Matchday 29 weekend preview


Oakwood A hope it's a case of fourth time lucky when they visit NLR A and look to end their treble hopes in the game of the day, while Hendon United Sports Club A go in search of maximum points from an important double-header against Redbridge Jewish Care. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the action.











Norstar London Raiders A vs Hendon United Sports Club A
May 4, Wingate & Finchley


YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE: (Matches kick-off at 10.30am unless stated)


Oakwood are probably sick of the sight of NLR, but with the law of averages, the clocks going forward and football being a funny old game, you just never know.

It’s the fourth part of the series on Sunday and up to now, L’Orange have held all the aces, and on their own patch, they start as favourites once more.

NLR have been Oakwood’s bogey team – with Matt Stock, David Dinkin and Zac McLeod on target in the first league meeting. David Dinkin was on target again in the rematch last month, while it was Jamie Wolfson and Stock who steered Phil Peters’s men into the final of the Anekstein a couple of weeks ago.

That said, there’s been very little to separate the teams, small details in fact. And with NLR boss Phil Peters away on a scouting mission in South America, the reins have been passed over to Honorary Club President Rob Richman.

He told JC Sport: "So I’m back in the managerial hot-seat this weekend having carefully guided Phil through his first year in the job. He’s done OK, hasn’t he? Phil takes a two-week break to recharge and mentally prepare himself for the cup final against Hendon.

"Sunday will see us play against Oakwood for the fourth time this season, and rather coincidentally the third time we have met in the Peter Morrison in the last four years. We have been fortunate to come away with the win on each occasion this season and also in those last two cup meetings, but each time only by one goal and we are aware it will be a very tough contest on Sunday.

"I know Ric and Alex will be particularly keen on winning this one, as the winners face South Manchester in the semi-finals - a club that has close ties with Oakwood, but we are very keen on keeping our good form of this season going strong and I hope to pass on some good news to Mr Peters on the Buenos Aires beach Sunday lunchtime!"

The Oaks hurdled a potential banana skin in the shape of giant-killers FC Team C last weekend, with top-scorer Brady Wine their two-goal hero.

Managers Ric Blank and Alex Schock know they will have to step up a couple of notches for a Raiders team who have been outstanding this season.

The Oaks will adopt an ‘up and at ‘em’ approach and they will come close again if they execute their game-plan to perfection. It’s important they come off the pitch with no regrets, especially with a clash at home to South Manchester up for grabs.

Ahead of the tie, Blank told JC Sport: "We're really looking forward to a big cup clash on Sunday. We felt hard done by last time out against Raiders and are determined to put it right.

"We know they work hard, have some very good players and always call the ref by his first name. We need to match that and show the same game cleverness to try and get something from this tie.

"It's an incredibly tough game, but we know we can play. We are aware that Norstar are the golden boys that everyone wants to win. There's articles about them in the JC each week - even the chairman is waxing lyrical about them - but we're not bothered about what people think.

"We need to play well for each other and take advantage of that bit of luck that's deserted us in our encounters this season. If we get that we've got a very good chance."

Winning has become a habit for NLR this season and I can see them coming out all smiles again.

JC team news: Rob Blackman will be only absentee for NLR this week, the rest of the squad "remains fit and available".

The Rose brothers are away for Oakwood, and there's no Adam Levine still and Sam Jacobson is unlikely to make it after retiring ill in the last game.

Venue – Brunel, Ref – Richard Jaye (Games 12, Yellows 15, Reds 0)

JC star man: Alex Bloch (NLR)

DC Prediction: NLR 2 Oakwood 1 AET




13 - Matt Stock (NL Raiders A)
12 - Mike Pearson (Faithfold A)

With their season effectively over, there’s no pressure on Faithfold who saw their silverware hopes ended last Sunday against Hendon.

Superhoops boss Zuriel Solomon this week gave a brutally honest press conference – warts and all – when he spoke about his frustrations.

He told JC Sport: “We’ve moved on after last week’s disappointment.

“This season has been difficult, but I won’t bore everyone with excuses.

