The Jewish FA Cup resumes with three mouth-watering ties coming in the Peter Morrison Trophy. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the big match actions.
LATEST NEWS: London Maccabi Lions B have folded.
JC GOAL OF THE WEEK
Mike Pearson (Faithfold A) - a sensational nine-man move saw Faithfold keep the ball moving from right to left in a flowing move, releasing Paul Savitz who put in Pearson for a cool finish
JC SAVE OF THE WEEK
Mike Elvey (LM Lions) - point blank stop to deny Igal Yahya his hat-trick
YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE:
PETER MORRISON TROPHY
FC TEAM B vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN A
Harmen boss Dan Uzan said his side will have to be as motivated as FC Team B when they meet in the third round of the Jewish FA Cup on Sunday. semi-final.
The Southgate boys are expected to name a full-strength squad for the tie where bouncebackability is the name of the game.
Thumped 9-2 by Faithfold last Sunday, Harmen have the perfect chance to remind everyone just how good they are. The manager was brutally honest in his assessment last time out. “We just weren't good enough on the day and a lack of desire and unity cost us massively. We have to pick ourselves up.”
Uzan recently told me that he expects big things from Craig Phillips over the second half of the season. I can see Phillips making his presence felt here against an FC Team side for whom damage limitation must be the name of the game.
Ben Graham and Grant Taylor were on the mark last Sunday and I can see Graham getting thrust further forward in a move that would peg Team into their own half.
Team have not won a match since October 17. Manager Ben Simon’s biggest concern this week has been finding a pitch. But whatever the surface, I can only see one outcome here.
Veune – TBC, Ref – D. Cohen
JC star man: Craig Phillips (Harmen)
DC Prediction: FC Team B 0 Southgate Harmen A 6
HOLY MOUNT ZION vs FAITHFOLD A
It’s David versus Goliath on Sunday as former cup winners Faithfold take on the Zion.
The Superhoops warmed-up for the tie by crushing Southgate Harmen A 9-2 in a match dominated by midfield powerhouse Alex Kaye. Faithfold’s summer signing showed just why manager Zuriel Solomon forked out 7 million shekels on the former Oakhill man.
It left assistant-manager Daryl Phillips waxing lyrical. A performance worthy of JC Player of the Week was described as “exceptional” by Phillips, a former MSFL Player of the Year. He went on to say. “Everything Alex hit went in. As well as running from box to box for 90 minutes, he showed great work rate.”
With Kaye having returned to full fitness, Phillips promises that there will be no let up on Sunday. He told JC Sport: “We go with a strong squad to HMZ and hope to continue our winning run, There are no easy games and we will be taking this game very seriously.”
HMZ gaffer Rob Lerner has described this as the biggest game in the club’s history, and there won’t be an empty seat in the ground. The Zionists have not kicked a ball in anger for more than six weeks. Manager Rob Lerner has done his best to keep the squad fit with double training sessions as well as purchasing a Wii for each member of the squad as a Chanukah bonus following a promising first half of the season.
Flying high in Division three, they are looking forward to getting some game time. As Lerner explains: “We are really hopeful of getting a game on Sunday after several without playing competitively. That said, Faithfold A represents the biggest challenge in our club's history in terms of opposition quality, so we will approach the game without any pressure or expectation to win and hope to give a good account of ourselves.”
Clearly, Sunday will be a cup final for one team, while for the other, it will be another step towards a potential cup final. Man for man this won’t be a contest. In fact I think it would be fair to say that it could be a mis-match of the highest proportions.
Venue – TBC, Ref – R. Cahill
JC star man: Matty Kleinman (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: HMZ 0 Faithfold A 8
NORTH WEST NEASDEN A vs GLENTHORNE UNITED A
The cup competitions are now Neasden’s only realistic hope this season and with the match being played on 3G, I expect them to notch up a cricket score here.
With Team GB leading lights James Gershfield, Ben Ellis and TJ Keterman leading the line, it’s fair to say that technical superiority should help them clinch the tie long before the final whistle.
Neasden had an unexpected rough ride at the back end of 2010 and I fully expect them to take their frustrations out on the Division Three leaders.
Glenthorne have nothing to lose. As joint-manager Dan Lipman told JC Sport: “We’re hoping to follow in the footsteps of Stevenage and Crawley.
The Essex giants are slowly working their way back up the MSFL ladder. But a heavy defeat here will do nothing for morale so they must arrive with a game-plan designed to frustrate their illustrious opponents.
I expect them to pack the midfield with five, and they won’t have to worry about the creative genius of Danny Daggers who has played for Neasden A in the cups this season. Daggers will instead return to the B team for the clash against Raiders A.
Glenthorne have assured me that they have no intention of double parking the bus on the goalline. Lipman told JC Sport: “It’s going to be a tough one and as with any tie against the Premier league side. Fitness is going to play a big part, so we need to make sure we take any chance we get to put the ball in the back of the net.”
