JC MSFL Matchday 18 preview

With end-of-year celebrations behind us, the JC MSFL fraternity are gearing up for their first piece of action of 2012. No doubt, there will be some strikers who found some new shooting boots in their Chanucah stockings, while some keepers were hoping for some extra-stick gloves. Needless to say, there will be some managers and coaches ready to do the dreaded bleep test to ensure that defenders and midfielders avoided the doughnuts. Danny Caro looks ahead to Matchday 18 of the season.

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PETER MORRISON TROPHY LAST 16 DRAW

JC MSFL TOP-SCORERS

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JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP QUARTER-FINAL

QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

BRIXTON OLD BOYS A vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A

Having claimed a famous win over Neasden A in the last round, John Nitka’s troops will be looking to cause an even bigger upset when they take on the cup holders in Palmers Green.

Clearly, promotion is the priority for the boys in red and black this season but that won’t stop Nitka and co wanting to test themselves against the best once more.

Nitka would’ve learnt plenty about his players in the two cup games against Neasden and I’m sure they’ll go into this tie believing they can win.

They put in a professional display against Temple Fortune A last time out with Ed Weisz,
Rob Hershkorn and Jamie Kent on target in a 3-0 win.

Although both teams will be relatively fresh after a prolonged break, I expect Redbridge to come out all guns blazing and the visitors will be keen to show who is top dog.

Manager Eilon Kennet knows the importance of winning something in his first year at the club and having worked so hard to win the competition last year, they are keen to go the distance again.

Man for man, RJC have the edge but reputations will count for nothing on Sunday. The Redbridge boys will need to be ready to stand up and be counted.

The battle between James Kaye and Ben Sollosi will be key while the head-to-head between Jamie Kent and Steve Summers will also have a big impact on the outcome.

Brixton have nothing to lose and everything to gain on Sunday and I can see them pushing RJC all the way.

Venue – Clowes, Ref – A. Lewis

JC star man: Ben Sollosi (RJC)

DC Prediction: Brixton OB A 1 Redbridge JC A 2

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JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION

SEE LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORER
9 - Danny Kon (Hendon Utd SC A)

NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A vs BRADY MACCABI A
Sunday is a must-win for Raiders. There is no doubt about that. They start the game six points behind Brady, having played two games more.

The first half of the season has been nothing short of calamitous for L’Orange and it’s clear they must buck up their ideas if they are to get out of jail.

A culmination of injuries, unavailability and defensive errors have proved costly with their only league points coming against the champions.

Brady look to have overcome a tough start by putting points on the board. Manager Josh Rosenfeld has recruited well and is now eyeing a mid-table finish.

Paul Hakim and TJ Keterman ran Raiders ragged in the recent cup meeting and I can see the Reds looking to put the game to bed as early as possible.

Jonny Ellis and Nick Smith have been real rocks at the heart of the Brady defence in recent games and they will be looking to shut Raiders out again.

I expect there to be plenty of goals and talking points come the final whistle and it will all boil down to which team takes its chances.

Venue – Brunel Uni, Ref – M. Lavender, KO: 10am

JC star man: Zak Presky (Brady)

DC Prediction: NL Raiders A 2 Brady A 2

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NORTH WEST NEASDEN A vs FC TEAM A
There's a mouth-watering affair in store at Hadley FC where title-chasing Neasden take on mid-table FC Team.

Neasden go into the game boosted by the return of striker Ben Ellis, who rejoined the club this week following a brief spell at North London Raiders.

Managed by Darren Yarlett and Lee Cash, Neasden start the match a point behind leader Hendon, but they have played two games more.

The first match between these two teams was a top quality affair, offering five-star entertainment.

It needed a late strike from Jamie Shaw, his second of the game, to ensure Neasden came away with a point in an eight-goal thriller. Matt Sofier and Ben Goldberg were their other scorers.

Craig Edwards, Danny Moss and Shai Davidi were on the mark for FC Team that day and their fans hope that a lengthy injury list has cleared up during the winter break.

Mitch Young's men will be strong contenders for Suntan of the Week after returning from another successful Chanucah training camp in La Manga.

Young was "disappointed" to draw against Neasden first time around - a clear sign of how far the team has come in a short space of time.

