YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE:
CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP QUARTER-FINALS
HENDON UNITED SPORTS vs MACCABI LONDON LIONS WHITE
Hendon welcome back some of their big guns as they prepare to tackle Lions White for the second time this season, with a place in the League Cup semi-finals on the line.
The Red men have had a strong first half of the season and boss Greg Corin would love another trip to Wingate & Finchley.
He told JC Sport: "We hope to improve on our game against Lions at the end of last year and play some good attacking football and go through to the next round."
James Gershfield is giving youth a chance this season. After a slow start, things look to be coming together nicely for the cup holders, although I have a feeling he may draft in some experienced faces for the Hendon game.
Gaffer Gershfield will be looking for another "dominant" performance from midfield maestro Josh Shack who scored twice in the recent draw against Hendon.
Winning a Sunday competition remains high on the list of priorities for Lions. They weren’t afraid to roll out the big guns for the cup final last season and I can see them flexing their muscles again to get past Hendon.
JC team news: Moses Seitler is available which is a huge boost for the team. Ben Lauffer returns to play against his former club and Dovi Fehler returns. There could be an appearance from Yoav Lebens who is back from Israel.
HENDON (from): Russ Corin, Arthur Caplin, Mordi Weiler, Alex Rosenthal, Josh Bentley, Ari Nevies, Dudi Edreyi, Dan Howard, Ari Last (capt), Yoav Lebens, Greg Corin, Ben Lauffer, Rocky Spitzer, Josh Harris, Zac Lewis, Yishai Last
LIONS (from): Jordan Sharifian, Sam Arghebant, Will Beresford, Ben Lampert, James Gold, Sam Hamerton, Max Hassell, Jamie Jackson, Jack Mattey, Mikey Perkins, Josh Weiner, Conor Perl, Max Misrahi, Jamie Cohen, Tyler Smith, Eshed Calman, Jonny Ellis, Max Kyte, Austin Lipman, Adam Burchell, Ryan Springer, Josh Shack
Venue - Hadley, Ref – Andy Myerson, KO – 10am
JC star man: Jack Mattey (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon 1 Lions 1 (AET - Hendon to win on penalties)
MGBSFL PREMIER DIVISION
MACCABI LONDON LIONS BLUE vs OAKWOOD
Defending champions Oakwood will be looking to finish the weekend in the top three ahead of their second trip to Rowley Lane this season.
Yet to play either of the Lions teams this term, the Oaks defeated Brady 3-2 at the home of Jewish football earlier in the season, and another tough slog looks on the cards.
Oakwood have battled hard to grind out two victories since the defeat against Hendon and they will need 90 minutes of focus and concentration against a dangerous Lions side.
Lions are more than halfway through their league campaign with a solid 12-point return. The win over Redbridge was the highlight of their season so far and manager Sam Marchant will remind his players they have nothing to lose when the champions come to town.
According to social media, both sets of players enjoyed end of year festivities and it'll be interesting to see which side if blowing harder at the final whistle.
LIONS (from): James Harpin, Sammy Kingston, Daniel Fattal, Daniel Behar, Ben Winters, Nathan Anders, Jordan Aspis, Nick Barnett, Charlie Cohen, Adam Abadi, Ed Brafman (capt), Benji Weinberger, Jono Gaon, Josh Bloom, Michael Kenley, Zac Linden, Zach Perez
OAKWOOD (from): Joe Botchin, Harvey Kaye, Lee Warner, Alex Lee, Dale Bradman, Luke Brookner, Toby Levy, Kyle Bentwood, Tom Cantor, Dan Rose, Simon Davies, Daniel Taylor, Dave Woolman, Leor Sidle, Jonny Quinn, Dave Cohen, Jake Bentwood, Rafi Stone, Luke Brookner
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – Mark Jacob, KO -10am
JC star man: Leor Sidle (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: Lions 0 Oakwood 2
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A
Raiders and Redbridge have enjoyed some classic battles against Raiders over the years, and Sunday will be no different.
Morrison holders NLR were glad to see the back of 2017, despite their memorable cup triumph in Manchester in May, which now seems like a distant memory.