I think they should take one step at a time and first focus on getting the ball out of their half. The carrot for Glenthorne is that if they can pull off the mother of all shocks, it would be bigger than Wimbledon beating Liverpool.
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – A. Myerson
JC star man: Elliot Green (Neasden)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden A 7 Glenthorne Utd A 2
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
10 - Daran Bern (Redbridge A)
7 - Jacob Gold (NL Raiders A)
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS A
It’s the clash of the titans at Fairlop Waters where table-toppers Redbridge welcomes the Lions.
On the face of it, Redbridge benefitted most from the demise of Lions B and they climbed above title rivals Hendon A without even playing.
Sam McCarthy’s men start the weekend an incredible 11 points in front of the Lions, oh, and they’ve played a game less.
McCarthy has named a full-strength squad ahead of the second meeting between two of Jewish football’s powerhouses. Ben Sollosi and Lewis Walker were the goal men when the Essex boys won 2-1 at Rowley Lane in late September. Mike Pearson struck for the Lions but he has since joined Faithfold A.
Without a game in the league since December 12, the Redbridge boys will be ready for action when the Anekstein Cup holders come to town.
McCarthy told JC Sport: “The team now have the hard task of maintaining the high standard that sees them at the top of the table as we enter the home straight for the title chase.
“The team have been training hard in preparation for Sunday’s game, and we go into it with everyone champing at the bit to lock horns with Lions.
“Lions have always presented us with tough games in the past and Sunday I’m sure will be no exception. They will not be a pushover. As for RJ, I’ am fortunate to have a squad whose confidence is high with a level of commitment and attitude to match.
“We go into every game looking to win and nothing else will suffice. There is no halfway house and the team I send out on Sunday will be firing on all cylinders, of that I’m sure. We must secure three points to stand any chance of lifting the title.”
It’s not often that Lions A go into any game as the underdogs. Last Sunday they were given a rude awakening against North London Raiders A in a game where Sam Arghebant and Lee Bibring had twice given them the lead.
The threat of Daran Bern is something that could strike fear into a backline containing Motti Colman, Pete Lazard and Ollie Leslie, while manager Eilon Kennet may opt to start with a five-man midfield to nullify the threat of RJC’s big hitters.
Kennet will no doubt be looking for a reaction from his team, but not many teams will come away from Fairlop with maximum points.
JC team news: For RJC, the squad has recently seen the return of both Joel Berg and James Rubin from injury. McCarthy said: “This has only added to my selection nightmare.”
RJC squad: Dan Lee, Lewis Walker, Steve Summers, Daniel Sugerman, Alex Lishak, Sam McCarthy, Danny Hakimi, Sam Van Gelder, Adam Hakimi, Brad Frankel, Craig Sandford, Daren Bern, Mitch Lasserman, Dean Nyman, Steve Gevertz, Joel Berg, James Rubin, Eliot Green, Ben Sollosi, Ritchie Caplin, Russell Leiter, Dan Cooper.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – W. Blake
JC star man: Danny Hakimi (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC A 3 LM Lions A 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN B
They wear orange and they’ve just completed a league double over a footballing giant. The Raiders did a Blackpool last Sunday when they beat London Maccabi Lions A for the second time this season, but any celebrations were curtailed when they had three points and six goals chalked off their record after Lions B fell by the wayside.
Missing top-scorer Jacob Gold, the Raiders proved that they have more than one string to their bow, scoring four times on the main pitch at Rowley Lane. It was a performance that they can be proud of although they know that they face a potentially even tougher game here.
Neasden are Raiders’ bogey team and it’s a game where, in recent times, Ed Bloom, Danny Daggers, Alex Bowman and Ryan Sher have sparkled in. Bloom has been sharpening his reflexes in the C team and showed just what a top keeper he is against Athletic Bilbaum last Sunday.
Daggers and Bowman have enjoyed a few weeks off, to sharpen up on their tans and are nice and refreshed for the challenges that lie ahead in 2011. Bowman, in particular, loves playing against the Raiders. He scored home and away last season and hit the winner when the teams met earlier this season.
With the Premier Division now down to just eight teams, it’s become more about quality than quantity. Neasden starts the weekend bottom of the pack but they always raise their game for the Raiders. The last three meetings have finished 1-0, 5-1 and 4-4, with the eight-goal thriller coming on the opening weekend of last season. It was a gripping contest, and one where Raiders’ Jamie Wolfson made his mark.
Both sides are packed with quality and once again, I can see this being a high-scoring affair. May the best team win.
JC team news: For Neasden, striker Zack White is out but Ryan Sher comes in to replace him.
