JC MSFL Matchday 2 preview
There are some more big games in store on Week 2 of the season with Oakwood and Chigwell Athletic among the teams in action for the first time. There are also three derbies with North London Raiders A playing North London Raiders B, Faithfold B against Faithfold C and Redbridge C against Glenthorne A.
JC GOAL OF THE WEEK
Jacob Gold (NL Raiders A) – a goal of sheer beauty and class. A brilliant chipped volley that went in off the post, with virtually his first touch, to put his team level from 0-3 down against the champions
JC SAVE OF THE WEEK
Michael Perkin (Montana) - dived high to his left to save a penalty
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JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
FAITHFOLD A vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN A
The Superhoops have high hopes for the season and I expect them to make a winning start against Harmen at the Hive.
Having lost Paul Babai and Jonny Haik to rivals Neasden A, as well as Benji Dymant, manager Zuriel Solomon will be looking for big performances from the likes of Alex Kaye and Mike Pearson, plus the old guard of Alex Levack, Daryl Phillips and Alex Taylor.
Faithfold assistant-manager Daryl Phillips told JC Sport: “We look forward to the start of our 2011-12 campaign, and after a tough pre-season, we're looking forward to unveiling some of our new signings against Harmen at the Hive.
“We have a good squad and hope to take three points from our visitors. However, we will be taking nothing for granted as last year we slipped up against the Harmen boys and, like us, they have signed some good new players.”
Harmen took Neasden A the distance last Sunday although Alex Bourne’s goal could not stop them going down 2-1.
They gave a very good account of themselves and on another day, could have come away with a point.
Harmen's Ben Graham told JC Sport: "Even though we were missing a number of players, the boys did very well and were very unlucky not to get something from the game.
"We created a number of chances in the second half, hitting the bar and Max Shields in goal for Neasden made a number of key saves."
Faithfold know that with Hendon looking the real deal last weekend, a winning start is crucial and I can see them having too much for Harmen on the day.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – C. Stupack
JC star man: Alex Kaye (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold A 3 Southgate Harmen A 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A
Sunday 11, September 2011 will be an historic day in the history of North London Raiders FC. Not only will it mark the arrival of the B Team in to the M(S)FL Premier League, but it will be the first time that two teams from the Club will have faced each other in a competitive fixture.
There will be a real fanfare atmosphere around Brunel with chairman Jonny Adelman reportingly calling for the netball players who lit up last Sunday’s preparations for a guest appearance.
Rumour has it that Adelman is still having nightmares about the team’s shambolic start against Redbridge last week. He could’ve been mistaken for thinking he was watching a re-run of his beloved Spurs against Young Boys of Berne as they struggled to get to grips with the speed and bounce of the pitch, as well as some excellent approach play from RJC, on the artificial surface.
In the end, the team showed brilliant character to come back from the dead with a rare strike from Jonny Shapiro, as well as a penalty from Jonny Blain, a stunning strike from Jacob Gold, which won JC Goal of the Week, Ben Ellis and Jamie Wolfson.
Sunday is the culmination of years of good work by Raiders B boss Rob Richman. He took the team up in style last season and maintain his winning formula by getting his JCC boys to retain gold in America.
Now he is relishing pitting his wits against the club’s first string.
He told JC Sport: “Everyone associated with the club is looking forward to Sunday. For the B team, it's the realisation of many years of hard work and we now can't wait to get started in the Premiership.
“With a number of top quality players on either side it should be a really great match."
Richman reports that David Dinkin is looking fitter than ever. Last season’s Division One Golden Boot winner will go head-to-head with Jonny Blain, who won it the season before, while Nicky Woolf will be looking to remind the Raiders faithful just how good he is.
There’s also an intriguing battle in store in midfield with Gilad Kestenbaum, Elliot Espinoza and David Esterkin pitting coming up against Adam Joselyn, who had a stunning second half last week, Adam Posner and Shapiro.
It’s clear that the A team will not underestimate the Bs, who are packed with quality from back to front. No doubt, this will be a high quality affair with pass-and-move football the order of the day.
One thing is for sure. This one definitely won’t finish goalless.
JC team news: For Raiders B, Rik Sherman and Shim Bensoor are both out and waiting on news of James Foley-Comer's hamstring injury.