They fell well below the high standards set and will be determined to start 2018 with a bang, especially as they lie just a solitary point off the bottom.
Redbridge could move to within a point of top spot if they can come away with maximum points. That's the carrot that will be dangled in front of the team by a three-pronged management set-up spearheaded by Jon Jacobs.
The east Londoners finished the year with two disappointing defeat and it's vital they bounce back in style.
JC team news: Dan Andrews and Craig Sandford miss out through suspension for RJC.
REDBRIDGE (from): Dan Lee, Jay Jaffa, Ross Weintraub, Danny Berg, Sam McCarthy, Adam Hakimi, Danny Hakimi, Craig Sandford, Richie Caplin, Brad Frankel, Adam Shafron, Ben Sollosi, Sam Sollosi, Nathan Sollosi, Scott Oldstein, James Berkley, Nate Kashket, Russell Goldstein, Daniel Garfinkle, Steve Summers, Aaron Goldberg
RAIDERS (from): Adam Zaidman, James Ross, Zack Neiman, David Cohen, Josh Goldstein, Elad Hertshten, Joe Cohen, Adam Joselyn, Ben Joseph, Jonny Kay, Oscar Wagner, Alex Moss, Jordan Abrahamson, Dan Shafron, Rob Blackman, Dave Esterkin, Jake Gilbert, Oren Sheldon
Ref – Daniel Fox, KO -10am
JC star man: Steve Summers (RJC)
DC Prediction: NLR 1 RJC 2
FAITHFOLD A vs TEMPLE FORTUNE A
Fortune boss Simon Linden is feeling the heat and he couldn't have asked for a tougher start to the year than a trip to runaway leaders Faithfold.
Twelve points separate the teams going into the game in this top against bottom clash in Edgware.
The Superhoops were one of the teams of the first half of the season. They are playing with supreme confidence and have the look and feel of champions. But manager Avi Markiewicz is taking nothing for granted.
He told JC Sport: "The first half of the season has gone very well for us but we are fully aware that if we get complacent then anything can happen and with Oakwood B so close behind us it’s vital we get off to a good start.
"The news that our captain and possibly most consistent player, Avi Mocton, the rock and foundation of our team at the back, is leaving to New York in a couple of weeks is a real hammer blow for us so it’s even more important that we continue our momentum.
"Temple Fortune are the only team we are yet to play (excluding our called off Redbridge B game) so it will be a new test but we did play them twice last year and both games were closely contested and I’m sure it will be the same again this week."
Sunday could be a case of back to basics for Fortune. One win in nine doesn't make good reading but Linden turned down the opportunity of some time in the sun over Chanukah to focus on the task at hand. It's clear he's ready for the battle.
Ahead of kick-off, Linden told JC Sport: "It’s been a very frustrating season to date, losing a 38-goal striker and his side-kick along with two long-term injuries, disciplinary issues with a new player - to top it off L'Equipe folded, which leaves us rooted at the bottom.
"We will always give everything, 2018 is our 50th year as a football club so we want to give it everything we can to make it a success.
"We're looking forward to Sunday, it’s going to be extremely tough but we will give it our best shot."
Fortune have conceded 15 times in their last two outings and I can't see things getting any easier over the next 90 minutes.
JC team news: Faithfold have a strong squad with only a couple of regulars out. The B team’s game has been called off so "we are lucky to be able to call upon the experience of David Garson as our keeper. That, along with us being at home and we are confident but will approach this game as we do any other".
FAITHFOLD (from): David Garson, Ben Gabay, Leor Harel, Joe Gordon, Avi Mocton, Gideon Caller, Avi Garson, Jonny Leiwy, Eli Shebson, Dovi Vogel, Aron Luftig, Jonny Gahan, David Leiwy, Louis Naghten, Avi Markiewicz, Sam Zerovabeli, Chaim Bordon, Ben Shirbini, Zalmy Cohen, Akiva Solomon, Gav Lewis, Jonny Blain
FORTUNE (from): Philip Small, Lee Fegan, Lee Hyams, Jonathan Cohen, Ranana Firmin, Adam Speck, Brett Stead, Michael Goldberg, Michael Woolfe, Eshed Rahav, Connor Brand, Jason Lindsay, Gab Stone, Simon Linden, Dan Vandermolen, Ben Isaacs
Venue – The Hive, Ref – Phil Peters, KO -10am
JC star man: Jonny Leiwy (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold 4 Fortune 0
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs LOS BLANCOS
Doron Salomon takes charge of Raiders for Sunday's tough looking clash against Los Blancos.