Venue – Brunel University, Ref – C. Stupack
JC star man: Alex Bowman (NWN)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders A 2 NW Neasden B 2
BRADY MACCABI vs MONTANA BOCA UNITED A
2011 got off to a bad start for Montana when news broke that keeper Dan Cohen
Cohen has left the club and will officiate every week.
The Watford academy keeper, who trains or plays most days, will stay registered with Montana and remain part of Danny Berg’s Rep Team plans. He will also play in the Peter Morrison Trophy.
Cohen told JC Sport: “I’m not really enjoying it at the moment, so don't want to be waking up at 8.30ish every Sunday morning to do something I'm not enjoying.
“I also need to make sure I referee enough games each season in two different leagues to ensure I qualify for my promotion up the refereeing ladder.”
So, Montana welcome back stalwart keeper Lee Duskwick. A lot has changed for Arsenal fan Duskwick over the last few years. Until recently, he was playing for Montana B and last year he got married, but caretaker managers Adam Osper and Raymond Harrod believe that he can still hack it in Division One.
Brady were one of the teams, if not the team of the first half of the season. Manager Josh Rosenfeld kept top-scorer Josh Hershman wrapped up in cotton wool over Chanukah and Christmas and banned him from tobogganing during the cold snap.
The fact hat Hershman and striker Mark Smith have recharged their batteries is bad news for Montana. Steve Field also finished the year strongly, and with Ben Gershuny also winning over the fans, a home win looks a sensible bet here.
Rosenfeld told JC Sport: "We are looking forward to getting back to playing. We haven't played for over four weeks now and we must ensure we start this year as we ended the last. There is a long way to go this season and we need to continue to work hard every week to achieve out goals.
Lee Platt and Zack Presky are both back in contention to play this weekend after a long spell out on the sidelines and Rosenfeld added: "This will only boost our chances of promotion."
Venue – Little Bushey Lane, Ref – G. Silver
JC star man: Ben Gershuny (Brady)
DC Prediction: Brady Maccabi 2 Montana Boca Utd A 1
FC TEAM A vs CHIGWELL ATHLETIC
There’s a high-quality game in store in Mill Hill as promotion rivals FC Team and Chigwell get ready to rumble.
Mitch Young, the FC Team player-manager, has assured me that his troops will not be rusty despite not having played for several weeks. They have been training hard and will arrive with a full-strength squad.
Young told JC Sport: “We hope the game goes ahead. It will be very difficult against an excellent chigwell side. I am expecting a close game with the team that makes the least errors picking up the points.”
Chigwell gave a very good account of themselves for about 75 minutes against Hendon in the cup last Sunday. Player-manager Richard Slater took plenty of positives away from the experience in a tie where Glenn Michaels had put them ahead. Defender Adam Shafron was their standout performer on the day.
The Chigs were down to the bare bones last Sunday. Slater was forced to go in with 11, and had they had strength in depth on the bench, the gaffer is confident that they would’ve run Hendon a lot closer.
When push comes to shove, I believe that Chigwell’s efforts of last week could result in heavy legs in the closing stages against a fresher FC Team side. Ultimately, I think this could be the decisive factor.
JC team news: For Chigwell, Simon Felstein (work) Mac Jacobs and Rob Sheps (away). In from last week come new signing Adam Goodman, Russell Becker, Mark Conway, Daniel Castle and Paul Lenchner. James Swead steps in between the sticks with Marc Radzan hoping to come back from injury.
Chigwell: James Swead, Glenn Davis, Adam Shafron, Jon Swead (capt), Sam Rosenthal, Richard Slater, Daniel Castle, Michael Witzenfeld, Adam Goodman, Adam Conway, Marc Radzan, Russell Becker, Russell Yershon, Glenn Michaels, Doron Weinstein, Neil Tilley, Paul Lenchner, Mark Conway
Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man:
DC Prediction: FC Team A 2 Chigwell Athletic 1
OAKWOOD vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS C
Oakwood. Remember them? They haven’t played since December 12 and managers Ric Blank and Alex Schock hope the team remembers what a football looks like when the season restarts in Garston on Sunday.
With games in hand on most of their promotion rivals, the Oaks will be looking to continue a remarkable run which has seen them go without conceding for more than 270 minutes.
This is a game that I expect them to win against a Lions team low on confidence. Last Sunday, Jamie Kyte’s troops succumbed to their ninth league defeat of the campaign, but with their B team having folded earlier in the week, there’s a chance they could be boosted by the presence of a top-flight player.
The Lions had a miserable morning in Essex last Sunday when they went down 4-1 against Redbridge B – a team they thumped 5-1 in late November.
Chances are it won’t get much better here.
Venue – Parmiters, Ref – R. Bernardout
JC star man: Anthony Kintish (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: Oakwood 3 LM Lions B 0
SOUTHGATE HARMEN B vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B
This game was billed as one Gordon against the other but Redbridge’s Flash has rejoined his teammates in the C team so all eyes will be on the man in goal for Harmen.
