MGBSFL Matchday 25 preview

Hertswood Vale will be looking to register one of the biggest-ever shocks in Maccabi football history, when they take on holders HMH in the last four of the Peter Morrison Trophy, while there is also a busy programme in store in the MGBSFL.





Hertswood Vale are preparing for the biggest game in their history – for a place in the final of the Jewish FA Cup.

Excitement has been building at the club since pulling a mouth-watering match at home to holders HMH out of the hat. And fan countdown wall-charts are being ticked off with relish, ahead of the super Sunday showdown.

Vale are major underdogs to progress, but they have done incredibly well to reach the last four, so Sunday is effectively a free-hit against the team lying third in the top-flight.

Managed by Jacob Emanuel and Danny Hirschberger, Vale go into the tie bang in form – with three consecutive wins during which time they’ve scored 15 goals. The mercurial James Millet has scored in all those games, including a hat-trick in the 6-1 demolition of SPEC FC last weekend – his third treble of the season to date.

Jack Winton and Adam Morrow were also in sparkling form in midfield last weekend, with Vale's record appearance maker Ashley Hirschberger also catching the eye last weekend.

Looking ahead to the game, Vale joint-manager Jacob Emanuel told JC Sport: "We’re really proud to be in the last four of the Peter Morrison, and rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest teams in Jewish football.

"We’re having a fantastic season by all accounts, but we’ve got an increasingly ambitious squad and they’ll fancy their chances at being able to get to the final of this prestigious competition.

He went on to say: "We know however that we’ve got a huge challenge to get to the final in the form of HMH, and naturally having dispatched Hendon and Fairlop of the Prem thus far, we no longer find ourselves under the radar.

"We’re under no illusion that we’re seen as huge underdogs for this game, so Danny and I will be telling the boys to enjoy the moment and continue to show the never-say-die attitude that we’ve displayed all season. 

"This will be the first time we’re facing HMH in our history, but we know that they’re a team full of talent that will be expecting to retain their trophy at all costs. We're looking forward to a historic moment in our history."

HMH go into their tie unbeaten in three, and it would appear they have found their shooting boots at just the right time. The big names roll off the tough – including Oscar Wagner, Adam Ellis and Nate Kashket.

Sunday is just another game for HMH. Their big-match temperament will stand them in good stead. Goalkeeper Alex Davies and centre-half Max Foster have been key figures for Avi Goldberg’s boys this season, while George Goldberg, Thomas Prais, Jake Norton, Clark Norton, Alex Moss, Ethan Krell and Sam Monjack.

Speaking from the club's training ground, HMH boss Avi Goldberg told JC Sport: "This has potential large banana skin written all over it. Hertswood are on a roll - having knocked out Hendon and Fairlop and smashing six past SPEC FC without reply last weekend and have @DC player of the year nomination in their ranks! They are obviously a good team and we will definitely need to be on our guard."

Goldberg added: "Having said all of the above, we are not in bad shape. February was a very good month for us, we are in three cup semi-finals, unbeaten in the last five, scoring 13 and only conceding three, and we put Fairlop to the sword two weeks ago. 

"The lads trained well and are focused on keeping their hands on a trophy still sitting in our cabinet. It is the Jewish FA cup, and as it is the first trophy we won in our first year in men’s football it therefore carries added significance which I expect will spur the lads on."

Sunday is effectively a free-hit for Hertswood Vale. They are just 90 minutes away from reaching their first major cup final. And there would be no sweeter way to progress than by eliminating the holders. But HMH are a well-oiled machine and it would take something special for Vale to win.

A five-star match is on the cards, and the JC cameras will be there to capture the action ... and the glory.

JC team news: Vale are still missing Charlie Becker, Jamie Steinberg and Ben Brown, while James Neidle and Jack Shulman are big losses this week as they miss out due to their poorly planned holiday plans.

Adam Ellis and Dan Hardoon are missing for HMH, as is Eli Wegrzyn, who has a bad back, but Alex Moss is back as well as potentially one or two others.


