There are four eye-catching fixtures in store on Matchday 20 of the JC MSFL season as Lions take on Neasden, Oakwood host Brixton, Glenthorne B welcome UJIA and Raiders C come up against SPEC FC. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the action.
JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP QUARTER-FINALS
Brady Maccabi A
Brixton Old Boys A
Hendon United Sports Club A
North London Raiders A
- semi-final draw will take place on January 30
YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE:
12 - Mike Pearson (Faithfold A)
10 - Marc Lazare (North West Neasden)
FC TEAM A vs FAITHFOLD A
Title-chasing Faithfold meet FC Team for the first time this season and manager Zuriel Solomon hopes his team can step up a gear after they were forced to settle for a point against the Lions last week.
With no game next week, Solomon will ask his troops to go flat out for 90 minutes in search of their seventh win of the campaign.
Top-scorer Mike Pearson registered his 12th league goal of the season against Lions last week, but they were pegged back by a late goal in a game where keeper Ben Law and centre halves Alex Taylor and James Frener impressed.
Solomons was in bullish mood in his midweek press conference. He told JC Sport: "We're slowly getting player sback from injury which is great.
"FC Team a have had some close results and will not be under-estimated. They have a good team ethic and work hard.
"We have been playing well of late and have started to gain some momentum.
We were a bit disappointed with last Sunday's result but as the cliché say it’s all about your next game."
FC Team had the weekend off after the undersoil heating at Meadow Park failed and manager Mitch Young is hopes that the surface has thawed out so his team can get 90 minutes under their belts ahead of next weekend’s Peter Morrison Trophy tie against Chigwell.
The boys in yellow and blue have seven games remaining as they try to consolidate in their first season in the top-flight.
Looking ahead to the big match, Young told JC Sport: "We were extremely disappointed the game did not go ahead last week as we felt we could have picked up some muc-needed points. I felt the referee was quite quick to call the game off.
"However, moving forward we play an extremely decent and experienced Faithfold team, with the likes of Levack, Pearson and Phillips. We know any small mistake will be punished.
"However, we are buoyed on by the fact Raiders B have beaten them twice so we know they are not invincible.
"If we can hold our own in the first 20 I think it could be very close. I think we need at least six more points to stay up so we will be fighting in every game to get those."
As Young says, I think experience could play a big part on Sunday and with their key striker missing, I can see the Superhoops having just too much on the day.
JC team news: FC Team are missing key duo Richard Salmon and Gideon Moss.
Faithfold welcome back Dan Howard and James Taylor.
Venue – Meadow Park, Ref – T. McEvoy
JC star man: Alex Taylor (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: FC Team A 1 Faithfold A 2
LONDON MACCABI LIONS A vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN A
Leaders Neasden played second fiddle to defending champions Redbridge last Sunday when Daran Bern gave them a rude awakening.
Joint-manager Darren Yarlett cut a frustrated figure at the final whistle following a game where he felt they dominated possession but ultimately, they were unable to keep a strong RJC team out. It was the team’s first league defeat since October 23 and I expect a big reaction from a NWN side who have six league games left.
Yarlett, who coaches London Lions’ Saturday team in the Molten Spartan South Midlands League, and co-manager Lee Cash know the Lions inside out. I heard a rumour a while back that they were approached for the Lions job before Malcolm Newman and Josh Newman took over the reins so they will be keen to impress at the Lane on Sunday, as I’m sure will the current incumbents.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Cash told JC Sport: “The Redbridge result was a slightly disappointing for us.
“In a game which we dominated possession, we lacked quality with our final ball in the final third, which prevented us creating any real goal-scoring opportunities, so Darren and I are expecting to see a vast improvement going into what will be yet another tough game.
“We seem to bounce back pretty well, so I would expect it to be no different this week, especially coming up against Lions whom themselves are having a good season.”
With JC Referee of the Week Stephen Levy the man in the middle, both teams will be looking to get a psychological advantage going into next week’s Peter Morrison Trophy clash.
I don't expect this to be a classic by any stretch of the imagination but can see Neasden edging home.
JC team news: Adam Klein is still out injured (his attempted perm went horribly wrong). Cash added: "So we will be at full strength this week."
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man: Rob Lerner (NWN)
DC Prediction: LM Lions A 0 NW Neasden A 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs BRADY MACCABI A
Team of the moment Brady have a striker shortage going into what should be a cracker against Raiders B.
The news that all Raiders fans will want to hear is that Paul Hakim, TJ Keterman and Jon Green are all unavailable and manager Josh Rosenfeld is considering playing a six-man midfield.
Keterman (2) and Green were on target as the team marched into the last four of the JC League Cup last Sunday and ensuring Premier Division football is now the focus.
