JC MSFL Matchday 15 preview
Week 15 of the JC MSFL season throws up a mouth-watering contest in the Premier where leaders Hendon United Sports Club A take on North London Raiders A.
Email team news to email@example.com
EUROPEAN MACCABI GAMES ROUND-UP
YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
FAITHFOLD A vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN B
There’s a real hum-dinger in store at The Hive where Faithfold and Neasden B meet for the second time this season.
It finished four apiece last time and fans are being encouraged to arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Faithfold have slipped off the pace in recent week with defeats against Harmen and Redbridge putting their title hopes in tatters.
The team enjoyed a good, old-fashioned knees-up at Zuriel Solomons’ wedding last Sunday and they will be looking to give the manager more reason to celebrate on his honeymoon.
There is a real buzz around the Faithfold camp amid news that “they are on the verge of signing a big name forward to cover Daryl Phillips being suspended over the Chanukah period”.
Phillips told JC Sport: “This will massively boost our squad. He will be a great asset to the team and will combine well with myself and the other fowards at the club.”
It’s clear that Phillips and co are ready for action. “We are looking forward to this game as we have not played in a few weeks.”
NWN start the game three points behind Faithfold with a game in hand. They have not won any of their last four games but it’s clear they believe they can get something here.
Joint-manager Ryan Glynne told JC Sport: “We’re looking forward to the game – it’s been a long time since our last game and we are all focused on getting on the pitch and putting in a performance.
“Last time out against Faithfold we proved we can match the best in this division and Faithfold are one of them.”
Both sides are packed with quality from front to back. Home advantage will count for nothing on this occasion, as Neasden play at the same venue!
I can’t see there being more than a goal in it with much expected from Faithfold talisman Alex Levack who was this week name in Ben Winston’s European Maccabi Games squad.
JC team news: For Faithfold, Bengy Dymant (thigh) and Daryl Phillips (suspended) miss out. Otherwise they will be at full strength.
Neasden have a full-strength squad.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – G. Silver
JC star man: Alex Levack (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold A 2 NW Neasden B 1
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A
If you’re looking for a good advert for Jewish football this weekend then I advise you to get down to Hadley FC quick-smart.
A match between table-topping Hendon A and third-placed Raiders is sure to get the pulses races.
The Hammers are the form team in the Maccabi League right now with the likes of Ben Kon, Dovid Korman and Yishai Last in tip-top shape.
The Reds have already had two epic encounters against L’Orange this season, coming away with a 4-3 victory in the league and a penalty shootout success in the JC League Cup.
It’s clear that both teams have plenty of respect for one another. Looking ahead to the big match, Hendon boss David Garbacz told JC Sport: “We’ve had two titanic battles already with Raiders this season, and the cup game a few weeks ago was probably the best game of football I have ever seen at this level.
“We are expecting another really close fight . Raiders are so dangerous going forward and have tremendous pace . We will need to combat that threat if we are to come out on top.”
The Raiders hope that Sunday is a case of third time lucky. However, they will have to do it without the services of striker Jonny Blain who has been loaned out to Faithfold C for six months.
Some Raiders fans will feel that that could leave the team short of attacking options, but managers Adam Fegan and Danny Caro are confident that the likes of Jamie Wolfson, Matt Stock, Igal Yahya and Adam Posner will step up to the plate, and join top-scorer Jacob Gold on the goal trail.
Neither side has played for a couple of weeks due to the wintry conditions but they hope that it’s all systems go come 10.30am on Sunday.
Garbacz added: “The recent enforced break due to the weather has slightly affected our momentum but we will hopefully be ready to slip back into our rhythm . This is a massive game if we are to maintain a cushion at the top going into the new year. We are all looking forward to what should be another classic on Sunday and we will need to be at our absolute best if we are to come away with the spoils “
As Garbacz says, it should be a classic.
JC team news: Hendon have no fresh injury worries and should be at full strength . Manager David Garbacz has minor doubts over Martin Smulovitch (brother’s wedding) and Ari Last ( flu) although both are expected to make it.
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – R. Bernardout
JC star man: Alex Gilbert (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd Sports Club A 3 NL Raiders A 2
NORTH WEST NEASDEN A vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS A
Revenge will be the name of the game for defending league champions Neasden on Sunday.
They were edged out 3-2 at Rowley Lane on October 31 and part two of the Arkley derby is one where the message is simple – miss it, miss out.
Joel Ross, Ben Joseph and Sam Arghebant fired the bullets that destroyed Neasden that day, with Arghebant’s late strike earning him hero status among the Lions fans.
