YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE:
(All matches kick-off at 10am unless stated)
CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP QUARTER-FINAL
CAMDEN PARK vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS
Holders Hendon United Sports are strong favourites to progress on Sunday when they visit Premier Division rivals Camden Park.
Last season’s double winners were relieved to finally get some action last weekend, with Korman brothers Yehuda and Chaim doing the business in a 2-0 league win over Oakwood, as they dusted off the cobwebs following several weekends of inactivity.
Hendon's big-match experience will be key on Sunday, and boss Jordan Sapler told JC Sport: “Our main hope for this weekend is to actually get the game on and played - this is something that both us and Camden have struggled with recently, albeit it for opposite reasons.
"With the game scheduled for Aycliffe Park, we have already secured an alternative 4G venue so there is no reason (weather/virus) permitting that this game will not go ahead. We will look to carry on our form from last week and move into the semi-finals hopefully with a strong performance."
Camden’s results up to now have been pretty dire, but in a one-off cup game, I expect them to arrive with a special game-plan in a bid to frustrate Hendon. No doubt denying them time and space will be high on the list. If they can turn it into a physical war of attrition, which may involve parking the bus, this could be the best way forward.
But if Hendon score early on, Camden will need a Plan B. Their back five will need to play the game of their lives and manager Stirling Kay hopes lady luck is on their side.
But when all is said and done, I expect Hendon to come out on top by at least a couple of goals.
JC team news: Hendon captain Ari Last remains sidelined with a long-term injury. Simon Peterman is unavailable as is Zac Garbacz although Zac returned to training this week.
Venue - Aycliffe Park
JC star man: Josh Bharier (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Camden 0 Hendon 3
MGBSFL PREMIER DIVISION
LEAGUE TABLE (TOP 3)
1. Hendon United Sports Pl. 10, W. 8, Pts. 25
2. Faithfold DocMM White Pl. 13, W. 7, Pts. 23
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)
FAIRLOP FC vs OAKWOOD
The win over leaders Faithfold DocMM White was arguably Fairlop FC’s finest hour.
They arrived with a game-plan, and executed it perfection, as goals from Daniel Rosen and Daryl Rubin helped them achieve what many believed was mission impossible.
Make no bones about it, this season has been a struggle for Fairlop, but it just goes to show what good availability and a tactical master-class can do.
This weekend they are preparing for what will be a very different game – different in the way that they might have more possession that they did last weekend, but the key is what they do with the ball and where.
In Ryan Cole they have an outstanding left-back, who can also do a job in goal. He’s taken one for the team several times this season, but if they are winning it makes his selfless efforts all the more worthwhile.
On their day, Oakwood can beat any team in the league. But like Fairlop, they don’t always have good numbers or their best players available.
They were missing the suspended Josh Cuby for the 0-2 defeat against Hendon, and Fairlop fans will be pleased to hear Oakwood’s top-scorer will be a non-starter again on Sunday.
A Fairlop win in this fixture would've been a major shock a couple of months ago, but the Essex boys have the momentum while the Oaks have bigger fish to fry in the cup, and that's why I'm tipping the hosts to nick it.
Venue – 7 Kings
JC star man: Daniel Rosen (Fairlop)
DC Prediction: Fairlop 2 Oakwood 1
LEAGUE TABLE (TOP 3)
1. NL Raiders Pl. 12, W. 10, Pts. 31 (PROMOTED)
2. NL Galaxy Pl. 12, W. 8, Pts. 27
3. Jewdinese Pl. 11, W. 7, Pts. 22
TOP-SCORERS 20 - Zach Cohen (Mill Hill Dons), 19 - Aron Gale (North London Raiders), 18 - James Millet (Hertswood Vale), 15 - Reiss Mogilner (Jewdinese)
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS vs HERTSWOOD VALE
The champagne will be on ice in Wembley on Sunday when newly-promoted North London Raiders look to seal the deal against Hertswood Vale.
“For us it’s simple,” joint-manager David Isaacs told JC Sport. “Win on Sunday and we’re officially champions and we go up against Hertswood Vale this week.”