Striker Richard Salmon made a big impression on Yarlett last time around and the big marksmen will be looking to give NWN defenders Kyle Bentwood and Scott Shindler a torrid morning, along with FC Team's player of 2011 - Shai Davidi.

Neasden go into the game on the back of a five-match unbeaten run in the league. They have been good away from home with four wins, two draws and just one defeat and they will expect to get something here.

Home keeper Ed Bloom will be keen to impress against his former club and with the likes of Ellis, Cash, Marc Lazare and Rob Lerner for company, I expect him to be the busier of the two keepers.

Although consolidation is the name of the game for FC Team this season, there is no doubt that Young and co will be determined to claim their biggest scalp to date.

I can see this being a high-octane affair with little to separate the teams. In the end it will come down to which teams takes their chances.

Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – T. McEvoy

JC star man: Ben Ellis (NWN)

DC Prediction: NW Neasden A 2 FC Team A 1

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SOUTHGATE HARMEN A vs FAITHFOLD A
With games in hand, Faithfold are well-placed to challenge for the title. I expect them to have too much for struggling Harmen in Enfield on Sunday.

With talisman Alex Levack battling to fight off injury over the festive period, manager Zuriel Solomon will be looking for his men to step up, especially with star man Alex Kaye about to go overseas.

One player who has been keeping himself fit over Chanucah is Rocky Spitzer - a player who has made giant strides over the last few seasons. His winning mentality recently helped Nottingham JSOC side Seely 17 win the UJS JUefa Cup competition. Now Spitzr, the son of former Golders Green boss Yair Spitzer, has a trip to Israel in the bank but he will put any travel plans on hold to ensure Faithfold maintain their title challenge.

Mike Pearson (2) and Kaye were the scorers when Faithfold beat Harmen 3-1 in September. The Superhoops were frustrated in the first half but their class told in the second. They will be looking to put this game to bed as early as possible on Sunday.

With just one win in 10, Dan Uzan's Harmen face a huge battle to avoid relegation. Ben Graham will be a big player for them between now and May and Uzan is keeping everything crossed that his star man's injury woes are behind him.

Striker Zack White had a decent first half of the season and it will be interesting to see if Uzan starts with the big Scot and Alex Bourne in the front line as the Southgate boys bid to overcome their goal-scoring problems.

The first 20 minutes of this game will be crucial and if the Superhoops break through early on, I can only see one winner.

Venue – Southbury Leisure Centre, Ref – A. Myerson

JC star man: Rocky Spitzer (Faithfold)

DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen A 1 Faithfold A 3

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DIVISION ONE

SEE LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORER
16 – Dan Orgel (Redbridge JC B)

MONTANA BOCA UNITED vs NORSTAR A
The winter break came at a good time for Norstar who somewhat lost their way towards the end of 2011.

Phil Peters' men have the perfect chance to get their promotion bid back on track when they take on Montana at the Hive.

Defeats against Harmen B, Chigwell, Redbridge and Neasden means that they have plenty to do to keep their Premier Division dream alive, but I expect there to be plenty more twists and turns in the race for a top two finish.

Norstar will go into this game with a clear psychological edge, having beaten Montana 2-0 in September with strikes from Jonny Kay and Josh Green.

A change of management has not helped change Montana's fortunes yet, but there is still enough time, as they look to get out of the danger zone.

There is plenty of experience throughout the squad but they have yet to find their top form this season.

There will be a fair amount of tension in the air and I can see this leading to a tight and tense affair.

It wouldn't surprise me if this finished in a draw.

Venue – The Hive, Ref – M. Cohen

JC star man: Adam Jason (Norstar)

DC Prediction: Montana Boca Utd 1 Norstar A 1

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NORTH WEST NEASDEN B vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN B
There's an intriguing mid-table clash in store here as Neasden B welcome Harmen B.

The two teams recently played out a 2-2 draw and another entertaining affair is on the cards.

Excellent strikes from Dan Amram and Doron Hershkorn were cancelled out by a double from Jonny Blain.

After the match, NWN boss Dan Hodes told JC Sport that his team "needs to be more incisive" when bossing games and with some of his uni boys available, they will be looking to test the Harmen defence.

