MGBSFL Super Soccer Sunday week 17 preview


Players from the MGBSFL return to action following a two-week winter break and there are four bumper Cyril Anekstein Cup quarter-finals ties for Danny Caro to get his teeth into as well as action in divisions one and two.















Oakwood have already beaten Camden Park in the league this season and I expect lightning to strike twice, especially with the hosts reeling from the news that Guy Marks has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

The Camden talisman is suffering from a slipped disc, but manager Will Castle says there will be no excuses should his team be eliminated, with several players returning from the treatment table.

Castle told JC Sport: “Oakwood will be an extremely tough test but we gave them a good run for their money last time out with a severely depleted team, so we will definitely fancy our chances of getting through to the next round."

Kyle Bentwood’s second-half strike earned Oakwood the win in the aforementioned meeting and they go into the new year believe they have the firepower to end their wait for silverware.

Joint-manager Dan Kristall told me Oakwood are raring to go in a tie where losing isn’t an option.

Kristall told JC Sport: “We have a fairly full squad to select from with some late fitness tests over a couple of defenders and we look forward to what is the first of three huge games.

"We are firmly focused on this week’s quarter-final and fully believe that we have the squad to win this competition.

"After a very hard fought and narrow victory against Camden a couple of months ago, we are fully expecting another very tough test but if our big players shine, we should advance into the next round.”

Oakwood are packed with quality from back to front. It’s hard to spot a weakness and if they take their chances I expect them to have too much for Camden on the day.

Venue – Capital City, Ref – Martin De La Fuente, KO – 10am

JC star man: Harvey Kaye (Oakwood)

DC Prediction: Camden 0 Oakwood 2


Jason Stein has become a bit of a legend down south, but he shouldn’t expect the red carpet treatment against Premier Division FC Team.

Stein’s Oakwood team are flying in Division One. He has taken them up a level this season and with a forward line to die for, he sounded quietly confident of producing the shock of the round on Sunday.

"Happy New Year, DC. The three-week break has been refreshing for all and the lads really embraced the cryogenic chambers we installed to help with those muscle injuries.

“It's tough for the boys not being able to spend Christmas with their families, but they know how lucky they are to be playing Maccabi football and how many people would give anything to be in that position.

“This is a big occasion for the B's, unprecedented territory really, but we aren't overawed.

"The timing of the game is far from ideal. We're missing 10 players - six of those are first choice starters - but I know that the 15 I have will still be full of quality players, terrific characters and plenty of heart and fight. We have cover throughout and this is a great chance for some players to prove themselves on the biggest stage.

"We're the underdogs, there is no question, but we've worked hard to get here and we believe in ourselves. This is somewhat of a free hit for us and we'll go out on Sunday, work hard for one another, keep it tight, try and reduce the unforced errors and give it our best shot. I firmly believe we can win this match.

"These are the type of games where I'll learn some more about my players and I know they'll give it everything."

Team’s league form has been nothing to write home about thus far, but they produced excellent performances against Hendon and Raiders and, playing the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, it’s important they don’t give their visitors any encouragement.

The hosts often raise their game against the big boys, but they must treat the Oaks with the utmost respect or else the backpages of the JC beckon for Stein and his merry men.

JC team news: The 'Dan convention' has clearly come around early this year with Dan Geey, Dan Ash, Dan Seligman and Dan Selwyn all out. James and Bobby Abrams will be hoping to sprinkle some brotherly love on proceedings while central midfielder Ben Polak will be key to proceedings. Striker Jacob Richler Kleiman has a dash from the airport to overcome pre-match and gaffer Stein “may still have a surprise or two up my sleeve for selection”.

Venue – Nicholas Breakspear, Ref – Martin Lavender, KO – 10am

JC star man: Yoav Lebens (Team)

DC Prediction: Team 2 Oakwood 1 AET


Raiders have the squad to deal with an injury to captain marvel David Rhodes as the holders prepare to tackle a dangerous Harmen team.

Manager Rob Richman has told his players to forget about the 7-2 demolition of Harmen at the start of the season – that result will count for nothing once that first whistle blows. Oh, and Harmen have added some top-notch talent including Alex Levack to their ranks and will be out for revenge.

Jordan Marks was the chief tormentor in the earlier meeting but Richman is taking nothing for granted ahead of L’Oranges first outing of 2016.

He told JC Sport: “Sunday sees the start of a really tough but exciting looking January where we have a couple of huge cup ties before two equally important league games against some of our closest competitors.

