Matchday 30 weekend preview


The Jewish FA Cup takes centre stage on Matchday 30 of the season, with Hendon United Sports Club A hosting FC Team B in the first semi-final followed by Oakwood against South Manchester. There's also a full programme of action in the MGBSFL, as previewed by JC Sports Editor Danny Caro.










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



(Matches kick-off at 10.30am unless stated)


It’s the big one on Sunday – the game that has fans on both sides of the Watford Gap have been praying for for years. I haven’t see Jonny Davis this excited since United won the Champions League.

A Jewish FA Cup semi-final is just desserts for Oakwood who ended Norstar London Raiders A’s treble hopes with a stunning victory at Brunel. Welsh wizard Guy Helman steered them to a memorable win on NLR’s 3G pitch – a mini-cup final success in its own right these days.
Ahead of Sunday’s last four clash against a South team they know very well, Oaks joint-manager Ric Blank told JC Sport: “It’s amazing to think little old Oakwood are playing the mighty South Manchester for the second time in three years. And in a Morrison semi-final. Just a few years ago we were playing Temple Fortune and Neasden B in Division Three. We weren’t even Oakwood A. We were Oakwood C, then Oakwood B. We didn’t have a penny to our name – only some inspired accounting from Gary Bloch kept the club from going into liquidation. Ickle Oakwood. Who knew?

“But here we are in another big occasion. There’s obviously a lot of history between the boys. I’m good friends with Jody Marks, with further sub-plots all over the park. Pitting best friends (Harvey Kaye vs Toby Levy, Kossy vs Stratts) and dividing families makes this a unique occasion. I grew up playing for South. Dave Tussie taught me to kick it, Neil Collins taught me to kick off. I’ve absolutely no idea what Johnny Davis taught me other than not to answer his calls at work.

“But we look forward to welcoming them down for what will be an incredibly tight, physical game. We well remember the ringing endorsement from Darryl Lee in Manchester two years ago - “average team” who will “struggle on a big pitch”. We will see about that. We know full well that South are already preparing for the final, but we won’t be cowed. We will play.

“South boast the Maccabiah crew Laurence Newman, Mark Stewart, Adam Lavin and Mark Addis. They’re a formidable team complete with Toby Levy who graced us in London last season. He’s a brilliant player and a top lad. It’s just a shame his re-signing for South now pits Rob Levy against Stephen Blank. Should it kick-off, you will not find a more reasoned, intelligent touchline debate in world football!

“All in all we’re looking forward to a great day and hopefully a cracking game. Come Sunday we’ll be ready.”

South have beaten arch rivals Maccabi Manchester and Chigwell Athletic in the last two rounds and they continued their outstanding long unbeaten run with a 3-2 win over Miam Miam last Sunday, with that man Levy bagging a brace.

There’s no team news from South as yet, but manager Jody Marks had this to say ahead of the game. “We pit our wits against the Blanky’s Oaks on Sunday. We met two years ago at the same stage when we froze, but I’d like to think we are more experienced now and will be heading down to London well-prepared.

“It seems to have attracted a lot of attention this week with the close connections between the two clubs, but it’s just another game for me.

“We started the season with the goal of retaining our league title and this is still our main target. Anything else is a bonus. Obviously, with the connection of the two clubs, this game has a different edge to normal, but we'll approach it with the same mentality to all our other games this season and hopefully reach the final for a second successive season.”

I’m predicting a high-octane affair between two teams packed with quality from back to front, and possibly Dan Cohen!

Just how you pick a winner I don’t know.

JC team news: There’s no Adam Levine for Oakwood for another month and Dan Ash is away. Sam Jacobson faces a late fitness test.

Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Laurie Benson, Assistant-referees: Martin Delafuente, Tony Ward, KO – 1.30pm

JC star man: Josh Bentley (Oakwood)

DC Prediction: Oakwood 1 South 1 (South to win on pens)


While it’s tough to pick a favourite in the all-northern semi, this one looks a lot more straightforward.