Raiders A welcome back David Rhodes while Andrew McMaster faces late fitness tests. Lewis Blitz returns to the B team after impressing against RJC last week. Joe Tankel remains a long-term absentee through injury while and Dan Levy and Adam Joselyn also miss out through injury.
Venue – Brunel Uni, Ref – K. Goodman
JC star man: Adam Joselyn (Raiders A)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders B 1 NL Raiders A 2
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS A
Title favourites Hendon will be looking to make it two out of two when they welcome the Lions for the Arkley derby.
The Hammers got off to the perfect start, beating FC Team A 2-0 last weekend with strikes from Greg Corin and Josh Bentley.
Looking ahead to Sunday, the team’s first home match of the season, Hammers boss David Garbacz told JC Sport: “Our strength in depth will be tested this week and this is just the type of situation why we brought it some fresh blood this year, so that we can cope with key absentees.
“Two of our new signings - Ben Lauffer and Motti Colman - will be playing against their old club so there could be some tension in the air.
“Even without that, we expect a very tight tough contest with Lions bound to be keen to get off the mark.
“However we have our own momentum to maintain and we will be going all out to making it two wins from two."
It could be a long morning for the Lions who were beaten 3-1 by Brady last Sunday.
Joint player-manager Josh Newman scored their goal in a game where they were missing Yoav Lebens and summer signing Dean Ben Yosef.
Many people were predicting a new-look Lions this season, especially when you consider who they’ve lost, but the usual suspects - Aviel Schwarz, Ollie Leslie, captain Ben Joseph and Josh Morris formed a strong midfield against Brady.
The experience of Schwarz and Pete Lazard will be key this season but I can’t see them getting to grips with the Reds on Sunday.
JC team news: The Hammers are missing Ben Kon, who injured his hamstring last week and is out for three weeks, together with Ari Last who is away. There is a real wedding fever around the camp with Dovid Korman preserving himself one week before his wedding to Michal Kestenbaum, daughter of former Team GB and Hendon boss Lord Kestenbaum.
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – L. Benson
JC star man: Motti Colman (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC A 3 LM Lions A 1
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A vs FC TEAM A
Mitch Young take his FC Team troops to east London on Sunday when they tackle defending champions Redbridge A.
In what is a really tough start for the boys in yellow and blue, Young will be relishing the challenge against the side who raised the bar last season.
Having gone down 2-0 against title hopefuls Hendon, Young believes his men are capable of springing a surprise or two during the season.
Speaking to JC Sport this week, he said: “At the moment, we are looking for a pitch as redbridge have failed to organise one so we are just hopeful the game goes ahead. If it does it will be very difficult against a very attacking Redbridge.
"You have to respect the champions but we will try and implement our football on to them as well."
Redbridge played like champions for the first 20 minutes last weekend with new boss Eilon Kennet describing their football as “breathtaking”.
The 10-goal thriller was the kind of match where the RJC boys will remember the date – September 4. It was a game that will go down in MSFL folklore and the boys in blue can be proud to say ‘I was there’.
It would be fair to say that the fact that they leaked five goals would’ve left defensive experts including Alan Hansen having nightmares, but, in fairness, there was little they could do against a team that had nothing to lose.
Danny Hakimi was the stand-out RJC player for me. He bossed the first hour and will be looking to lead by example once more, especially in the prolonged absence of his brother, Adam.
Darren Brown has filled the void at the back and his clash against giant FC Team striker Richard Salmon could be key.
RJC have an embarrassment of riches going forward with a front line of Steve Summers and Adam Stolerman, boosted by support play down the channels from new signing Lee Bibring, Mitch Lassman, plus JC Young Player of the Year, who last weekend reminded everyone that he’s always good for a goal.
Added to that, there has been talk that Dean Nyman and Josh Kennet could be involved from time to time. That, simply, is a quite frightening prospect.
I expect the visitors to set their stall out to defend, especially in the opening 20 minutes give RJC’s start last weekend. The first task will be to silence the home fans but I think the east Londoners will have just too much over the course of 90 minutes.
JC team news: For FC Team, Oliver Segal remains sidelines through injury but they welcome Danny Moss back to the squad after missing last week’s match.
