Having smashed 12 in the Peter Morrison Trophy last Sunday, North West Neasden A will be on the goal trail again, this time in the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the action.
PETER MORRISON TROPHY LAST 16 DRAW
North London Raiders A vs Maccabi Masters
North London Raiders B vs Oakwood
FC Team B or Southgate Harmen A vs Montana Boca A
Oakhill Lions vs Redbridge A
London Maccabi Lions A vs Manchester Maccabi 1st
Faithfold vs North West Neasden B
Woodford Wanderers vs North West Neasden A
Haroldeans or Leeds Maccabi 1st vs Sporting JLGB
JC PHOTOGALLERY:TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
JC VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS:TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
JC GOAL OF THE WEEK
Oli Colmans (Brady) - his first goal in senior football was one to remember. The stalwart keeper's drop-kick sailed the distance of the pitch before nestling in the back of the net
JC SAVE OF THE WEEK
David Simnock (NL Raiders C) - point-blank reaction save where scoring seemed easier then the miss. "One of the best saves I've witnessed in Sunday league football. Stunning," said his manager, Oli Shorts
YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE:
PETER MORRISON TROPHY ROUND 3
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.
Venue – TBC, Ref – D. Nathan
JC star man: Craig Phillips (Harmen)
DC Prediction: FC Team B 0 Southgate Harmen A 6
JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP ROUND 3
BRADY MACCABI vs CAMDEN PARK
Brady Maccabi are one of the teams of the moment and I don’t expect Camden to cause them too many problems on Sunday in one of several cup ties held over from last year.
Josh Rosenfeld’s men have fired 29 goals in their last five games with Josh Hershman, Mark Smith and Steven Field bang in form. Field goes into the game in buoyant mood having bagged a place in JC Team of the Week.
Having recently hit Camden for six, the Brady bunch were at it again last Sunday, when they mauled Montana.
Looking ahead to the tie, Rosenfeld told JC Sport: "We're looking forward to the cup game. This gives us an opportunity to take our mind off the league and allows the pressure to stand of us for a week.
"We know Camden have some very good players and if were not at the races, we won't come out on top."
The cup could be a welcome distraction for Camden this week as they’ve lost their last four league games. Manager Justin Rockberger won’t be hitting the panic button just yet though, as he knows that the likes of Luke Brookner and some of the other young guns are more than capable of producing the goods.
Camden boss Justin Rockberger told JC Sport: "It's been so long since we played. Hopefully most players will be back and keen to play a game."
I can see Camden heads dropping if Brady grab an early lead as it’s clear that the odds are stacked in Brady’s favour.
Venue – Little Bushey Lane, Ref – B. David
JC star man: Ben Gershuny (Brady)
DC Prediction: Brady Maccabi 4 Camden Park 1
LOS BLANCOS vs HOLY MOUNT ZION
Two lower division teams battling for a place in round four go head-to-head here as Division Four promotion hopefuls Los Blancos welcome Division Three surprise package HMZ.
LB were left frustrated last Sunday when their match against Pinner JFC was abandoned at half time with Joel Minsky’s men 2-0 ahead.
I can see Adam Hersh taking the fight to the Zion on Sunday. He’s been in top form since the summer move from Hendon.
HMZ gave an excellent account of themselves for more than an hour against Faithfold A last Sunday.
The HMZ boys have taken Division Three by storm this season. They were written off at the start of the season and as long as heavy legs from last week’s effort don’t come back to haunt them, they should take it to the wire again on Sunday.
However, I can smell an upset here with Minsky and co hungry for more JC silverware.
Venue – South Oxhey, Ref – D. Cohen
JC star man: Danny Sher (Los Blancos)
DC Prediction: Los Blancos 3 HMZ 2
NORTH WEST NEASDEN A vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C
Cup holders Neasden have an easy looking tie against third division promotion hopefuls Redbridge C.
In a tie moved to Redbridge’s pitch at Fairlop, any locals hoping to see an upset should not get their hopes up with the RJC squad missing 17 regulars.
Jamie Cole, the Neasden manager, is expected to rotate his squad and keep some of his big guns on the bench. Rumour has it that he’s given Lee Cash and James Gershfield the morning off.
Neasden warmed up for the match by blasting 12 past RJC’s Division Three title rivals Glenthorne A. Lee Cash led the way with a five-goal blast with defender Jake Gottlieb chipping in with a hat-trick.
Redbridge have had a good season so far. But they go to north west London missing several key men.
Manager Richard Bronzite told JC Sport: “We have eight players confirmed at the moment, so I decided to withdraw as I have so many injuries, players who are cup tied. But, to their credit, the boys have said no, let’s play, this is what cup football is all about I suppose!
“So regardless of how many we have its game on. Thankfully it’s a Fairlop so at least the support will be on our side!”