“We hope to push on from last week and make it six unbeaten,” Rosenfeld told JC Sport. “We are playing well at the moment and know we can beat anyone on our day
“We know the threat of Raiders. In four games I have played against Rob Richman, I have never had a victory.
“Rob has a tremendous team who are well-organised and extremely tough to beat.
“I hope to emulate what he has done at Raiders for Brady as he has worked wonders.”
With three key men missing, Rosenfeld will be looking for the likes of Josh Hershman and Zack Presky to step up. There has even been talk that he will try to bring in an emergency striker with Craig Sandford, Terry Jeffries and Saul Conway possible loan targets.
There’s every chance that Richman will invite Rosenfeld into the Brunel boot room to share a bottle of red after the game as the managers have the utmost respect for one another.
However, that won’t stop Richman from sending out L’Orange fully focused on coming away with their sixth win of the season.
Richman told JC Sport: “We were all very disappointed not to be able to play our game against FC Team last week. We had prepared well and had a decent squad available for the game, but unfortunately the cold weather put paid to the chances of us playing the match.
“This week we have Brady and games between us over recent seasons have always been tight affairs. Whatever team Josh puts out will be a strong one and with the players they have brought in I can see them challenging for the title in the next couple of seasons.
“We know it will be tough, especially as we haven’t played a competitive match since early December while Brady have had a couple of games over the past two weeks to get into the swing of things.
“The club did receive a big boost midweek when we found out club captain Rik Sherman had passed his final tax exams and is now a fully Chartered Tax Advisor. Having missed the first three months of the season taking the exams we are all delighted that Rik is now available for all remaining games of the season.”
Sherman is preparing for more taxing issues in defence on Sunday and whoever line-up in attack for Brady, they will look to get behind the Raiders backline and test keeper David ‘Simmo’ Simnock.
Both teams have already taken some prize scalps this season and an open and entertaining affair is on the cards. Sunday is also a special day for referee Neal Cohen who will take charge of his first-ever game in the Premier Division, having made giant strides in a very short space of time since qualifying.
JC team news: Brady will be missing striker Jon Green who is on duty with the Maccabi Futsal team. Lee Platt could make the bench after four months out.
For Raiders, Mike Hershman and Rik Sherman, who both were due to miss last week’s game against FC Team, come back into the squad. Ever-present this season Alex Bloch is unavailable as is Elliot Espinoza.
Venue – Brunel Uni, Ref – N. Cohen
JC star man: Rik Sherman (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders B 2 Brady Maccabi 2
SOUTHGATE HARMEN A vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A
I don’t expect Harmen to cause Hendon too many problems in Enfield on Sunday.
The Hammers clicked straight back into gear last Sunday, sticking five past Faithfold C in the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup.
Yoav Kestenbaum and Rafi Kon were the star men in a game where they were joined on the scoresheet by Josh Bentley, Ben Kon and Avidan Last.
But that stroll in the park will soon be forgotten about once that first whistle blows. Hendon boss David Garbacz told JC Sport: “It’s back to the bread and butter of the league on Sunday.
“It has been frustrating not having played a league game in a while during which time Neasden have overtaken us.
“We have plenty of games in hand but still need to get the points on the board . You never quite know what you are going to get with Harmen – they have had a disappointing season up to now but we will not be taking them lightly at all.
“On their day they are a match for anyone but despite that this is clearly a game we should win.
“We got back in the swing of things last week in the JC Cup and it will be all out from here on in the quest for honours this year.
“Each week we will be expected to win and this in itself brings its own pressures and it will be a case of how we cope with those pressures that will determine how much we achieve this year.
“I have great belief in my squad. They are extremely talented and the spirit is great. We realise the need to start off our 2012 league campaign with three vital points and we will be going all out to do so.”
Harmen, meanwhile, bowed out of the competition – going down 3-1 to Brady. Dan Uzan’s men made a disastrous start – conceding three times in the first 45 minutes. It’s important they start well on Sunday.
Uzan has called for a dramatic improvement against Hendon but I think damage limitation could be the name of the game.
On the flipside, striker Alex Bourne really impressed in the second half and Uzan hopes that his star striker can be relieved of babysitting duties once more.
Danny Kon (2) and Ari Last were the goal men in the corresponding fixture and even with two regulars out, I can’t see Hendon failing.
JC team news: Hendon defender Motti Colman misses the game due to National Futsal League duties. Josh Bentley is a doubt with a hamstring twinge.