Marc Cohen's Harmen finished in brilliant fashion with Hershkorn and Paul Stein on target in a memorable 2-1 success over Norstar.

They start the match a point ahead of Neasden, but they have played a game more.

Both teams believe they are good enough to avoid relegation this season, but it's important they continue to pick up points.

Although this is a hard one to call, with home advantage, I can see Neasden doing just enough on the day.

Ref – L. Thorne

JC star man: Jonny Blain (Neasden)

DC Prediction: NW Neasden B 2 Southgate Harmen B 1

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OAKWOOD vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
There's a real humdinger in store in Garston as high-flying Oakwood out for revenge against Woodford.

The Oaks have had plenty of time to evaluate what went wrong in the first meeting against Woodford, and what they have to do to finish in the top two come the end of the season.

It finished 3-1 to Woodford in November when captain marvel Harrison Midda (2) and Mitch Hahn saw them home.

After the game, Woodford player-manager Alex Aviram told JC Sport: "It just goes to show what this football team is all about and what we can do on our day.

"We came together as a team and we looked strong all over the park.

"Every man worked for his teammates. Hopefully we can build on this performance and raise our confidence.

"If we can do that then who knows what we are capable of."

Oakwood joint-manager Ric Blank told JC Sport: "We were bitterly disappointed to lose but in truth we got what we deserved.

"The boys must learn to turn up each Sunday ready to put in big performances and win games, otherwise we'll have no choice but to mix things up with the team.

"Congratulations to Woodford who thoroughly deserved their victory and were especially comfortable in the second half."

Victories in their last two matches have given Woodford fans that they have turned the corner and have what it takes to avoid the drop.

The one thing they haven't done yet is keep a clean sheet and I think questions will be asked of their defence, with the Oaks looking to go for the jugular from the off.

Like Woodford, they have also one their last two games, registering eight goals in the process.

Jason Lindsay will be a big player for the Oaks in 2012. His signing is the one that Oaks fans wanted and they warmed to him after the performance against Temple Fortune A.

Bradley Wine is another new face this season and he will be looking to show off his silky skills against the Woodford defence.

And with Eddie Manson, Ilan Scorah and Dan Geey keen to impress, it could be a tough 90 minutes for travelling fans.

Venue – Parmiters, Ref – W. Blake

JC star man: Bradley Wine (Oakwood)

DC Prediction: Oakwood 3 Woodford Wanderers 1

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TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B
Leaders Redbridge B make the long journey to the Hive in search of their ninth win of the season.

Stirling Kay's men were a real surprise package in the first half of the season but they will be there to be shot at in their last eight games.

The JC cameras saw RJC involved in a titanic battle against Fortune earlier in the season and another great game is on the cards.

Dan Orgel and Mark Zealander have been prolific in front of goal for RJC and Kay hopes they can carry on where they left off.

Harrison Grant and Jamie Cooper are among the other stars of the show in what has been a real team effort.

Beaten 2-1 in the derby last time out, Kay is confident that his boys can rediscover that winning formula against a Fortune team still finding their feet in the division.

Fortune's only win in the league, on the pitch, came on September 11 and rumour has it that manager Lee Fegan spent much of Chanucah tinkering with formations.

Michael Goldberg will be a big player for the club in the remaining months. His vision and energy can bring out the best in his teammates and put chances on a plate for Rob Benson.

Fortune fans also hope to see the best of Jason Miller this year as they look to ease their relegation fears.

Redbridge have won five out of five on their travels. If they can score an early goal I think the confidence will come flooding back and they will sweep Fortune away.

Venue – The Hive 3G, Ref – J. Feenstra, KO: 10.15am

JC star man: Adam Goldman (RJC)

DC Prediction: Temple Fortune A 0 Redbridge JC B 3

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DIVISION TWO

SEE LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORER
18- Doron Weinstein (Redbridge Jewish Care C)

CAMDEN PARK vs FAITHFOLD B
Faithfold remain firmly in the scrap for a top two finish but they will need to be on top form when they take on table-topping Camden in the Hive derby.

Rob Shooman already has one JC Manager of the Week award in his locker this season and on Sunday he will be trying to inflict a first league defeat on the Camden boys.

If the first meeting between the teams was anything to go by, then this should be a classic. It finished 2-1 to Camden in October when Richard Silver and Josh Toff did the damage for Camden.