RJC will be missing Mitch Lassman who is on a stag weekend.
Venue – TBC, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Steve Summers (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC A 3 FC Team A 1
OAKWOOD vs CHIGWELL ATHLETIC
Two teams looking to challenge for promotion go head-to-head in their first action of the new season.
The visitors will be looking to unveil five new signings with manager Richard Slater keen to ensure that no silly goals are conceded against a team who beat them on the opening weekend of last season.
If you recall, Louis Basger, the 2009/10 Player of the Year, who had just joined from Lions, was among the scorers.
Oaks joint player-manager Ric Blank is looking for the team to make an improvement. They are many people’s favourites to go up but Blank was keen to play down their chances, and said: “Promotion is not an obsession for us”.
Having signed James Abrams from North West Neasden, the Oaks will try to get on the front foot from the first whistle.
Speaking about his new signing, Blank told JC Sport: “James exudes class and has the experience we lacked at times last season. He’ll be a big player for us this year.”
The visitors will be unveiling their new JC-sponsored pink away shirts and rumour has it that Paul Lenchner has prepared a brilliant new goal celebration. There cameras will be there just in case …
It will be interesting to see how influential the new signings on both teams are. The Chigs scored thirteen more goals than the Oaks last season, but they also leaked 10 more.
The first goal could be massive on Sunday.
JC team news: Chigwell will be missing Daniel Castle, Michael Witzenfeld, Simon Felstein and the injured Lloyd Becker. There are competitive debuts for Anthony Mendel, Alex Norman, Benji Dymant, Jamie Fox and Lee Hyams, who returns to the fold.
Chigwell squad: Rob Shepherdson, Alex Norman, Lee Hyams, Paul Lenchner, Glenn Davis, Jon Swead, Dean Michaels, Mark Radzan, Russell Yershon, Benji Dymant, Richard Slater, Craig Pearl, Antony Mendel, Adam Goodman, Glenn Michaels, Jamie Fox
Venue – Parmiters, KO - 10:15am, Ref – M. Lavender
JC star man: Paul Lenchner (Chigwell)
DC Prediction: Oakwood 1 Chigwell Athletic 1
SOUTHGATE HARMEN B vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B
RJC will be looking to make it two on the spin on Sunday when they make the trip to Southgate.
New manager Stirling Kay made the perfect start last weekend. A 2-0 win over neighbours Woodford turned many heads, including mine.
Mark Zealander and Dan Orgel were the marksmen on a memorable morning for the team.
There was also an excellent display at the back, with Manny Simberg in commanding form. New keeper Olly Brooks, 16-year-old Harison Grant and James Berkley also impressed.
Harmen manager Marc Cohen felt his team were victims of a “smash and grab” defeat at the hands of Montana last weekend.
Doron Hershkorn and the ever-reliable Paul Stein were their marksmen.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Cohen told JC Sport: “We will be looking to bounce back after the disappointment of dropping points last week.
“With a few people still away on holiday and a couple of injuries, Harmen are delighted to welcome back in Grant Taylor who should add some solidarity to the team.
“This weekend Harmen are looking for a big performance at the back from the 'Teapot' Ilan Ben-zion, who has a no-nonsense approach to defending and will pose a threat when he gets forward from full-back.
Hershkorn will be looking to continue his run of goals as Harmen look to pick up three points at the Mole on Sunday.”
Back-to-back defeats would make things tough for Cohen and co, but RJC will arrive in Southgate full of confidence after their derby victory and I can see them edging this one.
Venue – Ashmole School, Ref – M. De La Fuente
JC star man: Olly Brooks (RJC)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen B 1 Redbridge JC B 2
TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs MONTANA BOCA UNITED A
Two teams who experienced contrasting are ready to rumble with Montana hoping to maintain their excellent start against last season’s Division Two champions.
It was good to see Montana hit the ground running with front man Gary Cohen leading the way with a double in the 4-2 win over Harmen.
There were good performances from front to back on a day when the team played to their strengths and did what was needed before taking their foot off the gas.
Manager Vivian Emanuel is looking for more of the same against Fortune on Sunday. He told JC Sport: “We’re on a high right now and I’ll be taking a full-strength squad and looking to build on the performance we put in.”