Venue – Southbury Leisure Centre, Ref – P. Gelernter
JC star man: Rafi Kon (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen A 1 Hendon Utd SC A 4
16 - Dan Orgel (Redbridge JC B)
15 - Jamie Kent (Brixton Old Boys)
12 - Glenn Michaels (Chigwell Athletic)
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC vs TEMPLE FORTUNE A
Sundays cannot come around fast enough for Chigwell Athletic these days. With the Division One title race turning into a four-horse race, they have experience on their side.
Last week they gave manager Richard Slater the result and performance he wanted against Harmen B. Chigwell fans will be hoping for more of the same against Fortune on Sunday.
Captain marvel Dan Castle and Russell Yershon bagged braces with the latter rewarded for his efforts with a place in my Team of the Week.
If the first game between the teams is anything to go by then it should be a classic. Looking ahead to Sunday, Slater told JC Sport: “Having drawn 3-3 in the away fixture, we're all ready to get the three points this time around.
“We're on another great winning run, confidence is sky high and we can't wait for Sunday.”
Fortune are also riding on the crest of a wave after completing back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.
Although it was not their most fluent performance, there were enough positives to take away from a game in which Paul Walker, Jason Miller, Brett Stead and Kane Gilbery did the damage against Montana.
Lee Fegan hopes to go into the game with exactly the same squad. Consistent availability and continuity can only help results.
Fortune assistant-manager Jack Morris told JC Sport that the spirit in the camp is second to none. “After two successive wins, confidence is high, but we all know we have to play much better than last week if we are to get anything from a very strong Chigwell side.
“We’ve put a bit of distance between ourselves and the relegation zone, but we have to keep going right until the end.”
There is now a great sense of self-belief in the Fortune squad. Messus Fegan and Morris know full well that plenty of Chigwell players have been there, seen it and done it at MSFL level. However, if you ask any Chigwell player which Fortune player they’ve heard of, the likelihood is that only the name of Michael Goldberg will be put forward.
That could all change with another big performance from Fortune but with home advantage, I can see Chigwell doing just enough over the course of 90 minutes.
JC team news: Chigwell welcome back Jamie Fox, Lloyd Becker and Adam Goodman.
For Fortune, Daniel Natoff returns after a four-month absence. Several other players face late fitness tests after picking up minor knocks last weekend.
Chigwell squad: Rob Shepherdson, Lee Hyams, Alex Norman, Paul Lenchner, Russell Brill, Jon Swead, Daniel Castle (capt), Richard Slater, Craig Pearl, Anthony Mendel, Russell Yershon, Jamie Fox, Lloyd Becker, Glenn Michaels, Neil Tilley
Venue – Peter May Sports Centre, Ref - A. Lewis
JC star man: Jamie Fox (Chigwell)
DC Prediction: Chigwell Athletic 2 Temple Fortune A 1
OAKWOOD vs BRIXTON OLD BOYS A
If you’re looking for five-star entertainment, look no further. This game will not disappoint. Take my word for it.
Confidence is sky high in the Oakwood camp following the 2-0 win against long-time leaders Redbridge last weekend.
And the Oaks will go into this game with a slight psychological edge following the 3-1 win over Brixton at the beginning of November. Daniel Geey, James Abrams and Adam Levine saw them home.
Abrams and Levine have been in imperious form of late with the battle between Levine and Brixton hotshot Jamie Kent worth the admission fee alone in a clash between two of the league’s big-hitters.
However, Ric Blank, the Oakwood joint-manager, is keen to keep taking it one game at a time.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Blank told JC Sport: "We're really looking forward to Sunday’s game against Brixton. Their results recently have been fantastic and it’s no fluke they’ve progressed so far in the cup, beating two excellent Premier Division teams along the way.
"We were delighted to beat them last time out but are taking nothing for granted given the teams they’ve beaten this season.
"Their league position is a false one given the number of games-in-hand they have, so we know it’s going to be an incredibly tight game.
"We expect a full-on physical game which we relish. We are on a good run at the moment and will do everything we can to keep it going.
"We're in good health and spirit at the club is high. We hope that carries on this Sunday."
Beaten 5-1 in the London FA Sunday Junior Cup last Sunday, John Nitka’s men will be licking their wounds, especially after having two players sent off. Those suspensions could come back to haunt them later in the season.
But having recently taken the scalps of Neasden and Redbridge this season, it’s clear they fear no-one.
Nitka told JC Sport: "This Sunday we revert back to our league programme as having played only six games.
"I'm missing some vital players due to the bruising encounter we had last Sunday in the LFA Cup. Jamie Gurvitz, one of our defenders, broke his ankle after a hefty tackle by a player from Lord Stanley and is out for the season.
"However we shall carry on and give our best against Oakwood who I see are in good form.
"No-one scares us after some of the teams we have beaten in the cups this season, so we will be ready."
Oakwood are at home and have won their last four games. They have won three out of four on their pitch in Garston – one of the biggest playing surfaces in the league.