With games in hand on the top three, maximum points are vital as L'Orange go in search of their fourth win of what has been a stop-start season.
Revenge will be on the mind of the NLR players as they were edged out in a five-goal thriller by the Blancos boys at the end of October.
Blancos were one of the clubs hardest hit by L'Equipe folding. Six points have been wiped off, leaving them just one place off the bottom. But they mustn't let that affect their focus.
Another exciting encounter is on the cards, and I can see it being settled by the odd goal again.
RAIDERS (from): Ben Law, Anthony Shaw, Antony Goodmaker, Charles Braunstein, Rob Blackman, Lewis Blitz, Danny Bloom, Elliot Espinoza, Dave Esterkin, Matt Leader, Mark Leader, Ricky Lawrence, Simon Buchler, Brandon Sassoon, Scott Waissel, Josh Green
BLANCOS (from): Gideon Rabstein, Josh Aziz, Joel Barnett, Marc Woolfe, Jake Doffman, Svi Freedman, Tim Heynes, Gav Krieger, James Kutner, Avishai Kestenbaum, Elliott Maslawy, Joe Davis, Daniel Sinclair, Josh Mizrahi, Alex Lewis, Josh Laurier, Simon Moses, Oliver Sade, Luke Strauss
Ref – Marc Rister, KO -10am
JC star man: Elliot Espinoza (NLR)
DC Prediction: NLR 2 Blancos 1
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B vs SCRABBLE FC
Scrabble had a nightmare end to 2017, with defeats against Redbridge, Faithfold and Oakwood blowing a huge hole in their promotion aspirations. But they have dusted themselves down and are ready to go again, according to boss Ray Abrahams.
"We are looking forward to the Redbridge game as we need to put an end to our recent run of defeats," Abrahams told JC Sport.
"We need to get something to build on in this game. We are well aware that we have been unfortunate with injuries and suspensions over the last month or so and without doubt this has been a key reason for the drop in form.
"Redbridge B are a good side though and won't make it easy for us so we have to go into this game looking for effort and commitment from the squad and I'm sure we will be okay.
"Although others have games in hand now, we are still third in the table and need to fight to get back into the top two promotion places as soon as possible."
Redbridge B haven't set the world alight, but they remain dangerous opponents, especially on their own patch.
Striker Dan Gordon is approaching double figures and he will take inspiration from the form of Liverpool's Fab Four in a bid to ensure the east Londoners finish the weekend above Sunday's opponents.
The first 20 minutes will be key for Scrabble. If they concede early doors they will find it hard to stop a talented Redbridge team.
JC team news: It wouldn't surprise me if gaffer Abrahams drafts in a Masters player of the calibre of a Tony Gold or Steven Moss to ensure Scrabble play with discipline as it's crucial they finish with 11 men on the pitch.
RJC (from): Brad Grant, Dan Adelman, Paul Biller, Dan Andrews, Jon Fialka, Dan Lassman, James Law, Scott McKenzie, Dan Lipman, Elliot Coulton, Adam Noble, Sam Rank, Antony Cope, Josh Hambling, Dan Gordon, Jacob Kaye, Carl Dobrin, Richard Rosenthal
SCRABBLE (from): Dan Beresford, Jonny Mervish, Oli Richardson, Amit Kahana, Dan Green, Steve Moss, Tony Gold, Ben Cantopher, Lorian Madanes, Adam Newman, Adam Waters, Rupert Wood, Josh Pugh, Rob Rodney, Zac Summerfield, Dan Goldhill, Zac McLeod, Ben Krieger, Ben Bowers, Craig Cole
Venue - Fairlop, Ref – Robert Benardout, KO -10am
JC star man: Richard Rosenthal (RJC)
DC Prediction: RJC 2 Scrabble 1
BAYERN MINCHA vs HERTSWOOD VALE
Pep Guardiola recently described Spurs as the "Harry Kane team". I wonder what he'd make of Bayern Mincha and Adam Ellis.