Promotion is the clear priority for the Essex boys and I think it’s fair to say that come Sunday lunchtime, they won’t have to worry about the cup.
Credit must go to the Redbridge boys for playing, whatever the result, and with Bronzite in goal, anything, and I mean, anything is possible!
JC team news: For RJC, Bronzite is hoping to persuade Gary Block and Daniel Nachshon, neither has played for years, to play. He is still waiting on Marc Jacobs, Sam Sollosi and Hadley Vernon.
Definitely missing are: Chernoff (away), Chapman (son’s birthday), Marc Silver (cup-tied), Hadley Silver (cup-tied), Dan Howard (cup-tied), Ranaan Firmin (cup-tied), Green, Freedman (work), Witzenfeld (injured), Jaye (injured), Rich Darwin, Dean Silver, Kaye, Jaimie Sinclair, Jon Pittal (injured), Dan Orgel (university), Kaye, Bookman (injured)
RJC squad: Daniel Gordon, Lee Ballen, Paul Sanders, Marcus Starr, Grant Pomeroy, Elliot Castle, James Ryan, Lee Grodent, Richard Bronzite.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – A. Fridkin
JC star man: Sammy Ross (Neasden)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden A 14 Redbridge JC C 0
FAITHFOLD A vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A
If the first meeting between Faithfold and Raiders was anything to go by then this should be a classic.
It finished 3-2 in favour of L’Orange in September in a real ding-dong affair, with strikes from Jacob Gold (2) and Rob Sanford seeing Raiders home.
So it’s clear that revenge will be the name of the game for a Faithfold team for whom David Lederman and Paul Babai scored in the corresponding fixture.
Faithfold were missing talisman Alex Levack that day and with the teams going into the game lying third and fourth respectively, I expect him to have a big say in the final outcome on Sunday.
Faithfold go into the game on the back of a 6-0 win over HMZ in the cup. It needed five second half goals to overcome some stubborn resistance with Daryl Phillips (3), Jonny Haik and Babai (2) the goal men.
After the match, Phillips, Faithfold’s assistant-manager, talked about the need to earning the right to play and I think that will be the case again here.
The Raiders showed great character to get themselves out of jail against Neasden B last Sunday. They looked dead and buried, a goal down with four minutes remaining, but last-gasp strikes from Ben Sheldon and Alex Olcot turned the game on its head. It also need another excellent performance from the razor-sharp Danny Berliner.
There will be plenty of quality all around the park on Sunday with Gold looking to get back on the goal trail. His head-to-head against Faithfold new boy Mike Pearson will have a big say in the outcome but on the whole, I expect this game to be won and lost in midfield.
This has all the ingredients to be a great advert for Jewish football with both sides gunning for their sixth league win of the season.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – A. Myerson, KO – 10.15am
JC star man: Alex Levack (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold A 2 NL Raiders A 1
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS A
Hendon have had much the better of recent meetings against the Lions and I expect the Reds to maintain their winning habit against the boys from Rowley Lane this weekend.
Lying three points behind leaders RJC, David Garbacz’s men will be looking to complete a league double over a Lions side they beat 4-3 in November.
JC PHOTOGALLERY:HENDON UTD A vs CHIGWELL ATHLETIC
The scoreline did not reflect the match that day as the Hammers were cruising 4-1, only to concede two late goals. Dovid Korman and Ben Kon fired doubles.
Given that Hendon have a few regulars missing, I’m predicting another close encounter against a Lions team smarting from a 3-0 defeat at Redbridge.
Garbacz told JC Sport: “We have five very influential players missing, which leaves us quite stretched . The true depth of our squad will be severely tested this week.”
The Hendon manager has plenty of respect for the Lions. “Despite their poor season by their high standards , we can never underestimate the Lions . We are expecting a very tough match especially with lots of players out .
“There is very little room for error at the top with Redbridge showing no signs of slipping up so we will need to pull all our resources together and be patient in order to gain the vital win.”
The Lions have taken seven points from a possible 27. Last Sunday was their sixth league defeat of the season, and manager Eilon Kennet is predicting “another tough game on Sunday”.
Lions’ injury problems have been well-documented here, and after the game last week, Kennet said: “It’s very hard to replace six A team regulars in one game, especially against one of the top teams.
“Nevertheless, the boys gave everything they could against a full strength Redbridge A team, who look good for the title.
“Hopefully, well be back to something resembling our regular side against against Hendon.”
Winning has become a habit for Hendon over the past few seasons and I can see them doing enough to notch up three more points here.
JC team news: Hendon are without the Bentley brothers who are on a skiing trip, as is Ari Last. Dovid Korman is still struggling with a groin injury and Greg Corin is also rated doubtful. However, it’s not all bad news as Avidan Last is looking sharp again after an eight-week layoff while Saul Conway returns after a small break .