Sunday will be a day when no-one can hide and it could all boil down to which team keeps their heads.
I going to stick my next on the line and tip Oakwood to nick it.
JC team news: Oakwood are missing wing wizard Brad Wine, but talisman Eddie Manson returns, as does Dan Ash and James Abrams. Victor Librae is still absent with "a wallet injury he picked up in Mahiki recently".
Venue - Parmiters, Ref – Andy Myerson
JC star man: Josh Rose (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: Oakwood 2 Brixton Old Boys A 1
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B vs NORSTAR A
There's no let-up in the fixture list for Redbridge B, with title rivals Norstar making the long journey east on Sunday.
That 4-2 win over Brixton feels like a long time ago now to manager Stirling Kay and co with the chasing pack having caught up and the goals drying up.
The character of Kay’s young is being put to the test and I can’t see things getting any easier against a Norstar team they beat 3-1 earlier in the season.
After the game, Kay told JC Sport: "We showed another side of our character. We were under pressure but dug in and worked for each other to get a very hard three points." He's been rummaging through his garage to find the teamtalk from that game but should expect no favours from a Norstar team looking to play leapfrog.
Yes, that's right. RJC, the long-time leaders, could slip down to fourth if the unthinkable happens and they suffer a third consecutive home defeat. The division is now incredibly tight and every mistake is being punished.
Norstar warmed-up for the game with a thrilling 4-3 win over Neasden B. Once again, Josh Green was the star of the show and he’s already eyeing a record third consecutive hat-trick.
More of the same. That is what Stars boss Phil Peters will be telling his troops before kick-off.
"We're looking forward to looking forward to Redbridge again and hopefully getting the result we deserve this time," Peters told JC Sport.
"They're going through a difficult patch at the moment and we hope to make things even tougher for them although we'll be doing it without our skipper Jeremy Elster who is off skiing.
"Confidence is high though, having got things back on track since the turn of the year and we’d love to come away with three points. We haven’t won in Essex for a couple of years so it would be great to get back to winning ways there on Sunday.
"We have six games to go and we intend to make them all count."
Even with Elster on the slopes I think it will be downhill for RJC on Sunday.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – M. Vandermolen
JC star man: Jonathan Peters (Norstar)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC B 1 Norstar A 2
WOODFORD WANDERERS vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN B
Neasden B are like a box of chocolates. You just never know which one you’re going to get. And it must be driving manager Dan Hodes crazy.
The acquisition of Ricky Engleman has been a major plus this season. The midfielder would walk into virtually all Premier Division teams and he is the man that Woodford will need to stop on Sunday.
But NWN are far from a one-man team this season, it’s just a case of Engleman raising the level of the team and help to create chances for striker Jonny Blain who is in the middle of a purple patch.
Speaking to Blain earlier this week, he told me that he "really enjoying it back at Neasden and his game is benefiting".
A red-hot Blain and excellent Engleman have turned into something of a dream team and they have led the way in recent weeks as the team has put together a three-match unbeaten run.
Indeed Blain and Engleman found the net when the teams last met. Neasden ran out 5-3 winners in a classic contest.
After the game, told JC Sport: "We played some lovely football in patches and took our chances.
"Credit to Woodford for fighting back but in the end our good work and neat passing created too many goals for them to come back from."
Alex Aviram’s Wanderers have only played once since December 11. That was a 5-1 mauling at the hands of Oakwood.
They still have time and games in hand but it’s vital they pull out all the stops week in, week out. Aviram needs everyone pulling together, playing with hearts on their sleeve. Nothing less will do.
If Mitch Hahn lines up for Woodford, spectators could be treated to a real master-class with the Team GB going head-to-head with Engleman.
Venue – Redbridge Sports Centre, Ref – D. Lazarus
JC star man: Nick Kenton (NWN)
DC Prediction: Woodford Wanderers 1 NW Neasden B 1
19 - Doron Weinstein (Redbridge Jewish Care C)
14 - Ben Simons (Faithfold C)
CAMDEN PARK vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS B
There’s a tasty affair in store at the Hive on Sunday as leaders Camden Park tackle Lions B.
Camden boss Josh Marks knows that no-one can touch them if they win their last six games and that’s exactly what they’ll be aiming to do.
With games in hand and a four point lead, they are sitting pretty and the onus will be on them taking the game to opponents who have nothing to lose.
Looking ahead to the game, Camden’s Nick Kagan told JC Sport: “There's always that extra bit of motivation when you play Lions. The boys are right up for it and in recent weeks we've added graft to our conviction in our own abilities.
“Lions have been inconsistent this season, but we won't be taking them lightly. Everyone wants to beat the team at the top.