Stalwart Elliot ‘Vern’ Gordon makes a welcome return to Mark Engel’s squad following a five-week suspension. The return of the prodigal son could not have come at a better time as they welcome Redbridge B.
Looking ahead to the match, Engel told JC Sport: “Our league form has been good and we are looking to continue this at the start of 2011 to push up the table.”
RJC claimed a morale-boosting 4-1 win over fellow strugglers Lions C last Sunday with
Paul Block, David Castle, player-manager Michael Winehouse and Dan Gordon registering.
The visitors go into the game just a point behind Harmen, but they have played three games more. They are one of five teams in the relegation mix and victory for either side could be crucial come the end of the season.
JC team news: Harmen are without Richard Starr who has found some new year sun in Eilat. They are otherwise at full-strength.
Venue – Ashmole School, Ref – S. Ansher
JC star man: David Castle (RJC)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen B 2 Redbridge JC B 2
FAITHFOLD B vs L’EQUIPE
Promotion-chasing Faithfold face a potential banana skin when they entertain an improving L’Equipe team at the Hive.
Rob Shooman’s boys are right in the mix – one of five teams vying for a top two finish.
It’s a game Faithfold are clearly looking forward to. As assistant-manager Ben Lewis explains: “We’re raring to go after another call off.”
Lewis revealed how the Bs have stepped things up after training with the first team. He went on to say: “They had a great result last week, so let’s hope it rubs off!”
L’Equipe started the new year with an eye-catching win over Woodford Wanderers. The challenge now is to maintain that level of performance and kick on.
Manager Gideon Chain knows that another positive result could lead to a JC Manager of the Week award after coming so close last time out.
“It’s a huge game for us on Sunday,” Chain told JC Sport. “We’re on the back of two wins but we know Faithfold are one of the best teams in our division and we know we.ll have to be at the top of our game to get the points.”
“We’re confident and it should be great game.”
Having won 4-1 at L’Equipe on the opening weekend of the season, Faithfold are eyeing a league double. I think it will be a little closer this time around though as Faithfold concede an average of two and a half goals a game. (I’ve still never understood how you can concede half a goal but the table never lies …)
JC team news: Faithfold have a full squad to choose from apart from loss of Dan Harris for a 6-8 weeks with a damaged ankle. There is also the possible return of Daniel Yossman who is back for the winter break on loan in Russia.
For L’Equipe, Jason Miller, Joey Kolirin and Ian Baron have returning to training and looking sharp after long-term injuries.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – R. Caplin
JC star man: Avi Marcowitz (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold B 3 L’Equipe 2
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB Bvs FC MARYLEBONE
Hendon now find themselves in the bottom four and I can’t see them finishing much higher with the teams above them having upped the ante this season.
That said, I expect them to prove far too strong for a Marylebone bone they smashed 5-0 last time out.
Three goals from Chaim Gothold, plus one apiece from Moishe Noe and Akiva Zneimer – the latest in the talented batch of sportsmen from the Zneimer clan.
Reflecting on the victory, joint player-manager Gav Noe told JC Sport: “It was a well deserved win which also demonstrated the strength of our squad as a number of our players have only featured minimally this season.”
Noe pinpointed Benjy Wreschner and Chaim Gothold as the star performers and it’s no surprise to see Gothold 2-1 favourite to open the scoring on Sunday.
The Frenchmen have only tasted success once in eight league games this season and it appears that the writing is on the wall.
Under Laurent Blanc, it’s clear that French football is back on the way up but the Marylebone management are disappointed that Thierry Henry decided to train with Arsenal rather than them on his return to the UK.
Inspiration is something that Marylebone need right now but on Sunday, it’s the Hendon boys who will be holding all the aces.
Venue – West Hendon, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Akiva Zneimer (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC B 4 FC Marylebone 0
NORSTAR A vs BRIXTON OLD BOYS
John Nitka’s Brixton are one of the surprise packages of the season. Lying six points behind table-toppers Norstar, and with two games in hand, they will be looking to show their true colours at fortress John Lyons.
Hats off to Nitka who told me at the start of the season that his team would be there or thereabouts.
It finished one apiece when the teams met in November. Jamie Kent registered for Brixton with Norstar’s goal coming via the head of Jonny Pressman from a long throw from Anthony ‘Delap’ Goodmaker.
Nitka came away from the game saying: “The draw was about the right result in the end. Both teams gave 100 per cent in an entertaining game."
Phil Peters, the Norstar manager, told JC Sport: "Both teams had clear chances to win the game in the final seconds but a draw was definitely the right result. It was a hard fought game played in good spirit that neither team deserved to lose.”
Brixton keeper Jake Doffman was man of the match. He denied the Stars with a string of stunning saves and it’s clear that Nitka has unearthed a good un. Jewish football is crying out for good, young keepers right now and the word is that Doffman is right up there.