Liron Mannie (2) and Aron Gale guided L’Orange to an impressive 4-0 win at Redbridge Jewish Care last weekend. But it was the 20-minute cameo from Jordan Marks, returning from two years out from injury, that had Gideon Gale and Isaacs purring.
Matt Warner, Mannie and Gale guided Raiders to a 3-1 victory over Vale in December, and a similar outcome would see them partying long into the night.
Isaacs continued: “We know that this will be a tricky game as we go up against a team who have beaten Hendon, Fairlop and Jewdinese this season, and with James Millet they will always be in with a chance.
“With us being drawn with Vale in the semi-finals of the David Wolff Cup, I guess we can call this a dress rehearsal for that match.”
Season 2019/20 has also been a resounding success for Hertswood Vale. For a team playing in Division One for the first time, they have adjusted superbly, and the aforementioned wins over Hendon and Fairlop have been the icing on the cake.
No doubt, Vale won’t put on the red carpet treatment for Raiders. But they might possibly hold something back with the cup meeting in mind.
Looking ahead to the game, Vale joint-manager Jacob Emanuel told JC Sport: "We are well aware that Raiders are expected to clinch the time on Sunday with a win against us, and while I believe that they massively deserve the title, we'll be doing our best to spoil the party temporarily.
"I have to hold my hands up for our defeat earlier in the season to Raiders as tactically we got it very wrong, but I still felt disappointed to come away with a loss after a much-improved second half from us."
Emanuel went on to say: "Raiders have built a very solid team this season and if they keep their squad together, there's no reason why they couldn't have a successful season next year in the Prem. However, the season isn't quite finished yet in little Division One, and even though the odds massively point towards a Raiders home win, I firmly believe that if we turn up, we can be a match for them.
"Frustratingly our game against HMH last season didn't go ahead, and the boys will be keen to get back on the pitch with a decent performance this week."
It's clear Vale are determined to keep Raiders' title celebrations on ice, but I sense a dramatic late winner in a close encounter.
JC team news: After a week away, both Ed Brafman and Matt Warner return the squad. However, Isaacs “confirmed that we have lost Ben Rosen for the next three or four weeks”.
Vale go into the game without a number of players due to injury and unavailability, but messus Emanuel and Hirschberger are "confident in the squad we have at our disposal". The "big dogs" are back in the form of Jack Shulman, James Neidle and Harry Graham to give them a boost.
Venue – Ark Academy
JC star man: Ed Brafman (NLR)
DC Prediction: NLR 2 Vale 1
1. FC Team Pl. 15, W. 12, Pts. 38
2. Borussia Barnet Pl. 13, W. 10, Pts. 32
3. Temple Fortune Pl. 15, 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)
BORUSSIA BARNET vs WEST HAMDILLAH
Borussia Barnet are one of the league’s form teams and they will be looking to crank up their title hopes with a big win against Hamdillah to boost goal difference in their pursuit of FC Team.
The Borussia boys have no conceded for more than 270 minutes and it is hard to spot a weakness in their side right now. Confidence is sky high as they go in search of their fifth consecutive win.
The home side have won ten out of 13 matches, including four on their own patch, and if the likes of Michael Kenley, Scott Greenfield, Ollie Hart and Mitchell Gerber are given time and space to express themselves, they will hurt Hamdillah.
"We’ve had a great first season so far - semi-finals of Peter Morrison Trophyand David Wolff Cup, and with the league title in our hands, we’ve had a great start," joint-manager Brad Papier told JC Sport. "However, we know it means nothing if we don’t deliver at the business end of the season.
"West Hamdillah have really done much better recently. They seem to be scoring more and conceding less, so we know we need to be professional and get the job done Sunday, fingers crossed we avoid this banana skin."
Papier added: "For us, we aren’t thinking about goal difference or what anyone else is doing. If we win all our games, we win the league, it’s that simple for us and so as always we go with let’s win the next game."
Hamdillah were on the receiving end of a 9-1 drubbing in the first meeting with Borussia and although recent performances have improved, I don’t give them any hope this weekend.
