YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE: (Matches KO at 10am unless stated)
MGBSFL PREMIER DIVISION
LEAGUE TABLE - TOP 3
1. Hendon United Sports Pl. 7, W. 6, Pts. 18
2. Faithfold DocMM White Pl. 9, W. 5, Pts. 17
3. HMH Pl. 9, W. 5, Pts. 16
TOP-SCORERS 12 - Josh Cuby (Oakwood A), 11 - Akiva Solomon (Faithfold Doc MM White - plus one for Green)
FAITHFOLD DOCMM WHITE vs CAMDEN PARK
Faithfold have crept into second place seemingly unnoticed. Most people talk about your Hendons, HMHs, MLFCs and Oakwood, but the Superhoops must not be overlooked.
Halfway through their league campaign, Faithfold have points on the board and are the nearest challengers to leaders Hendon right now. They have unearthed a real gem in Akiva Solomon – a player who just cannot stop scoring. And they will go into Sunday’s clash against Camden Park as favourites on the back of the 3-1 win over Fairlop.
Eli Davila, Martin Smulovitch and Avi Mocton were the stars of the show, while Yoav Kestenbaum ‘s first Faithfold goal was worth the wait.
Camden go into the game as underdogs. They were on the receiving end of a Solomon master-class last month when Faithfold crushed them 9-3. And having lost six out of eight, only a brave man would predict a Camden win.
JC team news: Faithfold are on the look-out for a new goalkeeper following an injury to Gideon Rabstein.
Venue – Capital City
JC star man: Lorian Madanes (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold 4 Camden 1
HMH vs OAKWOOD
It’s a little odd not seeing HMH and Oakwood at the top of the table. Bouncebackability is the name of the game for both teams following disappointing results in the first round of games of 2020.
Avi Goldberg’s men could count themselves unlucky for going down to MLFC for the second time this season. Luck went against them on the day as they struck the woodwork twice, failing to build on an opener from Oscar Wagner. Their character will be tested again on Sunday as they look to recover from a last-minute winner by MLFC’s Josh Pistol.
Ahead of the Oakwood game, gaffer Goldberg told JC Sport: “We’re looking to bounce back to winning ways. MLFC seemed to have replaced Camden as our bogey team.”
Goldberg insists there is more to come from the Peter Morrison Trophy holders. “Our football last Sunday wasn’t bad considering the long winter break, but our ruthlessness was lacking and our fluidity wasn’t at its peak.
“The lads trained well this week and will be looking to bounce back. We know Oakwood and their threats and we noticed their strong showing last weekend, so we know this will be another very tough encounter and good prep for the PM tie in a fortnight.”
Oakwood were also undone by a late goal. They did well to stay in the game against Hendon and asked as many questions as they were posed. Recent signing James Gold showed incredible commitment to the cause, literally almost running through a brick wall for his team.
Indeed it would have been interesting the outcome if top-scorer Josh Cuby had started the game, but there was next to nothing to separate the teams.
The challenge now is to play to that level week in, week out, and take their chances. The defence remains solid and midfield industrious, but they will need to pull out all the stops if they are to avoid a second defeat against HMH this season.
It’s hard to call a winner, but could all boil down to which team takes its chances.
JC team news: Tom Prais and Josh Goldstein should both be back to bolster the HMH defence, while Ethan Krell and Adam Ellis are available to enhance the attacking options.
Venue – The Hive
JC star man: Adam Ellis (HMH)
DC Prediction: HMH 2 Oakwood 1
MLFC BLUE vs FAIRLOP FC
MLFC are home bankers this weekend. They go into the match unbeaten in eight, including four consecutive wins.
Josh Pistol was the match-winner against HMH last weekend – the second time they’ve beaten the National Cup holders this season – in a game where Ricky Rinder produced arguably his finest display in an MLFC jersey.
Sam Hamerton and Mikey Perkins missed some good chances, but with a little more composure they can strike fear into the Fairlop defence.
Ahead of kick-off, MLFC joint-player-manager Max Kyte told JC Sport: “We are really looking forward to our game against Fairlop, who we have had some high-scoring games against this year.