A delighted Nick Kagan told JC Sport: "It was a very big win. Faithfold were a well-drilled and impressive outfit, but our class told in the first half, and then some steely defending saw us home."

Josh Marks, Richard Silver and the ever-reliable Jake Saunders put in real shifts and if the trio can perform again, it will be a tough ask for Faithfold.

Venue – The Hive, Ref – N. Cooper

JC star man: Richard Silver (Camden)

DC Prediction: Camden Park Faithfold B 1

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FC TEAM B vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS B
Which Lions team will turn up. That is a question that both Jamie Kyte and Ben Simon may be asking before kick-off.

Kyte hopes it's the one that finished 2011 and beat Faithfold B 3-0. Adam Kosky, Max Kyte and David Elf were the goal men in a win that lifted Lions to seventh in the table.

The Lions have five games in hand on Team and they will be looking to cut down a five-point margin.

Revenge is also on the agenda for the Lions who were beaten 2-1 by FC Team in early October.

Adam Goldsmith and Philip Braham fired Simon's troops to a memorable win at Rowley Lane.

After the game, Ben Simon told JC Sport: "We played well in the first half and were unlucky to go in at 1-1. In the second half it was a backs-to-the-wall job, we put in a very resilient performance and then snatched victory in the closing minutes with a great strike.

Kyte told JC Sport: "It was a very disappointing result in a game we dominated."

FC Team are in the middle of a bad spell. Without a league win since mid-November, they have conceded goals at an alarming rate so attack could be the best form of defence for them.

Three points would go a long way to easing Lions' relegation fears and I can see them coming away with maximum points.

Venue – Meadow Park, Ref – A. Djanogly

JC star man: David Elf (Lions)

DC Prediction: FC Team B 2 LM Lions B 3

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L’EQUIPE vs FAITHFOLD C
On Sunday, L'Equipe aim to do what they couldn't between September and December. Win a football league match.

The improvement of David Prager's troops has been there for all to see over the past couple of months. No-one said it was going to be easy after losing star players Jason Miller and Paul Rubenstein but the recent draws against leaders Camden and promotion-chasing Faithfold B has certainly given fans food for thought.

Indeed the draw against Camden merited higher praise than it received. Andy Burke and Prager were the scorers and scoring goals is something the team must look to do on a more regular basis between now and May. It's been their biggest downfall to date.

Scoring goals is something that Faithfold do for fun most weeks, but they also concede at an alarming rate.

That said, they found form in the league at the back end of 2011 and with Ben Simons and Richard Fogelman in menacing mood, the L'Equipe will need to adopt a no-nonsense approach. Finding row Z will be order of the day. They must not give Faithfold any encouragement going forward or else they will be punished.

David Garson's Superhoops continue to win over many fans. Their style of fantasy football is easy on the eye and they look to have turned a corner.

Three points clear of Sunday's opponents, they will be looking to put real daylight between themselves and L'Equipe and drag Norstar B deeper into the mire.

There will be key battles all over the park on Sunday but the bottom line is that Faithfold have proven goal-scorers in their team and it's for this reason and this reason alone that I'm tipping them to win.

Venue – Copthall, Ref – D. Nathan

JC star man: Matty Kleinman (Faithfold C)

DC Prediction: L'Equipe 2 Faithfold C 3

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REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB B
Promotion rivals Redbridge C and Hendon B meet for the first time this season on Sunday.

RJC go into the match in good shape with seven wins in 12. Doron Weinstein has been their star man this season and he needs just two more goals to reach the magic 20 mark.

Player-manager Dan Gordon, Weinstein's strike partner, is eyeing a comeback as the division's most potent strikeforce looks to make an impression on the Hendon defence.

Looking ahead to Sunday Gordon told JC Sport: "We are back in action after three weeks with no game. i just hope the boys have been doing there own fitness work as we haven’t trained once.

"I know some of them have been eating and drinking their fare share so this Sunday should certainly been interesting ...

"Looking back at the opening few months, I'm really proud of the squad and we are sitting in a comfortable position in the table. We are now in the business part of the season still in the running for promotion.