“We’ve played Lions Blue before and I hope we can play with a little freedom and enjoy the day.”

The Lions are still scratching around for points and with two games against Hendon and one against Oakwood to follow, it’s important they get something from the game.

Sunday all depends on which Faithfold team turns up …

JC team news: Faithfold are missing Rocky Spitzer, Dan Perkins, Alex Kaye, Elliott Stern and Joe Cohen, but Alex Levack is back

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Neal Cohen (Games 20, Yellows 24, Reds 2), KO – 10am

JC star man: Sam Lewis (Faithfold)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 2 LML 1


“Sunday is real make or break for our title and treble aspirations,” according to Hendon boss David Garbacz.

Having breezed past the challenge of Faithfold to book their place in the last four of the Morrison last weekend, they must put all their eggs into one basket for the next two hours of football in what will be a war of attrition against their bogey team.

Ari Last was the star of the show last Sunday; his brace ensured they didn’t need to go flat out for 90 minutes. Mordi Weiler scored his second goal for the club and I’m sure the talented youngster will come into play on Sunday.

RJC have an excellent record over the Hammers in recent seasons, but the momentum is most definitely with the boys in red.

Ahead of the trip east, Garbacz told JC Sport: “Of all the double-headers to be literally forced into playing, Redbridge are probably the toughest team to get maximum points out of.

“They have notoriously been a bogey team for us and we need to dispel that myth for starters.

“We struggled to pick up six against Camden recently in a double-header and the shortened version of the game really does level things out.

“It is farcical that it should come to this, but I've told the boys we have no choice and we have to be positive and there is a massive determination amongst the squad to go all out for the two wins.

“One thing that is in our favour is our strength of squad, and we are delighted to have Motti Colman available for a game of this magnitude and Yoav Kestenbaum and Greg are back as well.

“It will be very tense and we must keep it tight at he back so we don't leave ourselves with too much to do, but believe me we are as up for it as we can be and any points dropped will certainly not be for the lack of trying.”

JC team news: Ben Kon is away and unavailable – so Hendon have “flown in a decent replacement - Motti Colman who is literally champing at the bit to play”. Everyone else is available.

Venue – Fairlop, Ref – Adam Lewis (Games 12, Yellows 6, Reds 4), KO – 10am

JC star man: Motti Colman (Hendon)

DC Prediction: RJC 1 Hendon 2/Hendon 0 RJC 0




22 - Jono Gaon (Blancos)
17 - Harrison Midda (Woodford)
16 - Mitch Hahn (Woodford)

With their Morrison hopes over for another season, Brady B can now focus on their bid for promotion – effectively they can treat their last five games as cup finals.

Few outside of the FC Team B camp thought Brady would lose last week’s cup clash, let alone be hit for six. But that’s done and dusted now.

Harmen have set the bar at 31 points and there are three teams, including Brady, battling it out to finish above the Southgate boys.

With Chigwell, Shirley, Woodford and Neasden, Brady know exactly what they have to do in their remaining five games – the ones against Brixton, Chigwell and Shirley are must-wins. Simple as that.

Given the respective seasons of both Brixton and Brady, it’s hard to believe BOBs thumped Brady 5-3 back in September. Ali Aquilina was their hat-trick hero that day.

Alon Hershkorn has been Brixton’s biggest ray of light this season, but with Hendon still fighting for survival, it will need something special for BOBs to stop the Brady bunch on Sunday.

Venue – Clowes, Ref – Steve Levy (Games 16, Yellows 8, Reds 1)

JC star man: David Newman (Brady)

DC Prediction: Brixton 1 Brady 3


Sunday is a must-win for Hendon. Simple as that. Lose and they are down. No if, no buts.

They were in last chance saloon against SPEC FC last week, but cometh the hour, come the man – Dan the man, in fact. The boy Garfinkle stood up and was counted to the tune of three goals. A repeat performance will be order of the day in the Hornets’ final game of season 2013/15.

Shirley still have five games left, but nothing more than pride to play for. But manager Dave Lusman told me this week they certainly won’t be coming to make up the numbers.