VALE (from): Adam Zaidman, Ashley Hirschberger, Jordan Grant, Jordan Harris, Zac Mendel, Alex Trup, Jack Winton, Adam Morrow, Josh Gorb, James Millet, Harry Graham, Ollie Brill, Jacob Emanuel, Justin Mullem, Dan Reuben, Harry Marlow, Dan Margolis

HMH (from): Alex Davies, Jacob Shapiro, Dom Feldman, Ben Winters, Max Bull, Max Foster, Sammy Kingston, Thomas Prais, Josh Goldstein, Jake Norton, Clark Norton, Ethan Krell, Sam Monjack, Alex Moss, Nate Kashket, Oscar Wagner, Leo Berger

Venue – East Barnet School

JC star man: Sam Monjack (HMH)

DC Prediction: Vale 1 HMH 2



(TOP 3)

1. Faithfold DocMM White Pl. 12, W. 7, Pts. 23

2. Hendon United Sports Pl. 9, W. 7, Pts. 22

3. HMH Pl. 13, W. 6, Pts. 21

TOP-SCORERS 13 - Oscar Wagner (HMH), 12 - Josh Cuby (Oakwood A), 11 - Akiva Solomon (Faithfold Doc MM White - plus one for Green), Avi Markiewicz (Faithfold DocMM White - plus two for Green)


Leaders Faithfold have not played in over a month but they are strongly fancy to secure their eighth league win of the season ahead of the visit of Fairlop.

Akiva Solomon (2) and Yoav Kestenbaum registered for the Superhoops in the 3-1 win over the Essex boys. This followed a 4-3 away with, when David Leiwy, Eli Davila and Solomon found the net.

Faithfold average five goals a game at home but they can expect a tough work-out against a Fairlop team who have a habit of hanging on in games.

James Jaconelli is in a good moment for a Fairlop team who were crushed 5-0 by HMH last time out. Jaconelli has been popping up with some sensational strikes this season, but the team have only scored three goals in four matches away from home.

I expect Faithfold to make a fast start and run out winners by a couple of goals.

Venue – Capital City

JC star man: Yoav Kestenbaum (Faithfold)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 3 Fairlop 1



MLFC are reeling following their shock cup defeat at the hands of Division One leaders North London Raiders.

Player-manager Max Kyte was irate after NLR's first goal was given, despite the JC cameras showing what looked like a push on him by Aron Gale.

Benji Weinberger hauled MLFC back into the game with a well-struck penalty; (Spurs could've done with him last night), but they were unable to complete the comeback, as Gale struck against to send Raiders through.

MLFC are still eyeing a top two finish. They will feel they have a score to settle with Camden, who beat them 3-1 earlier in the season.

On paper this doesn't look like a contest, and with word that Camden are struggling with player availability and commitment, MLFC should exact revenge.

Venue – Aycliffe Road

JC star man: Jamie Cohen (MLFC)

DC Prediction: Camden 0 MLFC 3



Oakwood are unbeaten in three and will be relishing the challenge of upsetting the defending champions, who beat them 4-3 in a thriller in November.

Matches between Oakwood and Hendon rarely disappoint, and with Louie Basso having hit the ground running in an Oakwood shirt, this ingredient makes the contest all the more interesting.

Oakwood top-scorer Josh Cuby blotted his copybook with a red card in last week's 4-1 win over Galaxy in the cup. But fortunately for him, Basso stepped up to help the ten men beat the 11 men.

The way the season has unfolded, it looks like Hendon will enjoy a procession to the title. They have had games postponed week after week, and now they just want to get out there and play football.

There's nothing worse than cabin-fever, and although desire at training has been good, Jordan Sapler's men just want to get out on to the pitch and play football again.

Venue – Ark Academy

JC star man: Dan King (Oakwood)

DC Prediction: Oakwood 1 Hendon 1



(TOP 3)

1. NL Raiders Pl. 11, W. 9, Pts. 28

2. NL Galaxy Pl. 12, W. 8, Pts. 27

3. Jewdinese Pl. 10, W. 6, Pts. 19

TOP-SCORERS 20 - Zach Cohen (Mill Hill Dons), 18 - James Millet (Hertswood Vale), Aron Gale (North London Raiders), 14 - Reiss Mogilner (Jewdinese), 12 - Liron Mannie (North London Raiders)


Leaders Raiders can secure promotion if they pick up three points at RJC this weekend.

L'Orange were in dreamland last Sunday, when they booked their place in the semi-finals of the League Cup - with Aron Gale, Gideon Gale and David Isaacs winning the respective JC Player and Managers of the Week accolades.