"This Sunday we welcome Hendon to Fairlop knowing we are going to be involved in a very tough game. All Hendon teams are known to be strong, physical great in the air and good football teams and Hendon B are no different. They have a great squad to chose from and are sitting in an excellent position in the table.

"Hendon are the only team we haven’t played this season so its a test my boys are really looking forward to.

"I will be chosing a strong 14-man squad for Sunday's game as I want to start 2012 with three points."

Early pace-setters Hendon have slipped down into fifth position but with games in hand, they have the players to help them get back into the automatic promotion slots.

Joint-managers Motty Korman and Chaim Gothold know that it's a big month for their troops, with a big JC Cyril Anekstein Cup quarter-final against Premier Division North London Raiders A coming up next weekend.

There is absolutely no danger of any of the Hendon team taking things easy here promotion is the clear priority this season.

RJC start the match four points ahead of Hendon, but they've also played four games more.

The onus is on the home team coming away with the victory against a Hendon team that has failed to win either of their last two league games.

JC team news: RJC still have a couple of long-term Injuries including Grant Pomeroy, who after keyhole surgery has been ruled out for the season. Daniel Gordon, who is out until February with a back injury, and Lee Ballen as his fiancee will not let him out of her sight.

Venue – Fairlop, Ref – D. Lazarus

JC star man: Hadley Silver (RJC)

DC Prediction: Redbridge JC C 3 Hendon Utd SC B 2

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NORSTAR B vs GLENTHORNE UNITED A
3-0 winners over Norstar in October, the Thornes will be looking to boost their title aspirations when they visit lowly Norstar B.

Paul Billar, John Lessem and Jamie Crawford hit the net as when Dan Lipman's men claimed a comfortable win and the signs are that they will register a ninth league win on Sunday.

It's been a real team effort for the east Londoners so far this season and Lipman knows that only a string of results will keep their hopes of a top two finish in their own hands.

The first half of a season was a struggle by Norstar's standards. Manager Jonny Bunt expects his squad to step up a gear in the new year.

Having drawn 3-3 against Glenthorne's neighbours Redbridge two games ago, Bunt knows his Stars have what it takes to mix it with the best in the division, but he also knows that the table doesn't lie.

The only way Norstar will get something from this game is if they defend for their lives and get some luck. They have been unable to do that enough this season and I don't think they'll have enough to stop the Thornes on Sunday.

Venue – Ark Academy, Ref – N. Cohen

JC star man: Jordan Sapler (Glenthorne)

DC Prediction: Norstar B 1 Glenthorne Utd A 3

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DIVISION THREE

SHIRLEY PARK vs GLENTHORNE UNITED B
Glenthorne will be looking to complete a hat-trick of victories over Shirley Park on Sunday as they look to open up a nine point gap over their title rivals.

Manager Sam Rosenthal and Craig Sandford are expected to name a strong line-up for the long trip to Gladstone Park in a clash that features some of the MSFL's most potent finishers.

Sandford has been leading the way on the goal front for the Thornes, with 17 so far this season, but all eyes will be on Fabio Revieccio who is determined to catch up with Sandford following his return from Redbridge Jewish Care.

Virtually every rival manager in the division that I've spoken to has told me that Glenthorne are head and shoulders the best team in the league but Rosenthal and Sandford want their troops to do their talking on the pitch. They've done that to date with an unblemished record of 10 consecutive victories.

James Rubin, Ashley Rubin and Dan Lassman has also chipped in with regular goals while everyone in the camp hopes that winger Josh Wynne finds the ground in good time in what could be his longest trek since passing his driving test.

While Glenthorne have Sandford and Revieccio scoring for fun, Shirley's Saul Conway and Stefan Benfredj have contributed 30 goals between them, while Sacha Benfredj and Gideon Gold are also big threats.

Goals are on the new year menu here after two action-packed affairs between the teams in league and cup.

Craig Sandford, Jamie Bernstein and Ashley Rubin (2) were on the mark when the Thornes came away victorious in the corresponding league fixture.

After the game, Sandford told JC Sport that "the 4-3 scoreline flattered Shirley" as the Thornes were cruising at 4-1 going into the closing stages.

The Shirley boys believe that revenge is a dish best served cold and they will be desperate to become the first team to beat Glenthorne in the league this season.