“Whilst we are on a bit of form, we don’t take any game lightly and need to be 100 per cent ready to get a result on Sunday against Fairlop.”
Life continues to be tough for a Fairlop team beaten 3-1 at Faithfold last weekend. I’d like to say the Essex boys don’t travel well, but their home form hasn’t been great this season either.
What they really need now is a big new signing, and their big-match players to stand up and be counted. The million dollar question is, is the club chairman ready to splash the cash?
Having worked so hard to go up last season, I can’t see them going down without a battle on Sunday.
Venue – Rowley Lane
JC star man: Sam Hamerton (MLFC)
DC Prediction: MLFC 3 Fairlop 1
LEAGUE TABLE - TOP 3
1. NL Raiders Pl. 9, W. 8, Pts. 25
2. Hertswood Vale Pl. 10, W. 6, Pts. 19
3. NL Galaxy Pl. 8, W. 5, Pts. 18
TOP-SCORERS 17 - Aron Gale (North London Raiders), 14 - James Millet (Hertswood Vale), 12 - Liron Mannie (North London Raiders),
11 - Reiss Mogilner (Jewdinese), Zach Cohen (Mill Hill Dons)
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS vs NORTH LONDON GALAXY
Sunday is a must-win for Galaxy. Simple as that. However, you want to dress it up, Luke Lewis’s boys have much more to lose ahead of the second North London derby of the season.
The first meeting between the sides finished 1-1, with Nick Lewis cancelling out an own goal in a typically high-octane affair. I’m predicting more of the same on Sunday.
Raiders go into the game on the back of a terrific 6-0 win over a Brook Farm Rovers team that just couldn’t live with them. Aron Gale was only on the pitch for 20 minutes but that was long enough for two goals – the icing on the cake – following earlier efforts from Liron Mannie, Matt Warner, Jordan Nathan, Josh Bloom and Matt Warner.
L’Orange go into the game with a seven-point lead over third-placed Galaxy, who have a game in hand. Ahead of kick-off, joint-manager David Isaacs told JC Sport: “Well, here we go again, Raiders versus Galaxy … and it’s live.
“We fully expect to see all their big guns out on Sunday for Galaxy and we’re looking forward for the battle ahead.
“We may not have the best record against Galaxy but we are looking to change that Sunday and then remain the only unbeaten team left in the division.”
Galaxy notched up an 8-0 win over Redbridge Jewish Care, with hat-trick hero Joey Gold the chief tormentor. As if their squad wasn’t strong enough, they beat off a whole host of clubs for the signing of European Maccabi Games gold medallist Adam Burchell, who hit the ground running with a goal and three assists. His head-to-head with Liron Mannie will be worth the admission fee alone on Sunday.
Boss Luke Lewis is keen for his Galaxy boys to do their talking on the pitch this week. He told JC Sport: “Firstly, we know Raiders are a solid team, and along with us are definitely the best two teams in the league this year – backed up by the fact that we’re the only unbeaten teams at this stage.
“We’ve played Raiders many times over the past year and a half - losing only once, winning three times including a cup final. At times we’ve out fought and played Raiders, other times they’ve been the better team but haven’t been able to keep us at bay for the full 90 minutes needed to win a game.”
Lewis went on to say: “As always, we live by the motto: we came to take over and not take part - we beat Raiders in the BGT final, did the double in the league over them last year and we plan on doing the same on Sunday. 22 at training this week, we’re ready - let’s do this!”
There’s really no more for me to say than may the best team win.
JC team news: Raiders will be missing Joshua Nagli due to tonsillitis
Galaxy will be missing playmaker Josh Shack who is setting off on his travels in Australia. Is Ethan Kessel is “ready to step up to the mark”.
Venue – Ark Academy
JC star man: Adam Burchell (Galaxy)
DC Prediction: Raiders 2 Galaxy 2
HERTSWOOD VALE vs MILL HILL DONS
Hertswood Vale and Mill Hill Dons have experienced contrasting fortunes since being promoted from Division Two.