Bayern's management know they have a real gem on their hands but they are always keen to remind the Jewish football world that they win as a team and lose as a team.
Six win from their opening nine matches is a good return for the Bayern boys. By my calculations, Ellis has 19 goals to his name - more than half the team's tally.
The promotion hopefuls have had plenty of time to learn from their recent defeats against Mill Hill Dons and Brady Maccabi, and they will fancy themselves to turn Vale over.
Joint-manager Daniel Holder told JC Sport: "Wow, finally after over a month off due to winter breaks and postponements, we are finally back and raring to g.
"We didn’t have the best end to 2017, with a very depleted squad resulting in some bad results, but we still went into Christmas second in the table and very much in the hunt for the title.
"We are slightly concerned with our fitness levels, with many players not having kicked a ball for over a month, so we may be a little rusty going into the game.
"Nevertheless, we beat Hertswood earlier on in the season and we know if we play to our best, we will come home with three points. It won’t be easy to score though as they possess one of the best keeper's across Jewish football.
"Our next four games are all at home, on a great 4G surface which suits our style and 12 points is a necessity if we want to win the league.
Vale secured one of the results of the season when they put FC Team to the sword last time out. They must play with the same intensity and effort levels for 90 minutes if they are to upset the odds.
Looking ahead to the game, Hertswood joint-manager Jacob Emanuel told JC Sport: "The boys are very excited to be back in action. We're looking forward to adding to our two-match winning run, nearly six weeks since the first win in that sequence against Raiders C at the back end of November! Despite very little playing time since, we're ready to go against Mincha.
"Danny [Hirschberger] and I have a large squad at our disposal, with top-scorer Edan Dodi back in the fray for the first time since October. whilst Joni 'De Gea' Hirschowitz is serving the first of his three-match ban...a Mike Dean-style decision that one. [That'll be music to the ears of the Bayern boys!]
"It was 3-2 when we last faced Bayern much earlier in the season, so we're keen to get revenge this time around, although we know that our defence will have to be on top form to stop THE Adam Ellis. We're certainly looking forward to it."
Ashley Hirschberger has been milking his long-range "wonder strike" for what it's worth - it just missed the cut for the best MGBSFL goals DVD. But I'd advise Bayern No. 1 Joe Nyman to stay on his line just in case!
There is a great togetherness about Hertswood this season. The bigger they come the harder they fall is their motto, but they will need to play out of their skins and starve Ellis of service if they are to get something from the game.
JC team news: Bayern's excellent skipper Jake Dayan and centre back Harry Salter remain sidelined, along with Hanan, Salter, Herszaft. Nevertheless, they welcome back Adam Biton from a long-term knee injury - "a player who had hit great form before his injury," while Josh Levy is also back in the squad. Nicky Cooper 50-50 (illness). We welcome back Winger Adam Biton to the side.
Harry Marlow and Josh Gorb return for Vale following prolonged absences. They also have a number of key players missing, with vice-captain Adrian Leibovitch moving to Brazil for the rest of the campaign.
BAYERN (from): Joseph Nyman, Rafi Terespolsky, Sam Leader, Josh Levy, Matan Ozin, Akiva Fink, Alon Pinhas, Adam Ellis, Eli Davila, Daniel Holder, Joe Metliss, Shmuel Leader, Allon David, Sam Kanter, Josh Levy, Sammy Liebert, Benjamin Albert, Nick Cooper, Adam Biton
HERTSWOOD (from): James Neidle, Gal Alkalay, Josh Cohen, Simon Englander, Yehuda Fink, Theo Gluckstein, Josh Gorb, Harry Graham, Ashley Hirschburger, Sammy Huberman, Adrian Leibovitch, Jonty Schogger, Ben Chiltern, Danny Feuer, Jack Shulman, Josh Cohen, Simon Englander, Jordan Harris, Michael Elia, Isaac Segalov, Edan Dodi, Harry Marlow
Venue – Capital City, Ref - Neal Cohen, KO -10am
JC star man: Allon David (Bayern)
DC Prediction: Bayern 3 Hertswood 1
FC TEAM vs FAIRLOP FC
Mitch Young cut a frustrated figure on the during Chanukah when FC Team's promotion challenge hit the buffers against Hertswood Vale.