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – M. Lavender
JC star man: Avidan Last (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC A 2 LM Lions A 1
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN B
League leaders Redbridge can expect a tough game against a Neasden B side propping up the table.
Neasden B are a very talented team. Of that there is no doubt. They have quality from front to back and with a rock solid spine of Ed Bloom, Adam Harvey, Danny Daggers and, up top, a choice of Alex Bowman, Alex Bowman or Mark Lazare.
David Fox has turned into an excellent right-back since offloading himself of A-team goalkeeping duties a couple of seasons ago.
With the exception the derby against their A team, Neasden have taken all of their opponents to the wire in the league this season.
Ryan Glynne, joint-manager of NWN, told JC Sport: "This is a big game for us, and we've got a point to prove after losing the last few games in the last minute of matches. It's happening a lot in the last 10 and we know it is a concentration thing and not a fitness thing.
"We know how tough it wll be against the form Premiership side, but we are up for the challenge and want to make life difficult for them."
RJC go into the game on the back of a 3-0 win over Lions A. Manager Sam McCarthy will be fielding a full-strength team on Sunday.
Looking ahead to Sunday, McCarthy told JC Sport: “I won’t be taking Neasden B for granted. Although they sit at the bottom of the table, their match statistics show that they have on a number of occasions only been beaten by the odd goal against good opposition.
“I'm hoping for better weather conditions for Sunday. The poor pitch conditions last weekend did not do anyone any favours. Notwithstanding this, I don’t intend to budge from the way in which we have gone into every game this season and that is to take the game to the opposition for the whistle, playing at a fast tempo, not allowing them to get into any rhythm.”
We haven’t seen the best of Steve Summers in his second stint at Redbridge yet and I can see him playing a key role on Sunday.
It’s Redbridge for me.
JC team news: Redbridge are without Mitch Lassman.
For NWN, Alex Bowman returns, whiel Zack White is trying to get a flight home in time for the game. Sammy Carr is back on the touchline after baby-sitting duties.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man: Steve Summers (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC A 2 NW Neasden B 0
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B
Football has clearly not been the No. 1 priority for Mike Winehouse, the Redbridge manager, ahead of the big derby against Chigwell Athletic.
There have been mazals all round after the RJC gaffer became engaged. I’ll get by with a little help from my friends. That might well be the tune coming out of the RJC changing room before the game with club stalwart Marc Silver and Daniel Howard joining the squad as their cup-tied for the C team’s Anekstein Cup meeting with Neasden A.
I’m sure that the Redbridge boys would love nothing better than to put one over their neighbours. Anything other than a home win would certainly put another dent into Chigwell’s promotion hopes while, at the same time, boost RJC’s chances of avoiding the drop.
As per last week, Winehouse misses the match as he's tied up in Thailand (not literally, of course!), but I managed to grab a few words with him via Skype "It's a huge game, especially after last week's demolition."
In Winehouse's absence, Rob Gevertz will manage the team.
Meeting their East London rivals for the first time this season, Chigwell know anything less than three points are unthinkable.
JC PHOTOGALLERY:HENDON UTD A vs CHIGWELL ATHLETIC
Glenn Davis, assistant-manager of Chigwell, told JC Sport: “All the boys are really up for this game. It’s our first derby in a few years and we've got a great squad together. We’re almost at full-strength this week, and are exactly where we want to be.
“We are looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with many of our old B and C-team players. The Chigwell spirit is back to where it was a few years ago as shown in the first 75 minutes of our last game, against Hendon A.
“We are not taking RJC’s league position for granted. No doubt they will be bang up for it and are fighting for their lives down there, as I'm sure with a club that has 100-plus players registered, this should be a good game that hopefully we can come out on top of.
“It will be a tough game for us, but the gaffer and I will be making sure the boys are 100 per cent focused on getting the three points to keep us with an outside shot of the league.”
I don’t think there’s any need for me to say any more as Davis’ words of wisdom have clearly lit the touchpaper.
It should be a cracker.
JC team news: For Chigwell, Simon Felstein rejoins the squad with Daniel Castle hoping to return after wife Lyndsey gave birth to a beautiful baby girl earlier this week. New singing Adam Goodman is also included in squad. Marc Radzan returns for the first time since October
Mark Conway (ankle) Dean Michaels (back) Dean Ben-Yosef (Leeds Uni) all miss out.