Vale go into the game in second place, and with a famous cup win over giants Hendon United Sports, and man-of-the-moment James Millet continuing to bang in the goals. He already has 17 to his name in all competitions this season.
The Dons, meanwhile, have seen their season go from bad to worse in terms of results, with six defeats in seven league games. So I think you know which way I’m going to predict.
Promotion-chasing Vale earned one of their finest-ever results in beating Jewdinese last weekend, with that man Millet on target again. Jack Shulman took charge of the team in the absence of managers Jacob Emanuel and Danny Hirschberger and his players produced the performance he so desired.
The Vale boys will be going in searching of a league double over a Dons team they beat 4-2 at the start of the season. Jordan Grant and Millet (3) fired them to victory as they hit the ground running after a season of investment on and off the pitch.
Speaking from the Vale training ground, joint-manager Jacob Emanuel told JC Sport: "We’re looking forward to being back at home for the first time in 2020!
"Sunday’s game against MH Dons represents our second fixture in a big month for Vale, so we’re keen to pick up where we left off against Jewdinese.
"I fully believe that there’s more to the Division One table than meets the eye, and MH Dons have more about them than quite a few teams in our division. With players like Nick Phillips and Jamie Nagioff, I have no doubt that they’ll start picking up points and move clear of safety.
"I’m sure they’ve highlighted our game as a chance to get their first three points of the season, so we’ll be looking to make it as difficult as possible for them."
It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why the Dons have struggled thus far. It would be fair to say striker Zach Cohen has carried the team a little and they would be even further adrift were it not for his 11 goals.
Manager Jamie Nagioff hopes a change of year brings with it a change of luck, especially in the injuries department. But as for Sunday, I expect their problems to continue as Vale go marching on.
JC team news: Josh Gorb, James Neidle, Jack Winton and Jack Shulman miss out for Vale this week but they welcome back some important players that have missed their last few games.
The winter break "has been great timing" for the Dons, according to Nagioff - "firstly a chance to regroup and start afresh, but also a chance for some injured players to get fit again". They welcome back Olly Goodman from a hamstring injury, while Nagioff hopes to have put his groin troubles behind me. However, Zach Cohen has sustained a head injury over-celebrating Chelsea's late winner against Arsenal and will be out for at least this week.
Venue – East Barnet School
JC star man: Justin Mullem (Vale)
DC Prediction: Vale 3 Dons 1
JEWDINESE vs SPEC FC
Jewdinese suffered a new year’s hangover as they were beaten by promotion rivals Hertswood Vale in their first game of 2020.
Other than Reiss Mogilner’s 11th goal of the season, it really was a morning to forget for Darren Lawrence’s men.
Lawrence came away from the game saying ‘Nese “need to be perfect in all their remaining games,” but they cannot under-estimate the challenge of an unpredictable SPEC team.
"After our embarrassing performance last week, I am looking for my players to show a quick response," Lawrence told JC Sport.." With our league chances all but gone, promotion is now the aim
" Having beaten SPEC 6-1 in the cup, we are sure that they will be out for revenge this Sunday. We assume their game-plan will be to stick 11 men behind the ball and take their chances on the counter attack when they come.
"We will work to ensure that we are well prepared for this and are confident we have the firepower to overcome them."
Revenge is the name of the game for SPEC who were hit for six by the Zebras in November, when Darren won the battle of the Lawrence brothers. But Ricky hopes his team can push them closer second time around.
“We’re a bit thin on the ground this week,” said Lawrence, “and we’re against tough opposition.
“It’s going to be a tricky game but we’ll aim to give a good account of ourselves.”
‘Nese sit above SPEC courtesy of a superior goal difference, with both teams locked on 13 points, but they also have three games in hand and their next couple of games look very winnable.
JC team news: 'Nese welcomed Adam Dousie back from injury last week, however they are still without long-term absentees Adam Gold, James Van Straten and Brandon Sassoon. They also are "delighted" to have Grant Reingold and Brad Dryer back in the heart of our defence, who were both sorely missed last week.