Venue – Bridgestone Arena
JC star man: Noah Bergman (Borussia)
DC Prediction: Borussia 5 Hamdillah 0
SCRABBLE vs FAITHFOLD DocMM GREEN
Faithfold DocMM Green moved up to the lofty heights of fourth-place last weekend following a hard-earned win over West Hamdillah.
The table looks so much better now for Ben Kfir’s boys than it did during the first half of the season, with Blake Buckman their match-winner last Sunday, as the Superhoops kept their third clean sheet in four games. They are doing the basics well and enjoying their football.
And they will be confident of completing a league double over a Scrabble team they crushed 4-0 in January.
Scrabble ended a run of four defeats with a 2-1 win over Hamdillah last time out. And player-manager Jon Yantin is determined for his squad to finish the season strongly.
Ahead of the game, Yantin told JC Sport: “We have two games left and with our final game against Borussia Barnet, we are 100 per cent focused on picking up three points to avenge their victory in January in the reverse fixture.”
Scrabble and Faithfold are two of the most famous names in Maccabi football and I don’t think Sunday’s encounter will disappoint.
JC team news: Scrabble will be missing Lloyd Becker so they will have “to rely on leading marksman Alex Bourne to continue his goal-scoring run, supported by “our Ighalo signing” Jon Isaacs.
Venue – JCoSS
JC star man: Blake Buckman (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Scrabble 2 Faithfold 3
DAVID WOLFF DIVISION ONE CUP QUARTER-FINAL
JEWDINESE VS NORTH LONDON GALAXY
It’s the clash of the titans on Sunday as Jewdinese and Galaxy lock horns for a semi-final showdown against Mill Hill Dons.
The Zebras have had the better of the two league meetings with promotion rivals Galaxy this season – following up a 1-1 draw in the away game with a handsome 3-0 win in the home match.
The most recent meeting ticked all the boxes for ‘Nese boss Darren Lawrence, who told me his players must perform to a higher level from last Sunday’s 2-0 win over SPEC if they are to progress.
Ahead of Sunday's last eight meeting, Lawrence told JC Sport: "I am looking for a vast improvement on Sunday. Our recent performances have not been good enough and we need to be faultless on Sunday if we are looking to proceed to the next round.
"We were brilliant against Galaxy last time out, so will need to be on top form again. We are desperate for silverware so will go all out to ensure we are victorious on Sunday."
Lawrence declared: "We know Galaxy are a good team, however we are undefeated against them in 4 meetings, so we know we are in a strong position."
Galaxy were well beaten in their cup clash with Premier Division Oakwood last time out. Two defeats in their last three is a bit of a wobble, given the high standards they have set since joining the league. But boss Luke Lewis assure me they will go in all guns blazing on Sunday.
"It's a big game for us," he told JC Sport. "We know what we need to do in the league to get promoted. However, Sunday gives us a great opportunity to move towards getting some sort of silverware this season, which would be a monumental achievement for us.
"We know what we will get from Jewdinese and respect their ability to make it hard to break them down. However, with the players at our disposal I am expecting us to do just that and win this game."
There has been little to separate the teams in the league this season, with Nese’s home form solid and Galaxy performances on the road really strong. Luke Lewis’s men have only lost one game on the road out of six, so I can see this going the distance.
JC team news: Nese are without in-form full-back Brad Dryer for Sunday.
"Without giving too much away," Luke Lewis commented: "I think we have an extremely strong squad, which is more than required to win this game."
Venue – St James' Park
JC star man: Ben Halmer (Nese)
DC Prediction: Nese 1 Galaxy 1 (Nese to win on penalties)
DANNY CARO'S MATCHDAY 25 AWARDS
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Mitchell Gold (Fairlop FC)
MANAGER OF THE WEEK: Jake Sanders (Fairlop FC)
GOAL OF THE WEEK: DARYL RUBIN (Fairlop FC)
SAVE OF THE WEEK: RYAN COLE (Fairlop FC)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: JORDAN SAPLER (Hendon Utd Sports)