But Isaacs told me the squad knows attitude and application will be key ahead of the long trip to Essex.

"After last week's massive win against MLFC Blue in the Cyril Anekstein, we move back to the league. We have three games remaining and we know on Sunday we can guarantee promotion with a win.

"We are anticipating a tricky game against Redbridge this weekend. Although we beat them 8-0 earlier on the season in recent weeks, it looks like they have picked up form with a draw against MH Dons and nearly getting a draw against Galaxy."

RJC have won just once in 12 league games. No-one gives them a chance in the top against bottom tussle, as they look to register their first home win of the season.

The odds are stacked against RJC, and most people will have this marked down as a comfortable Raiders win.

JC team news: It has been confirmed by the NLR physio that L’Orange have lost David Nezri for the next few weeks due to straining his hamstring last weekend. The visitors will also be missing Bradley Lander and Ed Brafman this week, buth they welcome back Jake Yudelowitz and Joshua Nagli to the squad.

Venue – Fairlop

JC star man: Jake Yudelowitz (NLR)

DC Prediction: RJC 1 NLR 3



Jewdinese go into this game on the back of two titanic battles. A 0-1 defeat against Raiders was followed by an epic cup tie against Brook Farm Rovers, which they won on penalties.

The next 90 minutes looks a little more straightforward, against a SPEC FC team for whom it would appear one or two are already on the beach.

The Zebras crushed SPEC 5-1 in January. And a similar outcome is on the cards. Boss Darren Lawrence told JC Sport: "Having played SPEC twice already this season - and the aggregate score being 11-2 - I am confident going into Sunday.

"We know promotion is out of our hands and all we can do is win our remaining games and hope. We see this as a momentum builder for next Sunday’s clash with Galaxy."

SPEC player-manager Ricky Lawrence kept his pre-match press conference short and sweet, when he told JC Sport: "“Another game, another easy three points." But for which team, he wouldn't say!

Some Nese fans were chanting 'can we play you every week' following the most recent win over SPEC. And they think it will be a stroll in the park again.

JC team news: Nese have "a relatively fully-fit squad to choose from".

Venue – St. James’ Park

JC star man: Aaron Goldberg (Nese)

DC Prediction: SPEC 1 Nese 4



(TOP 3)

1. FC Team Pl. 14, W. 11, Pts. 35

2. Borussia Barnet Pl. 13, W. 10, Pts. 32

3. Temple Fortune Pl. 14, W. 9, Pts. 28

TOP-SCORERS 17 - Jono Gaon (Hampstead Ducks), 16 - Daniel Garfinkle (Club De Chigwell), 15 - Danny Sherman (Temple Fortune), 14 - Michael Kenley (Borussia Barnet)


Faithfold go in search of their fifth consecutive win when they take on basement battlers West Hamdillah on Sunday.

Two wins over PSJ plus one apiece against Club de Chigwell and Scrabble has left the Superhoops handily placed, with games in hand on the teams in and around them.

West Hamdillah have impressed in recent meetings with Scrabble and table-toppers FC Team. So there's no reason why they can't give Faithfold a game.

Venue – Tempsford Playing Fields

JC star man: Sam Chippeck (Hamdillah)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 2 Hamdillah 2



Double-chasing FC Team are in good shape ahead of their title run-in. Having booked their place in the final of the David Wolff Cup last weekend - albeit with a fortune penalty shoot-out win over Hampstead Ducks, Mitch Young's big-hitters are ready for the challenges that lie ahead. Starting with Temple Fortune on Sunday.

Adam Klein was their man-of-the-match last weekend. The journeyman full-back claimed an assist and converted the winning penalty, showing he still clearly loves the spotlight.

Dave Cohen, Jonny Haik and Young were the marksmen when FC Team beat Fortune earlier in the season, and the player-manager knows another big test is on the cards.

“Our final four games of the season are all must-win games if we are to win the division, starting with a tough game against Fortune," Young told JC Sport.

"We are looking forward to the game and are pleased it's on a big pitch at SJP a ground where we should be able to play our football and exploit their weaknesses."

He added: We know if we don’t match their fight and attrition, we can lose the match so first and foremost we need to win the right to play and then go from there.”

I watched Fortune against Borussia a couple of weeks ago, and ultimately they fell short in one or two areas. They gambled with a changed formation, but I felt on reflection they left themselves short in midfield.