Lusman told JC Sport: “Hopefully we’re looking a little stronger squad-wise this week – we’ll know a little bit more later in the week. Fingers crossed were expecting Stefan Benfredj back after five weeks out and Gideon Gold is 50/50 due to a recurring groin injury which has kept him out pretty much the whole season, though he hasnt kicked a bal around for the last two-and-a-bit months.

“Si Shelly came though well on Sunday after four months out, as did Saul Conway who popped up with two goals last week.

“We’re expecting an improved performance for Park. However, we’re well aware Hendon are fighting to stay in the first division and their form of late has been excellent - this fixture will be like their cup final, it’s going to be a real battle.”

I can see goals aplenty flying in on Sunday, with Hendon giving themselves a fighting chance of pulling off the great escape.

Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Neil Cooper (Games 16, Yellows 29, Reds 0)

JC star man: Gideon Barth (Hendon)

DC Prediction: Hendon 4 Shirley 3


Stirling Kay has the utmost regard for a Chigwell team who gave South Manchester a real test in the Morrison quarters last weekend.

The NWN knows his troops are in for a tough morning, but he believes he’s equipped with the players who can pick up three more points on Sunday as their title challenge gathers momentum.

“It’s a game against a team who I thought would be title contenders,” Kay told JC Sport. “Chigwell have a very good mixture of older and younger players and since Chanukah they have been putting in some very good perfomances, and we know our task will be very hard. In my view this will be our hardest game of the season.

“I have been delighted with the way we have been playing and when we have not played well, the boys have dug deep and got results

“We have been missing players week in, week out, yet the squad have dug deep. This week is no exception, but we go into the game knowing our fate is in our own hands.

“You can be sure we will do what we have done all season - get the ball on the ground and play on the front foot and attack. We will leave nothing on the pitch!”

Chigwell felt the luck and one or two decisions went against them last week, but manager Richard Slater is “looking forward to bouncing back with a win after going out the Morrison last Sunday”.

Slater told JC Sport: “Neasden will be a tough game, but we have enough about us to get the three points.”

James Jaconelli and Ryan Cole have been two big plusses for Chigs this season and they will arrive in north London with no fear.

Indeed Chigs could well have a big say in where the title ends up as they travel to Brady next week followed by NWN again.

But Kay’s men have responded superbly since the defeat against Woodford and I can see them going on to pick up their third straight win, although they might leave it late.

Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – Warwick Blake (Games 13, Yellows 21, Reds 2)

JC star man: Adam Arnold (NWN)

DC Prediction: NWN 2 Chigwell 1


Two of the divisions finest strikers go head-to-head on Sunday as Woodford put their title credentials on the line against Blancos.

The battle between Mitch Hahn and Jono Gaon will be worth the admission fee alone, but it’s clear Woodford boss Tony Charles would not swap his main man for anyone in Maccabi football.

“I’m totally shocked that our last opponents claimed that Mitch Hahn is one of the best players in the league,” Charles told JC Sport. “There is no one that comes close - Mitch Hahn is the best player in the MGBSFL!”

Charles went on to pay tribute to his players and the job they have done thus far. He added: “To think what we have achieved with the same 14 players each week is terrific - I just wonder how other managers can keep their 40-man squads happy!

Victory on Sunday would take Woodford level on points with leaders Harmen and it’s a challenge the east Londoners will relish.

Looking ahead to the game, Charles added: “I just hope Blancos have learnt how to tackle; who knows maybe they have purchased my coaching book and learnt a thing or two!”

Having drawn 2-2 against Woodford at the beginning of the month, Blancos will look to raise their game and manager Jonathan Ison his boys can come away with what would be their biggest scalp of the season.

“We are hopeful of a squad of 14 this week, which has been a rarity this season,” Ison told JC Sport. “After the performance against Woodford two weeks ago, we know that the game is there for the taking.

“Woodford are a good side and it will no doubt be tough, but Jono will certainly be hoping to add to his already impressive goals tally.”