Chigwell squad: Marc Jacobs, Adam Shafron, Jon Swead (capt ), Simon Felstein, Glenn Davis, Sam Rosenthal, Daniel Castle, Richard Slater, Michael Witzenfeld, Adam Goodman, Adam Conway, Marc Radzan, Russell Becker, Russell Yershon, Doron Weinstein, Glenn Michaels, Neil Tilley, Paul Lenchner
Venue – Peter May, Ref - Adam Lewis,
JC star man: Richard Slater (Chigwell)
DC Prediction: Chigwell Athletic 3 Redbridge JC B 1
FC TEAM A vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN B
Mitch Young, the FC Team player-manager, knows that his team will return to the top of the table should they win their games in hand. However, that is often easier said than done.
Incredibly, FC Team have not played a league fixture since December 12, in which time Brady Maccabi and North London Raiders B have stolen a march at the top of the table.
Going into their first meeting against Harmen B this season, Young knows that Team can ill-afford to take their opponents lightly, especially as they go into the game on the back of a 6-0 win. Added to that, Team have lost their last two league games.
Harmen go into the game without player-manager Mark Engel, who is on a recruitment drive in New York. The Southgate boys have a fully fit squad and are raring to go after putting Redbridge B to the sword last week.
Dan Beckwith was their star performer although Dan Amram and Paul Bean were not far behind. Winger Dave Marcus was also back to his best while centre backs Ian Bean and Dan Sasto were rock solid.
Engel believes that it’s no coincidence that his troops have upped their game. He told JC Sport: “Since the Champions League has stopped, we have been training well in recent weeks. We are definitely starting to gel, but FC Team will be a real test.
“We know we can beat anyone on our day, having been the only team to beat Brady in the league.
“We know we have to work harder than we have all season to win this one. I believe we have the best bunch of guys in MSFL and hopefully they will get their just reward on Sunday – three more points.”
Harmen’s improvement is there for all to see and I’m sure they will be disappointed if they don’t get something here.
Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – R. Caplin
JC star man: Dave Marcus (Harmen)
DC Prediction: FC Team A 1 Southgate Harmen A 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS C
With joint-leaders Brady Maccabi involved in cup action, Rob Richman’s Raiders will be looking to move three points clear when they take on the Lions in Uxbridge.
Lions’ season has gone from bad to worse with their early season optimism now just something of a memory. Thumped 4-1 by fellow strugglers Redbridge C last time out, I don’t fancy their chances here.
The Lions have lost five out of five on their travels and it could be a long 90 minutes for Jamie Kyte and co.
The Raiders go into the game nice and fresh following a two-week break. The team has continued to train hard and come 10.30 on Sunday morning, they will be raring to go.
Raiders won the first meeting 2-1 and they are fancied to complete a league double, even if this home form is a bit patchy.
Looking ahead to the game, Raiders boss Rob Richman told JC Sport: “As far as Sunday's game is concerned, we are all very much looking forward to it. Our last game was six weeks ago and we are really excited at restarting our campaign.
“The first of the season went very well but we know there are many games to play, and we will have to work doubly as hard for the rest of the year.
“Lions pushed us very close at Rowley Lane and we have had some great matches in the past so here's hoping this will be another one of those."
JC team news: For Raiders, Alex Bloch misses out after returning to uni life in Manchester while Jonny Hesselberg will miss the next two weeks after heading home to Australia. David Esterkin is set to make his B-team debut after getting some game time for the C-team last week following two months out with an ankle injury.
Venue – Brunel University, Ref – W. Blake
JC star man: David Esterkin (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders 4 LM Lions C 1
BRIXTON OLD BOYS vs L’EQUIPE
Improving L’Equipe will be out to stop a Brixton team gunning for a top two finish.
Of the teams at the bottom, Gideon Chain’s men look the best-equipped to avoid the drop, especially with Paul Rubenstein in top form.
Although I don’t expect L’Equipe to get any joy on Sunday, I can see them frustrating John Nitka’s men, unless of course the home side scores early. Then, there is every chance that the floodgates could open.
But L’Equipe are made of sterner stuff these days, and even though it’s Brixton who have all the household names, it will take big performances from one to 11 to see them through.
Gideon Chain, the L'Equipe manager, told JC Sport: "We're looking forward to Sunday's game. We've really started to come together as a team and have been working hard on the training field.
"We were unlucky to not get a point out of Sunday's game against Faithfold and we'll be hoping to not make the same mistake twice."
Brixton are blessed with pace, power and experience these days and they are on the kind of run that Nitka could only have dreamt about at the start of the season.
Two draws against leaders Norstar tells you everything you need to know about Brixton this season. They are well-placed to kick on and expect them to do just that here.
JC team news: L'Equipe welcome back Jason Miller and Joey Kolirin from long-term injuries. Chain said: "They've been making real progress at training and it's brilliant to have them back at the club and back on form."
Venue – Clowes, Ref – S. Ansher
JC star man: Jamie Lee (Brixton)
DC Prediction: Brixton 3 L’Equipe 1
TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB B
Andrew Souber’s Fortune will be looking to close the gap at the top to just two points when they entertain the Hornets of Hendon on Sunday.