Brixton go into the game unbeaten in six. Nitka has his team firing on all cylinders. Danny Sherman and James Kaye put in towering performances against FC Team B last Sunday and if they can boss the midfield, then I expect the visitors to come away with something to show for their efforts. And a victory isn’t out of the question either.
Looking ahead to the crunch clash, Peters told JC Sport: "We're without JP who's still recovering from surgery and Jamie Freed who's on his brother's stag in Barcelona. We haven't played since Faithfold loss and hoping to get back on track."
Venue – John Lyons, Ref – S. Russell
JC star man: Danny Sherman (Norstar)
DC Prediction: Norstar A 2 Brixton Old Boys 2
TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
The big games keep coming thick and fast and while the top two meet in Harrow, just down the road, third tackles fifth.
The two power-houses go head to head for the first time this season, with the emphasis on the Wanderers coming away with maximum points following last weekend’s disastrous 4-2 defeat against L’Equipe.
The Wanderers hit rock bottom as they went in with only 10 men, and their fortunes did not improve when Elliot Gold was dismissed after just 30 minutes.
Aviram hit the roof when winger Samm Pearey did not turn up, forcing Woodford to play with 10 men after Pearey. Aviram has promised an internal investigation and a big fine.
Aviram told JC Sport: “The likelihood is that the players at Woodford will not be so forgiving and reports say they are angered by his actions. However he has been named in the squad this week.”
There is a danger that manager Aviram could have more in common than the man, Avram, at Upton Park than he thinks. A stay of execution remains a long way off but the Woodford board here are, let’s put it, mildly concerned that they’re playing catch-up in January.
Once again, Aviram is still struggling to field his strongest team due to injury and travel commitments. Paul Shone, Darryl Green, Jerome Marks, Manny Simberg, Elliot Winner and David Green are struggling with knocks. More on that in team news.
Fortune manager Andrew Souber must be delighted that the Wanderers have off-the-field distractions. He has no big-time Charlies at Fortune, apart from Scott Shindler!, and he’ll send his men into this game fully focused on three points.
Souber told JC Sport: “We know we have an extremely tough game ahead. When you look at the players they have got, they have talent all over, but we have also got some good players and in my opinion this is game that would certainly not look out of place in Division One.”
Couldn’t agree more.
JC team news: For Woodford, centre back Paul Shone (back), striker Darryl Green (hamstring), Elliott Winner (hamstring) and David Green (broken nose) are definitely out. Jerome Marks (ankle) and Manny Simberg (ankle) are rated doubtful.
Venue – Hatch End Playing Fields, Ref – M. Lavender
JC star man: Scott Shindler (Fortune)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune A 3 Woodford Wanderers 2
CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C
It finished 6-1 to Redbridge the last time these two met but Adam Lewis, the Catford captain, assures me that it will be closer second time around.
The Cats will have a completely different team to the one that collapsed at Fairlop. Dan Gordon (3), Sam Sollosi (2) and Marc Jacobs were the marksmen for RJC on September 19.
Lewis and co hope that a new year brings with it some new luck. He told JC Sport: “We have a new-look team but we’re also struggling to get everyone available these days.
“Hopefully it’ll be a good game and we’ll put up a good show. And hopefully we’ll convert some of the chances that we make every game into goals for a change.”
I’ve been impressed by the progress Redbridge have made under Bronzite. He has turned them into a well-drilled outfit, although he would be the first to admit that there is room for improvement defensively.
Looking ahead to Sunday, he told JC Sport: “We have had a great end to 2010 and need to start 2011 with a bang. The fact we have not played for over five weeks will not help as I’m sure that may affect out play. “e need to dust the cobwebs off and just get in with it.
“We will be looking to go to Catford and win the game but we will need to be prepared as they are a decent side. We will have a good and strong squad and with the new additions coming in that will be the kick that every one needs to get us going again.
“Special mention to Jamie Sinclair who season was ended by the doctors, fingers crossed he wont need and op!”
I expect the Cats to huff and puff but think that in the end, it will be Redbridge that gets the cream.
JC team news: Redbridge are expected to give debuts to Hadley Silver and Ranaan Firmin who have just resigned from the collapsed Lions B. They are waiting on Daniel Cooper, Grant Freedman and Marc Jacobs. Dan Gordon rejoins the squad after a goal-scoring appearance for the club’s B team last week.
Speaking about his new signings, Bronzite said: “Hadley and Ranaan will provide great experience to some of the younger boys in the squad, and we now have the perfect balance but I am always on the look out for more!”
Andy Witzenfeld is out for the rest of the season, as is Jamie Sinclair. Sam Sollosi, Simon Green, Jon Pittal, Dean Saunders, Jon Kaye, Richard Darwin and Daniel Howard are all unavailable this week.