Venue – Gladstone Park, Ref – S. Levy

JC star man: Fabio Revieccio (Glenthorne)

DC Prediction: Shirley Park 2 Glenthorne United B 3

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BLIZZARD STORM vs TEAM JLGB
I firmly expect Blizzard to kick on in the new year and start 2012 with victory against JLGB.

Manager Simon Linden has already landed two major coups in signing Aron Barnes and Stefan Simons and he's promising a special performance on Sunday.

If you recall, Simons bagged a brace in a dream debut against JLGB last time out, when Blizzard won 3-1. Brett Freeman grabbed the other.

They showed great character when many other teams would've buckled. Dave Mitchell had put JLGB ahead.

JLGB suffered 11 straight defeats in the first half of the season and manager Rob Silverman will challenge his troops to pull something special out of the bag on Sunday.

Barry Green has been one of the team's most impressive performers to date and Silverman hopes that none of the big boys come in for him during the transfer window. However, I've heard talk that a team in Division One are lining up an offer that could tempt the gaffer.

What JLGB need most is a prolific striker - their own Stefan Simons, if you like. Then and only then would they start picking up points instead of coming away from matches with their tails between their legs.

Silverman is happy with his squad but he has been scouring the lower divisions in the hope of bringing in some new faces. Sunday will come too soon however and I can see Blizzard adding to his woes.

Ref – Q. Fox

JC star man: Brett Freedman (Blizzard)

DC Prediction: Blizzard Storm 2 Team JLGB 0

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CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C
There are still plenty of tickets available for Sunday's meeting between the Cats and Hendon C.

The Cats have found themselves at the centre of speculation about a takeover from a wealthy Russian businessman but club chairman Lester Jacobs has promised fans he won't sell the club on the cheap.

2011 was a difficult year for the club but a combination of some old stagers and some fresh faces has kept them competitive.

Keeper Guy Ben-Aroya is on the wanted list of two Division Two clubs but again, Jacobs is vowing not to weaken his squad as relegation would be unthinkable.

Hendon have also disappointed so far this season and the team's last win came in early October. The signs look ominous for Avi Gelley and co and they remain the bookies' favourites to go down with JLGB.

Venue – Norseman FC, Ref – A. Yuchetel

JC star man: Joel Isaacs (Catford)

DC Prediction: Catford & Bromley 3 Hendon Utd SC C 1

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LOS BLANCOS vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN C
There will be plenty of quality on show when Los Blancos take on Neasden in South Oxhey and no, I'm not talking about the referee!

Blancos boss Joel Minsky knows that virtually every remaining match is a must-win for his troops as they bid to finish as high up the table as possible.

Neasden are better-placed to challenge the top three, especially now that they have experienced keeper Mike Perkin in nets. It was vital they brought in a reliable custodian to replace Ed Bloom.

Louis Taylor's men go in search of a league double on Sunday after beating Blancos 4-1 a day after my birthday. A hat-trick from Joel Kanutin plus one from star man Adam 'the Doc' Levene helped them cruise home.

A delighted Taylor told JC Sport: "This was a fantastic performance that should send out a message to the league that we mean business.

"What really impressed me was our determination and that we didn't let our heads down after they scored."

Although Neasden have won seven out of nine, the standard at the top is so high that anything less than a victory would make it tough for them to climb into the top three. With this in mind, Taylor will tell his troops to stand tall and let their football do the talking.

Venue – South Oxhey, Ref – D. Cohen

JC star man: Tony Chadwick (NWN)

DC Prediction: Los Blancos 2 NW Neasden C 3

More to follow ...

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DIVISION FOUR

SEE LEAGUE TABLE

TOP-SCORER
17 - Terry Jeffries (Temple Fortune B)

ATHLETICO FINCHLEY vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C
Title-chasing Raiders C face a tricky trip to rapidly-improving Athletico on Sunday.

L’Orange have worked hard to get to where they are in the table although the way they finished 2011 would’ve concerned manager Oli Shorts. If anything, the winter break came at a good time for them and now they are ready to go again.

I expect Sunday’s meeting to be much closer than the first match. It finished 6-1 to Raiders with Ben Hart (2), Darren Russell (2), Rob Samuelson and Matt Bennett on the goal trail.