They came away from last weekend’s bruising encounter against Woodford with a 3-2 victory, in a game where they were given a late scare.
JC PHOTOGALLERY:TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
JC VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS:TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
Strikes from David Gance, Michael Goldberg and an OG put them in pole position. In the end, they were almost left to rue a rare penalty miss from Scott Shindler as the Wanderers mounted a spirited late comeback with just 10 men.
A relieved Souber came away from the game saying: “It was good to get the New Year off to a winning start. Realistically we should have been five or six up.
"We seemed to lack energy towards the end and made it much harder than we should have done. On a positive note, it's the kind of game we would have lost last season so it's great to see this Fortune team getting stuck in."
The match also marked the return of Fortune striker Ben Isaacs, whom the club feared had been ruled out for the remainder of the season through injury. Souber describes this as “like a new signing”.
One of the areas where Fortune have really improved this season is that they are no longer overly reliant upon one striker. Everyone is chipping in at both ends and the results are there for all to see.
Souber will be keen to keep the team grounded as he knows that there is still a long way to go and plenty of twists and turns left in this promotion race.
Hendon recorded a perfect 10 last Sunday, as they outclassed Marylebone. There were hat-tricks for joint-player-manager Chaim Gothold and Avi Korman. Gav Noe, Yaakov Suissa, Yoav Kestenbaum and Josh Lipman finished the job.
Scoring goals has not been the problem for Hendon this season. Keeping them out has. They conceded eight in the first meeting with Fortune although I expect it to be a little closer second time around.,
Gav Noe, the Hendon’s joint-manager, told JC Sport: “We are looking to build on our recent performances and get back amongst the title challengers. Most of our first choice players are back so we expect a tough game and three points.”
One thing is for sure. This one won’t finish 0-0.
Venue – Hatch End Playing Fields, Ref – L. Thorne
JC star man: Ben Isaacs (Fortune)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune A 3 Hendon B 2
WOODFORD WANDERERS vs FAITHFOLD B
It’s win or bust for Woodford on Sunday as they lock horns with a Faithfold team lying two places above them.
The biggest problem for the Wanderers in recent weeks has been trying to finish a game with 11 men on the pitch.
Indiscipline has left their best-laid plans in tatters and Alex Aviram, the Woodford player-manager, will read the riot act at training this week.
JC PHOTOGALLERY:TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
JC VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS:TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
They were reduced to 10 men last week after just 15 minutes once again and finished a man down for the third week running.
Aviram told JC Sport: “We need to get back to winking way after suffering our worst form since the club was established. Back-to-back defeats are a new heartbreak we must recover from.”
But if anyone has the players to mount a miraculous comeback, it’s Aviram. “Once again injuries haunt me and my side. I have barely managed to field 11 players the last five games, and considering the makeshift team I’ve been putting out the performance has not been bad at all, just unlucky.
“We dominated with 10 men last week and should have gone on to win the game, let alone draw or loose. We will build on last week’s performance and build our confidence again. We know what we can do, we just need to find it again.”
Revenge will be the name of the game for a Faithfold team who were beaten 2-1 by the Wanderers in November.
Rob Shooman’s men have taken their game to another level since then, with Daniel Hildebrand sticking away with goals for fun.
Unbeaten in three, the Superhoops will arrive at Redbridge Sports Centre in confident mood. If they can get things right defensively, then you have to give them half a chance.
JC team news Missing for Woodford this week are Samm Pearey (ankle), Harrison Midda (travelling), Darryl Green (hamstring), Paul Shone (back), Elliott Winner (hamstring), Manny Simberg (ankle), David Green (nose) and Josh Nathan (travels). Jamie Golding remains a fitness doubt with a knee injury.
Venue – Redbridge Sports Centre, Ref – G. Silver
JC star man: Daniel Hildebrand (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Woodford Wanderers 2 Faithfold B 2
NORSTAR B vs CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI
There’s a real treat in store here as Norstar look to get their season back on track against the Cats.
Going into the game, six points separate the teams, although the Stars have a game in hand, and with home advantage, you have to fancy Jonny Bunt’s boys.
That said, the season has not how Bunt and co would’ve expected. Last week, they were beaten 3-1 by Heath Banta, after Josh Gaon had put them ahead.
However, Bunt will reminded his troops that they hit double figures against the Cats not so long ago with Josh Green (2), Adam Lipman (2), Rafi Addlestone, Adam Sandzer, Jonny Kaye, Nick Benson and Gaon on target in a 10-3 victory.
With the team’s promotion hopes now hanging by a thread, Bunt knows that they can ill-afford any more slip-ups.
“We need to bounce back from last week's defeat and display against Banta,” Bunt told JC Sport: “The good news is this is a side we beat by some margin in the last game, but that is something of a false result and it will mean they are well up for it.