“Fortune are a good side and we hope to come away with three points from a game we know will be tough.”
Lee Fegan’s Fortune were edged out by Norstar last weekend. Fegan said that his men “fought well and battled hard” but it was not enough. I expect them to find things just as tough on Sunday against a well-drilled Montana team.
Jack Morris, Fegan’s No. 2, told JC Sport: “After the disappointment of last week, we are looking to get our season going in what promises to be a tough game against Montana.
“We’re looking forward to our first match at our new home after five years at Hatch End and we hope to cap it off with a win.
“We enjoyed a good training session this week and the boys are working very hard to get their fitness back after the summer break.”
Sunday is also scheduled to feature the return of popular referee Warwick Blake. He suffered a serious illness on holiday but I’m pleased to report that the big Scot, and double JC MSFL Referee of the Year, is bag to his best.
While Fortune are still finding their feet in the division, Montana are experienced campaign, boosted by the presence of several players new to the MSFL. I expect their hungry and desire to prove the difference on the day.
JC team news: Fortune still have several players away on holiday and are still waiting for news on some of their injured players. But they are pleased to welcome back our captain and midfield lynchpin Paul Walker whom they fully expect to lift them.
Montana welcome back summer signing Jordan Segal, the former Raiders and Pinner midfield maestro.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – W. Blake
JC star man: Darren Cohen (Montana)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune A 1 Montana Boca Utd A 2
NORSTAR B vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB B
After such a terrific start, Hendon must make sure that Sunday isn’t a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show when they take on Norstar B.
Parys Hammond and Chanania Englesman were the marksmen in a memorable victory over last season’s Division Two champions Glenthorne A. The result earned Motty Korman and Chaim Gothold the title of JC Managers of the Week.
Now, they must ensure that complacency doesn't not set in against a Norstar team looking for their first win of the season.
Korman admitted that there is still room for improvement from the Hornets. He told JC Sport: “We hope to build on last week’s excellent performance but we have to be more clinical in front of goal and take our chances.
Gothold added: “We have a depleted squad but hope to pick up another three points.”
Ben Menahem and Jono Gaon registered in Norstar’s 4-2 defeat against Camden. Keeper Ian Weinstein and Rafi Addlestone came away from the game claiming that they have plenty more to give and I can see captain Adam Sandzer and manager Jonny Bunt rallying the troops in a bid to get their season back on track.
JC team news: For Hendon, Chaim Gothold faces a late fitness test while Ari Nevies and Motti Korman are away.
Venue – Ark Academy, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Parys Hammond (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Norstar B 2 Hendon Utd SC B 2
FC TEAM B vs CAMDEN PARK
Not even the dismissal of James ‘the Milkman’ Milman could take the gloss off of FC Team’s 6-1 demolition of L’Equipe last weekend.
Manager Ben Simon was delighted to see the goals shared around with Freddie Marks, Emile Ben-Atar, Adam Goldsmith, Ricky Shafier, David Silver and Daniel Afreds giving them a dream start.
Simon told JC Sport: "If we put in a similar performance to last week's, minus the complacency we showed in the second half, I am confident of a good victory.
"I have several attacking options available to me after 6 different scorers last week and it will be a tough task in picking the team."
I expect things to get much tougher on Sunday when they entertain a Camden side who beat Norstar B 4-2.
Richard Silver bagged a brace with further strikes coming from Daniel Needleman and Dan Beneth.
I expect there to be plenty of goals on Sunday with Josh Marks’ men coming away the happier.
JC team news: Following last week's victory, FC Team are missing five players for various reasons that started, but they welcome back a few other players that missed the game including captain, Eddie Sternberg.
Venue – Aycliffe Road, Ref – H. Raffe
JC star man: Emile Ben-Atar (Team)
DC Prediction: FC Team B 2 Camden Park 3
LONDON MACCABI LIONS B vs L’EQUIPE
After a turbulent 2010/11, it was good to see Jamie Kyte, the Lions manager, with a big smile on his face again as the Lions put Redbridge C to the sword.
James Gold, Joey Lazare and David Elf were the marksmen in a deserved 3-1 victory that left Kyte purring.