Both camps have been keeping their cards close to their chest ahead of kick off, although it’s clear that there is no love lost between them.
Eilon Kennet, Lions manager, was hugely relived after the victory in the corresponding fixture. He told JC Sport: "It was a game we had to win. We knew it, and we kept going. I though that - the start of the second half apart - when we had a rocky spell, we were the team that showed more desire and deserved the win."
LML assistant-manager Motti Colman added: “I thought we battled very hard. We were under the cosh in the second half but we soaked up the pressure and always looked dangerous on the break, and we always felt like we could nick it.
“Sam Arghebant caused the Neasden back four problems every time he got on the ball and Josh Morris’ man-of-the-match performance helped keep Neasden at bay.
“We have played teams off the park this season and not got results. Today, we probably weren’t the better side, but the result is the only thing important and that makes it extra sweet to beat our great rivals.”
Neasden manager Jamie Cole all but admitted his record-breaking side have conceded the title. "Never say never, but it's obviously going to be extremely tough..
"We don't take the chances we do create and this is what happens. I thought we were the better team in the second period but once again it didn't happen. We still have to fight for all four competitions we have entered."
The Lions have suffered back-to-back defeats in the league since then, going down 3-2 to Raiders and 4-3 to Hendon. One win in seven is not good enough by their high standards, although it’s fair to say that they’ve been plagued by injuries to key players.
Neasden lie just above the relegation zone but, going by the recent 5-0 win at Raiders, it’s clear they’re on the up.
There’s a strong chance that Maccabi GB manager Ben Winston or chairman David Pollock will be amongst the crowd to see some of the leading lights who will be flying the flag at the European Maccabi Games in Vienna next year.
I’m tipping Neasden to nick it.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man: TJ Keterman (Neasden)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden A 3 LM Lions A 2
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN A
Second-placed Redbridge are one of two teams that many people believe will end up with the title in May.
A quick glance down their squad tells you why. Manager Sam McCarthy and co were toasting double delight this week after keeper Dan Lee and striker Daran Bern were named in the Maccabi GB squad for next year’s Euro Games.
Both players have taken Jewish football by storm over the past couple of seasons and not only are they class acts, they are boy genuinely nice boys.
The RJC team is packed with goals from back to front. They made mincemeat out of Harmen in September, hitting them for six with goals from Sam McCarthy (2), Danny Hakimi, Ben Sollosi and Bern (2).
McCarthy knows that RJC cannot turn up complacent at Fairlop on Sunday. He told JC Sport: “We go into this game knowing that nothing short of a win will suffice. With two games in hand over leaders Hendon, we need to capitalise on every point leading up to the Christmas break.
“We can’t rely on other results to win us the title but must focus on our own performances. Although we had a good result against Harman earlier in the season,, I won’t be taking anything for granted.
“With a two-week break behind us, we need to quickly shake off the cobwebs and start this game as we left it, firing on all cylinders. Harman are a competent side and I intend to take the game to them from the whistle. I can’t play any other way but to play the ball on the deck and attack, and with the luxury of having what I believe to be the paciest side in the league, for me there won’t be any other option but to do just that.”
Faced with a long journey, a 10am kick-off could make things tricky for a Harmen team who, the RJC result apart, have started the season better than many expected.
But it looks as though they’ll have it all to do. That said, it’s worth remembering that they thumped Neasden 4-1 and are capable of mixing it with the best on their day.
Dan Uzan’s troops have lost three of their last four games with a win over Neasden B sandwiched between defeats to Shirley Park, Hendon and New Convoy Vets.
Harmen will be missing key men Toby Lustigman, Ben Graham and Alex Norman but their squad has been boosted after Uzan signed Josh Rubin, who played in Leeds with Alex Hershman. Uzan told JC Sport: "It's a great signing at this point in the season and I hope they will add a new dimension to the team.
"Redbridge are a great team, but as always, we will be going to Essex looking for a three points."
This has home banker stamped on it.
RJC squad: Dan Lee, Ben Rosenthal, Ritchie Caplin, Craig Sandford, Adam Hakimi, Brad Frankel, Danny Hakimi, Ben Sollosi, Steve Summers, Sam McCarthy, Dean Nyman, Daren Bern, Lewis Walker, Alex Lishak, Daniel Sugarman, Jamie Cooper, Daniel Cooper, Russell Leiter, Sam Van Gelder, Mitch Lassman, Steve Gevertz
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – C. Stupack
JC star man: Dean Nyman (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC A 4 Southgate Harmen A 1
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC vs MONTANA BOCA UNITED A
There’s a tasty affair in store in E17 where promotion rivals Chigwell and Montana are ready to rumble.