RJC squad: from Paul Sanders, Elliot Castle, Elliot Fox, Jamie Chapman, Marc Silver, Grant Pomeroy, Lee Grodent, Marcus Starr, Ben Chernoff, Lee Ballen, James Ryan, Hadley Silver, Raanan Firmin, Daniel Gordon, Daniel Cooper, Grant Freedman, Marc Jacobs
Venue – Norsemen FC, Ref – S. Rosenthal
JC star man: Lee Grodent (RJC)
DC Prediction: Catford & Bromley 2 Redbridge JC C 4
NORSTAR B vs HEATH BANTA
There’s an interesting game in store at the Lodge as sixth-placed Norstar take on high-flying Heath Banta.
Promotion remains a possibility for the Stars but they can ill-afford any more slip-ups between now and the end of the season.
Manager Jonny Bunt knows that only a faultless display will be enough for the big-hitters of Heath Banta.
Bunt told JC Sport: “We’re in for a tough game on Sunday. We did beat them, comprehensively at their place - to end their unbeaten start to the season - but their league position suggests a tougher game.
“To be honest we just want a chance to play. The boys are training and getting ready but despite having no game I seem to be losing players rather than getting them back
“Having said that, we have strong squad, prepared for Sunday and are looking to another good game.
“If we stop them playing off their front two into wide areas we have a very good chance.
Ben Nathan, the Heath Banta boss, knows that anything less than a top two finish will be deemed a failure. The club’s directors have set high standards this season as they want to see a return on their investments.
It’s clear that Nathan has a talented squad. The question is, with Faithfold C breathing down their necks, can they handle the pressure?
Only time will tell.
Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – L. Thorne
JC star man: Dan Breger (Heath Banta)
DC Prediction: Norstar B 1 Heath Banta 2
TEAM JLGB vs REAL LIFE
As relegation six-pointers go, this one is massive. DJ Neal Cohen, the Zig Zag manager, is praying for a draw.
JLGB go into this game confident of getting a win. Other than a win against Catford and a narrow defeat against ZigZag first game of the season, this is the first game for JLGB against another of this season’s strugglers in Division Three.
There is good news and bad news for JLGB fans. The bad news is that Paul Black will be missing while Neil Lux is probably out for the season. However, they are otherwise at full squad, and manager Rob Silverman is backing star striker Joe Cullum for this match.
Silverman told JC Sport: “I expect Joe to terrorise the defence of Real Life and be too hot to handle. A win is a must if we are to avoid relegation and I’m expecting a massive performance from my boys as Real Life are going to be thinking along the same lines.
Real Life are without Max Curtis who is subject to scans confirming has torn his anterior cruciate ligament. All of Real life wishes Max well.
Aside from that, Eddie Lewin, Director of Media and Communications reports “a full-strength squad with a rejuvenated David Tropp back to his apparent best with less sleep than ever before. Charlie Bernstein is back in this week and we'll be looking to chalk up 3 points.”
This match preview would not be complete without a word of praise for Will Martyn, the Real Life keeper. He produced a wonder show against Zig Zag last week. Lewin told me that Martyn had no chance with any of the four goals and has advised Danny Berg, the Rep Team manager, to have a close look at him. Martyn produced three worldies last Sunday, something he makes a habit of.
I can see a fair few goals flying in on Sunday so fans are advised to arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Venue – Peter May, Ref –B. David
JC star man:
DC Prediction: Team JLGB 2 Real Life 3
ZIG ZAG vs FAITHFOLD C
There’s a cracker on the cards at the The Hive in a contest featuring two teams that have had some right, royal rumbles in recent seasons.
DJ Neal Cohen, the Zig Zag manager, has cried foul on more than one occasion after claiming that Faithfold have flexed their muscles and used players from higher up the club, legally of course, to help them get the right result.
The September 22 meeting is the perfect example. Faithfold won 4-2 with Steve Moss (2), Ben Simons and James Alexander on target at the Hive.
Zig Zag’s goals came through Laurence Rosenthal and Joel Winton.
After the game, Cohen told JC Sport: “We started badly and found ourselves 3-0 down at the break – all from set-pieces – then went 4-0 down. We came back but Faithfodl look a lot stronger than last year although it’s easy to pick a team when you can throw in Masters and As and Bs.”
The truth of the matter is that Faithfold, as a club, are as strong as they have been since the 1990s, arguably even stronger with the A team having snapped up Michael Pearson and Alex Kaye, not to mention Jonny Blain.
This means that players have filtered down the club, leaving Garson with a talented squad at his disposal. Reflecting on the Zig Zag game, he told me: “The scoreline flattered them. We won the game in the first half really and should’ve scored more. We tired in the second half.”
Cohen has named “a very strong squad for the team’s first home match of the year. He welcomes back midfielder James Levy. Asked for a prediction, he said: “I expect to turn them over 6-0.”
