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CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP ROUND ONE
OAKWOOD B vs CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI
I’m sure Oakwood boss Jason Stein would rather have a couple of league games under his belt ahead of what is a potential banana skin against lower league opposition.
But he sounded in typically upbeat mood ahead of Sunday’s League Cup meeting against the Cats, with his chairman having supported him with some astute squad additions during the summer. The most recent recruitment was confirmed ahead of kick-off, with Oakwood fans delighted by the return of the prodigal son, Jacob Richler-Kleiman. And I’ve been reliably informed by the club shop that it’s not too late for supporters to add his name to the back of their shirts before Sunday.
Ahead of kick-off, Stein commented: “Welcome back DC. You'll notice we've undergone a small redesign this summer and here we are at the Woolboro Homes Training Centre. They've even given me a new office. Although conspicuously its further away from Blanky than my old office. And I now don't have a lock on the door. But aside from that it's great.
“Club is in good shape. Very important that the B team start the season with a win. We've always punched above our weight in the cups during my time here and I'd like this year to be no different.
“I like Jeff and the team at Catford a lot, they're a really good example to any team joining the MGBSFL.
“For us we've simply got to win.”
Catford won their league opener 3-2 courtesy of strikes from Alex Jacobs, Mitch Green and Jamie Sinai.
Boss Jeff Gotch believes his players are capable of producing an upset.
“We are hopefully going to have a bit of a cup run this year – I have a big squad and it’s a great opportunity for some of the lads who haven’t started yet to show me what they go
The return of JRK has given the Oaks a massive lift. I can see him being the difference between the teams on Sunday.
JC team news: Jacob Richler-Kleiman will make his comeback for the club, as will Dan Ash who returns after an ACL injury.
Catfordare without a few key players but Gotch “only cares about who is playing and isn’t looking for excuses before the game has even started!”
Venue - Meadow Park, Ref – Phil Peters, KO - 10 am
JC star man: Jacob Richler-Kleiman (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: Oakwood 2 Catford 1
OAKWOOD A vs BOCA JEWNIORS
Boca will take a healthy support to Colney Heath on Sunday but any hopes of a lucrative cup run will need to wait until the Peter Morrison Trophy.
Oakwood away is the toughest draw they could have hoped for, especially after an emphatic win over Raiders.
Boca’s Sefton Monk didn’t sound overly confident ahead of kick-off, describing it as “a mis-match”.
He told JC Sport: “This will be Boca Jewniors’ first outing of the 17/18 season. We come into fresh off an unbeaten pre-season, with 10 new players coming from up and down the MGBSFL.”
Boca hope that newly signed star striker Jamie Kent will back fresh from his stint on-loan from his wife on their honeymoon. The veteran goalscorer was signed for a Division Two record of four cream cheese bagels and a family sized bag of Lightly Salted Kettle Chips!
Dan Beresford is at the helm this term and has worked tirelessly on the training pitch since the fixture was announced three weeks ago.
Monk told JC Sport: “Frank De Boer was seen trying to give a helping hand at Boca's state of the art training facility yesterday, but the Boca manager had to instruct security to keep him out due to fear of bringing a goal drought to the north London outfit.
“Even though Boca are playing a team 30+ places above them the Jewish football ladder, the boys are still in high spirits. There will be no fresh injury scares this Sunday, as chairman Monk got his hands on a set of new iPhone X's and his players have used the new heal and recovery boost features to get all the players fit for this week’s encounter.
There were big performances all over the pitch from Oakwood last week. David Woolman impressed my pundits on When Sunday Comes with his robust style, while Sam Cantor gave David Rhodes a torrid morning. The back four were rock solid and I can see another quiet morning for Dean Caplin in goal.
Joint-manager Dan Kristall told me the Oakwood players will be on their guard to ensure his players are not victims of the 'magic of the cup'.
"We all remember what happened in the cups last season and we will aim to use that disappointment to avoid complacency again," Kristall told JC Sport.
"We must be on our game, we must be professional. Boca gave us a good game at their place two seasons ago and it was only in the closing stages that we put the game to bed.
"We know that they will use RCUK's success from last season as the basis for believing that they can beat us but we hope so be too strong for them.
