The semi-finals of the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup take centre stage on Matchday 25 of the JC MSFL season. Danny Caro looks ahead to the clash of the titans and a David versus Goliath encounter, as well as a bumper programme in the league and Barry Goldstein Cup.
JC GOAL OF THE WEEK
Danny Reuben (LM Lions C) - screamer from 25 yard out. Outside of the boot and off the angle. Impossible to save
JC SAVE OF THE WEEK
Rob Levene (Team JLGB) - (SAVE 2) -Glenthorne player had an open goal from two yards out, he took his time, but too long, as Levene put in an incredible effort to get from one side of the goal to the other and dived in front of the shot
PETER MORRISON CUP QUARTER-FINAL DRAW
North West Neasden A vs North London Raiders B
Redbridge A vs Faithfold/North West Neasden B
North London Raiders A vs Southgate Harmen A
Leeds Maccab/Sporting JLGB vs Manchester Maccabi 1st
JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP SEMI-FINAL DRAW
North West Neasden A vs Redbridge Jewish Care A
Hendon United Sports A vs Los Blancos
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JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP SEMI-FINALS
NORTH WEST NEASDEN A vs REDBRIDE JEWISH CARE A
Neasden are threatening to roll out the big guns when they take on treble-chasing Redbridge A for a place in the final of the JC League Cup.
With manager Jamie Cole missing the game due to a stag in Vegas, coach Darren Yarlett and former joint-manager Daniel Fox will take charge of the team for what is their biggest game of the season.
In Cole’s absence, Yarlett has been the man with the midas touch this season, winning all four games in charge.
It’s clear Yarlett is relishing the prospect of trying to get what is still, clearly, a very talented Neasden team firing on all cylinders. He told JC Sport: I have a huge squad to pick from and very excited to go up against my good pal Danny Berg.
“Redbridge have some real quality in the side and have been the most consistent team this season and I hope they go on to win the league because they really deserve it.
“But with what I have at my disposal I know Neasden can get the job done in this one-off game.”
Before crossing the pond, Cole told JC Sport: “Dan Cole is definitely back for the game, and it’s also rumoured that Sam Sloma will play a part. This shows how determined we are to win silverware.”
Neasden are ready to do battle against two former players. Striker Adam Stolerman joined RJC last summer while right-back Elliot Greene return to his native Redbridge only a few weeks ago. Cole added: Stoly told me that he wanted to finish the job in Essex.”
Neasden are expected to arrive with a fully fit squad, with the exception of Sammy Ross and possibly Elliot Stern.
Everyone is available with the exception of Sammy Ross who is away and possibly Elliot Stern who is away.
Cole said: “It’s one of the most difficult and complicated games of the year, just as it has been in previous years.
“We expect it to be very intense and very difficult, but we are very motivated and we are going there to win.”
Redbridge warmed up for the game with a resounding 7-1 success over Neasden’s B team. Steve Summers looked back to his best, firing a four-goal salvo, with Mitch Lassman and Sam McCarthy also on target.
In the league, the Essex giants have scored the most and conceded the least. However, big match experience is something they don’t have in abundance so that could play into Neasden’s hands. After all, they don't have trophies in the cabinet like Neasden do, although there is no doubt that manager Sam McCarthy, coach Danny Berg and co will go flat out to put that right here.
That said, RJC have raised the bar this season and with the likes of Summers, Daran Bern, Ben Sollosi, Lewis Walker, Dan Lee and Dean Nyman, it’s clear they have the players to take them to the next level.
McCarthy has a full-strength squad, and he's champing at the bit. He told JC Sport: "Both the team and I are looking forward to Sunday's game immensely. They are in tremendous spirit and I can promise Neasden a baptism of fire on Sunday once that whistle blows.
"The team go into this game with total belief in their ability to capture some silverware this season.
"Confidence is at a all-time high. I have total respect for Neasden but that will be set aside for 90 minutes on Sunday. Both sides love to attack and the battle will be, I believe, in midfield where it will be imperative to cut off supply to the front men.