I doubt that Chigwell player-manager Richard Slater will need to do a pre-match teamtalk as his team are raring to go.
A recent win over Lions C put their promotion bid back on track, but with Raiders B, Brady and FC Team A setting off at such scorching pace, Slater knows that Sunday is a must-win if they are to stay in touch with the leaders.
Looking ahead to the match, he told JC Sport: “All the boys are bang up for this game as Montana have beaten us twice this season. We all know what an important game this is.”
With the January transfer window fast-approaching Chigwell striker Glenn Michaels will be keen to impress. Rumour has it that West Ham are sending scouts down to Peter May as they look for a replacement for the outgoing Carlton Cole.
I expected Montana to be real contenders this year but their squad has been thread bare in recent outings with injuries really hurting them. But they will go into this game with a slight psychological edge.
As Dan Cohen, Head of Media Communications, said: “Our record against Chigwell this season reads played two, won two. However, that doesn't describe what's actually happened in the games. Both have been keenly fought, tough matches, played between two good sides.
“We know to expect a battle against Chigs, but hopefully we'll leave Essex with a positive result, as it's our last match before the Christmas break.”
It’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
JC team news: Chigs player-manager Richard Slater is in the squad along with Mark Conway, but Sam Rosenthal and Adam Shafron miss out due to wedding commitments with Rep Team manager Danny Berg.
For Montana, Phil Jessel and Tom Miller both are ruled out with ankle problems, although Trevor Henen may return following his ankle injury. Simon Peterman is still travelling. Raymond Harrod is rumoured to be considering retirement and taking up a full-time managerial role, following a number of under-par performances from the player-manager. Other than that, everyone else is expected to be available, including keeper Dan Cohen, despite rumours that he's handed in a transfer request.
Venue – Peter May, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Glenn Michaels (Chigwell)
DC Prediction: Chigwell Athletic 2 Montana A 1
LONDON MACCABI LIONS C vs BRADY MACCABI
Who’d have thought Brady would be second in the table in early December? Not me. A huge amount of credit must go to manager Josh Rosenfeld – this week’s JC Manager of the Week.
Rosenfeld masterminded Sunday’s thrilling 4-3 win over title favourites FC Team A. Boy wonder Josh Hershman (2), Ben Gershuny and Steve Field were the marksmen in a memorable victory.
Hershman’s excellent start to the season has not gone unnoticed and had he been available for Rep Team trials, I'm confident he would have made it, but he’s not the only Brady player in top form. Striker Mark Smith has done an excellent job as well. The same can be said of keeper Oli Colmans and Jason Sears. In fact, Rosenfeld is delighted by the role played by each and every member of his squad.
Ahead of the trip to Rowley Lane, he told JC Sport: "Sunday is our last league game of the year, and it’s a must-win game to keep us in a good position going in to the new year.
"After a fantastic result last week, we must keep our feet on the ground and must not get carried away. Lions are always a decent side – regardless of where they are in the table – and they also have availability of A and B team players which have often been used in the past.
"We will be professional and hope to play with the same character and ability as last week and we will come out on top."
Much like their A and B teams, Lions C have not had much to cheer about so far this season. Manager Jamie Kyte continues to work hard behind the scenes in a bid to turn the team’s fortunes around.
The Lions start the game as 5-1 outsiders and it wouldn’t surprise me if Kyte put two men on Hershman and tried to pack the midfield.
But when push comes to shove, I can only see one winner.
JC team news: Brady will be missing Mark Smith, Ben Levy, Lee Platt and Zak Presky. Ryan Moscow and James Steele return to an ever-improving squad.
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – N. Burns
JC star man: James Steele (Brady)
DC Prediction: LM Lions C 1 Brady Maccabi 3
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs FC TEAM A
One of the games of the day sees leaders Raiders B entertain favourites FC Team A in Uxbridge.
Having won the Division Two title last season, Rob Richman’s Raiders have maintained their momentum and are perfectly positioned to kick on in the second half of the season.
They edged past Camden last Sunday with goals from Jonny Hesselberg and Nicky Woolf in a game where Stuart Haring was the star man.
The battle between two newly promoted teams will be a high-quality and high octane affair. The Raiders pipped Team to the post by five points last season but on Sunday, they will start the games with a five point lead although Mitch Young’s troops have three games in hand.