Venue – St James’s Park, KO - 10.15am
JC star man: Joe Meisel (Jewdinese)
DC Prediction: Jewdinese 4 SPEC 1
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE vs BROOK FARM ROVERS
The manner of Brook Farm’s defeat against table-topping Raiders came as a real bolt out of the blue.
Joint-manager Dan Cohen admitted the timing of the game could’ve been better, and said Raiders caught them on the hop a little.
Rovers will be something of a revenge mission as to date, they are RJC’s only scalp and clean sheet to date. So there’s plenty of reason for optimism for any fans heading east.
Ahead of kick-off, Cohen told JC Sport: "Sunday’s game is a great chance for us to get back to winning ways after a tough year opener against the league leaders last week.
"We know we can play better than we did and we are certainly out for revenge on a Redbridge side who snuck a 1-0 win against us early on the season with a full-on smash and grab.
"Until last week we hadn’t lost in the league since September, so we remain full of confidence and up for the challenge of breaking down what we know will be a strong Redbridge team."
Redbridge were crushed 8-0 by promotion-seeking Galaxy. They simply had no answer to the brilliance of Adam Burchell or the ruthlessness of Joey Gold in a result they will want to put behind them quickly.
Daniel Jacobs’s boys have now failed to score in five league games and it’s clear they need to find goals from somewhere. A transfer window raid is a must.
Rovers have yet to win on their travels this season but I think Sunday will be their day.
JC team news: Rovers welcome leading goal-scorer Philippe Auret back into the squad after missing last weekend’s opening game of 2020.
Venue - Fairlop
JC star man: Noah Bier (Rovers)
DC Prediction: RJC 0 BFR 2
LEAGUE TABLE - TOP 3
1. FC Team Pl. 9, W. 7, Pts. 23
2. Borussia Barnet Pl. 10, W. 7, Pts. 23
3. Temple Fortune Pl. 11, W. 7, Pts. 22
TOP-SCORERS 17 - Jono Gaon (Hampstead Ducks), 15 - Daniel Garfinkle (Club De Chigwell), 12 - Saul Green (Club De Chigwell), Danny Sherman (Temple Fortune), 10 - Richard Salmon (FC Team), Simon Cohen (Temple Fortune)
FAITHFOLD DOCMM GREEN vs WEST HAMDILLAH
West Hamdillah hope it’s a case of 11th time lucky when they visit Faithfold DocMM Green on Sunday.
They’ve conceded an average of more than seven goals a game, so boss Zachary Amadur will be looking for some basement bargains defenders in the transfer window. Perhaps they can find a Jewish Steven Caulker, who could do a job up top as well.
Fellow strugglers Faithfold have only won one home game all season, so it would be foolish to write Hamdillah off altogether. Anthony Plaskow and Motty Herzog have been two of their top players this season and attack could be the best form of defence on Sunday.
Logic tells me Hamdillah have to pick up their first point sooner or later, so why not Sunday?
JC team news: Faithfold have confirmed they won’t be at full-strength, with several regulars on holiday or injured.
Venue – Tempsford Playing Fields
JC star man: Josh Levy (Hamdillah)
DC Prediction: Faithfold 2 Hamdillah 2
NORTH WEST LONDON BEARS vs FC TEAM
James Harpin predicts a big test for his Bears ahead of the London Academy derby.
Having drawn 2-2 with Mitch Young’s men during the opening month of the season, the Bears will be determined to show that result was no fluke. And if they repeat their heroics from last weekend against Club de Chigwell, it could be an interesting contest.
Sam Morris (2), Zaki Doumou, Sam Shackleton and Rory Carlson fired the Bears to a memorable 5-2 win over a CdC team featuring top-scorers Daniel Garfinkle and Saul Green. It was a result and performance they didn’t look capable of only a few weeks ago.
Now the challenge is to stay at that level, and claim a statement win.
Ahead of the game, Bears’ joint-player-manager James Harpin told JC Sport: This is a tester for us to see how much we’ve improved over the last few games.
“We have a strong squad again and hopefully this will help us get another victory why should hopefully see us move up the table.
“We are one of only two teams to take points off FC Team this season and to be honest if we didn’t have Zacki sent off when we were 2-0 up against them last time we would’ve won the game
“We have now started scoring goals which is what was restricting us earlier in in the season.”
