Matchday 26 weekend preview

Match of the day sees Hendon travel to Flixton, while there's also another big game in the Morrison when Faithfold A and FC Team A lock horns. Added to the excitement is a bumper programme in the MGBSFL. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the action.

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A TRIBUTE TO IAN TUSSIE

TOP-SCORERS

DANNY CARO'S PLAYER OF THE MONTH - DAVID DINKIN

DANNY CARO'S TEAM OF THE WEEK

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PHOTOGALLERY - NL RAIDERS A vs OAKWOOD A

SEASON 2013/14 MATCH PHOTOS

SEASON 2013/14 VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

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CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP SEMI-FINAL DRAW

PETER MORRISON TROPHY DRAW

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YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE:

PETER MORRISON TROPHY ROUND THREE

AFC FLIXTON vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A
Hendon are desperate for any kind of football match at the minute, but they couldn’t have asked for a tougher one than Flixton away.

David Garbacz is under no illusions as to just how tough things will be on Sunday against a team flying high at the top of the Manchester Accountants League Division One.

He told JC Sport: “To be honest, the long trip up north is a right old pain in the butt and whoever drew us out of the hat owes us all a drink - capiche Mr Woolf ?

“Saying that, it has to be done and whilst not knowing a great deal about the opposition, it appears on paper that they are a very strong team. We also have a number of key absentees, but for those who are making the trip there will be nothing worse than the journey home should we get beat.

“We will therefore be going all out for the win with an attacking assault. It will be a good test for both teams and certainly one that will test our unbeaten domestic record.

“Sunday will be Josh Lipmans last game for the club - he has been an outstanding performer for many years and deservedly got Player of the Year a couple of years ago . He is going on Aliyah and will be sorely missed by us. . We must send him off on a high and the boys will be doing it for Josh on Sunday.”

Flixton are flying this season, with top-scorer Rob Jacobs and Rafi Leeker bang in form. Promotion is within sight for the team co-managed by Stuart Delmonte and Tony Rosenberg who have been doing their homework on Hendon this week.

Ahead of the game, Delmonte told JC Sport: “Sunday gives us a bit of a breather from league action, but it’s a cup game we really want to win.

“Hendon are a good side and will start as favourites. But we are playing really well at the moment and will fancy giving them a real game.”

There’s a possibility Michael Sacks will play for the home side. His knowledge of Hendon will be crucial in what caught be a classic cat and mouse battle.

The Flixton managers have won the Morrison before, during their time at Manchester Maccabi, and they are hungry for more. Hendon, you have been warned …

JC team news: Unavailable for Hendon for various reasons this week are Avi Korman and Alex Rosenthal, while Avidan last and Yoav Kestenbaum are doubtful.

Venue – Valley Road, Flixton

JC star man: Michael Sacks (Flixton)

DC Prediction: Flixton 1 Hendon 0

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FAITHFOLD A vs FC TEAM A
Sunday is last-chance saloon as far as Faithfold and FC Team’s silverware hopes are concerned.

Deep down both managers will be bitterly disappointed with how their respective season’s have gone, especially Mitch Young whose FC Team find themselves in a battle to avoid the drop. That has to be their priority now.

The sides have met once before this season, with Young himself popping up with the winner in September’s league clash.

No doubt there will be big battles all over the park, none more important than the one featuring Team top-scorer Richard Salmon and Player of the Year Dan Howard. It’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Team have been criticised for their long-ball tactics by several of their rivals this season, but Young won’t care if it means they keep their cup run going.

A high-octane affair is on the cards and it will all boil down to which side wants it most.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – David Lazarus

JC star man: Ben Law (Faithfold)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 2 Team 1 AET

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MGBSFL PREMIER DIVISION

LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORERS
12 - Matt Stock (NL Raiders A)
11 - Mike Pearson (Faithfold A), David Dinkin (NL Raiders A)

CAMDEN PARK vs OAKWOOD A
Camden’s fate was sealed last week when they lost a double-header against Hendon, but it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying.

Nick Kagan’s men will be looking to bid farewell to the division on a high, but they look in for a tough work-out against Anekstein semi-finalists Oakwood who gave NLR such a good game last weekend.

The Oaks are fine-tuning for next Sunday’s crunch clash against Raiders and manager Ric Blank and Alex Schock hope their key players including Josh Bentley, Anthony Kintish and Dan Ash come through this one unscathed.