"The first 15 minutes of the game will be comparable I'm sure to the first three rounds of the Tommy Hearns vs Sugar Ray Leonard title fight, where both men tried to establish their supremacy over the other.
It would be fair to say that RJC keeper Dan Lee didn’t have his best game for the Rep Team last week, but it's clear that he's a top keeper, and I can see him wanting to remind everyone just how good he is, so I've nominated him star man.
Sunday is the day of reckoning for both sides. It will all boil down to which team wants it most and which team takes their chances.
JC team news: Neasden will be at full-strength with the exception of George Fierstone.
Neasden squad: Max Shields, Jake Gottlieb, Ben Lampert, Jon Ellis, Kyle Bentwood, Danny Cole, Shai Revivo, Matt Sofier, Sam Sloma, Andy Glynne, James Abrahams, Lee Cash, Ben Ellis, TJ Keterman, James Gershfield, Rob Lerner
Redbridge squad: Dan Lee, Craig Sandford, Joel Berg, Adam Hakimi, Ritchie Caplin, Mitch Lassman, Ben Sollosi, Danny Hakimi, Steve Gevertz, Sam McCarthy, Daniel Sugerman, James Rubin, Steve Summers, Dean Nyman, Adam Stolerman, Alex Lishak, Russell Leiter, Sam Van Gelder, Daren Bern, Lewis Walker
JC Big Match Odds
Neasden to win 5-4
Redbridge to win - Evns
Neasden to win in 90 – 2-1
Redbridge to win in 90 – 5-4
Neasden to win in extra time – 5-1
Redbridge to win in extra time - 3-1
Neasden to win on penalties - 10-1
Redbridge to win on penalties – 8-1
Steve Summers - 7-2
James Gershfield - 4-1
Daran Bern 4-1
Lee Cash – 5-1
Dean Nyman - 6-1
Ben Ellis - 6-1
Adam Stolerman - 7-1
Ben Sollosi - 8-1
Lewis Walker - 8-1
Darren Yarlett – 10-1
Jake Gottlieb - 12-1
Sam McCarthy - 20-1
Kyle Bentwood 25-1
Craig Sandford 33-1
Russell Leiter 33-1
Neasden clean sheet – 5-1
Redbridge clean sheet – 9-2
Venue – The Hive, Ref – L. Benson
JC star man: Dan Lee (RJC)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden A 2 Redbridge Jewish Care A 3
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A vs LOS BLANCOS
As cup games go, they don’t get any more nostalgic than this. It’s a David versus Goliath clash of mammoth proportions. But one thing is for sure, Division Four minnows Los Blancos have absolutely nothing to lose, as long as they approach the game with no fear.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for Joel Minsky’s men in the Anekstein this season, their first in the league. One minute they were out, but they were given a reprieve when Holy Mount Zion were thrown out. Then they played Premier Division Neasden B. No-one gave them a chance, but they did the business, pulling off one of the biggest shocks in MSFL history, with star man Dany Kon stealing the backpage of the JC.
In essence, Sunday will feel like a cup final for Los Blancos. On paper they haven’t got a chance, and many believe that it will be no different on grass. But this is the cup, and we know anything can happen …
Minsky has been doing his best to keep the team focused. He’s been a man in demand this week, but I managed to get a quick interview.
Looking ahead to what it undoubtedly the biggest game in the club’s short history, Minsky told JC Sport: “We know a fair bit about Hendon, especially with a few of our team coming from the Hendon set-up, but regardless, their league position alone testifies that they clearly have some real quality running through their squad.
“The task at hand is huge, and obviously we are massive underdogs here, but our result against Neasden B in the previous round was certainly no fluke. We bossed the game, and if anything the scoreline was flattering to them.
“Everyone on the pitch that day played their hearts out, and I genuinely couldn’t have asked for anything more from the team.
“The performance really showed that we can be a threat to any team in MSFL on our day, and we’ll only stand a fighting chance if we put in a similar shift on Sunday.