“Josh Marks is looking forward to recommencing battle with the Jewish football royalty that is Jamie Kyte. There's great mutual respect between Josh, I and him.
“Guy Mark's performance last Sunday embodies the squad's improved attitude, each individual knows that the collective is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Leo Feldman (2) and Dan Baneth were the scorers when the team’s met at Rowley Lane in September as Camden ran out 3-1 winners, so revenge will be the name of the game for a Lions team keen to impress.
Much like Camden, one of the things I like most about Lions is that they have no real superstars. Gaffer Kyte has put together a squad that has great potential.
I’m expecting a big performance from his men against the table-toppers. Ahead of the trip to Edgware, Kyte told JC Sport: “This weekend's game is one of our biggest of the season. It's against a team that scraped a win at the Lane and is a chance for us to get it right before the Peter Morrison Trophy tie next week.
“Camden have a great team and are unbeaten, but just like in Temple Run, you've got to trip up at some point.
“It's time to bring Kagan's men back to reality, and with Jimmy Gold and Kyte junior starting to understand each other a bit more up top, I think this will be the one.
“This weekend we've got Castle missing between the posts but we've got cheeky chappy Dec Green filling in to do a job.
“My main worry this week is Senchal. He's definitely not fit and after the festive period he's carrying a few extra pounds. It's really going to be a case of putting him through his paces at training to see if he'll pull through.”
There’s no more for me to say than may the best team win.
JC team news: For Camden news: David Khalastchi, who has been in the wars this season, is injured and is a big doubt. This could pave the way for a shock return to action for Nick Kagan after a season decimated by injury. Time will tell.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – R. Benardout
JC star man: Nick Kagan (Camden)
DC Prediction: Camden Park 2 LM Lions B 1
FAITHFOLD B vs FC TEAM B
Faithfold’s win against Glenthorne last week was simply massive. It was only the second time the Thornes failed to score at home and it’s important that Rob Shooman’s men press on from here.
Adam Grossman was the matchwinner in a game of few chances. And having got themselves back into the promotion race, three points is the only option here.
With a trip to another team in the wrong half of the table, this really is an important period for the boys in green and white and it’s vital they stamp their authority early doors here.
Although FC Team have played more than the teams below them, they have points on the board. Getting anything from their trip to the Hive will be a bonus but they have enough quality to get a result if Faithfold underestimate them.
Heavy defeats in their last three games has not dampened spirits in the camp and as long as they stick together, I don’t expect them to have any problems in terms of staying up.
Mark this down as a home banker.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – L. Benson
JC star man: Richard Winton (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold B 3 FC Team B 0
L’EQUIPE vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB B
Hendon joint-manager Motty Korman is promising to splash the cash after his team’s JC League Cup elimination last Sunday.
Defeated 6-0 at North London Raiders, Korman and Chaim Gothold are scouring the market in an attempt to bolster the squad for the run-in.
With their cup hopes over for another season, Hendon return to league action with what could be a testing 90 minutes against improving L’Equipe.
Looking ahead to the trip to Copthall, Korman told JC Sport: “We’re currently working on our January signings and hope to have them tied up in time for this week.
“It’s back to reality for us this week in the league. We battled hard last week and credit to the boys as we didn't let our heads drop but we have to take the positives out of last week’s defeat in the cup and get back to winning ways
“We know this Sunday is going to be a tough game but we hope to continue our challenge for the title.”
L’Equipe were brought back to earth with a bump against Camden last week. Now manager David Prager is looking for a big reaction against a team they were well beaten by in early October.
Pinty Baddiel, James Josephs, Parys Hammond, Korman and Gothold were the scorers that day.
It’ll be interesting to see in which areas the Hornets recruit. Their results show that they have no problems in the final third but a no-nonsense defender could be the order of the day.
With Faithfold C to come next week, I’d be surprised if the boys in red don’t go on another strong run, starting on Sunday.
JC team news: Danny Steel returns for Hendon but James Joseph remains a doubt.
Venue – Copthall, Ref – N. Cooper
JC star man: Danny Steel (Hendon)
DC Prediction: L’Equipe 2 Hendon Utd SC B 4
16 - Saul Conway (Shirley Park)
14 - Stefan Benfredj (Shirley Park)
11 - Nicky Plotnek (Shirley Park), Assi Avital (UJIA), Fabio Revieccio (Glenthorne United – including 2 for Redbridge JC A)
CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN C
Louis Taylor, the Neasden boss, is demanding six points from the team’s next two games ahead of the trip to Catford.
With a trip to rock bottom JLGB next Sunday, Taylor knows that only near-perfect football and a string of positives results will be enough in a division where the bar has been raised.