"First up though is Harmen in the quarter-final of the Anekstein cup this weekend. Sam, Ollie and Joel have built a really excellent side and I’m not surprised at all that Harmen’s form in the last couple of months has been really strong.

"We had a really good performance against them early in the season but that will count for nothing come Sunday morning and all that matters is we try and match our level of performance from that day.

"2015 was one that we will look back on fondly but now is the time to look forward and we know we must keep producing every week to achieve our goals for the season.

"Losing David Rhodes our club captain for the next few months is a blow but we have the strength in depth to cope without him. Our aim is to make sure when he returns we are still fighting it out on all fronts."

Harmen have strengthened their squad in all the right areas in recent months and are now the envy of most clubs in the league. They have the players who can definitely ask questions of a Raiders team who lit up Wingate & Finchley’s famous Harry Abrahams Stadium in the final last year.

Joint-manager Joe Marsh sounded in positively upbeat mood ahead of the meeting with the holders.

He told JC Sport: “After a nice break we have come back into the fold with a very tough game against the league’s most in-form team and once again we go into the game as massive underdogs, especially with a number of boys missing.

"The majority of them are still enjoying the mid-season break and sunning themselves in an exotic location, but I’m sure the starting XI we put out on Sunday will be capable enough to take this Raiders team all the way.

"As a team we have massively improved from our shambolic display which saw us heavily defeated and hopefully we can put it right this time round."

Raiders are a well-oiled machine who excel on the counter-attack. Harmen will try to get into their faces and stop them from playing, but that’s easier said than done.

A top-quality contest is on the cards but I can see NLR edging through.

JC team news: David Rhodes joins Adam Joselyn on the treatment table. Matt Stock should return imminently. Ben Ellis faces a fitness test

Venue - Brunel, Ref – Andy Myerson, KO – 10am

JC star man: Nick Lewis (NLR)

DC Prediction: NLR 2 Harmen 1


David Garbacz couldn’t wait to see the back of 2015. Now he’s praying for a new dawn as Hendon, Anekstein winners in 2009, 2012 and 2014, take on RJC, winners in 2011, in the clash of the titans.

Hendon’s injury crisis has been as well documented as Liverpool’s but Garbacz insists his squad are showing some green shoots of recovery, just when they need it most.

Garbacz is putting all his eggs into the cup competitions as a campaign without silverware is unthinkable.

He told JC Sport: “The start of the new year brings with it what is now our biggest game of the season. Our league form has been the worst it has been for many years but we are still competing in both cups and we have a fantastic record in recent times in this one reaching the final and winning it on a number of occasions.

"We know that Redbridge will represent an enormous challenge – they, together with Raiders are the form teams in the league and we will have to produce our best performance of the season to go through.

"There were signs in the last game against Raiders that we were getting back to something like our old selves and with home advantage we will be giving this an almighty go and are confident that our cup pedigree can continue.

"A win here will totally kickstart our season where as a loss could finish it off in early January – it is a very significant match for us."

Redbridge, on the other hand, didn’t want 2015 to finish. They are currently flying and have hardly put a foot wrong all season.

Sam Sollosi is in the form of his life and a leading contender for Player of the Season, while Daniel Garfinkle is scoring for fun. Ben Sollosi has been another consistent performer who will be relishing his head-to-head with Ari Last.

Indeed it was Sollosi jnr who condemned Hendon to a 4-3 defeat in the league in October, something they will be eyeing revenge for.

In the end I can see this coming down to small details, and my prediction could do Hendon more harm than good and will certainly ensure Jon Jacobs won’t be needing a pre-match teamtalk.

A smash and grab is on the cards as Hendon go back to basics, with the result more important than the result.

JC team news: Dovi Fehler and Simon Peterman are both away for Hendon. Greg Corin is doubtful. Ethan Zone returns to the squad.

Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – Neil Cooper

JC star man: Russell Corin (Hendon)

DC Prediction: Hendon 1 RJC 0





15 - James Gershfield (Harmen)
12 - Dovi Fehler (Hendon A)

No matches scheduled ...





19 - Reiss Mogilner (Brady Maccabi)
16 - Jacob Richler Kleiman (Oakwood B)

Top against bottom, my prediction will be a bit of a no-brainer as Brady Maccabi attempt to stretch their unbeaten league record to 11.