“We wish a speedy recovery to Benjy Israel (knee) and Matt Keston (shoulder) as both are out for the rest of the season, but we know they will be there to cheer us on for the remaining games.”

Woodford know they can leave nothing on the pitch on Sunday and if they maintain their discipline, I think they will finish all smiles come 12.15pm on Mother’s Day.

Venue – Fairlop, Ref – David Lazarus (Games 11, Yellows 24, Reds 0)

JC star man: Darren Hahn (Woodford)

DC Prediction: Woodford 2 Blancos 1




22 - Ben Zloof (AC Mill Hill)
18 - Nicky Woolf (Raiders B)
17 - Nathan Sollosi (Redbridge B)

Ian Tussie returns for Oakwood ahead of the trip to promotion-chasing FC Team C.

His name has been dragged through the mud in the build-up to the game, but I expect the gaffer to stand tall and proud in the dug-out, and I just hope he doesn’t bang his head like Robert Mancini did not so long ago!

The Oaks secured their Division Two status after beating Faithfold B 2-1 last weekend, with Ben Polak in charge – Dave Woolman was their two-goal hero.

Looking ahead to Sunday, Tussie told JC Sport: “After last week’s victory what sealed our safety in the division, I have been a little concerned with the attitude of the lads. I fear they’ve got their bucket and spade out the shed a bit early and are already thinking about their summer holidays.

“On the warm-up lap at training this week I heard a couple of the lads discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a trip to Lanzarote versus keeping it British and heading to Llandudno. Driving down Willesden Lane this morning I saw one of the lads dropping his beach towel and Speedos in at Hollywood Dry Cleaners which worried me a bit (not because of potential shrinkage, but more so that his mind is elsewhere).

“I’ve told the boys that they’re all playing for their futures at the club. We inserted relegation clauses in all of their contracts in the summer, but we also included a stay-up-by-the-skin-of-our-teeth clause which gives the club the right to release them if we stay up by less than three points.

“The lads know that and they know that they need to perform so that they can secure their futures at this fantastic club.

“Saying that, we won’t be making rash decisions. I’ve spoken with the owners this week and our thoughts are well and truly on the future and planning is already well under way, not just for this Sunday, but for the last game of the season whenever it is rearranged. During Oakwood EDRSB (ii)’s short period of dominance in April 2013, which brought paralleled success, many other clubs had to undergo periods of turnaround and they looked to change lots of different managers and players, all the while trying to find ways of keeping up and competing with Oakwood ERSB (ii).

“It’s going to be a tough game we know that. I think we play a very good side and it’s the sort of standard and level we need to try and aspire to get ourselves to at this moment in time.”

FC Team are licking their wounds following elimination from the Jewish FA Cup last Sunday. But they came away heads held high after pushing Premier Division Oakwood A all the way.

Co-managed by Ben Gilbey and Michael Myers, the Team boys know they will go up at the expense of RJC B if they win their remaining games, but it’s a big ask.

It’s essential they go into the meeting with Jon Jacobs’s men in ship-shape and I expect them to do the business on Sunday.

JC team news: Oakwood are without quite a few for Sunday, including Ben Polak, “who is away for media training in Harpurhey, Stefan Isaacs, who is hiring a new maid after he caught his old one using the wrong polish on his Philipp Plein loafers, Rafi Bloom, who is having his monthly chest waxing, and Matt Geey, who is watching his bro do a talk about ‘Financial Fair Play in Amateur Football’ in Walsall (go bro!)”.

Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – Laurie Benson (Games 19, Yellows 34, Reds 4)

JC star man: Michael Myers (Team)

DC Prediction: Team 4 Oakwood 2


Team-of-the-moment FC Team B will be looking to do their C-team a big favour when they make the journey east to tackle high-flying Redbridge B.

Having booked their place in the semi-finals of the Jewish FA Cup last Sunday, the boys in yellow and blue go in search of another big scalp against a side hoping to play Division One football next season.

Team ticked all the boxes against first division Brady last time out, even if player-manager David Gordon didn’t have his best game in goal. But his teammates got him out of jail and set up a mouth-watering clash against the giants of Hendon A in a fortnight.