Taylor cut a frustrated figure last Sunday as his troops were unable to break through the resistance of Blizzard Storm and he wants them to be more ruthless in the final third.
“It’'s pretty simple for us from now on,” he told JC Sport. “If we want to be taken seriously as promotion candidates we need to be winning our next few games, starting this Sunday.
“We won’t be taking Catford lightly, and we'll need a better performance than the one we put in against Blizzard to do the job.”
Catford’s bid to avoid the drop was dealt another blow last Sunday, when they were edged out against Hendon C.
The Norseman FC outfit have now failed to score in more than 180 minutes and the management team is looking for a big improvement here.
However, the signs do not look good. Neasden ran out worthy 5-2 winners in November and only a brave man would bet against them on Sunday. Oli Joseph, Aron Lewis, Tony Chadwick and Taylor (2) completed the victory.
Even with some key men missing I expect Neasden to come away from Edmonton with the right result.
JC team news: Neasden welcome back Oli Joseph and the hope is that he will inspire misfiring player manager Louis Taylor into regaining his scoring touch. With the likes of Benjy Gourgey, Joel Kanutin and Simon Cohen all away at uni, Taylor said: “It’s a chance for the squad to show it’s strength in depth and pull out a much needed victory.”
Venue – Norseman FC, Ref – B. David
JC star man: Louis Taylor (NWN)
DC Prediction: Catford & Bromley 1 NW Neasden C 3
GLENTHORNE UNITED B vs UJIA
First plays second in Division Three, but in fairness there is a big gulf in class between the teams and I think the full-time score will reflect that.
The Thornes registered an incredible 12th straight victory when Fabio Revieccio and Craig Sandford were the hat-trick heroes in the 8-0 demolition of JLGB.
With Sandford now having most clear at the top of the JC MSFL Golden Boot race, he and joint-manager Sam Rosenthal hope that Sunday isn’t a case of unlucky 13.
The Thornes scored an impressive 24 goals in their four home games this season and they have kept three clean sheets during that time.
Sandford reported a full-strength squad for the second week running and he told JC Sport: “’Keep doing what we’ve been doing all season’ is all I need to say to the boys.
“They have responded to our requests at staying focused and giving everything for two hours on a Sunday morning.
“The finishing line is in view and we need to push into sixth gear to make sure we cross it in style.
“UJIA will always be a solid and organised team with some excellent players in the ranks, but I hope we will have too much for them.
“They are desperate to finish ahead of Shirley Park and we know this is a must-win game for them, but we will continue to be strong and disciplined in all areas.”
UJIA could not have asked for a tougher game on Sunday – their first fixture for six weeks.
But the important thing is that they are still flying high although it won’t be easy carrying on where they left off.
It finished 4-2 to Glenthorne last time the team’s met and it’s clear U’s player-manager Darren Rolfe is looking to put the east Londoners closer second time around.
“It’s amazingly we are still second in the league as results have gone our way,” Rolfe told JC Sport.
“Glenthorne are a strong outfit with 12 wins from 12, however we will be focusing on our strengths rather than their unbeaten run.
“Last time out we were missing Matty Radstone and Assi Avital. This time we're not.
“We have a good 13-man squad coming into Sunday’s game and hope to be the first team to take anything off of Glenthorne this season.”
It’s vital UJIA don’t start sluggishly and make sure that any cobwebs are left in the changing room as
Glenthorne won’t take any prisoners on Sunday.
Venue – London Marathon Playing Fields, Ref – B. Pieters
JC star man: Dan Lassman (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd B 4 UJIA 1
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C vs SHIRLEY PARK
Shirley Park will be looking to finish the weekend in second place as they prepare to take on Hendon C.
With star man Nicky Plotnek in Israel for five weeks, player-manager Dave Lusman will ask each and every one of his players to step up to the plate in a bid to secure their ninth league win.
Shirley average almost six goals a game and summer signings Saul Conway and Stefan Benfredj have been in red-hot form in front of goal. Now Lusman is challenging a few others to chip in.
Lusman’s warriors will go into the game with a big psychological edge after beating the Hustlers 3-0 in December with goals from Ian Bean, Gideon Gold and Plotnek.
After the game Lusman told JC Sport: “The Hustlers were hard to break down and their keeper was outstanding.”
I can see the Hendon keeper being kept busy again on Sunday and it’s good to see one club boasting three top keepers, with A team stopper Russell Corin and B team No. 1 Arthur Caplan among the most reliable custodians in the league.
Hendon earned an important win over fellow strugglers Catford last Sunday. Chaim Strom did the business for Avi Gelley’s men.
When push comes to shove, I think even Mystic Meg would have trouble predicting anything other than a Shirley win.