Hendon have blown away virtually every team this season and are odds-on beating second division FC Team B who have done brilliantly to reach this stage of the competition.

The Hammers cruised to a double-header win at Redbridge last weekend and I expect them to have far too much for Sunday’s visitors. Greg Corin scored in both games, with comeback king Motti Colman producing a typically eye-catching performance.

Looking ahead to the game, Hendon boss David Garbacz told JC Sport: “The big games keep on coming and the one thing we need to be careful of is complacency.

“On paper we will be big favourites, but FC Team must have something about them to have got this far in the first place.

“Anything can happen in a one-off cup match, but we are playing quality football at the moment and there is the small matter of a historic second treble to go for, which should keep our minds on the job.

“It will be classic David vs Goliath affair and plenty of underdogs have come good in the past. However, if I'm being totally honest, we should smash them, but all will depend on the state of our minds come Sunday morning.

“Hopefully they will be on the task in hand and we will be looking forward to two trips to Wingate over the coming weeks.”

Parking the bus could be Team’s best bet and it wouldn’t surprise me if David Gordon took a leaf out of the David Moyes manual of coaching and stuck 11 men behind the ball, especially for the first 20.

A 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Redbridge B wasn’t the way Gordon and co would’ve wanted to prepare for what is effectively the biggest game in the club’s history, but that’s done and dusted now – it’s purely just about the next 90 minutes.

In a Churchillian-style battle-cry, Gordon told JC Sport: “For Ronnie Radford read Paul Savitz.

"If you’re after a modern day Andy Linigan then see Josh Kaye.

"Swap Ben Watson ‘13 with Ben Radstone ’14.

"Little Giuiano Grazioli in ’98 will look like an easy feat compared to little Mitch Lassman in ‘14.

“You Tube videos that will be watched over and over again by the players on Saturday evening before lights out at 10:30. Match of the Day can be set to record.

“We have a chance to make history, to be heroes and to create one of the biggest shocks Jewish football has ever seen. Nothing to lose and everything to gain and just 90 minutes from Wingate.

“We’re going to give everything. We believe that we can do it.”

As Gordon says, Team have absolutely nothing to lose. No-one expect them to do anything on Sunday and they should go out and enjoy the ride for as long as possible, before Hendon’s superior quality and technical ability comes through.

JC team news:: Striker Danny Kon is unavailable for Hendon, while Yoav Lebens is rated 50/50.

Team are missing Jon Franks, Adam Goldsmith and James Milman, while Freddie Marks is a doubt.

Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Warwick Blake, Assistant-referee - Neal Cohen, Laurence Thorne

JC star man: Avidan Last (Hendon)

DC Prediction: Hendon 3 Team 0




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

Lions could be playing Faithfold at just the right time as the Rowley Lane outfit make the short journey to the Lodge.

The teams have been involved in some almighty battles over recent years, but the end of the season cannot come soon enough for last season’s champions, who were edged out by Lions Blue last weekend.

Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for Faithfold this season, but manager Zuriel Solomon offered no excuses for their poor showing when I caught up with him this week.

“We should be playing for some pride and need to start enjoying our football,” Solomon told JC Sport.

“With no momentum, it is difficult to motivate my boys. Lions have a young team and if we don’t play well we will not get the right result.”

LML have three games remaining and they are scraping around desperately for the points that will help them avoid relegation. Rooted to the foot of the table for most of the season, revenge will be the name of the game following the 4-0 mauling at the Lane, when Sam Reeves led the way with a double.

Ben Winters has been in outstanding form of late for the Lions, who have the fresher legs and will be out for a big scalp. If they play their cards right, they could pick up three precious points.

JC team news: Mike Pearson is definitely out for the season, as well as Faithfold’s other long-term injuries, but Rocky Spitzer and Benjy Dymant return.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – John Feenstra

JC star man: Ben Winters (LML)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 0 Lions 1


It now looks as though RJC will have to settle for third place following a double-header defeat against title-chasing Hendon last week.