They unlocked the Vale defence time and again and only had themselves to blame after missing a host of presentable chances.
However, motivation won't be a problem for the hosts on Sunday when they come up against title rivals Fairlop FC - a side bang in form.
"The festive break done wonders" for the Fairlop squad, according to boss Aaron Dias who is set to welcome back "a number players regaining full fitness".
Dias told JC Sport: "We will approach this league game like we will approach the remaining league games. Anything other than a win isn’t good enough and we fully expect to be taking home the three points."
It's good to see Dias smiling again. As you'd expect, his club temporarily lost their focus after the points deduction, but they are back on it now. "The lads are raring to go and although we are a number of points off the top, due to our games in hand, the title is still in our hands and we still very much believe we will win it."
The first-ever competitive meeting between the sides will not disappoint but I'm not brave enough to call a winner.
JC team news: FC Team are "struggling to get XI out," according to Mitch Young. Striker Richard Salmon (suspended), Marc Hecht, James Korn and Ashley Burns are all unavailable.
Fairlop welcome back Mitch Gold, who hasn’t yet featured due to injury.
TEAM (from): David Gordon, Jamie Breslaw, Eitan Ben-Zion, Jon Breger, Dan Breger, Danny Moss, James Milman, Adam Rones, David Grossman, Jamie Breslaw, Eddie Sternberg, Mitch Young, Dylan Young
FAIRLOP (from): Scott Shear, Adam Goldman, Kane Wise, Max Freedman, Ryan Cole, Daryl Rubin, Matt Berkeley, Daniel Bean, Kai Vale, Brad Gayer, Daniel Rosen, James Jaconelli, Brad Porter, Jacob Sanders, Pierce Prince, Joel Russell
Venue - Hertswood, Ref – Luke Steele, KO -10am
JC star man: Scott Shear (Fairlop)
DC Prediction: FC Team 2 Fairlop 2
MILL HILL DONS vs STRAW HAT PIRATES
Mill Hill Dons were one of the surprise packages of the first half of the season - and definitely one of the most improved. But the bottom line is that they haven't won anything yet.
Boss Brandon Hamme has done a superb job so far and he knows opportunity knocks over the next five months.
"We are finally back after a string of game cancellations and the winter break." Hamme told JC Sport. "The boys are so eager to get back in action and hopefully build on our lead at the top.
"It was a great end to 2017 and I hope we can continue our form into the new year on Sunday.
The last time we welcomed Straw Hat to Aycliffe we won 13-1, however this was just a pre-season friendly and we saw when we visited Tempsford Green two months ago that they are a much stronger team now giving us a challenging game."
I was at that game and was duly impressed by both players. SHP's talented front two made it a tough morning for the Dons defence but the solid spine of Cinna, Nagioff and Cohen was key in MHD's thrilling 4-3 on a day when football was the winner.
Hamme went on to say: "We won’t be complacent heading into the game and will be doing everything to start the year off with three points.
"Elliot Cukier is very much like the Guardiola of Jewish football so I’m expecting him to have a few tricks in his arsenal ready for Sunday, so I’ll be looking out for that.
"We weren’t at our best last time we faced Straw Hat and nearly caught out as a result. We will need to improve in order to secure the three points this time around.
"There is nothing we want more than to bring this Division Two back home with us this year and I expect the boys to give it 110 per cent on Sunday, which hopefully will be enough to get all three points."
Cukier will be chuffed about the Guardiola comparison, which proves there is great respect between the teams, who play football the right way.
Ahead of kick-off, the SHP boss told JC Sport: "We're looking strong off the back of a winter break which was thoroughly enjoyed after a big result against NLRC.