"Last week's win was the perfect start and we want to build up momentum in the next few weeks. We hope that this is the start of a successful cup run but we will take it one game at a time."
Had this tie come later into the season, Oakwood may have rotated, but their key players want minutes and it will be a long 90 minutes for the minnows.
JC team news: Toby Levy, Dan Rose are in line for first appearance of the season for Oakwood. Alex Lee remains sidelined but should be back for October. Leor Sidle is out. Dale Bradman is a doubt and Josh Cuby may be involved, Dean Caplin remains in goal.
Venue - Nicholas Breakspear, Ref - Phil Peters, KO – 10am
JC star man: Jake Norton (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: Oakwood 7 Boca 0
MGBSFL PREMIER DIVISION
BRADY MACCABI vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A
Reiss Mogilner loves a new season. He scored for fun at the start of season 2016/17 and repeated his efforts in Brady’s opener by scoring a hat-trick in the 4-1 demolition of Camden Park.
Ricky Rinder received praise from Camden boss Stirling Kay – who described him as “the best player on the pitch” – but it will need a real team effort against Raiders on Sunday.
Dan Shafron’s men got a rude awakening against Oakwood last week. They were bullied and had their feathers ruffled and the manager felt the big decisions went against his players.
I’m predicting a big performance from L’Orange at the Lane on Sunday. And so if the gaffer.
“Last week was poor on so many levels but I’m confident that we will bounce back with a much more positive performance” Shafron told JC Sport.
“The boys know that they weren’t good enough and they are determined to put it right against a good Brady side.”
I can see the first 20 minutes being cagey, but can see Shafron having a game-changer on the bench to win it late on.
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Daniel Fox, KO – 10am
JC star man: Adam Joselyn (Raiders)
DC Prediction: Brady 1 Raiders 2
MACCABI LONDON LIONS WHITE vs MACCABI LONDON LIONS BLUE
With two Lions teams in the top-flight, this is the first of two inter-club derbies in a month as the Whites take on the Blues.
James Gershfield told me this week we will see a very different Lions team to the one well beaten by Hendon last weekend.
“It's a massive weekend for us made bigger by our disappointing start last weekend against Hendon and everyone in the camp is ready to put things right.
“I feel we have a more experienced squad this weekend and I'm confident in getting our first win of the season but will not be underestimating Sam and his strong squad.”
Sam Marchant’s Blues go into the season with their tails up after an excellent 12 months. They gave the Whites a great game in the cup last season and they have nothing to lose.
"We hope to get our season off to a positive start on Sunday," Marchant told JC Sport. "We have a strong and technically capable squad and if everyone is working together and performing how we practiced over the pre-season, there is no reason why we can’t take all the points.
"Every game this season will be an extremely tough battle and we know what to expect on Sunday from the other Lions team. It should be a great game and the squad are very excited to kick the season off."
It promises to be a tight affair and I can’t see there being more than a goal in it, in front of the JC cameras.
JC team news: The return of skipper Ben Lampert, Max Hassell and GK David Sacal gives the Whites a “massive boost” and Kiki Levin is set to make his Lions debut. New arrival Freddy Kramer is likely to make the squad.
LIONS BLUE (squad): James Harpin, Daniel Behar, Sammy Kingston, Zak Linden, Ed Brafman (capt), Nathan Anders, Nick Barnett, David Nezri, Alex Rose, Adam Abadi, Charlie Cohen, Jono Gaon, Benji Weinberger, Joshua Bloom
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Andy Myerson, KO – 10am
JC star man: Max Hassell (Lions White)
DC Prediction: Lions White 2 Lions Blue 1
MATCH POSTPONED - Camden Park vs Hendon USC
LOS BLANCOS vs L’EQUIPE
Los Blancos were mightily impressive against Temple Fortune last weekend on a day when defences did not come out smelling of roses.
Joe Davis and Svi Freedman stole the show, with both bagging braces in a superb display full of attacking intent.
Any criticism received by defender Jake Doffman on social media is largely unfair, although it would be fair to say the former NLR goalkeeper will be looking to dominate against the Division Two champions.