New signing Lazare really impressed while Gold lived up to the hype after Kyte tipped him for the Golden Boot. It’s clear that the boy is sheer class in front of goal.
Kyte was a happy chappy at the final whistle after they game they fell behind in. “We kept focused and pulled through,” he told JC Sport. “I thought our two new signings Klein and Lazare did a great job in their respective positions but it was the whole attitude and discipline of the team that was most impressive."
L’Equipe were hit for six last weekend and I think they’re in for a long 90 minutes on Sunday.
On the other hands, some teams raise their game at Rowley Lane and manager Mark Singer will certainly hope that is the case on Sunday.
For me, the Lions will hold all the aces.
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – B. David
JC star man: Joey Lazare (Lions)
DC Prediction: LM Lions B 4 L’Equipe 1
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C vs GLENTHORNE UNITED A
You could’ve got 12-1 on both Redbridge and Glenthorne losing their opening matches.
Daniel Gordon, the RJC boss, gave his troops the hairdryer treatment following last week’s 3-1 reverse at Rowley Lane.
The Thornes pipped RJC to the post for the Division Three title last season – finishing five points clear – and Gordon and co will be looking to bridge the gap on Sunday.
He told JC Sport: “After our defeat to Lions on the opening day, Sunday is a must-win game.
“Forget England versus Wales, Redbridge against Glenthorne is the biggest derby of the week.
“After seeing your rivals beat you twice last season and go on to win the league, it has made my squad a lot more determined this season and are 100 per cent ready for the game on Sunday.”
The Thornes have been licking their wounds after going down against Hendon. Now that the emergency loan window has opened, rumour has it that player-manager Dan Lipman is considering bringing someone in.
Although his team were the best in their division last year, it’s clear that they will have to step things up this year, and the void left by Craig Mervish is a key area.
Lipman is looking to set the record straight on Sunday. He told JC Sport: "Last week was disappointing. After such a good pre-season, I was expecting a better performance than what I got. Oh well, onwards and upwards.
"This week is the big one. Glenthorne/RJC games are always big occasions and the boys are more than up for it this week. Roll on Sunday!"
Much more than just east London bragging rights are at stake on Sunday and for this reason, I’m backing the draw.
JC team news: Player-manager Daniel Gordon is a doubt for the clash with a damaged shoulder but will be trying his hardest to play. Hadley Silver is also absent but apart from that RJC have a 17-man squad to chose from.
Venue – Harlow 3G, Ref – A. Yuchatel
JC star man: Dan Gordon (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC C 2 Glenthorne Utd A 2
FAITHFOLD B vs FAITHFOLD C
The third and final derby of the weekend sees Rob Shooman's Faithfold B up against David Garson's C team.
The Bs enjoyed a solid campaign last season and, no doubt, they will be looking to press on again and claim a top two finish.
Faithfold C finally went up - making it a win double for QPR fan Garson. The challenge now is to consolidate although they are 5-1 to get off to a winning start on Sunday.
With star striker Ben Simons still defying the age barrier, and choosing to stay in the MSFL rather than join the Masters League, Garson is confident his troops can pull off an upset.
The Cs will have to do without striker Jonny Blain and Adam Leveson this season after they left to rejoin North London Raiders and Neasden B respectively.
But with the club have great strength in depth, I'm sure that quality replacements have come in.
One thing is for sure. This should produce five-star entertainment.
Venue - The Hive
JC star man: Ben Simons (Faithfold C)
DC Prediction: Faithfold B 2 Faithfold C 2
BLIZZARD STORM vs GLENTHORNE UNITED B
Glenthorne go into Sunday’s game against Blizzard Storm high in confidence after an empahtic 8-0 victory over Catford and Bromley.
Manager Craig Sandford is aware that Blizzard Storm only lost to Los Blancos by a small a margin and the fact they scored three goals in the process means they are a team that cannot be taken lightly.
Shirt sales with Richard Rosenthal’s name on the back have gone through the roof since his hat-trick against the Cats.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Sandford told JC Sport: “I maintain that we go into every game with the belief that we will win but we will always respect our opponents and will never take our eye of the ball (literally).
“We are still a new team and need more games together.”