The teams have plenty of respect for one another, but once that first whistle blows all that will be put to one side as I expect a titanic battle to unfold on the 3G pitch.
Richman told JC Sport: “FC Team are a well run club who have had a terrific start to the season and have shown over the years they are a team full of quality players. We know it will be a good test but I have confidence in my squad’s ability, and we are all thoroughly looking forward to what will hopefully be a great spectacle of football."
Team suffered their second consecutive defeat last season but player-manager Mitch Young is refusing to hit the panic button. He knows that with such a strong and talented squad that his disposal, they are more than capable of going on a long unbeaten run.
Young will be concerned by the fact that they’ve conceded 11 goals in the last two games but I’m expect he’s been working the troops hard on the training ground.
I can see the Raiders edging home here as Team don’t have the best record on 3G but keeper David Simnock, captain Rik Sherman and Haring will need to be at their best.
JC team news: For Raiders, Dan Rabie has returned to Australia. Richman said: “We wish him all the best and thank him for the efforts he has put in over the opening half of the season.” Other than that Raiders likely to have very similar squad to last week.
Venue – Brunel Uni, Ref – M. Fox
JC star man: David Simnock (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders 2 FC Team A 1
OAKWOOD vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B
I believe that it’s only a matter of time until Oakwood climbs into the top half of the table.
The season has been very stop-start up to now, but I expect them to outclass the Redbridge boys on Sunday.
The Oaks have potential match-winners in Anthony Kintish, Ben Myers and Dan Abrams. The trio have already popped up with important goals this season and I can see them terrorising the RJC defence.
I also can’t see the visitors posing too much of a threat against an Oakwood defence boasting JC MSFL Player of the Year Louis Basger and Ilan Scorah.
With home fans arriving hopeful of a cricket score, RJC boss Mike Winehouse believes that it could be closer than expected.
Winehouse told JC Sport: “I hope to get another point at least from Oakwood after our 4-4 thriller earlier in the season.
“We’ve got quite a few injuries which means that we could be calling on some A and C team players this week.”
Man for man, this shouldn’t be a contest.
Venue – Parmiters, Ref – N. Bloom
JC star man: Ben Myers (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: Oakwood 4 Redbridge B 1
SOUTHGATE HARMEN B vs CAMDEN PARK
Harmen have had plenty of time to reflect on the recent 8-0 drubbing by Neasden B in the cup. Too long in fact.
But on Sunday, they go into the game against Camden with fond memories of the previous encounter.
Lloyd Becker, Daniel Henig and Daniel Amram (2) were the marksmen in a 4-2 success that left player-manager Mark Engel purring. He said: “We had to move things around today, but the players did what was asked of them brilliantly. We rode our luck at times but we earned the victory with some top goals.
“Vern made two special saves and the width of the post also helped us a couple of times. Camden played well and will have better days.”
Camden boss Justin Rockberger told JC Sport: "The quality is there we just need to click, sooner rather than later."
The hosts welcome back striker Paul Stein following a short stint at Lions. Engel said: “We are delighted to have Paul back in the ranks. He is a great person to have around the club.”
With the feel-good-factor back in the Harmen camp, I expect them to do just enough, as long as they keep Rep Team star Luke Brookner quiet.
JC team news: For Harmen, Ian Bean is back in contention, while Dan Beckwith has returned following a spell in China. Paul Stein has re-signed following a stint at London Maccabi Lions.
Venue – Ashmole School, Ref – H. Raffe
JC star man: Paul Stein (Harmen)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen B 3 Camden Park 2
FC TEAM B vs TEMPLE FORTUNE A
Fortune are among a host of clubs gutted to have missed out on the signing of striker Jonny Blain.
Manager Andrew Souber was disappointed to hear that the Raiders striker has joined Faithfold C on loan for the rest of the season.
With wing wizard David Gance unavailable, he will be looking to the likes of Rob Benson, Paul Walker, Michael Goldberg and John Fisher to steer them past struggling FC Team B.
Gance is not the only big miss for Fortune. Record striker Scott Shindler is also unavailable but looking to take a positive out of the situation, Souber told JC Sport: “It’s an opportunity for some others to give me a big headache.
“We go in expecting a tough game and after a couple of weeks of not playing I expect a good reaction from my lads. On the injury front we hope Ben Issacs will be back in four to six weeks.”
Team have lost seven out of eight. There have been signs of improvement over the last couple of games although it’s clear that keeper David Gordon is over-stretched.