Joint-manager Joel Holder told JC Sport: "The boys have been in good spirits all week, but we know we need to improve some aspects of our game. It will be important to start the game on the front-foot, keep focused and dictate the tempo.
"It's going to be a tough task picking the starting 11 on Sunday as there is a lot of quality throughout the squad, but I am sure we will get the balance right and continue our good start to the season."
L'Equipe boss Nick Stern told me he is "struggling to get numbers this week". Stern believes his team are "huge underdogs, but will battle till the end".
I can see L'Equipe coming to Borehamwood to frustrate, but if Blancos get behind them early doors it could be carnage.
JC team news: Blancos are excited to welcome a number of players to the squad including Luke Strauss, Alex Lewis and new arrival Oli Sade.
Venue – Hertswood, Ref – Martin Lavender, KO – 10am
JC star man: Avishai Kestenbaum (Blancos)
DC Prediction: Blancos 4 L'Equipe 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs TEMPLE FORTUNE
Simon Linden is remaining very quiet this week following the 5-3 defeat against Blancos last week.
Like Jurgen Klopp, you can't keep a good man down and it was refreshing to hear Linden tell reporters: "We are going to the Wembley to win. Nothing less."
That was the approach taken by Mauricio Pochettino the other night, and it did Spurs no harm at all.
But Raiders away is one of the toughest propositions in Division One this season and I'm expecting L'Orange to put on a real show in their opening match.
With Ben Law, Rob Blackman and Elliot Espinoza expected to be involved, Raiders will be a step up compared to anything Fortune have played in recent months, Blancos apart, and they will give the newly-promoted team a proper work out.
It's important Fortune focus on defence and winning their individual and collective battles, not allowing NLR's talented ball-players any time or space.
NLR joint-manager Jonny Adelman has tipped Josh Green for big things this season and I can see him being a thorn in the side of Fortune.
Venue – Ark Academy, Ref – Martin De La Fuente, KO – 10am
JC star man: Josh Green (Raiders)
DC Prediction: Raiders 4 Fortune 1
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C
A big crowd is anticipated ahead of the first Redbridge derby of the season.
There have been plenty of changes off the pitch at the club over the summer and Josh Hambling has been handed the responsibility to see if he can retain the Division One title with the Bs.
I'm led to believe the Cs will have a flavour of Woodford Wanderers, so this has all the ingredients of a tasty affair.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – Luke Steele, KO – 10am
JC star man: Ben Rosenthal (RJC)
DC Prediction: RJC B 3 RJC C 2
SCRABBLE FC vs FAITHFOLD A
Faithfold's win against L'Equipe will have lifted the mood and confidence at the club.
Avishai Marcus (3) and Dovi Vogel became an instant hit with the fans, while Dan Ezra must be pushing for a start after his two-goal salvo from the bench. The performance ticked all the boxes as far as boss Avi Markiewicz was concerned.
But what of Scrabble? Having missed out on automatic promotion to the Premier Division by a point at the end of last season, manager Ray Abrahams hopes they can steer clear of major injuries - that disrupted their challenge.
Abrahams has spent the summer recruiting several new players and allowing some of the players who have served the club so well over the last two seasons to leave.
"It's been a busy summer with some big changes in personnel at the club but although some of our big names have moved on, we feel that their replacements will slot in and take us to the next level this season," Abrahams told JC Sport.
"We retain most of the players that have done so well for us over the last few years and we've added quality to the squad.
"Josh Pugh our influential midfielder is the new club captain and another season in the division will see young players like Zac Summerfield who was in superb form last season emerge as a key player for us.
"We've also signed a top player in Lorian Madanes and providing we can stay injury free, we believe there are a lot of goals in this team.
"We are looking forward to the Faithfold game but after their opening day win last week they will be full of confidence going into the game but we will be ready for them.
"The first division will be close this year and we hope to be in the pack next May challenging for promotion to the Premier Division and it would be nice to add a good Cup run too."
If you're looking for five-star entertainment on Sunday morning, I urge you to get down to Willesden for what promises to be a thrilling encounter.