“We can’t afford any complacency and we will be looking to assert ourselves on the game. We also struggled against them on set-pieces. They scored two of their three in our last meeting from vicious inswinging corners and packing the box.
“We were so perturbed about this last game that after conceding twice in the first half, we spent the whole of the interval coming up with ways to combat it. Then after battering them and winning the second half 7-1, it was only in the car on the way home that someone pointed out they didn't have a corner second half. So at least we will get the chance to put the plan into action this time!”
The Cats are fighting for their lives right now. Captained by Adam Lewis, their last league win came on November 7.
Beaten 3-1 by Redbridge C last Sunday, Lewis, who is missing the match, is looking for an all-round improvement.
“We should have a fairly strong team this week,” he told JC Sport. “We really need to get our season back on track. We’re not really going to focus on the last game against Norstar. It was a bit of a random result, with us having hit the bar several times and been camped in their area before half time. We then scored a stunning own goal and capitulated as gradually more and more of our players struggled with injuries without any subs to replace them.
“I'm sure it'll be a good game and am gutted to be missing it.
Without the leadership qualities and inspiration of Lewis, I can only see the Cats struggling, with Norstar’s wide men enjoying the excellent surface at Norsemen FC.
JC team news: The Stars are missing two of their defensive stalwarts Rafi Addlestone and Adam Seres in addition to their continuing issues in midfield. But Bunt believes that they “have enough in reserve to field a strong and pacy side”.
Venue – TBC, Ref – L. Eppel
JC star man: Nick Benson (Norstar)
DC Prediction: Catford & Bromley B 1 Norstar B 4
GLENTHORNE UNITED A vs FAITHFOLD C
Faithfold B are not the only team from north west London involved in an important game in East London. There’s another green and white convoy heading in the same direction as the Cs make the long journey to Chigwell for a top-of-the-table encounter against leaders Glenthorne A.
The Thornes were well beaten by Neasden A in the cup last Sunday. Liam Stein and Gary Tiller fired consolations for the Glenthorne for whom striker Dan Lipman earned rave reviews from the Neasden camp. I’m half expecting Jamie Cole, the NWN manager, to make an offer for Lipman any time soon.
Cole praised Glenthorne for showing great spirit and for playing to the end. They could have let their heads drop but this Glenthorne team are a very well-organised unit these days, and they will be looking to get back on the winning trail on Sunday.
Dan Lipman told JC Sport: “We’re looking forward to Sunday. We haven’t played a league game since early November so we have a lot of games to catch-up on, and Faithfold is as good a team as any to start with.
“I’m confident that we will continue our good league form.”
David Garson’s men go into the game smarting from a 2-1 defeat at lowly Zig Zag. Garson said that they only have themselves to blame after missing a host of chances.
Having played three games more than Sunday’s opponents, it appears that Faithfold have it all to do, especially when you consider that they were thumped 7-2 in their own back yard in October. Dave Blackman (3), Ashley Stanton and Danny Shafron were among the scorers for Glenthorne.
Faithfold have yet to keep a clean sheet this season, and you can get 100-1 on Garson’s giants keeping the Thornes quiet for 90 minutes. Although the Superhoops are much-improved this season, I believe that Glenthorne will be just too strong.
Venue – The Old Chigwellians, Ref – K. Gold
JC star man: Danny Shafron (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd A 4 Faithfold C 1
HEATH BANTA vs REAL LIFE
“We will not be taking Real Life lightly.” That is the view of Ben Nathan, the Heath Banta manager, ahead of Sunday’s meeting in Hampstead.
The Heath heroes/Banta boys – delete as appropriate – registered their seventh victory in 11 games last Sunday, although they were forced to come from behind before claiming an impressive victory at Norstar. In the end, strikes from Oli Joseph, Jeremy Teacher and Benji Peters settled it.
Now Nathan is demanding more of the same. “Jamie Beale, Benjy Mannheim and Jeff Gross come back into the squad after missing last week’s victory,” said Nathan. “These two Mancs and an Irishmen will definitely bring a bit of desire and passion to the team.”
Warning against complacency, he added: “We beat Real Life pre season but we did that to UJIA as well who we could only draw with two weeks ago, so we will not be taking Life lightly. Their results have improved as the season has gone on and they will definitely be up for it.
“I feel we have enough strength in depth, though, to get a result and keep our promotion hopes alive.”
Life drew 2-2 against Team JLGB, their third league draw in four games, but it would be fair to say that they have struggled against the teams at the top.
I think that will be the case again on Sunday as although they have plenty going forward, they are wide open at the back and that can only play into the hands of the home team.