Simon Linden’s men are preparing for what the gaffer describes as “a very tough match after reading about Glenthorne’s great signings and thrashing of Catford”.
Linden’s worst fears were realised last Sunday when Joel Kutner, the man he sold to Los Blancos just weeks ago, bit the hand that once fed him, bagging a treble in a 4-3 victory for his new club.
The word is that Linden has been checking his files to see if he’s ever sold a player to Glenthorne!
Looking ahead to Sunday, Linden told JC Sport: “It just depends on what sort of Blizzard team turn up. On our day we can beat anyone at this level.
“”We need a very strong performance from the whole squad. We beat them twice last year and don't fear anyone, so bring it on!”
Sunday will come down to which team wants it more. Given the number of matchwinners in their ranks – Rosenthal, Sandford and Levy - the latter two have great experience, my money is on a narrow Glenthorne win.
JC team news: The Thornes are without Lewis Walker and Adam Bernstein, both of whom featured in last week’s win, but in comes new signing Paul Block and Elliott Coulton who returns from holiday.
Venue – Mill Hill Park, Ref – D. Jorden
JC star man: Andy Levy (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Blizzard Storm 2 Glenthorne Utd B 3
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C vs TEAM JLGB
Bouncebackability is the name for the JLGB brigade on Sunday.
Following an 18-0 defeat against Shirley on the opening weekend of the season, manager Rob Silverman took his troops for a two-day break to La Manga to clear the air, get some sunshine and focus for Sunday’s trip to west Hendon.
Silverman is expecting another tough workout Sunday's game. He told JC Sport: “I reckon this will be a close one. I am certainly not going to underestimate anyone in the division, but my boys have something to prove this week.
“Players are also going to have to step up as competition for players is beginning to get tougher.”
When you think Hendon C, the name Benny Goldberg springs to mind almost immediately. He has scored goals for fun in recent seasons and will look to trigger a goal bonus target by Chanukah. The boy is different gravy.
Avi Gelley, the Hustlers boss, has broken the bank to keep his star striker following several big offers from teams in the top two divisions.
Looking ahead to kick-off, Gelley told JC Sport: “Benny Goldberg tells me he is in the 'shape of his life’ for the start of the season.
“David Israel is out for three months with a knee injury. It’s a massive blow for us.”
The absence of Israel could leave holes in the Hendon defence so the million dollar question is, will JLGB be good enough to pick them off.
JC team news: JLGB welcome back key players Paul Black, Barry Green and Mike Marks.
Venue – West Hendon Playing Fields, Ref – P. Dobkin
JC star man: Rob Levene (JLGB)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC 4 Team JLGB 2
LOS BLANCOS vs CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI
Los Blancos take on the Cats for the first time in MSFL history.
After his match-winning performance against his former club, Joel Minsky, the Blancos boss, has wrapped up striker Joel Kutner in cotton wool this week after what was a dream debut for the front man.
Minsky knows that tougher challenges lie ahead but he’s primed for maximum points again on Sunday.
“In our illustrious one-year history, we haven't yet come across Catford & Bromley, so we are unsure as to what sort of threat to expect from them,” Minsky told JC Sport.
“Either way, we will set up as we always do to concentrate on our own game, and with three points already on the board, we will look to double that tally on Sunday.
“Whilst our performance last week was far from top notch, the boys worked their socks off for 90 minutes and there is a renewed sense of optimism within the squad, which we hope to build on this week.”
The Cats were left licking their wounds after going down 8-0 against a strong Glenthorne team.
There were not many positives for managers Adam Lewis, Simon Wolfson and Joel Isaacs to take away from the game, and I expect their confidence to be put to the test once more.
In Guy Ben-Aroya, they have one of the best keepers around but he can do only so much if the defence is parted like the Red Sea time and again.
Catford's Adam Lewis told JC Sport: "We could almost field an entire team of absentees this week, so it's not been easy to get a team together. However we're thrilled to welcome back a true Catford legend in Steve Keller
"Despite the absences we hope to field a strong team with Rafi Marom also returning to the midfield and after a week to forget last week. We'll be looking for all three points this time around."
I expect the Cats to huff and puff but think that it will be the boys in whites that come away purring.