I can see the visitors going for the jugular from the very first whistle and if they take their chances, they could have the points wrapped up inside an hour.
Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Michael Goldberg (Fortune)
DC Prediction: FC Team B 1 Temple Fortune A 4
L’EQUIPE vs FC MARYLEBONE
Sunday’s French derby is clearly one not to miss.
Marylebone, nicknamed the Frenchmen, took the bragging rights from the first meeting with Jonathan Marrache, Raphael Obadia and Oren Bechor on target in a 3-2 victory.
I’ve heard rumours that L’Equipe and Marylebone are two of the teams pushing for a winter break in the JC MSFL. As fate would have it, they have had a two-week break and should be nice and fresh.
It’s clear that both teams are finding their feet in Division Two. After all, L’Equipe finished fourth in Division Three last season while Marylebone were two places worse off, with three points separating the teams.
Readers unfamiliar with both teams will be hard-pressed to find any big machas from the Maccabi League. That said, Tom Legois, the Marylebone keeper, has earned rave reviews, including one from league chairman David Wolff.
L’Equipe have yet to register a win in the league this season and for that very reason, I’m tipping Marylebone to go home the happier.
Venue – King George V, Ref – A. Yuchetel
JC star man: JJ Marrache (Marylebone)
DC Prediction: L’Equipe 2 FC Marylebone 3
NORSTAR A vs FAITHFOLD B
Rumours that Norstar have already started planning for life in Division One have been greatly exaggerated - a JC source who claimed Norstar were enjoying a promotion party on Sunday night was actually witnessing the first annual Chanukah party which went down incredibly well with a communal singing of Maoz Tzur in Adam’s Restaurant in Hendon.
Already heading towards the business end of the season - Faithfold are the only team that have yet to face the mighty Norstar this season.
Manager Phil Peters and No. 2 Jamie Slavin will be hoping to pull off a seventh consecutive home win of the season, and the team are full of confidence after overcoming their biggest rivals Woodford Wanderers last week.
Captain Jeremy Elster is a notable absentee but Nick Hudson returns from South America and striker Adam Goldsmith is back in the squad after two weeks out. In-form Simon Perlmutter and Jamie Freed are doubtful after picking up injuries in last week’s match.
Faithfold assistant-manager Ben Lewis is realistic about the trip to the leaders. He told JC Sport: “After the bad weather, we just hope to play. The while squad has been training throughout so we’re keen to get a game in before the winter break.”
The Hoops have made a great start but I think they will finish well behind Norstar come May. However, they should not put all their eggs into one basket with second place up for grabs.
The smart money's on another Norstar victory and the opportunity to extend their lead to 13 points at the top of Division Two.
Venue – John Lyons School, Ref – A. Myerson
JC star man: Adam Goldsmith (Norstar)
DC Prediction: Norstar A 2 Faithfold B 1
WOODFORD WANDERERS vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB B
The Wanderers are still licking their wounds following last week’s defeat at the hands of leaders Norstar.
Two penalties from Jerome Marks were not enough to stop them going down 3-2. That result should make them even more determined to turn Hendon over and don’t forget, this is the same Woodford team that recently knocked FC Team A out of the cup.
Aviram has put together an excellent squad with keeper Jay Jaffa, Andy Levy, Elliot Gold, Mitch Hahn, Elliot Gold and Marks Premier Division quality at the very least.
Woodford have been struggling for numbers in recent weeks with Aviram only able to field 11 in the last two matches. Injuries and travel continue to frustrate the Woodford manager and he is still yet to field his strongest 11.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Aviram told JC Sport: “I don’t need to say much to players this week. They all know what we need to do and how to get the job done. Our football will do the talking from here on out.”
Hendon have it all to do if they are to get back in the mix. They were beaten 3-1 by Woodford in West Hendon two months ago – when Jamie Golding, Dave Green and Andy Levy struck - and it will take something special to stop the East Londoners here.
JC team news: For Woodford, Paul Shone (back), Andrew Levy (ankle), Elliott Winner (hamstring), Samm Pearcey (groin) and Manny Simberg (ankle) are rated doubtful, while Harrison Midda is away travelling. However, Jamie Golding returns to the squad.
Venue – Redbridge Sports Centre, Ref – J. Burchell
JC star man: Jamie Golding (Woodford)
DC Prediction: Woodford Wanderers 3 Hendon B 1
CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI vs NORSTAR B
The Cats and the Stars meet for the first time this season with just three points separating the sides.
Jonny Bunt’s men are unbeaten in two although the Norstar gaffer appears to be playing mind games ahead of the crunch clash.