Although we’re only midway through the season, the red-hot Reiss Mogilner looks a cast-iron bet for the Division One Player of the Year. He was one of the few players who didn’t vote in favour of a mid-season break and manager Josh Dagul
has issued a hands-off statement, indicating that no amount of money or bagels will take him away from the club.

Defence is the one area that Brady can tighten up on as they have drawn their last two matches 3-3, including one against Faithfold, but with Mogilner, Sam Monjack, Josh Newman, Joey Lazare, Josh Laurier and Dan Harrod ruthless in the final third you’d expect them to get the job done second time around.

Venue – The Hive, Ref – Mark Jacob

JC star man: Joel Reuben (Brady)

DC Prediction: Faithfold 1 Brady 3


Automatic promotion for either Blancos or SPEC FC seems a long way off, but that shouldn’t detract from what promises to be a real thriller on Sunday in a game where goals are guaranteed.

Darren Russell, Joel Kutner and Richard Hayim fired Blancos to a memorable win against SPEC last time out, with boss Jonathan Ison beaming that “quality overcame quantity”. The result halted SPEC FC in their tracks and Ison is planning a repeat performance.

He told JC Sport: “SPEC will be out for revenge this week after our 3-2 win against them last game, but I know we have the quality to get the three points again.

"As I predicted, we should have a full squad this week, and with a couple of Blancos alumni returning at the end of January, everyone will be fighting for their place as the season goes on."

SPEC might have one eye on their forthcoming Peter Morrison Trophy tussle against holders Hendon but player-manager Ricky Lawrence understands the importance of the league meeting with Blancos.

"We're out for revenge after Blancos ended our winning run at the end of 2015,” Lawrence told JC Sport. “They deserved the victory though and we'll be hoping to turn the tables on Sunday."

JC team news: Svi Freedman “should be in the squad this week pending a late fitness test, having been injured since pre-season, so we look forward to having his ability and versatility back”. Jono Gaon was “finding his feet in the first half of the season, and we hope he has now gotten back into the spirit of 11-a-side and will return from the winter break the Jono of old(/young!)".

Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Stephen Levy, KO – 10am

JC star man: Richard Hayim (Blancos)

DC Prediction: Blancos 2 SPEC FC 2


It’s been all change at RJC over the new year with Sam Rank replacing Jason Goldstein in the managerial hot-seat ahead of the visit of FC Team B.

Rank will be looking for a winning start and a big crowd is expected for the visit of a strong side who are playing catch-up.

Speaking exclusively to JC Sport in his first press conference, Rank told JC Sport: “The boys have been working extremely hard over the winter break on fitness.

"The spirit in the camp is fantastic, especially with change of management, and the club would like to thank Jason for his efforts and wish him all the success in his next venture.

"Moving on to Sunday, we are aware how good the FC Team B are, especially Richard Salmon, however the our squad is full of quality, and I am very confident of a big result.

"We hope this game will be the catalyst, to push boys on for a successful second half of the season."

If Team win their games in hand they would join Brady Maccabi level at the top of the table. The defeat against Woodford Wanderers at the back-end of 2015 was a blow but they have time on their side.

That said another defeat in Essex is unthinkable for Mitch Young and his men, so you have to ask, can they do it on a miserable, cold, wet, dark and damp Sunday morning at Fairlop?

JC team news: RJC will be at full strength, however there will be late fitness tests for David Fialka and Adam Noble.

Venue – Fairlop, Ref – David Lazarus, KO – 10am

JC star man: Richard Salmon (Team)

DC Prediction: RJC 1 Team 2


Title-chasing Woodford face a big test against an inconsistent Raiders team.

NLR beat the east Londoners earlier in the season when Josh Green (2), Danny Bloom and Jacob Gold guided them to a thrilling 4-3 success, but Jonny Adelman’s men have been unable to maintain those standards since.

The 3-2 win over Sosobad was much-needed for L’Orange but they will need to put in a real shift against a team equipped to push Brady all the way.

Woodford have been the model of consistency since their defeat against NLR – their only league reverse thus far. They are hard to beat and are serious contenders to return to the top-flight. But the next 90 minutes are about revenge.

The dramatic late comeback against FC Team ensured there was a real buzz around the club towards the end of the year, with Tom Alexander’s ice-cool finish just what the doctor ordered after back-to-back draws against noisy neighbours Sosobad.

Ahead of the long trip to Wembley, joint-manager Jerome Colmans told JC Sport: “We didn’t do ourselves justice in the first meeting with Raiders, and we now have a chance to show how far we have come since then.

