that they can overcome another team with ambitions of Division Two football next season.

Cohen told JC Sport: “We are looking forward to playing again after two weeks of postponements and have to regain the spirit of our victory a few weeks ago

“We have no major team news for this week but we are talking to a couple of new players that will be able to help find the back of the net between now and the end of the season that will sign for us in the next week.”

Fortune clearly have no fear, but a 15-point gap tells you everything you need to know and I can see Whetstone maintaining their winning formula in a game where Fortune will huff and puff for 70 minutes or so, but ultimately fresh legs will come through victorious.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Martin Fox

JC star man: Dan Cohen (Whetstone)

DC Prediction: Whetstone 3 Fortune 1

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BOCA JEWNIORS vs KING CROWN
King Crown can leapfrog Boca with three points on Sunday, but I think they will get stuck in the mud instead – literally.

Boca’s 5-2 mauling of Temple Fortune should strike fear in King Crown – especially with Dovi Fehler on the prowl. He has to start up top.

King Crown know that Roger Bannister has been far from a fortress for Boca this season and if they can silence the crowd for the first 20 minutes they will grow in confidence and believe they can get something from the game.

I can see Dominic Cheniart assigned with a man-marking mission on the ever-dangerous Fehler, but with Ami Wynbourne whipping in some killer cross, I’m tipping the Boca boys to boss it.

Venue – Roger Bannister, Ref – John Feenstra

JC star man: Ami Wynbourne (Boca)

DC Prediction: Boca 4 King Crown 2

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CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI vs NORSTAR LONDON RAIDERS C
There’s a tasty top-of-the-table clash in store in Edmonton when the Cats welcome L’Orange in one of the weekend’s top fixtures.

But Norstar fans will have to wait until next week to get a chance to see Jamie Weinrich 'rock the cradle' after Weinrich's wife gave birth to their first child - Norstar's leading marksman will miss out. Rumours are about that the club are on the verge of developing a child/baby range of Norstar merchandise. (Ed. - a hearty mazel tov goes to Jamie Weinrich and family from all at The JC).

NLR boss Zack Gothelf knows the importance of three points as they look to march six points clear at the top.

Gothelf told JC Sport: “Sunday is a massive game against a title rival. We expect both sides to be a bit rusty after the weather has played havoc to form and familiarity, but we are determined to keep our place at the top of the league, which we will do if we play as well as we can play.”

The Cats know that if they win their games in hand, they’d move to within one point of L’Orange. Other than the recent Loughton game, Catford’s home form has been superb and they will need little motivation to beat an NLR team who beat them 3-0 in November – Will Ufland (2) and Oli Nathan were the scorers that day.

It’s clear the Cats cannot wait for the first whistle. Captain Adam Luria told JC Sport: “We haven't played for over two months now and it's starting to get boring!

“We couldn't ask for a stronger squad this Sunday, with Tom Prevezer our only regular missing. It was a good game with NLRC last time out, with 3-0 not really a fair reflection of the game - they scored two very late goals when we had thrown everyone forward looking for an equaliser.

“However, we know they're a very good team and look to pass the ball quickly, so we know it'll be a good game, which we're looking forward to.”

If you’re looking for five-star entertainment this weekend, get down to Norseman FC, with a brolly!

JC team news: Sam Cherkas looks set to make his debut for NLR having recovered from injury that has so far kept him out of the side.

Venue – Norseman FC, Ref – Barry David

JC star man: Sam Cherkas (NLR)

DC Prediction: Catford 2 NLR 2

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L’EQUIPE vs LOUGHTON ORIENT
L’Equipe’s proud home record will be put to the test when they host a Loughton Orient team capable of beating the division’s finest.

Dan Cordell and Josh Lewis have seen their troops win four out of five in front of their own fans, but much depends on how they defend on Sunday.

Cordell told JC Sport: “We have a large squad available for the weekend and are just desperate to play – we are some way behind the rest of the teams in the league so need a game to finally go ahead. If it does the boys will be rested and raring to play.

“Joseph Sachs - probably one of the most gifted Jewish footballers in London - is making his way up from south London to play for us and we may have finally signed a keeper (it’s February and we have only just signed one) – with all the squad and the new additions we are anticipating three points.”

There’s zero pressure on Loughton who will want to get the 4-0 defeat at NLR out of their system. They will come out like wounded lions and will be determined to match L’Equipe all over the park.

Fans are encouraged to arrive early for a contest that could be won or lost in midfield.

Venue – Montrose Park, Ref – Alex Smith

JC star man: Joseph Sachs (L’Equipe)

DC Prediction: L’Equipe 3 Loughton 2

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MATCH OFF
Faithfold C vs Hendon United Sports Club C - waterlogged pitch

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MATCHDAY 22 REVIEW

DANNY CARO'S MATCHDAY 22 OSCARS

GOAL OF THE WEEK - JAMES JACONELLI

SAVE OF THE WEEK
Jake Doffman (NLR A) - SAVE 1 - fantastic one-on-one save against HPR with the tie goalless

QUOTE OF THE WEEK - DAVID GARBACZ

Last updated: 1:37pm, February 14 2014