Venue – Capital City, Ref – Luke Steele, KO – 10am
JC star man: Dan Ezra (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Scrabble 2 Faithfold 3
MILL HILL DONS vs FC TEAM
The Dons will be looking to make it two out of two when they host Mitch Young's FC Team in Borehamwood.
Boss Brandon Hamme was delighted to see his team shared the goals around in last week's terrific triumph over Faithfold B.
He'll be looking for more of the same in their first league outing in front of their home fans.
"It was a great way to start the season last week," Hamme told JC Sport. "We looked very solid defensively and going forward - we were unable to beat Faithfold in either game we faced them last season so it's a clear sign of improvement right from the get go.
"Sunday will mark our first-ever competitive game at our new stadium the Aycliffe Park Arena, so it's bound to be a great occasion for the players and the fans.
"The move to Borehamwood from Mill Hill over the summer, did cause some controversy but the commercial and merchandising opportunities within the great sporting city of Borehamwood meant the move should help us take that next step."
Hamme insists the Dons won't underestimate Team, but his players will go into the game with great belief.
He went on to say: "This week we face an FC Team team who are bound to be one of the contenders for promotion this season, so we know we will have to be at our best to beat them.
"It's essential to get off to a good start at home, as I believe making Aycliffe Park a fortress will give us a high advantage in our fight for promotion this season.
"We showcased last week that we are no pushovers and we won't make things easy for the travelling team, there is absolutely no reason why we can't get all three points this Sunday."
FC Team welcome back some key players on Sunday and gaffer Young will send his boys on the attack.
"We're looking forward to the game," he told JC Sport. "We are wounded after the Bayern game and are ready to get the three points.
"We welcome back all three players who missed last week and may have four or five on the bench for the first time in many years.
"I am sure MHD will be confident after a positive win last week but I will not accept anything less than three points and my players expect that from themselves as well."
I'm expecting an open and entertaining affair on which the result hangs on how the Dons handle Team's dangerous set-piece threat.
JC team news: Sam Singer and Sam Kahn are out as they have gone to their respective universities, whilst Jason 3G Weldon has gone on a well deserved holiday after his stellar performance last time out. Oliver Burchell and Adam Lisberg could both be set to make their competitive debuts for the club.
Marc Hecht, Danny Moss and David Grossman all return to squad. Bradley Jacobs is away.
Venue – Aycliffe Park, Ref – Neal Cohen, KO – 10am
JC star man: Adam Lisberg (Dons)
DC Prediction: Dons 2 Team 2
FAIRLOP FC vs BAYERN MINCHA
Most people were expecting Fairlop to have back-to-back wins under their belts but manager Aaron Dias is satisfied with their start.
Having smashed the club's transfer record several times over the summer (smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels are twice the price in north London!), he knows nothing less than three points are expected against fellow new boys Bayern Mincha.
Dias told JC Sport: "We're hoping to collect all three points, we've got four points from six which is okay but have really struggled to play good football, so will look to improve on that this week."
Bayern boss Daniel Holder was beaming after their 3-1 win over FC Team. He asked his players for a big performance and they didn't disappoint.
Holder beat off a host of higher league rivals for the signing of Adam Ellis and Mitch Young was signing the praises of the young striker after the game. He would walk into any team in the league in my opinion, he's that good.
The battle between Daryl Rubin and Ellis will be key. Don't take your eyes off this one.
JC team news: Fairlop welcome back Daryl Rubin and Daniel Bean "fom their romantic two-week getaway" and will shore up the middle of the defence.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – David Lazarus, KO – 10am
JC star man: Adam Ellis (Bayern)
DC Prediction: Fairlop 2 Bayern 2
FAITHFOLD B vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C
Quite a few people are tipping Raiders for the title and if their performance against Temple Fortune was anything to go by, they look the real deal.
Liam Stein earned a place in my Team of the Week after leading the way with two expertly taken strikes, with Ben Kaye and super-sub Alex Goodman joining the party.
Indeed I can see them doing a similar job on Faithfold B at the home of Barnet FC this weekend, with Nick Haringman banging in a couple of goals.
Ahead of kick-off, NLR boss Sam Rose told JC Sport: "We had a great result last week, but we’re taking absolutely nothing for granted and taking our season game by game.