Sam Rosenthal’s boys failed to score in two hours of football, but they will be looking to get back on track when they make the journey east to take on the Team.

Mitch Young’s men are still in need of points and having drawn 2-2 in east London in October, the boys in yellow and blue go into the game believing three points are there for the taking.

Indeed Young will be encouraged by the fact that RJC have failed to score in three of their last four games. No nonsense defending will be order of the day and if they can grab something on the break, then you can see them doing the business.

Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – David Lazarus

JC star man: Jake Weiner (Team)

DC Prediction: Team 1 RJC 0




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

Chigs showed great bouncebackability skills against NWN last weekend, and they will be looking to make a nuisance of themselves against another team chasing a top two finish.

Having bowed out of the cup a fortnight ago, manager Richard Slater was delighted with their levels of application and focus against a strong Neasden team, and he’ll be looking for another rock solid display from Paul Hizer at the heart of defence.

Slater told JC Sport: “This will be another tough game against a team who I thought would smash this league.

“Again we're missing quite a few, but we go to Rowley hoping to keep our good form and performances going.”

Brady thumped Chigs 4-1 on the opening weekend of the season. Henry Ziff, Reiss Mogilner, Dan Harrod and Josh Newman were their marksmen that day, but they have been far from their ruthless best in recent weeks and will need to turn in a special performance to overcome a hard-working Chigwell team.

On a point separates the teams ahead of the game, although Brady have a game in hand, and I can see things being just as close on the pitch.

Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Richard Jaye

JC star man: Jay Jaffa (Chigwell)

DC Prediction: Brady 1 Chigwell 1


Both NWN and SPEC need points for very different reasons and I think the Sunday will come down to which team handles the pressure best.

With games in hand on the top two, NWN know exactly what they have to do and it’s clear manager Stirling Kay is treating every game like a cup final.

He told JC Sport: “After losing with the last kick of the game against Chigwell, we need to bounce back straight away.

“When we played SPEC last month I thought they played very well and did not look a relaxed side. We will not take them lightly as we know they have to win to stay up.

“Last week we were not at our best in the final third and we must do a lot better, but as a team, we were very solid. So we will go into the match looking to take the game to SPEC, and with a better final ball, hopefully we will come away with all three points.

Laurence Conway has refused to talk to the press ahead of this must-win clash. Apparently chairman Stuart Burns gave him the dreaded vote of confidence earlier in the week.

Beaten 3-1 by NWN a month ago, it’s important SPEC keep 11 men on the pitch in what will be a pressure-cooker atmosphere.

But with Adam Arnold and Jamie Kent looking good in training, I expect NWN to edge it.

JC team news: NWN welcome back Jimmy Lee (food poisoning), Rob Caplin (child-minding), but still out are Dan Orgel, Kane Gilbery and Josh Gilbery. Craig Edwards (hamstring) and Michael Field (groin) are both doubtful.

Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – Gary Silver

JC star man: Rob Caplin (NWN)

DC Prediction: NWN 2 SPEC 1


At the start of the season, the bookies expected Shirley to be real promotion contenders. With just over a month of the season left, they are still looking over their shoulders as the relegation trapdoor remains open.

Jono Gaon destroyed Shirley with his pace and movement when the team’s met in October and he’ll be looking to heap more misery on Dave Lusman’s boys on Sunday.

Jonathan Ison will be looking for a big reaction from his players after they were well beaten by Woodford last time out.

Ahead of the trip to Shirley, Ison told JC Sport: “After last week’s disappointing first half, we know we need to up our game this week.

“We had a good result earlier in the season against Shirley and we're hoping we can reproduce that performance.

“Jono Gaon didn't score last week - which proves we were off-form - let's hope he is back to his scoring ways this week, in the knowledge that when he does, Matt Keston will be leading the rendition of #hescoreswhenhewants on the sidelines!”

It could be fill your boots time for Gaon again on Sunday.