Venue – West Hendon, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Sacha Benfredj (Shirley)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC C 1 Shirley Park 4
LOS BLANCOS vs TEAM JLGB
I promised JLGB fans a little while ago that I would tip them to win a game. This isn’t it, however. Unless Adam Hersh, Joel Kutner and keeper Josh Cohen are struck down by the infamous lasagne bug!
Rob Silverman’s men are continuing to plow on in the face of adversity and deserve full credit for their excellent attitude.
The corresponding fixture against Blancos was the nearest they came to claiming a point this season. It finished 5-3 to the boys in white but had Michael Marks converted a penalty then you just never know what might have happened.
Indeed, JLGB have missed almost as many penalties as Liverpool this season and Silverman will urge his troops to be more clinical in front of goal.
Speaking after the last game against JLGB, Los Blancos manager Joel Minsky told JC Sport: "We were far from our best, but defended as a unit for the first time in a while which allowed us to attack on the front foot and we actually converted our offensive dominance into goals for a change. JLGB gave us a good game.”
JLGB player-manager Rob Silverman told JC Sport: "We were great for the first 30 minutes but a combination of bad luck and a lack of composure in defence and poor distribution has lost us this game.
"We definitely lost it rather then Blancos winning it."
If there is a crumb of comfort for JLGB, it’s that Blancos have drawn their last two. If JLGB can keep things tight for the first hour and keeper Rob Levene is at his inspired best, then I can see them taking it to the wire again.
Venue – South Oxhey, Ref – D. Nathan
JC star man: Rob Levene (JLGB)
DC Prediction: Los Blancos 3 Team JLGB 2
21 - Craig Sandford (Glenthorne B)
17 - Terry Jeffries (Temple Fortune B)
16 - Dan Hildebrand (Brady B - includes 7 for Faithfold)
15 - Ben Hart, (NL Raiders C)
11 - Edward Green (Athletic Bilbaum)
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C vs SPEC FC
Fierce rivals Raiders C and SPEC FC are ready to rumble in what should be one of the weekend’s top fixtures.
Raiders boss Oli Shorts has returned from a scouting mission and he tells me that tickets for this crunch clash have now sold out. However, if you have a shekel or two to burn, there are still one or two hospitality packages available.
Ahead of the Milan style derby - they share the same ground (in Hatfield) – I get the feeling that both camps are quietly confident.
Raiders look back to their best after sticking seven past Boca last Sunday. Assistant-manager Richie Abrahams was mightily relieved that top-scorer Ben Hart was able to fill his boots with a hat-trick and restore confidence for what is a massive game for both clubs.
Looking ahead to the game, Raiders boss Oli Shorts told JC Sport: "This Sunday is 100 per cent the biggest game of our season. For the first time this season I have the luxury of having a full squad to choose from and I hope that the 14 picked can deliver the goods.
"Our win at the start of the season against SPEC proved to be the catalyst that has seen us become one of the title challengers. I certainly didn't expect that at the beginning of the season.
"SPEC have some talented individuals and we must stop the likes of Lawrence and Burns dominating the midfield. I have know doubt that my boys can beat SPEC.
"A win would be massive and puts us five points ahead of them and if that isn't motivation then I don't know what it. We are the two sides with the best defensive record in the league so I'm expecting a tight game won by a single goal. I just hope it's us celebrating come full time."
SPEC FC were frustrated by Jewventus last Sunday, drawing a blank for only the second time this season. They were also shut out by Raiders in September when the majestic Matt Bennett hit home the winner.
However, there is the added incentive that three points would lift SPEC above the Raiders so you can see what’s at stake for both teams.
SPEC FC’s media man Ricky Lawrence was in candid mood at the club’s midweek’s press conference. He told JC Sport: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." Read into that what you like ...
There is so much to look forward to in a game where there is talented spread all over the park. Sunday will come down to which team wants it most and which teams takes their chances. I think it will be too close to call.
JC team news: Raiders look set to welcome back the influential Toby Katz who impressed again for the A team in the cup last Sunday.
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – N. Burns, KO – 10.15am
JC star man: Toby Katz (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders C 1 SPEC FC 1
ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs JEWVENTUS
The Baums froze in front of the JC cameras last Sunday and managers Mark Pasha and Ed Green will be looked for a marked improvement from the team sitting two points clear at the top of the table.
The green and whites have won five out of seven at fortress Bernebaum this season but I can see an in-form Jewve giving them one of their toughest games of the season.
In the end, they were left to rue two missed penalties in the draw against Temple Fortune B last Sunday. The relief was there for all to see when Benjy Aarons-Richardson drew them level.
Meanwhile, Jewve earned a deserved point against promotion-chasing SPEC FC. He put forward all his players for JC Team of the Week, with striker Mike Gill one of the top performers on the day.