Venue – Hampstead Heath, Ref – R. Berandout
JC star man: Jamie Beale (Heath Banta)
DC Prediction: Heath Banta 4 Real Life 1
UJIA vs TEAM JLGB
UJIA look to have more than enough to steer clear of relegation this season. On current form, I’m not sure the same can be said of Team JLGB.
Rob Silverman’s boys drew 2-2 against Real Life last Sunday in what many believed was a must-win.
JLGB take a strong side to the Hive on Sunday, welcoming back Justin Freedman. Silverman is hopeful that Simeon Barnett will be in goal which “will also make a big difference”.
I expect another tough game, but I know that JLGB are fully capable of winning this game.
It will be an emotional game for the JLGB brigade with Jon Temerlies, or 'JT' as he is more commonly known, makes his final appearance for the club before moving to the USA.
Paying tribute to his JT, Silverman told JC Sport: “Jon has been a JLGB regular for many years and has been the consummate professional during this time. He will be missed. JT will be captain the side on Sunday and I expect he will be making quite a few ventures up the field for corners and free-kicks from his centre back position!”
Darren Rolfe, the UJIA player-manager, has told his team they still have 30 points to play for. The manager will want his team to be purposeful going forward, while, at the same time, ensuring that Temerlies doesn’t get the big send off that the travelling fans want.
JLGB squad: S Barnett, D Curtis, M Rhodes, P Rich, J Temerlies (capt), L Stone, N Stone, M West, J Danan, B Green, M Marks, J Cullum, R Silverman, J Reid, J Freedman
Venue – The Hive, Ref – P. Dobkin
JC star man: Jonathan Temerlies (JLGB)
DC Prediction: UJIA 3 Team JLGB 1
NORTH WEST NEASDEN C vs BLIZZARD STORM
Having opened up a six-point lead at the top, the Blizzard boys will be looking to complete a league double over a Neasden team they thumped 7-2 earlier in the season.
A fab four-goal salvo from Joe Stolerman inspired them on a sunny September morning, with Daniel Vandermolen joining the party.
Last week, another player, Joel Kutner, struck four goals, in the 6-3 demolition of title rivals Hendon C. It’s fair to say that the Blizzard boys are bang in form with five straight wins coming at just the right time.
Having pulled clear of long-time leaders Glenthorne B, who have two games in hand, I expect Simon Linden’s men to really kick on now.
They have registered 19 goals in the last three games and Sunday’s trip to Neasden could not have come at a better time.
“I have a good squad available,” Linden told JC Sport. “I have a selection headache with two or three players deserving a shot in the side.
“We have had a couple of good battle's with Neasden already and my team will be expecting the same on Sunday.”
Neasden endured a painful 90 minutes against North London Raiders C last Sunday. Their keeper was forced to pick the ball out of the net eight times in a game that player-manager Louis Taylor would rather forget.
The Neasden gaffer was honest enough to admit that his team were outclassed. Although he needs no reminding of the first meeting with Blizzard, he had this to say.
“Our first game of this season was against Blizzard Storm - a team that being from Southend originally I some connections with. Having a player sent off, a perfectly good goal ruled out and with me making some naive tactical errors, we ended up getting stuffed.
“Our season hasn’t gone anywhere near as well as Blizzard’s, but we are out for a taste of revenge this weekend.
“Out of a squad of 24, we have 22 available this week. I'm confident that we'll give Simon Linden's team a run for their money.”
This game has goals written all over it and I expect a confident Blizzard team to come away with maximum points.
JC team news: For Blizzard, Michael Woolf and Dan Vandermolen are set to return to the squad, which Linden describes as “a massive boost”. Matt Jaffa misses out.
Venue – TBC, Ref – A. Yuchetel
JC star man: Michael Woolf (Blizzard)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden C 2 Blizzard Storm 4
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C vs SHIRLEY PARK
Shirley Park travel to West Hendon knowing that victory would take them to within a point of the Reds.
Meeting for the first time this season, Hendon have played a game more and lying third in the table, this is a game they can ill-afford to lose.
They were hit for six by leaders Blizzard Storm last Sunday and only an improvement at the back will keep them in with a chance here.
Avi Gelley, the Hendon boss, told JC Sport: “It’s a massive game for us this week and I hope my players are up for it. We should be at full strength.”
Shirley Park edged past Temple Fortune B last Sunday. It needed a penalty from Nicky Plotnik to see them home. Three wins out of four have put them in a decent position but with Blizzard, Glenthorne, Inter and Los Blancos showing no sign of letting up, three points for either side could be crucial come the end of the season.
On paper, Shirley have more household names with Gideon Gold, Jason Lindsay, Ilan Shaki and Sacha Benfredj capable of winning this game single-handedly. Hendon have relied too heavily on Benny Goldberg and it’s for this season that I’m tipping the visitors to edge through.