"We had a positive result last season against Faithfold at the Hive and will be looking to produce a similar performance again on Sunday."
Faithfold welcome back eight players who missed last week, that's virtually a new team, but they will need to defend in numbers against a team who have great options on the counter-attack.
JC team news: Alex Elf returns from the front pages of the JC at last week’s wedding in Brighton to the back pages with Raiders this Sunday otherwise no other injuries or suspensions.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – Stuart Ansher, KO – 10am
JC star man: Nick Haringman (Raiders)
DC Prediction: Faithfold 1 Raiders 4
HERTSWOOD VALE vs STRAW HAT PIRATES
It's all change at Hertswood Vale once again - Harry Marlow, James Neidle and captain Josh Wood are among those who are returning this week, Adrian Leibovitch, Ben Chiltern and Jordan Harris who have all impressed in our first two weeks of the season.
Joint-manager Jacob Emanuel believes it's only a matter of time until they get that first win on the board.
He told JC Sport; "Going into this week's game, we find ourselves unlucky not to have three points already on the table following Real Hendon's last-minute equaliser - however there were plenty of positives to take from the performance.
"We are likely to see a very different side to Straw Hat Pirates to the one that we beat 5-1 in pre-season - their opening two results suggest that they're potentially edging us on the favorites tag.
"Having said that, the boys are hungry to get their first three points of the season so we should have quite a game ahead of us.
"Harry Marlow, James Millet and Josh Gorb will be the ones to watch if SHP hope to get a result past us."
Pirates boss Elliot Cukier was delighted by the level of performance against Fairlop last Sunday.
They were hard-working, disciplined and deserved the point they came away with thanks to an effort from Michael Amsellem.
Cukier wants his players to move up a level and told JC Sport: We're looking for our first three points in our local derby against a team we know very well.
"It should be a good battle but we hope to come out on top."
I'm expecting an end to end affair and a game of football that is a great advert for the league.
JC team news: The Pirates have a couple of key players missing but a strong squad still making the journey.
Venue – Tempsford Green, Ref – Mike Cowan, KO – 10am
JC star man: Bailey Snow (Hertswood)
DC Prediction: Hertswood 3 Pirates 3
TEMPLE FORTUNE B vs REAL HENDON
Mazel is in the air at Real Hendon who are "hoping for a good weekend to celebrate right-back Richie Cohen's recent wedding and the Goldberg twins "finally eligible for the Masters" birthday," according to assistant-boss Rafi Addelstone.
They snatched a point against Hertswood Vale last weekend in the dying stages, with Martin Smulovitch rolling back the years with a vintage performance - arguably his finest in a Real shirt.
The physio room has been a busy place at Real this week. They await the return of Gav Noe and RA Noe. Definitely returning is Lloyd Kafton, "who has spent the summer break getting back to fitness running from the fridge to the pantry and back".
Addlestone told JC Sport: "We also look forward to Gilad Kestenbaum returning to the side, although hope he has managed to put an end to his 'running round in a circle in the middle of the pitch' shtick."
Indeed an Addlestone press conference is turning out to be just as entertaining as one with Oakwood B boss Jason Stein. He went on to say: "New signing Raffy Zysblat could be making an appearance in goal. Gali Kolt is nursing an injured back after giving everything in his debut last week and fellow debutant Adam Hersh pulled a hamstring and is also likely out, or he might just be building credit at home ahead of our glamour tie at London Lions White.
"Despite these bumps and bruises, we expect to have a full team out to shlep from Temple Fortune to Hatch End, to play Temple Fortune."
Darren Zitren missed Fortune's poor performance against Raiders C last weekend. He told JC Sport: "Clearly the gaffer being away had an impact on the team and we are looking to put that result behind us now.
"I am pleased to announce three new signings this week Jamie Taylor, Jonathan Pressman and Declan Spiro. We are looking to play some good football and bounce-back in style."
It's clear Real will come to play. The absence of Hersh is a blow, but with Kestenbaum pulling the strings, I expect them to run out handsome victors.
Venue – Roger Bannister, Ref – Paul Dobkin, KO – 10am
JC star man: Gilad Kestenbaum (Real)
DC Prediction: Fortune 1 Real 4