He told JC Sport: “This week I feel like pulling a Hodgson or an Ancelotti and declaring our opponent favourites, despite our league standing. We have been matchless for three weeks and the squad is decimated by accountancy exams, weddings and foreign travel. This provides even more fuel for my argument for a Ukrainian style three-month winter break! On the plus side, I might get a game!”
The Cats have been rejuvenated by the goals of summer signing Eli Baraty. But they still have plenty to do if they are to steer clear of the danger zone.
Captain Adam Lewis said: “We’ve got quite a few players missing this week so it could be interesting to see what kind of team we end up fielding. Thankfully we’ve got strength in depth in our squad for the first time in recent memory, so hopefully we'll be able to field a strong team regardless.
“We’re looking forward to playing Norstar as results would suggest we're fairly evenly matched. With any luck the pitch won't be rock solid this Sunday and we can actually play a game this week.”
Venue – Norsemen FC, Ref – D. Nathan
JC star man: Adam Lewis (Catford)
DC Prediction: Catford & Bromley 3 Norstar B 3
FAITHFOLD C vs REAL LIFE
Faithfold are set to give a debut to new boy Jonny Blain, whom manager David Garson snapped up on a six-month loan from Premier Division Raiders A.
He fought off the challenge of several other clubs to bag the former Neasden front man who was last season’s Division One top-scorer.
Blain is sure to add another dimension to the Faithfold front line, though in fairness, it’s not a department they were struggling in.
Ben Simons and Adam Barton have been scoring for fun with Simons a goal away from 19 for the season. Josh Sugarbread has already chipped in with six goals from midfield.
Having hit a fab five against Real last month, home fans will arrive in confident mood as their heroes look to register their eighth league win.
Jamie Beaumont's Real have two potential match-winners in Charlie Bernstein and Dan Markeson unless the best of the rest start pulling their weight on a more regular basis, that is hardly the recipe for success.
I can only see one winner here.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – S. Ansher
JC star man: Jonny Blain (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold C 5 Real Life 1
GLENTHORNE UNITED A vs TEAM JLGB
It’s going to take a very good team to wrestle top spot from current leaders Glenthorne.
The Essex boys have got the lot in their locker – quality, experience, power, strength in depth, determination and pace.
On Sunday they meet JLGB for the first time this season and the signs already look ominous for the visitors.
Glenthorne joint-manager Dan Lipman told JC Sport: “We have a strong team available again for this Sunday, and with everyone champing at the bit to get some game time, following more than two weeks off, I expect us to start fast and finish strong.”
Going into this top against bottom tussle, you can get an incredible 50-1 on a JLGB victory. This really is a David versus Goliath clash between the haves and the have-nots.
Not much has gone right for Rob Silverman’s boys who have lost seven out of eight. They’ve struggled to score goals this season and I can see them being under the cosh for 90 minutes here.
They might arrive with good intentions of double parking the team bus on the goalline but not even that will help as an early Glenthorne goal will open the floodgates.
Venue – The Old Chigwellians, Ref – K. Gold
JC star man: David Blackman (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd A 5 Team JLGB 0
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C vs HEATH BANTA
Match of the day in Division Three sees fifth hosting third.
RJC have two games in hand on Ben Nathan’s men who start the match six points better off.
One of the things I like about Richard Bronzite, the Redbridge gaffer, is his honesty. He told JC Sport: “I have no idea about Heath Banta. We’re expecting a tough games as the league table tells an interesting story about them, and judging by it, they look like potential champions.”
Although they have some key men missing, RJC still have enough quality to get them through on Sunday. Added to that, they have a 100 per cent record at home in the league although that is sure to be put to the test by a Heath Banta team unbeaten on their travels.
Sunday will be a day when something must give. RJC have conceded six goals in their last two games and Bronzite and co hope that Heath Banta top-scorer Stefan Simons continues his pre-match diet of Martini expressos and burgers in the run-up to the big match.
It’s been a while since James Ryan was in the headlines and if RJC can get quality ball into the former East London Knights and FC Team striker, then the visitors will pay.
JC team news: RJC have doubts over Daniel Gordon (man flu), Sam Sollosi, and – Simon Green (work commitments). The following are definitely out: Jon Pittall (injured), Jaimie Sinclair (injured), Elliot Fox (away), Grant Freeman (work), Andy Witzenfeld (injured)
RJC squad: Paul Sanders, Jamie Chapman, Marc Silver, Elliot Castle, Ben Chernoff, Lee Grodent, Marcus Starr, Jon Kaye, Lee Ballen, James Ryan, Daniel Howard
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – M. Vandermolen
JC star man: James Ryan (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC C 2 Heath Banta 1
UJIA vs ZIG ZAG
Sunday is a day when two former managers go up against their former club, and this is one of the games.