Venue – West Hendon, Ref – B. David
JC star man: Ilan Shaki (Shirley)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC C 1 Shirley Park 2
INTER BOREHAMWOOD vs ATHLETIC BILBAUM
Catch-up is the name of the game for Inter Borehamwood. Meeting Bilbaum for the first time in their history, they go in as strong favourites against a team that has lost its last four.
Oluseun Thomas’ Borehamwood boys have been the model of consistency of the first half of the season. Seven wins has put them into a strong position and midfield talisman Jerome Colmans will be looking for many happy returns to celebrate his birthday week in style.
Rustiness could be a problem for the home team who have not played since December 12. Colmans has been in the form of his life, scoring for fun from corners and free-kicks alike.
The Inter boys have won their last four and they have a great chance of extending that record, especially in front of their own fans.
The Bilbaum boys must show no fear on Sunday. Otherwise I can see them suffering a heavy defeat against an Inter side firing on all cylinders.
The visitors are hopeful that captain Mark ‘Sicknote’ Pasha could make his long-awaited return from injury, although the odds are that he’ll play for 30 minutes and then be injured again until the end of the season. Manager Josh Ejdelbaum told JC Sport: “We might have to try the placenta-rubbing treatment to keep him fully-fit!”
Ejdelbaum went on to say: “Mark’s return is a big boost for the Baums, but an even bigger boost for the opposition! He has never scored at any level, and last year finished with prolific scoring figures of minus two.”
Venue – TBC, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Jeff Gotch (Borehamwood)
DC Prediction: Inter Borehamwood 3 Athletic Bilbaum 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C vs JEWVENTUS
The Jewventus boys must be running scared after seeing Raiders C’s last two results.
Oli Shorts’ troops have really clicked into gear since bolstering in recent weeks with their big-money signings hitting the ground running.
Two weeks ago it was the Franks show, and last Sunday they were super, smashing gr-8. Supersub Jonny Sandrove (2), Joe Newton, Nicky Woolf, Darren Russell, Toby Katz, Matt Greene and David Esterkin found the back of the net in the demolition of Neasden C. That made it 15 goals without reply in their last two games.
After the game, Shorts told JC Sport: “Yet again the team produced a superb performance. A faultless game from the defence all the way to the attack. Seven goal-scorers and a clean sheet really showed we had the quality all over the pitch.
"The players have upped their game since the winter break and I'm delighted for all the lads."
Now Shorts is demanding more of the same from his troops. "For the first time, I've got a full squad to pick from. Things are really positive and the atmosphere surrounding the club is brilliant. We just need to keep our feet on the ground and take each game as they come.
"Two weeks ago we'd go into this game odds on to lose but credit to my players for changing it round. I always had faith in the team, and a few signings have made everyone click and given everyone the self belief. They deserve the plaudits they are getting but we can't get get complacent on the weekend."
Victory on Sunday would lift L’Orange above Jewventus, who have two games in hand. But the boys in black and white are another side that has not played in over a month.
Player-manager Gabriel John has been busier off the pitch than on it in recent weeks. Look out for the big story in an up-and-coming edition of the JC. If he plays his cards right, the G-force could become even bigger than Abramovich.
In his pre-match press conference, John told JC Sport: “We’re playing a team massively on the up. We have our strongest squad of the season bar two names. My boys are seriously up for this and we intend to remain unbeaten week in, week out until the end of the season.
“It’s two crucial games against NLR C followed by Temple Fortune B. Then a monster against Blizzard. So with the games coming thick and fast I want nothing other than 10 points from our next four games.”
I’ve always stood by the fact that on their day, Jewventus can beat any team in the division. They beat the Raiders 2-1 in late November but I just can see lightning will strike twice.
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – N. Burns
JC star man: Toby Katz (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders 4 Jewventus 2
TEMPLE FORTUNE B vs GLENTHORNE UNITED B
A team near the top takes on a team near the bottom as title-chasing Glenthorne make the long journey to Hatch End.
Thornes boss Elliot Coulton has denied rumours that his team were running scared. Rumour has it that Coulton has a clause in his contract that could see him bite the bullet if he lost back-to-back games, and following the 5-1 mauling by Blizzard, he appears happy that the next game is now against a Fortune lying third from bottom.
That said, I don’t think it will be easy for the East Londoners on Sunday. Fortune pushed Shirley Park all the way last weekend.
With their north west London rivals hoping for a favour from Fortune, Rob Jay, the joint-manager, told JC Sport: “We’re pretty much the same team as last week, with striker Marc Herman back.
“It will be another tough match but hoping for another good performance.”
Fabio Revieccio was the matchwinner when the team’s met in the first week of October. If he plays, there’s every chance he could be the difference again.
Venue – Hatch End, Ref – H. Raffe
JC star man: James Law (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune B 0 Glenthorne Utd B 2