FC Team were relieved to hold on for a 2-2 draw against title rivals Borussia Barnet. Their destiny lies in their own hands, and the arrival of defender Adam Klein will only help them.
They have pace, power and experience all over the park and will fancy their chances of coming away with a comfortable win.
JC team news- Alex Rose is a doubt for the Bears after hurting his hamstring last week. Zacki Doumou is 50/50 as he may have a university game this weekend. Rory Carlson has gone back to the USA despite chairman James Harpin attempting to change his flight!
Venue – Hertswood Academy
JC star man: Adam Klein (Team)
DC Prediction: Bears 1 Team 3
PARIS SAINT-JEWMAIN vs SCRABBLE
PSJ boss Elio Elia gave an honest assessment of his team’s progress ahead of Sunday meeting with Scrabble.
Recent defeats against Temple Fortune and Club de Chigwell have hampered their progression, but they remain well-placed to kick on.
Elio told JC Sport: “There have been a lot of learning curves for us this season as new team in the league with a lot of players playing men's Sunday league football for the first time.
“The objectives now are all about capitalising on the positives, finding consistency and using the lessons we've learnt in the first half of the season.”
Pinpointing where points have been dropped, Elia added: “Our first game against Scrabble was one of those 'wake-up' call matches and we know what we need to do to put things right in this reverse fixture
“I'm really pleased with how the boys have been playing. They really deserved more out of the last two games.
“We're also boosted by the return of the Leigh brothers - Archie is back from a long-term injury and George is available for the second time this season - he had a big impact on the team last time round.
“We're looking forward to the game and are confident we can get back to winning ways this week.”
Scrabble will be looking to complete a league double over a PSJ they beat 3-1 with goals from Lloyd Becker, Alex Bourne and Nigel Goldthorpe. Jon Yantin’s men have taken seven points out of a possible nine in their last three games and will fancy their chances in a battle of experience against youth.
Venue – Brunel Uni
JC star man: George Leigh (PSJ)
DC Prediction: PSJ 2 Scrabble 2
TEMPLE FORTUNE vs CLUB de CHIGWELL
Gary Hyams was the name on the lips of Temple Fortune fans last week as they kept themselves in the title mix with a thrilling win over PSJ.
It was ultimately a performance that ticked all the boxes, with Jonny Kaye also registering in a 4-3 win.
Fortune have been great going forwards this season, but it’s important they start to build solid foundations at the back if they are to stay in the title race at the business end of the season.
Some would say they are punching above their weight, in a contest also featuring the big-hitters from FC Team and Borussia Barnet. But they thrive in the role of underdog and their prominence at the top end can only be good for the league.
CdC lost crucial ground in the promotion race as they went down 5-2 against the Bears. It appears the standard of their opponents caught them by surprise, but they will know what to expect on Sunday in what promises to be a high-octane affair.
Ahead of the game, CdC co manager James Rose told JC Sport: “Last week’s result was disappointing. Fair play to the front three of NWL Bears. If they can play against the other promotion chasing teams that would be much appreciated.
“We know now every game is a must-win and let’s start that run on Sunday at Temple Fortune.”
Fortune have a great record at home and manager Simon Linden knows his players need a statement win. By winning their home games and picking up points on the road, Linden wants his team to create their own piece of history and his squad will be determined to back him up.
JC team news: CDC have “major injury concerns in the squad however we are actively pursuing transfer targets this month”.
Venue – Silver Jubilee Park, KO – 9.45am
JC star man: Gary Hyams (TFFC)
DC Prediction: TFFC 3 CdC 2
DANNY CARO'S MATCHDAY 16 AWARDS
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Ricky Rinder (MLFC Blue)
MANAGERS OF THE WEEK: James Harpin & Sam Fresco (North West London Bears)
GOAL OF THE WEEK: Rory Carlson (North West London Bears)
SAVE OF THE WEEK: Jake Doffman (Hendon United Sports vs Oakwood)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Jacob Emanuel (Hertswood Vale)