But it’s back to the bread and butter of the league on Sunday against one of the most talked about sides in the league.

Gordon told JC Sport: “We have a number of players missing this weekend for various reasons.

“Those that are playing will have the added incentive of trying to push for a starting place in the semi-final next week and wanting to avenge for a poor performance against Redbridge last time out.

“We know that fourth place in the division is a realistic aim and that is where we are aiming to finish. However, there is no pressure on us in the league anymore so we will be able to play with more freedom and just enjoy the match.”

Nathan Sollosi has been the star of the show for RJC this season, but manager Jon Jacobs has been delighted with the level of performances from his troops this season and, with home advantage he’s confident they can get over the line.

Venue – Fairlop, Ref – Robert Benardout (Games 19, Yellows 11, Reds 3)

JC star man: Adam Goldman (RJC)

DC Prediction: RJC 3 Team 2




30 - Richard Fogelman (L’Equipe)
22 - Dan Gordon (Faithfold C)
15 - Dovi Fehler (Boca)

Having got off to a losing start in the Invitational Cup competition last weekend, it’s back to the league as ‘Nese look to strengthen their grip on second place.

Zack Collins maintained his excellent run of form last week with a double against Waldaf last week, but it counted for little in the end.

With Fortune to come in a week, there’s no margin for error for Darren Lawrence and his merry men.

I caught up with chairman Jake Erlich earlier in the week and he’s rallying his troops for one final push.

“It’s a very big two weeks coming up for everyone involved with the club. Only six points will do if we want to get promoted.

“At the beginning of the season we were unsure as to what to expect, but after working hard off the pitch we have built up a great team bond and we feel that promotion is everything we deserve and would cap off what has been an enjoyable season.

“Boca are a great side who play nice attacking football but I feel that we have the ability to beat them on Sunday and hopefully other results go in our favour.

“We need L'Equipe to drop points, which is unfortunate, as promotion is not in our hands, but with their run of games quite difficult, anything is possible.”

Boca fell short against Whetstone last week, but they have shown they are capable mixing with the best in the division this season.

It finished 4-3 to ‘Nese last time and another high-scoring contest is on the cards.

Venue – Roger Bannister, Ref – Martin Lavender (Games 19, Yellows 8, Reds 0)

JC star man: Barney Rhodes (‘Nese)

DC Prediction: Boca 3 Jewdinese 4


NLR took a huge step towards the title last week when they secured promotion with a 2-1 win over Hendon C.

L’Orange face another big battle against fellow high-flyers Catford who will be eyeing revenge following the 3-0 defeat against Zack Gothelf’s boys in December.

NLR are not at their free-flowing best at the minute, but they have found a system to win game when not firing on all cylinders. And most important, they have found goals from all over the park this term and are not overly reliant on one players.

The Cats have lost to two of their promotion rivals in recent weeks and a third straight defeat is unthinkable for a team who have been near the top all season.

But with a manager as experienced as Lester Jacobs, they won’t hit the panic button. With Faithfold C and L’Equipe to follow, it’s really time to separate the boys from the men. Let’s be ‘avin ya lads!

Jacobs told JC Sport: "With promotion no longer in our own hands, all we can do is take the maximum points left available and hope those above us slip up. So that's just what we plan to do starting with a big game against the leaders this week.

"Our dip in form since the restart following an enforced 10-week bad weather break has not been helped by injuries. But although we're without Gary Conway, we should have our keeper Guy Ben Aroya along with strikers Jamie Sinai and Yonni Bord returning we've also midfielder Ryan Kangisser back in the frame. Regain our pre-break form and give 100 per cent, then I'm sure NLR will feel they've been in a tough game."

Venue – Norseman FC, Ref – Quentin Fox (Games 10, Yellows 12, Reds 1)

JC star man: Sam Cherkas (NLR)

DC Prediction: Catford 1 NLR 2


Faithfold finish their season with matches against Catford & Bromley followed by L’Equipe and their fans are consigned to finishing the MGBSFL wooden spoon.