"Skipper Adam Poole is back from suspension. He will be on his best behaviour as we hit a crucial part of the season, where we need as many players available as possible.

"The next few games will really test our championship credentials, so three points on Sunday would be a perfect way to start the new year for us."

Raiders have been erratic and much depends on availability. Like Woodford, they have a number of players with Premier Division experience so the visitors must be prepared to dig deep in a game of goals.

JC team news: There will be a few last-minute fitness tests for Woodford, although certain absentees include James Ryan, Tom Alexander and Paul Biller. Adam Shafron returns to the squad following injury.

Venue - Ark Academy, Ref – Neal Cohen, KO – 10am

JC star man: Adam Poole (Woodford)

DC Prediction: NLR 2 Woodford 2





12 - Zak McLeod (Scrabble FC)
10 - Gav Noe (Real Hendon)

One can only applaud the attitude of Temple Fortune boss Jonathan Cohen who responded to the 16-0 drubbing by leaders Scrabble FC with a heartfelt rallying call.

It was along the lines of Delia Smith’s ‘Let’s be avin ya’ war-cry and he hopes it has the desired effect on Sunday.

Cohen told JC Sport: “We have an excellent squad for Sunday’s game and all the events of 2015 are long behind us and not in our thoughts.”

Team have not lost in their last three and will fancy their chances of making that four this weekend, especially if they score an early goal.

It’s important they arrive with the right attitude and not complacent as Fortune certainly aren’t feeling sorry for themselves.

Team’s David Gordon told JC Sport: “We are looking to carry on our mini unbeaten run into the new year.

"We have to play most of the teams around us, some of them twice, so that should give us the opportunity to pick up some points and move in the right direction.”

I’m backing Team to register their fourth win but they certainly won’t have things all their own way.

JC team news: Paul Rich returns for Fortune after a long absence but they are without club captain Lee Fegan.

Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – Mike Cowan, KO – 10am

JC star man: James Milman (Team)

DC Prediction: Team 2 Fortune 1


Beware of the Cats! That’s the message from player-manager Jeff Gotch who is eyeing a league double over former leaders Hendon.

Jamie Sinai was their match-winner against Hendon last time out in a game where the Cats turned the game on its head. And it was Yarden Sharon who started the comeback, marking his first game back since suffering a nasty injury against Lions with the equaliser.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s rematch, Gotch told JC Sport: “So after four weeks off we are raring to go – 12 from 15 in our last five games including a 2-1 win in our most recent game against Sundays opponents - we are confident we can go on another good run and work our way up the table and capitalise on our games in hand.

"That being said we can’t be complacent as we know any team on their day can do the business at this level.

"At the end of the day I expect nothing less than three points against a side we beat pre-season and in our last game of 2015."

Mid-table now looks Hendon’s most likely finish, with Lions B and Raiders C expected to leapfrog them over the coming weeks, but that won’t stop Adam Glekin’s men from giving their own and trying to redress the balance.

Three consecutive defeats has dented their automatic promotion aspirations and Glekin hopes they are able to rediscover some of their early season form.

JC team news: The Cats are missing skipper Richard Adams, Ash Stokes and Jamie Sinai but are otherwise full-strength, with Joel Isaacs and Jordan Grant - who Gotch describes as “two of the best players in this division in my eyes” – returning to the squad.

Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – Callum Foster, KO – 10am

JC star man: Jordan Grant (Catford)

DC Prediction: Hendon 2 Catford 2


L’Equipe cannot wait for kick-off on Sunday, according to boss Nick Stern, as they look to make their intentions clear against Faithfold.

Stern has plenty of respect for the Superhoops but he will challenge his players to raise the bar in their 2016 opener.

"We want to hit the ground running and put the terrible performance against Real Hendon behind us,” Stern told JC Sport.

"The last time we played that bad was funnily enough against our opponents this week Faithfold and that simply must not happen again.

"We want to show real fight and desire as that will be needed in abundance against a well drilled opponent.

"James Mendel is missing and once again we have an issue where his own wedding has come ahead of L’Equipe which is always disappointing. However, all at L’Equipe want to wish James and his lovely wife to be a huge mazel tov on their wedding.

"I am making a return to the line-up myself this week and know full well that the task will be about keep Dan Gordon quiet while we unleash our own brilliant striker Andy Smith on Faithfold for the first time."

Faithfold boss Rob Shooman knows his team should be higher than they are but as the old saying goes, the league table never lies.