Darren Rolfe has fond memories of his time at Zig Zag but the UJIA player-manager will be looking to rub salt into the wounds as he attempts to hammer another nail into the Zeds’ relegation coffin.
It finished 6-1 when the team’s met in October with Oliver Henry (2), Assi Avital, Ben Nassim (2) and Gary Chajet adding to Cohen’s misery. Journeyman Nassim will scoring goals all over the place, literally, these days. Last weekend he registered for Aviv City in the JC Olim League. I’m not sure if Rolfe’s budget stretches to Nassim flying back for Sunday’s clash.
So with home advantage, you’d think UJIA hold all the aces. We’ve yet to see the best out of Avital in a U’s shirt. The Israeli marksman has been one of the most consistent in the MSFL over the past 15 years and I can see him punishing the Zeds unless they man-mark him.
The visitors are boosted by the return of experienced keeper Martin Leslie, who also plays for North London Raiders Masters.
It’s clear that Cohen is a man on a mission. He told JC Sport: “We want to avenge our 6-1 defeat which was only down to the fact that a horror tackle on our keeper in the first half meant we had no keeper for the rest of the game.”
I expect it to be a little closer second time around but am predicting Rolfe and UJIA celebrating a win double.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – J. Feenstar
JC star man: Assi Avital (UJIA)
DC Prediction: UJIA 3 Zig Zag 1
ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs BLIZZARD STORM
High-flying Blizzard make the short trip to Bilbaum confident of registering their eighth league win of the season.
The Bilbaum boys have lost their last three and look there for the taking. That said, Josh Ejdelbaum, the Bilbaum boss, reminded me that the previous meeting was a close encounter.
“The reverse fixture was a tight affair, and we were a missed penalty away from getting the point we deserved,” Ejdelbaum said. “Hopefully we'll be able to put that right at the Berne-Baum.”
Scoring goals is rarely an issue for Bilbaum but keeping them out is. On Sunday they will need to stop the likes of Alex Stolerman, Alex Rubin and Ryan Colet.
The Blizzard boys have done well to keep pace with Glenthorne so far and I think that they will be good value for the points on Sunday.
JC team news: For Bilbaum, defender Nick Schinder makes a comeback after finishing his first term at uni. Ejdelbaum said: “We'll be hoping to see another legendary goal celebration from him this weekend”. New signing and new uncle Jamie Cohen should be back in the side as well.
Venue – Hampstead Heath, Ref – M. Cowan
JC star man: Ryan Colet (Blizzard)
DC Prediction: Athletic Bilbaum 1 Blizzard Storm 3
JEWVENTUS vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN C
I discovered this week that the Jewventus boot room houses lashings of Grey Goose. So that’s what’s been keeping manager Gabriel John warm during the cold winter snap!
The Jewve manager has labelled this as a “huge game”. He went on to say: “It’s all at stake, three points or bust.”
John has been spending time analysing videos of the last few games as he tries to work out why the team is conceding soft goals. It’s clear he wants his men to adopt no-nonsense tactics at the back and he’ll be looking for big performances from Simon Shooter, Serge Cowan and Warren Schenk.
John told JC Sport: “As blinkered as it sounds, I want nothing other than a win. We deserved more from the first game and other than us squandering chances and being sloppy at the back we played good football.”
Neasden have four games in hand on Jewve and, having celebrated his birthday on Thursday, player-manager Louis Taylor will be looking for many happy returns against his former club.
Taylor told JC Sport: “Our last game against Jewventus was one of our only two wins this season. They will be looking for revenge no doubt and we'll have to be up for the match.
“I'm keeping my cards close to my chest, but I'm happy that we have a squad available to challenge my old team come Sunday.”
Look out for some fireworks at the Lodge.
Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – R. Hudson
JC star man: Serge Cowan (Jewventus)
DC Prediction: Jewventus 3 NW Neasden C 2
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C vs INTER BOREHAMWOOD
It’s sometimes hard to live up to pre-season hype so credit to Oluseun Thomas and Inter Borehamwood who look well positioned to kick on in the second half of the season.
On Sunday they start as strong favourites against Raiders C. They have several players performing to a high level on a weekly basis, and that is really all Thomas can ask for right now.