Athletico are bang in form and having impressed against high-flying SPEC FC and Temple Fortune, they certainly won’t be overawed this time.

Chairman Zach Margolin believes his men are going places and he is encouraging home fans to get right behind the troops.

Keep an eye on the battle of the strikers with Raiders’ Hart up against the red-hot Ben Mandell.

It has all the makings of a real thriller.

Venue – Copthall, Ref – R. Benardout

JC star man: Matty Bennett (Raiders)

DC Prediction: Athletico Finchley 2 NL Raiders C 3

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BRADY MACCABI B vs ATHLETIC BILBAUM
Top at Chanucah. That must’ve been beyond Mark Pasha and Edward Green’s wildest dream.

The Baums have already won the same number of matches they did last season and they deserve a huge amount of credit for putting together a strong squad and equally strong run in a high-class field.

Striker Jake Gilbert has made a real impact since entering the fray - taking some of the goal-scoring burden off the shoulders of Green.

On Sunday they face an intriguing battle against a Brady team that lie four points behind them although Josh Dagul’s troops have three games in hand. It has all the makings of an enthralling contest.

Both teams have lost just once in the league all season with Gilbert the star man in the corresponding fixture, when he blew Brady away with a hat-trick in a 3-1 success.

Dan Hildebrand popped up with the Brady goal that day and the head-to-head between two of the best strikers in the division will be worth the admission fee alone.

But Sunday will be about much more than just two players. Both sides are packed with quality, pace and power and I expect this to be a great advert for the MSFL.

Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – M. Fox

JC star man: Josh Greibach (Bilbaum)

DC Prediction: Brady B 2 Athletic Bilbaum 2

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FC TEAM C vs BOCA JEWNIORS
Boca boss Sefton Monk hopes that a new year brings with it a change of luck as he prepares to take his troops to Borehamwood.

Little went right for Monk and co in the first half of the season and they will be looking to put their first win on the board when they take on FC Team C.

The performances of keeper Ryan Monk and striker Jamie Weinrich have been among the few positives so far and it would not surprise me if Monk brings in some new faces during the January transfer window.

Boca have been conceding goals like they’re going out of fashion so far and I can’t see things getting much easier here.

Team registered a perfect 10 in the first meeting when Rob Sanford (2), David Cohen (2), Max Worth (2),

Jamie Cooper, Matt Sheldon, Dean Marks and Eitan Ben-Zion did the damage.

Mike Myers, the FC Team player-manager, was particularly delighted with the performance of his midfield that day and this is an area he will be looking to dominate again.

Team start the weekend in sixth position and they will be looking to fill their boots. Having pushed Bilbaum and Raiders C all the way in recent outings, I expect them to canter home without getting out of first gear.

Venue – Hatch End Playing Fields, Ref – M. Cowan

JC star man: Max Worth (FC Team)

DC Prediction: FC Team C 4 Boca Jewniors 2

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JEWVENTUS vs BRIXTON OLD BOYS B
Seventh place is where Jewventus start 2011 and that is where I can see Gabriel John’s men finishing in May.

With three games in hand on Sunday’s opponents Brixton, Jewventus’ first target will be to improve on the six wins they mustered last season. They currently sit on four.

Recent signings James Alexander and Nigel Someck have given Jewve fans reason to be cheerful but their efforts up to will count for nothing unless John gets the same quality from 1-11.

Revenge will be the name of the game for John on Sunday. His troops were edged out in a seven-goal thriller in October when Stefan Owide (2), Matt Tahan and player-manager Daniel Selt saw Brixton home.

After the game, Selt told JC Sport: "Without wanting to sound disrespectful to Jewventus, I thought that the 4-3 scoreline should have been wider.”

Selt and Craig Draper have been working hard during the festive period as they look to improve on a record which has seen them draw a blank five times. They know that if they can get good delivery to Stefan Owide and Danny Sherman, the goals will come.

When push comes to shove it’s hard to call a winner but with Jewve offering a quid for a kid promotion to get a glimpse of new signing Mike Gill, John will ask his boys to put on a real show and I can see them coming out on top.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – L. Benson

JC star man: Mike Gill (Jewventus)

DC Prediction: Jewventus 3 Brixton OB B 1

Last updated: 7:11pm, January 5 2012