"We are looking forward to coming back to face a flying MH Dons, who we had a competitive game against last time around.
"They were lucky to steal last round and we are looking to come back with a bang! UTSH!"
So if you're looking for a great advert for Maccabi football, and can dodge the new year sales at Brent Cross with the missus, I suggest you arrive early to avoid disappointment.
JC team news: Joseph Reece is out with a partially torn ligament for the Dons who have an otherwise "clean bill of health".
DONS (from): Oli Burchell, Richard Reback, Adam Ben-Harosh, Josh Cinna, Sam Demby, Harry Moss, Jamie Nagioff, Nick Phillips, Adam Isaacs, Ryan Kramer, Zach Cohen, Harry Kalms, Brandon Hamme, Joel Sinclair-Horne, Jordan Rinsler, Josh Moses, Adam Diamond, Jason Weldon
PIRATES (from): David Wolinsky, Jake Yudelowitz, Sam Assil, Matt Cohen, Sim Cohen, Jono Nesbitt, Aron Gale, Gideon Gale, Solly Ishack, Ben Mandell, Jono Nesbitt, Joel Newman, Saul Tiano
Venue – Aycliffe Park, Ref – Lee Browne, KO -10am
JC star man: Harry Moss (Dons)
DC Prediction: Dons 2 Pirates 1
REAL HENDON vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C
Goals are guaranteed in Sunday's meeting between Real and Raiders - two teams who only know how to play football one way. Attack, attack, attack!
NLR hot-shot Alex Elf has fond memories of the first encounter with Real. He took home the matchball after helping himself to a hat-trick, though rumour has it he may have been charged for the luxury!
Joint-manager Sam Rose is hoping for more of the same. He told JC Sport: “We’re looking for a really strong start to the second half of our season. Last season we only lost one game after January in the league and we’ll be hoping for similar form this season, kicking off against Real.
"We put in one of our best performances of the season against them and will be looking to replicate that on Sunday.”
Real Hendon turned on the style in front of the JC cameras last time out. They have a full-strength squad available this week and will be hoping to carry through their form from the win against Faithfold.
"We know that Raiders are a decent outfit from our shlep to the away fixture at Brunel when after our very good start, they really steamed through us," Real's Rafi Addlestone told JC Sport.
"We'll be targeting some of their more "delicate" players, particularly midfield maestro Robert 'Sammy' Samuelson, who we hear posted fake news photos on social media of supposed "injuries" after our recent contest.
"It'll be a hard fought battle, but with the return of star forwards Gav Noe and Joe Metliss and defensive rock player-manager Martin Smulovitch, we're confident.
At the start of the campaign I talked about the potential promotion credentials of both sides, but it will need something special from here. [At time of going to press, word reached me that Pep Guardiola has been linked with an audacious move for Metliss following his wonder show against Faithfold. 80 million has been touted, but I'm not sure if this is pounds or shekels. Watch this space.]
JC team news: Gilad Kestenbaum is Real's "only notable absentee - he is still sunning himself and doing his hair, preparing well in advance for our next game".
Alex Goodman returns from injury for NLR, as does Alex Sherr.
REAL (from): Raffy Zysblatt, Ben Cohen, Ben Goldberg, Martin Smulovitch, Doron Shooter, Gilad Kestenbaum, Lolu Hibbert, Joe Goldberg, Zvi Noe, Hezzie Raymond, Motty Korman, Chaim Gothold, Adam Hersh, Lloyd Kafton, Gali Kolt, Chaim Strom, Gav Noe, Harley Patoffs, Jono Marks-Bluth, Joe Metliss
RAIDERS (from): Joel Macadar, Alex Sherr, Alex Goodman, Matt Keston, David Domb, Adam Levenson, Sam Roth, Eyal Samovich, Joel Levitt, Callum Stein, Ricky Zeiderman, David Esterkin, Liam Stein, Ben Kaye, Nick Haringman, Alex Elf, Robert Samuelson
Venue – West Hendon, Ref – Darryl Colmans, KO – 10am
JC star man: Joe Metliss (Real)
DC Prediction: Real 3 NLR 3