With a full squad to choose from gaffer John is relishing the battle with old foes Bilbaum.
John told JC Sport: “For ages they've been in the same division as us, but now it looks like Bilbaum have found their best form and continue to push hard at the summit.
“Conversely Jewve, notoriously slow starters, have only just started to find their own winning formula.
“With new additions Mike Gill and Ami Wynbourne adding the finishing touches to a good squad, I feels three points is not out of their reach.
“First things first, I want to keep another clean sheet, but with the two aforementioned strikers and talented James Alexander making up a strike trio most teams would be jealous of, goals are always a possibility.”
Pasha was one of the scorers when the Baums beat Jewve 2-1 on the opening weekend of the season. He knows his team will need to work their socks off against another team on the up as they could be knocked off top spot with anything less than three points.
Venue – Hampstead Heath Extension, Ref – H. Raffe
JC star man: James Alexander (Jewventus)
DC Prediction: Athletic Bilbaum 2 Jewventus 2
BRIXTON OLD BOYS B vs BRADY MACCABI B
Brady started 2012 the same way they ended 2011 – with a win. Now player-manager Josh Dagul is challenging his troops to step it up again.
It was business as usual for Brady B last Sunday as a double from the excellent Reiss Mogilner and one from captain marvel James Joseph wrapped up a 3-1 win over Athletico.
On Sunday, Dagul wants a result and a performance and I can see his men granting that very wish.
Looking ahead to the match, Brady boss Josh Dagul told JC Sport: “Last weekend we struggled with our performance, which is expected after not playing for so long, but we got the win.
“This weekend I will be looking for a better performance from the team. It’s very close at the top in our league so we need to continue winning games and hoping our rivals drop points because we want to be at the top come May.”
I expect there to be lots of empty holes in the home end on Sunday as Brixton have failed to deliver and the fans expect better.
Dan Selt’s men have failed to score in five games this season and they won’t get any late Chanukah presents against a well-drilled Brady backline.
Mogilner was Brady’s hat-trick hero when the teams met last time. Brady battered Brixton 8-0 with Dan Hildebrand, Dagul and Joseph completing the route.
And if they turn up with their game heads on, I can see the reds running riot once more.
Venue – Clowes, Ref – P. Dobkin
JC star man: Dan Hildebrand (Brady)
DC Prediction: Brixton OB B 1 Brady B 5
TEMPLE FORTUNE B vs FC TEAM C
“We’re a match for anyone.” Those were the words of Fortune assistant-manager Adam Glekin after last week’s 1-1 draw in the thriller at the Bernebaum.
Dean Ingram put Fortune ahead with a close-range header and many believe the side deserved their luck as Bilbaum missed two penalties in a Phil Small inspired performance.
Culinary king Small was in top form with a show-stopping performance in goal.
Fortune will have fond memories of their first meeting with FC Team C this season. Player-manager Jeffries (2) and Rob Jay were the goal men in the 3-0 success on the opening weekend of the season.
After the game, 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."
FC Team boss Michael Myers told JC Sport: "The first game for FC Team C didn't go to plan. We dominated possession but didn't create enough goal-scoring chances.
"Temple Fortune were very well organised and played well as a team, something which we didn't do. In the end lost 3-0, their second goal was a fantastic strike.
"When the game was at 1-0 we had a goal disallowed which I think was a turning point because our head drops and we were very frustrated with the decision."
Both Fortune and Team are vying for fifth position. I think that is the best either side can hope for. Fortune start the match four points better off but Team have three games in hand.
Having thrashed Boca 9-0 a fortnight ago, Michael Myers’ men will arrive in confident mood and if they can keep the ball and play for 90 minutes I can see them getting something here.
JC team news: Fortune player-manager Terry Jeffries faces a late fitness test after limping off last week.
Venue – Gosling Sports Park, Ref – L. Thorne
JC star man: Max Worth (FC Team)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune B 2 FC Team C 2
MATCHDAY 19 AWARDS
JC MSFL GOAL OF THE WEEK
Jonny Blain (NW Neasden B) - a "special" goal - terrific 25-yard drive into the bottom corner
JC MSFL SAVE OF THE WEEK
Arthur Kaplan (Hendon B) - somehow managed to tip away a Toby Katz free kick which was destined for the top corner
JC REFEREE OF THE WEEK
Stephen Levy (Brady Maccabi A vs Southgate Harmen A)
JC MSFL QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Daran Bern (Redbridge JC A) - "Just call me Thierry Henry"
JC MSFL SUPERSUB OF THE WEEK
Kane Alexander (Brady B)
JC MSFL GAFF OF THE WEEK