It’s clear that no more words are needed before kick-off. Just print this preview off lads!
JC team news: For Faithfold, Garson has a full squad to choose from with long-term injuries finally back in the frame, apart from Charlie ‘chopper’ Resnick who is away.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – L. Eppel
JC star man: Ben Simons (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Zig Zag 2 Faithfold C 5
ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs JEWVENTUS
Frustration appears to have kicked in at Jewventus during the winter break. Player-manager Gabriel John does not enjoy kicking his heels, but I have no doubt that a win of any description will help him shake off any negative emotions.
John will have fond memories of the first meeting between the teams this season when the boys in black and white came away with a handsome 5-2 victory. John led by example, blasting home a brace with strikers Jeremy Kornhauser and Richard Fogelman completing the job.
After the game, John told JC Sport: “Bilbaum look a good side and it was only determination that saw the home side through."
Travelling fans will be relieved to hear that their heroes will travel to Hampstead with almost the entire squad available.
John told JC Sport: “We really hope to get our season back on track and start an unbeaten run for 2011.”
Lying six points ahead of rock bottom Pinner, the Bilbaum boys may not be pleased to hear that their fellow strugglers have just signed an ex-Notts County academy player.
Josh Ejdelbaum’s side are all about a team ethic with no real superstars, even if Edward Green often grabs the headlines.
Like Liverpool, Bilbaum appear to have gone backwards this season – or at least that’s what their results tell me.
Like Jewve, they have some very talented individuals but the bottom line is, result talk,
A match featuring two attacking teams looks certain to provide plenty of goals.
Venue – Hampstead Heath, Ref –P. Dobkin
JC star man: Nick Kenton (Jewventus)
DC Prediction: Athletic Bilbaum 3 Jewventus 4
GLENTHORNE UNITED B vs INTER BOREHAMWOOD
It’s ready for the talking to stop before this match gets over-hyped, but just to give you an indication as to what it means to both clubs, I can tell you Sunday at Old Chigwellians is a sell-out.
Sky Box Office considered making it a pay-per-view event but they were unable to agree terms with Thornes boss El Coulton. He wanted no distractions ahead of what he has described as the team’s most important 90 minutes of the season.
You can understand his attitude, especially on the back of a 5-1 mauling at the hands of title rivals Blizzard Storm last Sunday. Coulton told me that five of his boys were suffering with flu but title-winning teams are about having strength in depth and the mood in training this week leads me to believe that they will be out to make up for what Coulton described as “no more than a blip”.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Coulton announced “a fully fit squad ready to bounce back from last week. We’ve already shown this season we have good bouncebackability!”
The incentive for Inter, not that they need one, is that victory would lift them above the Essex boys. And it’s worth remembering that they have a game in hand.
The match features two fallen cricketing giants – one on each team – with Coulton trying to stop the creative genius that is Jerome Colmans.
Oluseun Thomas, the Inter manager, believes that his troops must play the perfect game to come away with three points.
Thomas told JC Sport: “We are very focused on this game as we feel we must capitalise on the way results went in our favour.
“We can not allow any room for error or slip ups. We intend to pick up from where we left off before the winter break.
“My squad are very much aware that nothing less than three points is acceptable.”
I don’t expect there to be much between the teams but Inter are unbeaten on their travels while Glenthorne boast a 100 per cent record at fortress Old Chigwellians, where no visiting team has scored this season.
Sunday, for both teams, will be all about the result.
JC team news: Inter are without Nick Smith (knee) but Thomas believes that they “are well covered with the return of Joel Lassman”.
Venue – The Old Chigwellians, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Joel Lassman (Inter)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd B 1 Inter Borehamwood 1
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C vs BLIZZARD STORM
Two more title rivals are ready to do battle in West Hendon when Avi Gelley’s Reds take on table-topping Blizzard Storm.
Hendon were blown away by a new-look North London Raiders C team last Sunday but, with their A team not in action, there’s a possibility that the squad could be boosted.
The Raiders result was not one I saw coming. Until now, they had been going about their business quietly and efficiently with Benny Goldberg scoring for fun.
Gelley will be looking for more from his squad, and that means the likes of Alon Blitz and the manager himself putting on a performance that will bring out the best in the home crowd.
The Hendon fans have a great understanding of the game, and if they can see the Reds putting themselves about and see that Gelley has done his homework, then they might just have something to shout about.
We saw the best of Blizzard last Sunday when they put former leaders Glenthorne to the sword. A treble from Alex Rubin plus two from Joel Kutner put them in dreamland.
Having lost to Hendon 4-2 earlier in the season, manager Simon Linden expects another tough game.
Linden told JC Sport: “My team know this game will be difficult, the form guide goes out the window. Forget both results last week, Hendon will fancy this and we need to be at our best.”
Linden faces a headache picking a squad with competition for places. Rubin is one of the first names on his teamsheet and also a tasty 7-2 to open the scoring.