JC team news: For Blancos, Julian Gertner and Trevor Silverman are both unavailable for selection, picking cricket and family respectively over the beautiful game of two halves. JC Goalkeeper of the week Josh Cohen will undergo a late fitness test following his heroics last Sunday, whilst Yosh Radomsky, Josh Hirschowitz and Daniel Sher return to the squad.
Venue – South Oxhey, Ref – M. Fox
JC star man: Daniel Sher (Blancos)
DC Prediction: Los Blancos 4 Catford & Bromley 1
ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs ATHLETICO FINCHLEY
Athletico Finchley are the league’s best-kept secret. I’m sure that preparations for Sunday’s opener are well under way.
The Bilbaum boys will look to make all the noise in the Athletic derby. As opening days of the season go, they could not have asked for much more than three points against Jewventus.
Player-manager Mark Pasha and Joe Bekhor were the marksmen in a hard fought 2-1 victory.
The performance of keeper Simon Roth really caught the eye. He dominated his area and did everything that Pasha asked of him.
Pasha told JC Sport: "Overall it was a solid and mature performance from the Baums, very much picking up where we left of at end of the last campaign ... and even despite the absence of mascot Baum Baum and spiritual leader King Baum, both away on overseas scouting missions.
"Our backline stayed tight and focused throughout while the midfield worked tirelessly.”
More of the same could do the trick on Sunday as the team goes in search of rare back-to-back wins.
JC team team news: Bilbaum are set to welcome back club mascot Baum Baum the Elephant.
JC star man: Joe Bekhor (Bilbaum)
DC Prediction: Athletic Bilbaum 3 Athletico Finchley 1
TEMPLE FORTUNE B vs BOCA JEWNIORS
Fortune B made a flying start last week – beating FC Team B 3-0 with player-manager Terry Jeffries leading by example with a quality double.
It was also good to see Rob Jay getting on the scoresheet. It appears that he has finally recovered from his hangover after leaving the JC!
Jeffries and Adam Glekin were also delighted that the team registered a rare clean sheet in a match where they were missing several regulars, as well as a recognised goalkeeper. Jeremy Barnett excelled in between the sticks.
Fortune’s Gavin Levy said: "It was a tremendous hard-working performance. The stand-out player was Simon Allen who was excellent in defence.
“We had to dig in hard after a close goalless first half and we scored three very good goals. A superb result and just the start we needed."
Boca’s first match in the MSFL did not go to plan. Missing five first teamers in the Sassoon brothers - Gil and Russell, Joel Levitt and two of the Monk brothers - Ryan & Farrell, they went down 3-1 against fellow new boys Brady B.
Sefton Monk, the Boca boss, offered an honest assessment after the game. “Brady deserved the win as my team failed to turn up,” he told JC Sport.
"It was our first ever league game and obviously showed, but we we will progress from here and learn from our mistakes
Fortune will be hard-pressed to keep another clean sheet, especially with goal-poacher Joel Newman sniffing around, but assuming they take their chances, I can see them coming up trumps again.
JC team news: For Boca, James Edelman faces a late fitness test after limping off last weekend.
Venue – Gosling Sports Centre, Ref – Q. Fox
JC star man: Rob Jay (Fortune)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune B 2 Boca Jewniors 1
BRADY MACCABI B vs JEWVENTUS
It’s always good to have an away win in the bank ahead of your first home game of the season.
The Brady faithful were delighted with the team’s day one showing in which Ben Hildebrand, Ollie Kaye and Marc Maynard netted in a 3-1 success at Boca.
Manager Josh Dagul is enjoying life in the fast lane but I managed to grab him for a few words of wisdom before Sunday’s game.
“We hope to put in another strong performance and will try to be more ruthless in front of goal,” Dagul told JC Sport. “If we do that then we are more than capable of winning.”
Dagul made yet another shrewd signing this week (see JC team news) which will give his team added quality and experience.
It appears that Jewve boss Gabriel John still had his head in the clouds last Sunday, when his men were beaten by Bilbaum. James Alexander scored their goal in a 2-1 defeat.
Manager John has been busy getting his new Tyger Paw product off the ground and collecting air miles with regular trips to New York. Way to go Gabe!