Blank told JC Sport: “We’re looking forward to a huge game on Sunday. I’m really impressed with Camden - they're a group of mates who fight for their lives and for each other in every game. They have a small 3G pitch by all accounts which will make them extremely competitive. If you look at their results they've pushed every team to their limit. Sunday will be no different.

“We are hurting after last week’s defeat, but we’re not moping. I’m looking for leaders to take control and make sure we come back with the three points in the bag. We work hard on our football - Sunday we have to show what we're all about- and we will.”

The Oaks are not safe yet, but with seven games remaining you have to fancy them to secure their top-flight status sooner rather than later.

JC team news: Oakwood’s Dan Rose is still suspended, while there is no Bobby Cousins, Josh Bentley, Adam Levine or Alex Koslover.

Venue – White City Tigers Turf, Ref – Martin De La Fuente

JC star man: Dan Geey (Camden)

DC Prediction: Camden 1 Oakwood 2

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LONDON MACCABI LIONS BLUE vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A
Third place now looks RJC’s best bet following the recent defeat against NLR that saw their title aspirations ended. And with Hendon now in pole position for second place, at least, three points are essential for the east Londoners on Sunday.

But their fans know full well that Rowley Lane is a hard place to go, especially with Jamie Kyte’s Lions still needing points to consider themselves safe.

Adam Hakimi and Adam Stolerman fired RJC to victory in the corresponding fixture. But I think we’ll see the best of Redbridge next season, before which manager Sam Rosenthal has some tough decisions to make in terms of outgoing and incoming personnel.

A Lions win would haul them to within a point of RJC, but I fancy Rosenthal’s warriors to do the business.

Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Andy Myerson

JC star man: Dan Lee (RJC)

DC Prediction: Lions 1 RJC 2

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DIVISION ONE

LEAGUE TABLE

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

LOS BLANCOS vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
Blancos boss Jonathan Ison has luxury of a full-strength squad which is raring to go for the visit of fellow high-flyers Woodford.

With four wins on the spin, the Blancos boys will be looking to dismantle Woodford’s title hopes in the first meeting between the teams this season.

Jono Gaon was their hero once again, maintaining his impressive form that has seen him fire 20 goals in the league and Anekstein.

Ahead of the game, Ison told JC Sport: “We’ve claimed four wins from four in 2014, and now we face out toughest test so far against Woodford.

“We couldn't be higher on confidence, but we know it will be tough this week. Our early season aim of a respectable mid table finish is clearly within sight, and victory on Sunday would certainly put us in the running for an even higher finish.

“We have a number of first teamer players back this week, including club captain Adam Waters, and full-backs Julian Gertner and Cramer, but they all face fights to get back in the team as many have excelled in their absence.

“We are looking forward to Sunday, and are hope that we can continue to turn heads by making it five out of five.”

It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Tony Charles shuffled his pack after the horror show against Hendon B last Sunday. He didn’t mince his words at the final whistle and I expect his boys to come out focus – liked wounded animals.

It’s hard to believe Blancos can leapfrog Woodford with three points, but they’re enjoying their football, playing with smiles on their faces and with Gaon in great nick, they’ll take some stopping.

Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Steve Levy

JC star man: Darren Russell (Blancos)

DC Prediction: Blancos 2 Woodford 1

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SPEC FC vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN
This is a massive game for SPEC FC and Neasden for very different reasons.

Things have become pretty desperate for SPEC who must pull something very special out of the bag on Sunday. Beaten 3-1 by Blancos last weekend, Ricky Lawrence knows the team must reproduce their early season home form as recent results in front of their own fans have been hugely disappointing.

Lawrence told JC Sport: “After a big setback in our quest for survival last week, we know that this week's game takes on even more importance.

“A win would be huge and then that'll set ourselves up nicely for a huge game next week against relegation rivals, Brixton."

Things are really getting interesting at the top and NWN boss Stirling Kay knows his players must be on their guard against a team fighting for their lives.

With their cup hopes over for another season, they can give promotion their best shot and it’s important they start stringing results together consistently to keep the pressure on Harmen, Woodford, Brady and Blancos.

Ahead of the SPEC game, Kay made it clear his troops won’t arrive in complacent mood. He told JC Sport: “Woodford’s loss last week was a warning to us all never take any one for granted, and we will treat SPEC with the respect you should give all teams.

“SPEC - like virtually every other team in the league - struggle when their first 11 are not available. It will be the teams with the greater depth that will probably be the victors come the end of the season.”