Venue – Norseman FC, Ref – Steve Levy

JC star man: Jono Gaon (Blancos)

DC Prediction: Shirley 1 Blancos 3


Woodford were simply outstanding in the first half against Blancos last Sunday, when Harrison Midda grabbed the headlines.

And I’m expecting them to score for fun on Sunday against a Brixton team with whom there’s no love lost.

Having regained top spot, the Woodford boys know that if they win their last three games, no-one can stop them winning the title and I expect them to go for the jugular from the very first whistle on Sunday.

Paul Billar was Woodford’s hero when the team’s met earlier in the season and I have a strong feeling that boss Tony Charles will use Brixton’s post-match comments as motivation in the home changing room.

Brixton couldn’t have asked for a tougher last game and I can only see one winner here.

Venue – Fairlop, Ref – Adam Lewis

JC star man: Harrison Midda (Woodford)

DC Prediction: Woodford 4 Brixton 0




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

With a crunch clash against promotion rivals Redbridge B on the horizon, defeat isn't an option for FC Team C.

They showed no mercy on Oakwood last season, and I expect them to notch up some more goals against Mill Hill on Sunday.

Michael Myers was little more than a spectator last weekend, but the joint-player-manager had this to say ahead of the visit of local rivals Mill Hill.

"There is no time for complacency at the moment - every game is a must-win and my boys will be ruthless on sunday.

"We are hoping to continue our good form and maintain our push for promotion.

"The star man this week has to be James 'Coopie' Cooper - he is a super quick finisher!"

Mill Hill are cast-iron certainties to finish fourth, which is more than respectable given the quality of the top three.

So they have nothing to lose on Sunday, although boss Joe Levy is struggling for numbers.

Levy told JC Sport: "We go into Sunday's game a little light on players. Weddings and girlfriends in Scotland mean we may only have 12 available.

"However we, and especially me, are pleased to welcome back our keeper, James Grabiner after his head injury.

"With little to play for other than pride, we will try and enjoy the game and finally get one over on FC team C."

I can see Mill Hill huffing and puffing for 60 minutes, but in the end Team will blow their house down.

Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – Neil Cooper

JC star man: James 'Coopie' Cooper (Team)

DC Prediction:Team 3 Mill Hill 1




31 - Richard Fogelman (L’Equipe)
22 - Dan Gordon (Faithfold C)

The Cats have the bit between their teeth following the superb win over table-topping NLR C.

Manager Lester Jacobs came away a proud man and he'd have probably won JC Manager of the Week had it not been for Oakwood A's terrific result.

On Sunday they'll be looking to complete the double over a Faithfold team they beat 2-0 earlier in the season. Tom Prevezer and Eli Baraty were the marksmen.

The Cats know that second place is well up for grabs now, although they mustn't under-estimate the challenge of a rejuvenated Faithfold.

Cats skipper Adam Luria told JC Sport: "Faithfold won't be an easy game, regardless of league position. We had a tough game against them last time out and expect them to do us no favours in the return.

"They've got a lot of experienced players and I'm sure will be looking to go out for the win.

"Promotion isn't in our own hands any longer, but we've got two games left and we'll give it all we've got.

Faithfold are finishing the season strongly, and manager David Garson was delighted to see Charlie Resnick and Ben Portnoi bag braces in the win over Hendon C.

Avoiding the wooden spoon remains their target, but they will need to play out of their skins to see off the Cats.

Garson told JC Sport: "We have been pretty good since the new year, with raiders young team the only team to beat us.

"Our games over the years against Catford have always been close, well-fought affairs and this should be no different."

I can see the Cats trying to press the Superhoops high up the pitch, and the battle between Jeff Gotch and Luria and Ben Simons and Dan Gordon will be key.

JC team news: David Sherman and Avi Garson return and the 'flying sprout' Simon Beresford also returns as Danny Caro and Jeremy teacher are out.

Catford are missing Jonny Lee and Oli Hitman, but a number of players will be returning, "all banging down Lester's door to fight their way into the starting line up." Steve Keller, Nick Goodmaker, Tom Prevezer, Darren Hill and Gary Conway will all be vying for those precious starting berths.

Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – Martin Fox

JC star man: Jeff Gotch (Catford)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 1 Catford 3


David Elf's stunner against Faithfold last week was worthy of winning any game, but unfortunately defensive shortcomings proved costly as Hendon slipped to the 10th defeat of a frustrating campaign.

The first meeting with Loughton - which finished 3-0 - was one of the highlights of the season for Hendon fans. They were excellent going forward, with Alex Elf, Ezra Duisberg and Ben David registering, and so solid at the back.

I'm predicting goals on Sunday in a game featuring two teams that many people have steered clear of when filling out their coupons.

We've seen the best and worst of Loughton at times this season, but they start the game a point behind the Hustlers with games in hand.

Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Robert Benardout

JC star man: David Elf (Hendon)

DC Prediction: Hendon 3 Loughton 3


L'Equipe have four cup finals left as they look to wrestle the title from NLR C.

Revenge will be the name of the game as it was Whetstone who dished out their heaviest defeat of the season, with Dan Cohen the hat-trick hero in a 4-1 humbling.

The L'Equipe boys have excelled at times this season, with the goals of Richard Fogelman proving crucial.

It was the Schnitzelman who did the business with the third and decisive goal against Fortune last week and he'll be licking his lips at the prospect of tucking into a young Whetstone defence.

L'Equipe joint-manager Dan Cordell told JC Sport: "It's a huge game this weekend - let's not under-estimate this as in our eyes this is the title game - after Whetstone we have a relatively easy run-in so we need to take three points here.

"Whetstone have fallen by the wayside in recent games, but we will not take them lightly as to be honest they gave us a bit of a humbling in the reverse fixture.

"We have a strong squad and given the buoyant mood around the club, I expect everyone to be up for this from the first whistle.

"We are still unbeaten at home and we desperately need that stat to continue if we are to fulfil our aim or promotion."

Whetstone are in good shape having won their last two, but they continue to concede on a regular basis, so attack could be the best form of defence on Sunday.

The Stones have been playing well and I can understand why some people see this as a potentially tricky game for L'Equipe, but I still think the home side will be too strong on the day.

Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Stuart Ansher

JC star man: Josh Lewis (L'Equipe)

DC Prediction: L'Equipe 2 Whetstone 1


Form appears to have evaded 'Nese at just the wrong time. They have it all to do to qualify for the semis of the Invitational Cup competition and the goalless draw at Boac last Sunday means promotion is out of their hands.

A one point return from their last two matches has left their fans pulling their hair out (apart from me!), and I can see them being in for another tricky 90 minutes against an industrious Fortune team who beat them 3-1 earlier in the season.

Fortune boss Jonathan Cohen came away from last week's tussle with high-flying L'Equipe believing they had done enough to earn a point. But it wasn't to be.

They have made big strides this season and with a few signings, you can see them challenging for promotion next season.

Ahead of the match in Pinner, Cohen told JC Sport: "We have virtually a full complement of players top choose from this week and knowing that Jewdinese will be looking exact revenge, we will have to be no top of our game to finish the season strongly.

"Our football against 'Nese last outing was excellent, as was our second-half performance against L’Equipe last week.

"That has the to be blueprint for Sunday's game as we are determined to do everything we can not to finish bottom of the league, though it is out of our hands."

It's clear 'Nese chief Jake Erlich has some big decisions to make over the summer. Do they then gamble that some of the new arrivals who have struggled will kick on next season? We don't know.

With some big-name stars potentially playing for their futures, I expect 'Nese to go out with a bang as it's important they finish the season with no regrets.

JC team news: Dave Sawyer, Ben Mannheim, Dean Ingram all return for Fortune.

Venue – Roger Bannister, Ref – Keith Goodman

JC star man: Ben Mannheim (Fortune)

DC Prediction: Fortune 2 Jewdinese 3




Oli Gee (Oakwood A) - tremendous triple save to deny NLR at 1-0


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