Man for man, I believe Blizzard have the edge and their all-round quality will see them home.
JC team news: Blizzard are without Michael Woolf and Adam Nathan. Joe Stolerman has been sent abroad until the end of season. Keeper Nick Rubin returns while Dan Vandermolen, Alex Stolerman, Alex Petrelis and Dean Shaw are all fighting for the two wingers positions.
Venue – West Hendon, Ref – A. Yuchetel
JC star man: Joel Kutner
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC C 1 Blizzard Storm 3
LOS BLANCOS vs PINNER JFC
Manager Joel Minsky knows that only a consistent run of results will enhance Los Blancos’ promotion hopes.
Meeting Pinner for the first time, Minsky will warn against complacency as the basement battlers are improving all the time, even if their results don’t currently show it.
Los Blancos have won seven and lost three. Minsky has set them up to be hard to break down, and three clean sheets tells me that Pinner will do well to register.
Viv Emanuel, the Pinner boss, is under no illusions that Sunday will pose a big challenge.
He told JC Sport: “We know here at Pinner that Sunday’s game is going to be a really tough one.
"We have heard lots about Los Blancos and their strengths, but every team has their weakness and we hope to find it on Sunday.
"Everyone at the club is committed to getting us off bottom. We have two games in hand on our nearest rivals and want to make those games count.
"I have an almost full squad to pick from on Sunday and hope to pick my strongest squad. Asher Levin is my star man for this week. He has a good touch and can run the wings. He can make or break the game on Sunday for us.
"I think everyone in squad wants to move away from bottom and everyone will but in 110 per cent to make that happen."
I’m not brave enough to predict a Pinner win but can see them snatching a point.
Venue – South Oxhey, Ref – J. Smith
JC star man: Asher Levin (Pinner)
DC Prediction: Los Blancos 2 Pinner JFC 2
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN C
With Raiders A meeting Neasden B in the Premier, it’s only fitting that the club’s respective C teams go head to head in Division Four.
The Raiders were on fire last Sunday with the Franks brothers taking the league by storm.
Manager Oli Shorts was left foaming at the mouth after his boys ripped Hendon apart 7-0. Jack Franks (3), Harry Franks (2), James Franks and Joe Newton did the damage, with Matt Greene also putting in a towering performance.
Shorts’ recruitment drive is paying dividends with the impact of Rich Abrahams and the experience of club chairman Jonathan Adelman in the dug-out go down a treat.
Reflecting on the Hendon game Shorts told JC Sport: "We played a perfect game. From our goalkeeper all the way to the two lads up top, the team just clicked. We made four signings during the winter break - the Franks brothers and Rich Abrahams.
"The three brothers made the difference scoring six between them, however everyone played their socks off and this was a real team performance.
“We can't get carried away with this win as It's only three points but we'll enjoy it whilst we can."
Louis Taylor’s men also started 2011 on the front foot. Laurence Spear continued where he left off, bagging a brace in the 4-1 win over Bilbaum.
Taylor told JC Sport: "It was a good win that keeps our momentum from before the break going.”
Neasden’s away form is decidedly dodgy and with the feel-good-factor back in the Raiders camp, I can see them coming away with plenty to shout about.
Possible Raiders squad: Alex Kanter, Ben Stetson, Josh Graham, Josh Fineman, Bob Vickers, Darren Russell, Matt Greene, Harry Franks, James Franks, Joe Newton, Jack Franks
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – H. Raffe
JC star man: Bob Vickers (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders C 3 NW Neasden C 1
SHIRLEY PARK vs TEMPLE FORTUNE B
I fully expect Shirley Park to coast home in their first outing of 2011.
With 12 games remaining and 36 points to play for, the Park boys know that only a near-perfect run will see them claim a top-two finish.
Could’ve done better was how the half-term report read for the team managed by Daniel Oade and David Lussman.
They have a rock solid spine with defender Ilan Shaki, Gideon Gold and Jason Lindsay while the experienced Sacha Benfredj continues to pop up with crucial goals.
Second-top scorers in the division, it’s clear that they must tighten up at the back as Shaki can only do so much.
Thumped 6-1 against Glenthorne last time out, Park fans will expect to see a big reaction.
Having crushed Fortune 7-1 in October, when Lindsay (4) and Gold (3) fired the bullets, a similar outcome is on the cards.
Fortune have improved, slightly, since then, but once the first goals goes in, emotional scars will reopen and the floodgates won’t be far behind.
JC team news: Fortune are still struggling with attacking players as the list grows, of those out includes Jeff Bathijia, Marc Herman, Ollie Squires and Marc George, but player-manager Gav Levy is expected to return.
Venue – Gladstone Park, Ref – T. Littner
JC star man: Daniel Oade (Shirley)
DC Prediction: Shirley Park 7 Temple Fortune 1