Kay went on to say it’s been a busy time on the NWN treatment table and they moved quickly to bolster the squad before the end of the registration window. “We welcome back Josh Tiano who has been away for four months.

“With the loss of Kane Gilbery (injury) and Shai Davidi's work commitments, we are delighted to have Adam Arnold joining us from Brady A and by Sunday one other signing, also a forward, should of been completed.

“Having these three players will give us that depth in the squad we have been missing since November.

“It is very tight up at the top so we hope to put in a good perfomeace with the hard work that goes with it. We must keep putting pressure on the teams above us.”

JC team news: Out for NWN are Scott Kay (holiday), Ricky Harris (knee), with Michael Field (ankle) and Josh Gilbery (knee) facing late fitness tests.

Venue – Brunel, Ref – Robert Benardout

JC star man: Adam Arnold (NWN0

DC Prediction: SPEC 1 NWN 2

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DIVISION TWO

LEAGUE TABLE

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

AC MILL HILL vs LONDON HAROLDEANS
Sunday is a must-win for London Haroldeans and their chances have been boosted with news that James Grabiner will be missing following the nasty head injury sustained against Redbridge last week. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Given that Mill Hill have little more than pride to play for, the onus is on a Haroldeans team who have had their own problems in goal, and that could mean a high-scoring contest is on the cards.

But the signs look ominous for Haroldeans, especially if Mill Hill hotshot Ben Zloof plays, and manager Joe Levy hopes his men can finish the season in style.

Levy told JC Sport: “We have had a couple of disappointing results and will look to get back to winning ways on Sunday.”

The bottom line for Haroldeans is that the table doesn’t lie. After Mill Hill they face promotion hopefuls FC Team C, so realistically this is their last chance to claim a win, although I’m not holding much hope for Jonathan Abrams and his merry men.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Martin Fox

JC star man: Daniel Levene (Mill Hill)

DC Prediction: Mill Hill 4 Haroldeans 1

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FAITHFOLD B vs FC TEAM C
On paper this looks like an FC Team win all day long. It’s a real David versus Goliath contest, with the Superhoops looking to overcome the odds against a side that has already claimed the scalps of one Premier Division team and another from Division One in the cup competitions this season.

The chances are that Team would win this game nine times out of 10, but we’ve started to see one or two surprise results across the divisions in recent weeks and that’s why it’d be foolish to write Faithfold off altogether.

With the title gone, Team are playing for the runners-up spot. They’re currently locked in an almighty battle with Redbridge B, who are 10 points ahead of them, having played four games more. The maths are simple. If Team wins their remaining games they will go up.

Faithfold assistant-manager Dan Yoss holds the utmost respect for Team and he knows his side start as major underdogs.

“FC Team C are a quality side and although not top of the league … i n my opinion …. the best we've played against this year.

“If we want a result we're going to have to throw the kitchen sink. Watch out for Leor Harel, he's been our outstanding player this year and a great leader.

“We haven't had a game for a while so we're all eagerly anticipating Sunday.”

Team finished in seventh heaven last time the sides met – when Jeremy Julius and Shim Bensoor bagged braces – and although I can’t see it being so one-sided second time around, I still think they’ll have too much for Rob Shooman’s boys.

JC team news: Jonny Gahan returns for Faithfold.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Laurie Benson

JC star man: Andrew Hurwitz (Team)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 1 Team 3

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OAKWOOD B vs ATHLETIC BILBAUM
Oakwood are still scratching around for points ahead of the meeting with Bilbaum.

Manager Ian Tussie has been having sleepless nights at the prospect of relegation in his final season in charge, but if they play their cards right on Sunday they might just be in for a Brucie Bonus!

Josh Marlow and Ben Polak fired the Oaks to a point in the corresponding fixture, which Tussie described as "a fair result" but only three would put daylight between them at their relegation rivals.

The Baums are just about safe, but managers Mark Pasha and Edward Green believe they still have something in the tank. Jake Gilbert has been one of their top performers this season and with one or two scouts rumoured to be in the stands, he might just give the Oaks something to think about.

Venue – Brunel, Ref – Quentin Fox

JC star man: Josh Marlow (Oakwood)

DC Prediction: Oakwood 2 Bilbaum 2

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FC TEAM B vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B
Redbridge can expect no favours from FC Team B on Sunday, especially with FC Team C battling it out with the east Londoners for the second promotion slot.