Adam Lenz and Jerome Colmans fired doubles in October’s 4-1 success over the Raiders and a similar scoreline looks likely.
However, Oli Shorts, the Raiders boss, hopes that Sunday is the start of a new dawn for the team. He told JC Sport: “We’ve had a long rest which means we can forget about recent results and focus purely on Sunday. We’re half way through the season and it’s not gone entirely to plan but I know that when things click we’re a match for any one.
“We need to stop the silly mistakes and make sure that if we go one down that our heads don’t drop. This has happened far to often during the season when we’ve been holding a team and playing good football and then they go and score and 10 minutes later we're behind by 2 or 3.
“With Ben Hart and Darren Russell back in the squad and the signing of Matt Green we're starting to get a good team together. I'm excited about what the second half of the season can offer.”
Shorts will tell his team to go out with no fear. It’s clear that they have nothing to lose as most people expect them to come out second best. Anything else would be a major surprise.
I can see L’Orange picking over towards the business end, but for now, it’s the Borehamwood boys who are going places.
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – L. Thorne
JC star man: Adam Lenz (Borehamwood)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders C 1 Inter Borehamwood 3
PINNER JFC vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C
5-2 was how it finished the last time these two met and a similar outcome is on the cards this Sunday.
It’s fair to say that Pinner have improved a quite a bit since a four-goal blitz from Benny Goldberg destroyed them.
Vivian Emanuel, the Pinner boss, has been trying to find ways of keeping spirits high amid the sub-zero temperatures. That was after club chairman Les Conway poo-pooed a proposed trip to La Manga for a short training break.
Emanuel told JC Sport: “We are all very bored now and sick and tired of the snow. We have a full squad but I am sad to say we have our first loss of the season in Josh Marlow; he will play his last game for us this Sunday before leaving to join FC Team B. I wish him well and, of course, if it does not work out, I would welcome him back.
“We have a strong team for Sunday’s game against Hendon and hope to take the 5-2 loss last time round and make it into a win! Up the blues!”
I like Emanuel’s optimism but personally, I don’t share it for Sunday. I’m sure Marlow will be looking to bow out in style and pay an emotional tribute to the Pinner faithful at the final whistle, but any tears shed might just be on the back of a heavy defeat.
Venue – Bannister Sports Centre, Ref – P. Dobkin
JC star man: Alon Blitz (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Pinner JFC 1 Hendon C 4
SHIRLEY PARK vs GLENTHORNE UNITED B
There’s a top, top game in store here between two sides with big ambitions.
Glenthorne start the game top of the pack but their title credentials will be put to the test by a strong looking Park side.
The Division Four giants meet for the first time. I’m predicting a low-scoring affair as the Thornes have kept five clean sheet in eight games while Sunday’s hosts have three to their name.
This is a game that will be won and lost in midfield. Both teams are particularly strong in that area and they’re not bad up top either. For Glenthorne, Fabio Revieccio has clearly been the star man so far this season. Rumour has it that Redbridge A, Chigwell and Woodford are considering big offers in the January transfer window.
Shirley’s Jason Lindsay and Gideon Gold are bang in form and they will be looking to put one over Elliot Coulton’s boys.
This game could go either way but in time-honoured tradition, I’m going to sit on the fence and bank on the draw.
Venue – Gladstone Park, Ref – P. Gelernter
JC star man: Dave Lusman (Shirley)
DC Prediction: Shirley Park 1 Glenthorne Utd B 1
TEMPLE FORTUNE B vs LOS BLANCOS
This is a nailed on away win for me. Los Blancos lie just outside the promotion zone and manager Joel Minsky will be looking for a repeat of September’s 5-0 victory over the Fortune boys.
Danny Kon and Adam Hersh were the chief tormentor that day, and I can see them asking big questions of a Fortune defence frail on confidence.
It’s been three weeks since the Whites last played. Minsky is keen to get the defeat against Inter out of their system and I expect them to hit the ground running here.
Fortune have earned good results against Blizzard and Jewventus and they will be up for the battle on Sunday. But which ever way you look at it, I can’t see them posing Los Blancos enough problems and think that with good backing from the travelling fans, it will be a Los Blancos that comes away from Hatch End all smiles.
JC team news: Fortune hope to overcome the loss of enigmatic right-back Rob Jay, who is away this week.
Venue – Hatch End Playing Fields, Ref – P. Lavelle-Maurice
JC star man: Ariel Weinstein (Los Blancos)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune B 1 Los Blancos 3
More to follow ...