That said, gaffer Simon Linden loves to pit his tactics against the best, so he will be relishing the next 90 minutes.

Linden told JC Sport: "It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the football club. Rightly so, we no longer are going to be competing for a top-two finish or silverware in the cup, which looked very promising a couple of weeks ago. 

"I’m just looking forward to getting back out there with the lads, enjoying our football and Sunday against FC Team at Silver Jubilee Park is what it’s all about. We want to secure a top-three finish - four games to go and the show starts Sunday, the boys are raring to go."

FC Team tick all the boxes this season in terms of big-match players, experience, pace, power and movement. I can only see a win for the visiting team, who will have too much ammunition, in a game that sees them go up against former goalkeeper Ed Bloom.

Venue – Silver Jubilee Park

JC star man: Connor Perl (Team)

DC Prediction: TFFC 1 FC Team 3



Hampstead Ducks gave FC Team an almighty scare in the cup last weekend. Now manager Jake Summerfield is looking for a repeat performance when they welcome Club de Chigwell.

The Ducks were just two minutes away from causing one of the surprises of the season, as Ben Mesrie's goal had put them within touching distance of the next round of the David Wolff Cup.

The Ducks have gone under the radar for large chunks of the season, but that performance put them back on the map. Harry Nelson and Joe Kenley were also rewarded for impressive performances with a place in my Team of the Week.

Club de Chigwell are one place above the Ducks. They've accummulated six more points from the same number of matches played, so they have a cushion going into the game but their priority has to be the forthcoming cup semi-final. Competition for places are up for grabs.

The Essex boys crushed the Ducks 13-3 earlier in the season. But I can see it being much closer second time around. 

Venue – West Hendon

JC star man: Harry Nelson (Ducks)

DC Prediction: CdC 2 Ducks 2




Borussia Barnet have impressed in their first season in the MGBSFL. And they have golden opportunity to make a good season a great season when they visit PSG on Sunday.

Lying second in the division, Michael Kenley was their star performer in the 4-0 destruction of NWLB last weekend. It was arguably his finest display in a Borussia shirt, and he will be looking to shine again this weekend.

Indeed Kenley fired a hat-trick against PSJ in the recent league meeting the Borussia boys won 5-1 and joint-manager Brad Papier says his players go into the game with their tails up.

“Following two huge wins in the league, we’ve got some breathing room in second and we’re quickly closing down on FC Team," Papier told JC Sport.

"We’ve got a semi-final to look forward to against a fantastic side in Manchester Maccabi, but we’re not prioritising anything as we literally want to win everything we’re in and we’re still in a position to do so.

“We’ve played PSJ twice and won 3-0 and 5-1, but we don’t want to under-estimate them Sunday and still expect a tough game."

Papier continued: "They’ll be plenty of rotation this week with the cup allowing us to experiment to see if we can improve for the run-in.

“Last time out Kenley grabbed a hat-trick and was superb, with a goal against Temple Fortune and four goals last week. He’s in red hot man and only a brave man would back against him scoring again.

“We want to win everything we’re in, as always our mentality is win the next game and that’s PSJ Sunday. We expect they'll be up for it after two drubbings as it’s their only chance of silverware this season, so it’s our job to be professional and see them off.

“We can’t win the treble if we don’t win Sunday so that’s all that matters for us.”

Fellow new boys PSJ have claimed seven wins out of 17 games. But they have failed to win any of their last seven matches, and they go into this tie as major underdogs.

Nonetheless, manager Elio Elia has warned not to write his team off. He told JC Sport: "We're excited for the game ahead and are going to give it everything.

"Competition for places is very high with almost our full squad available for Sunday - some tough decisions for me to make."

Elia and co respect Borussia, but that doesn't mean they won't give it a good go. "We know Barnet are a strong team and we will have to be at our best to get through to the next round," he said.

"The pressure is all on them though, and we will try to use that to our advantage. May the best team win."

Club de Chigwell await the winner of this tie.

JC team news: Borussia have named a fully fit squad, with the exception of Jack Mattey. Jay Sharer returns to the matchday squad.

Venue – Bridgestone Arena, 9:45am KO

JC star man: Michael Kenley (Borussia)

DC Prediction: PSG 1 Borussia 4

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