Jon Jacobs's RJC were at their free-scoring best, with Craig Sandford and Scott Oldstein leading the way with two apiece. Nathan Sollosi added another goal to his copybook, with Daniel Jacobs popping up with a rare goal.

But I believe they'll face a much tougher proposition this weekend, with FC Team B in great form despite their lowly standing. Meeting RJC for the first time this season, David Gordon's men are playing some fantastic football, and all eyes will be on the battle between Darren Brown and Matt Davis. That's the key battle for me.

Mitch Lassman is also in wonderful form and I can see this being a great one for the neutral.

Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – Neil Cooper

JC star man: Daniel Jacobs (RJC)

DC Prediction: Team 2 RJC 3

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DIVISION THREE

LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORERS
27 - Richard Fogelman (L’Equipe)
22 - Dan Gordon (Faithfold C)

AC WHETSTONE vs LOUGHTON ORIENT
This one has home banker written all over it as the Whetstone wonder kids host a Jekyll and Hyde Loughton team.

The east Londoners were their own worst enemies last Sunday, when they had two men dismissed in a 4-3 defeat against lowly Temple Fortune.

It's been an excellent season so far for Whetstone, who are co-managed by Clive Nathan and Anthony Cohen, and their fans hope the best is yet to come.

Their only two heavy defeat have come against NLR and Catford and I can see them dishing out some capital punishment on Sunday.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Martin Lavender

JC star man: Alon Pinhas (Whetstone)

DC Prediction: Whetstone 4 Loughton 1

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HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C vs BOCA JEWNIORS
Goals will be on the menu when Hendon take on mid-table rivals Boca on Sunday. Take my word for it!

Both teams offer five-star entertainment week in, week out, and as there's been little to separate the sides on paper, I think it will pan out much the same way on grass.

Hendon gave a good account of themselves against the Cats last weekend, with Jono Kleiman on target in a 2-1 defeat. Indeed Adam Glekin's men put on a brave show against one of the promotion-chasing teams, especially with a depleted XI. If they play with the same spirit and attitude against Boca, they can come away with at least a point, if not all three.

Boca will be looking to avenge October's 6-3 horror show, when David Elf (2), Ben David, Jono Nesbitt (2) and Gab Saul netted for the Hustlers.

Dovi Fehler scored two that day and with talk of a new five-year contract on the table, visiting fans hope to see another master-class. But I've heard rumours that one of Hendon's team are lining up an audacious summer offer - that involves players plus bagels (and filled ones at that), so his loyalty come be tested come the end of the season.

Boca have made big strides this season and they'll be determined to show Hendon just how far they've come by Sunday lunchtime.

Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Stuart Ansher

JC star man: Yehoshua Silverman (Boca)

DC Prediction: Hendon 3 Boca 4

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JEWDINESE vs CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI
If you can put off that Passover shop for another week, then I suggest you get down to Morris Playing Fields to see the rumble in the jungle as Jewdinese entertain title rivals Catford.

The Cats squeezed past Hendon C last weekend, but they will need to step up a gear or three against a well-drilled 'Nese team who mean business.

Cats captain Adam Luria was their star performer on Sunday, and he issued this rallying call ahead of the big game.

"We've got a strong team this week for a big, big clash. Jewdinese are a good team and the last game was closer than the 3-1 scoreline would suggest.

"This is a must-win game for both teams, so it's sure to be a good one and we'll be looking to get back to our early season form."

Indeed 'Nese chief Jake Erlich has been in demand this week as his troops approach arguably their biggest test of the season.

Erlich told JC Sport: "All it takes is a quick glance at the league table to understand just how important this game is. Everyone is raring to go and manager Darren Lawrence is rallying his troops ahead of 'Nese biggest game of the season.

"We have done well up to this point, but everyone knows we are capable of much more and a win on Sunday will make up for all the lost points that we have accumulated during the season.

"Last time out against Catford, we hit the bar in the last few seconds of the game so we hope we have a bit more luck on our side this time out. This game means just as much to them as it does to us, so if you’re an avid MSFL follower, get yourself down to Morris Playing Fields to watch this one!"

Sunday will come down to which teams wins their individual and collective battles. In the end the head-to-head between Josh Frey and Guy Ben-Aroya will be pivotal to the outcome.

JC team news: The Cats are missing Jamie Sinai and Gary Hill, but a whole host of players are returning after being absent for our win last week, including Simon Wolfson, Joel Isaacs, Yonni Bord and Nick Goodmaker.