This game could go either way but I have an inkling that the luck will be with the Brady bunch.
JC team news: Brady have slight injury doubts over Scott Benson and Jason Davis, but both are expected to pass late fitness tests and play some part. Jerome Colmans should make his debut after signing from the now defunct Inter Borehawmood. Mike Beaber will play after returning from holiday. Ollie Kay is unavailable as is Ben Hildebrand.
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – L. Thorne
JC star man: Mike Beaber (Brady)
DC Prediction: Brady Maccabi B 3 Jewventus 2
FC TEAM C vs BRIXTON OLD BOYS B
Michael Myers is confident that his FC Team C side can register their first victory in the league on Sunday. They welcome fellow new boys Brixton B in a match refereed by the evergreen David Nathan.
The 3-0 reverse against Temple Fortune B was hard for Myers to take but he had this to say going into match two.
“The team want to bounce back after last week’s defeat and we have realised that there is no easy game in the division.
“Hopefully we will overcome the problems we encountered last week and produce a good performance and get some points on the board.
“A lot of our players were unable to play in the first game of the season so there will be four debutants on Sunday hoping to impress.”
James Shuster’s Brixton also had a tough opening, going down 3-0 against the much-fancied SPEC.
With Athletico Finchley to follow next week, there is no reason why the Brixton boys should not be looking for six points from the two games.
It’s fair to say that we will know a lot more about both teams come 12.15pm on Sunday.
Ref – D. Nathan
JC star man: Jamie Cooper (FC Team C)
DC Prediction: FC Team C 2 Brixton Old Boys B 2
SPEC vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C
League chairman David Wolff will be at Rowley Lane for a rare afternoon kick-off as ambitious SPEC welcome Raiders C.
Laurence Conway, the SPEC manager, was delighted with his text updates that he received during the opening day victory over Brixton B.
Captain Ashley Burns earned a place in the first JC Team of the Week of the season after contributing two goals, with Craig Cohen adding the other.
Speaking at the midweek press conference, Ricky Lawrence, one of the club’s talents in a midfield toblerone, had this to say ahead of the big clash.
“We go into just the second week of the season really up against it. On Monday, Michael Rhodes - our goalkeeper and stand-out player of pre season - suffered an horrific knee injury during training, tearing the cartilage in his right knee for the second time. He is due to undergo surgery on Tuesday and we hope all at the MSFL and the JC will join us in wishing a full and speedy recovery
“It's been a huge blow to all of us but we've acted fast in ensuring cover for the No. 1 spot and are close to securing a couple of signings who should keep us covered in between the sticks.
“Not only have we lost our goalkeeper for most likely the rest of the season, but we've also got eight other players out despite us only being in the second week of the season.
“We are down to the bare bones really, and Raiders will fancy their chances against us I reckon.
“However we're all capable of putting in a performance come Sunday and if Ashley Burns plays like he played last week then we've still got a chance.
“One things for sure. We won't be going down without a fight. We're just hoping Laurence Conway brings up back a decent physio if nothing else from Japan to end this injury crisis!”
Oli Shorts’ Raiders ended their preparations on a high by winning a pre-season tournament alongside Norstar B, Neasden C and Blizzard Storm.
Shorts told JC Sport: “I hope we can take this form into our first game of the season. We know SPEC very well and it’ll be a tough first game for us but the squad that we have assembled this season is looking good.
“However, with the 4.30pm kick off we’ve lost a hefty chunk of our team to various engagements so we’ve had to draft in a few last minute surprises.
“That said, we still welcome new signings Ben Hart, Rob Samuelson, Sam Morell, Matt Keston and Michael Israel into the team. We know that we enter this game as the underdog and I just want the boys to leave the pitch with no regrets.”
Spectators are advised to arrive early as there’s a big tournament at the nearby Dinosaur Safari Adventure Golf. And with roadworks expected to cause long delays at Apex Corner by the KFC, a finger-licking contest is on the cards. May the best team win.
JC team news: SPEC will be missing Craig Cohen on Sunday.
Venue – Rowley Lane, KO: 4.30pm
JC star man: James Lesner (SPEC)
DC Prediction: SPEC 3 NL Raiders C 2