Gordon has kept them efficient in the final third but despite having one of the best goalkeeper’s outside of the Premier Division, they still concede too many goals. So focus, concentration, application and discipline will be the key words in Shooman’s pre-match teamtalk.

I expect Sunday’s encounter to be an open and entertaining affair. In the end it boils down to which team wants it most.

JC team news: L’Equipe are missing our captain Mark Singer who “has his priorities in the wrong order,” while David Prager is still suspended.

Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Martin Fox

JC star man: Josh Barnett (Faithfold)

DC Prediction: L’Equipe 2 Faithfold 3


Sam Marchant had a spring in his step when I caught up with him earlier this week ahead of the visit of promotion rivals Real Hendon.

Most people would take points in the bag over games in hand as anything can happen in football, but having played five games fewer, you have to fancy the Lions to finish higher over the course of the season.

Marchant knows that nothing will be won or lost on Sunday and told JC Sport: “Sunday gives us a great opportunity to start the second half of the season exactly how we want to continue.

"Real Hendon look like a solid outfit, and their league standing shows that. By facing them this Sunday, and with our games in hand, we can narrow the gap to two points with a win, which will put us in a strong position.

"We're at home and as always, we’re confident we can go out on the day and get the right result. The lads are focused, excited and refreshed after the winter break and Sunday should be a great spectacle."

Real Hendon are on a terrific run and unbeaten in six. They have reacted superbly since the heavy defeat against leaders Scrabble and have climbed into second place virtually unnoticed.

Player-manager Chaim Gothold has put together an excellent squad and the clash between youth and experience is definitely one to watch. And if it’s on the big main pitch at the Lane, I think MLL’s superior fitness will edge them over the line.

Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Barry David

JC star man: Elias Cohen (Lions)

DC Prediction: Lions 3 Real 2


It’s only a matter of time until Scrabble FC wrap up the title, but Raiders certainly won't roll out the red carpet treatment for them on Sunday.

Ray Abrahams’s boys showed no mercy against Temple Fortune last time out but they will find things much tougher against a Raiders team who are flying themselves.

I fully expect Raiders to finish in the top three and David Domb sounded in determined mood as L’Oranges attempt to end Scrabble’s incredible 100 per cent league record.

Domb told JC Sport: “It’s the first match of a fairly big fortnight for us at NLR C - but this isn't the two-week period that will shape our season, there's a long way to go!

"It's a match we've all been looking forward to - pretty certain Masters Mcleod, Peters and Espinosa to name a few have been as well.

"We all know what a good side Scrabble are - they should be they're littered with former Raiders players from across all the teams at the club! They're record doesn't come as a surprise to me when you consider the boys at their disposal.

"It's not about them though. It's about us. Four wins on the spin heading into the new year left a seriously good spirit among the boys. It's a shame we then had to wait three weeks until the next fixture.

"No doubt Sunday will be a difficult game, but it's not beyond our capability to go out there and take something, if not all three points off them. We've got nothing to fear, there's no pressure on us.

"It's two very good teams wanting to express themselves and show they mean business. It really should be a superb advert for the league."

Scrabble have not put a foot wrong in the league this season. They average almost five goals a game and have conceded just seven in 11. Tests have been few and far between as they have been head and shoulders better than the majority of their rivals this season, but that won’t stop Raiders from giving it a good go.

Boss Ray Abrahams told JC Sport: "We share our Willesden home ground with Camden Park and they have a cup tie this week which gives them priority at Willesden so our game is moved to Wembley! Well Vale Farm Sports Ground in Wembley anyway.

"Raiders C are one of the best sides in this division but hopefully we will be able to pick up where we left off last year with our first three points of 2016.

"We will need to be on top of our game and focused to beat Raiders who have only lost twice this season in the league.

"We have a strong squad for Sunday's game and a real competition for places now as everyone wants to be involved and stake a claim for a place in our team.

"We are enjoying our winning run and don't want to give it up just yet so we will be as determined as ever to put on a good show."

The longer Raiders can stay close to Scrabble the more belief they will get but you can be sure Scrabble will have one or two impact subs on the bench in case they need some magic late on.

JC team news: Nick Haringman returns to the squad after missing the Bilbaum game. Jake Yudelowitz has set aside March 5 for his return having missed the entire season so far through injury.

Venue – Vale Farm, Ref – Luke Eppel, KO – 10am

JC star man: Josh Tiano (Scrabble)

DC Prediction: Scrabble 3 Raiders 2



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