Venue – Morris Playing Fields, Ref – Gary Silver, KO – 10am

JC star man: Josh Frey ('Nese)

DC Prediction: Jewdinese 3 Catford 2

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L’EQUIPE vs NORSTAR LONDON RAIDERS C
Table-topping NLR C are ready for their big test against promotion rivals L'Equipe, manager Zack Gothelf tells me.

Having scored 51 goals in 16 games, they know what they have to do to land the title and there has been a real focus about the squad this week.

Striking options include Nick Haringman, Will Ufland, Jamie Weinrich and Jonny Blain - an embarrassment of riches if you like. But truth be told, L'Orange have been the real deal from front to back and it's been a superb team effort up to now. And they show no signs of letting all their good work slip now.

Gothelf told JC Sport: "Sunday's game is a big one for both teams involved. We're delighted that we're pretty much at full-strength, with only long-term injuries keeping players on the sidelines.

"We know that Richard Fogelman will play a big role in Sunday's game. Last time out we kept him so quiet that I had to ask whether he was playing and I'm sure Sunday will be no different - we've got the best defence in the league by some margin and that's no shock.

"We've taken a lot from our last few performances on grass and we know that if we continue playing in that vein we'll be tough to beat on Sunday."

The gauntlet has been well and truly laid down to Fogelman and his teammates. But managers Dan Cordell and Josh Lewis know it's about the team on Sunday, especially if NLR adopt a man-marker on their star man.

Ahead of the crunch clash, Cordell told JC Sport: We're just desperate to get the game going ahead to be honest. I also want to state how disappointed we are with Chase Lodge this season – frankly I think it's a little ridiculous how the slightest drop of rain causes a halt to the footballing calendar, and considering the pitches aren’t even that great there it just seems that all involved are a little precious. It rained one day last week and the games are called off where every other pitch in the council’s zone is still on – I just don’t get it.

"Given we are now a month and in some cases five games behind in the league, we are truly up against it. We have lost our captain Mark Singer to the attractions of south America for the next month so will need someone to step up and fill that gap left in the middle.

"We have a full squad to chose from, apart from Mark, and we are looking for three points."

You can sense Cordell's frustration. His team have only played twice this year, while NLR are starting to run away with it. And I think Sunday will be another good one for L'Orange fans.

Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Henry Raffe

JC star man: Sam Cherkas (NLR)

DC Prediction: L'Equipe 2 NLR 4

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TEMPLE FORTUNE vs KING CROWN
Dave Sawyer has been teaching the youngster of Division Three a thing or two since the turn of the year. The veteran has looked a class act and his winning mentality, plus the creative genius of Michael Goldberg, is rubbing off on the team.

Having climbed off the foot of the table following the seven-goal thriller against Loughton, Jonathan Cohen's men will be looking to make it three games without defeat when they host King Crown.

The acquisition of Laurence Swerner had an immediate impact, just as I predicted, and with home advantage, they will fancy coming away with maximum points.

Although Cohen wasn't happy with their finishing, he believes they're going in the right direction. Speaking after the win last Sunday, he told JC Sport: "As the players have got to know each other better we have improved and that's been reflected by the results. I'm pleased for the team and I hope we can finish what has been a difficult season with continued progress."

And looking ahead to Sunday, Cohen added: "KC gave us a good game, but we have a very good squad of players now and off the back of last week's win we will want to capitalise to stay off the foot of the table. I expect a close game and a better level of performance from our boys than last week."

Josh Karpf earned King Crown a point against Fortune back in January, but they were hit for six by high-flying NLR last time out.

But manager Jacob Kadoch had some positive news for King Crown fans at his midweek press conference. He told JC Sport: "We're looking to get back to winning ways on Sunday. We have a full squad available with plenty of options and should take three points."

JC team news: Fortune "have a couple of people returning this week - in Darren Zitren and Nicky Stone - who give us that natural width and pace and they will be pushing for a start."

I have a sneaky suspicion Fortune will nick it late on.

Venue – Roger Bannister, Ref – Neal Cohen

JC star man: Zach Rich (Fortune)

DC Prediction: Fortune 3 Crown 2

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MATCHDAY 25 REVIEW

DANNY CARO'S MATCHDAY 25 OSCARS

GOAL OF THE WEEK - DAVID DINKIN

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SAVE OF THE WEEK
Michael Rhodes (SPEC FC) - tremendous save from a volley from three yards diving from one side of goal to the other, Banks would be proud!

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK - DAVID GARBACZ

Last updated: 11:58am, March 7 2014