However, the Faithfold players have shown exactly what they’re capable of in recent weeks, building on the excellent performance against promoted NLR with a clean sheet in the draw against Temple Fortune.

Josh Barnett was typically rock solid last weekend and manager David Garson was delighted to see full-back Charlie Resnick arrive stone-cold sober – a rarity these days.
Adam ‘Shaggy’ Levison was reliable as ever, while gaffer Garson left by example at left-back – Stuart Pearce he ain’t, but Jose Enrique he might be!

There may not be an empty seat in the house as fans will arrive in their hordes, hoping for a repeat of the eight-goal thriller in September. Dan Gordon scored a hat-trick that day and Garson came away from the Fortune game believing his troops would’ve taken three points had their leading marksman played.

But with Hendon eyeing sixth place and Alex Elf always good for a goal or two, Sunday will be all about how Faithfold defends.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Steve Russell (Games 18, Yellows 37, Reds 2)

JC star man: Dan Lowen (Faithfold)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 1 Hendon 1


Whetstone got back on track against Boca last week, but it needed top-class performances from Tomer Tricot and Dan Cohen to get them over the line.

They start Sunday’s match six points better off than Crown – a team they edged past 3-2 in October, with strikes from Philippe Auret (2) and that man Cohen.

Crown boss Jacob Kadoch is predicting a big performance from his players who have performed solidly in their first campaign in the MGBSFL. It could have been better, but it could have been worse, too.

Ahead of the game, Kadoch told JC Sport: “It’s our last home game of the season so we’re looking to finish on a high.

“We score plenty of goals, we just need to be less complacent at the back.”

This has all the makings of an open and entertaining affair and I’m tipping the youngsters to nick it.

Venue – Ludgrove Playing Fields, Ref – Keith Goodman (Games 13, Yellows 5, Reds 0)

JC star man: Ben Pollins (Whetstone)

DC Prediction: Crown 2 Whetstone 3


Sunday is all about the result for L’Equipe who welcome back talisman Richard Fogelman for the meeting with Temple Fortune.

L’Equipe limped to a draw against Loughton last Sunday, when Nick Stern was their scorer, but managers Dan Cordell and Josh Lewis gave their players the hairdryer treatment after a performance in which they under-estimated their opponents.

Ahead of the Fortune game, Cordell told JC Sport: “The aim of the game is three points and we will take them any which way we can. Forget the beautiful game as we know it certainly wont be that on Sunday.

“We know we will be in for a tough battle against a physical Temple Fortune team, but we are also aware that if we try and play our game we should walk away with the three points – every game is now a cup final for the boys as we need to start our move up the league.”

We also got a few words from the boy Fogelman out of his car window at the club’s state-of-the-art training ground. He told JC Sport: “I’m raring to go after missing out due to a stag weekend last week.

“In what will be my last full season for a year or two (due to baby schnitzelman no. 2 on the way), I am aiming to finish the season on 40 goals.

“Even though I still feel hungover from last weekend, I will be looking to score four goals on Sunday.”

Fortune improved in the second half of the goalless draw at Faithfold last week. Dave Sawyer and Lee Fegan were among their stand-out performance, with keeper Tony Hirschstein save as houses.

The “diving Schnitzel” storm has finally died down and I can see L’Equipe’s top-scorer making the headlines for the right reasons here.

JC team news: L’Equipe are without Nick Stern, Richard Male and Mark Singer although they welcome back Richard Fogelman who stuck away a hat-trick last time out.

Venue – Montrose Playing Fields, Ref – Laurence Thorne (Games 14, Yellows 17, Reds 3), KO – 10.15

JC star man: Dan Cordell (L’Equipe)

DC Prediction: L’Equipe 2 Fortune 0





Adam Lavin (South Manchester) - taking on three players before burying the ball into the bottom corner


Ben Pollins (AC Whetstone) - stunning one-handed point-blank save in the last minute against Boca


Ric Blank (Oakwood A) - "I'd like to take this opportunity to wish Kinny mazel on birth of baby girl. I've no doubt the argument about him playing on Sunday has started already"

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