“Everyone here is really looking forward to the occasion, and with a final at stake, motivation won’t be an issue.”
West Hendon Playing Fields will host the match with Hendon’s home at Hadley FC being used by Neasden C.
David Garbacz, the Hendon manager, knows that his troops must no arrive complacent. Although they have one eye on the league, Garbacz knows that his troops must take LB seriously.
“The magic of the cup where anything can happen,” Garbacz told JC Sport. “We do not know a great deal about Los Blancos other than they are a new team full of promising youngsters with a striker in hot form who used to fancy my daughter!
“Clearly they are no mugs to have reached this far and they will be raring to have a go at us believing they can pull off a shock . We will need to silence their fans straight from kick off and look to strike early so as to dent their confidence.
“We will not be treating this game with any complacency and will have no room for sentiment . This is a cup semi-final and we are desperate to get to Wingate in our quest for the double.
“Good luck to Los Blancos but naturally we expect them to go home a lot quieter than when they arrive . “
I wish I could be at the game to see events unfold in a game that Hendon would win 99 times out of 100.
JC team news: For Los Blancos, Goalie Josh Cohen and defensive midfielder Daniel Horowitz both return to the squad after a two-week absence, whilst Jonny Ison has oddly ruled that going to the Man Utd/Liverpool game is of more importance. Yosh Radomsky seems to have shaken off a leg injury which he picked up last week, whilst the only real injury scare is in the form of man of the moment Dany Kon. There were fears at the beginning of the week that Dany had broken his foot, but they have since been allayed and he’s now been diagnosed with a sprained ankle. Most of the pain around the joint has since subsided, however swelling is now the main an issue. A decision will be made as late as possible.
Hendon have a full squad to choose from with the exception of Avidan Last who is out injured.
JC Big Match Odds
Hendon to win 1-100
Los Blancos to win 100-1
Saul Conway - Evns
Ben Kon - 2-1
Greg Corin - 3-1
Josh Bentley - 4-1
Paul Bentley - 6-1
Dany Kon - 12-1
Sami Birnbaum - 20-1
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – G. Silver
JC star man: Ben Kon (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC A 4 Los Blancos 1
PETER MORRISON TROPHY ROUND 4
FAITHFOLD A vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN B
Redbridge Jewish Care A awaits the winner of this tie as Premier Division rivals Faithfold and Neasden B prepare to do battle for the third time this season, in a tie that fell victim to the weather a couple of weeks ago.
The Superhoops are fancied to book their place in the quarter-finals of a competition that means much to the club. In Alex Levack and Daryl Phillips, they have two players who have won the competition before.
Zuriel Solomon’s men have claimed a win and a draw in the two league meetings. David Lederman scored in both but he has found himself on the bench in recent outings. Michael Pearson was the other scorer in the recent 2-1 win with Neasden’s goal coming through Danny Daggers, another player who has tasted Morrison success with Neasden’s A team.
The first meeting was an absolute cracker with Alex Levack (2) joining Lederman on the scoresheet, while Ben Wulwik popped up with a hat-trick for Neasden.
Last week, Faithfold drew 3-3 with Lions A in the league with goals coming through Mike Pearson, Benji Dymant and Daryl Phillips.
After the game, Faithfold boss Zuriel Solomon told JC Sport: "We were two down at half time and it took us 25 minutes to start playing which has resulted in us going 2-0 down.
"Credit to boys, we then went 3-2 up after dominating most of the second half."
With the title gone, the Morrison is Faithfold’s last chance for silverware this season, and I’m sure they know that. They certainly have the players capable of going the distance.
Sunday is also last chance saloon for Neasden B. Their first season back in the Premier has not gone as planned but they certainly have the opportunity to put down a marker here.
In David Fox, Danny Daggers and Daniel Hodes, they have three players who have tasted Morrison success before. All three have been great ambassadors for Neasden over the last few years and will be out to ensure they take Faithfold to the wire.
Man for man there won’t be much it but I expect Faithfold to set up what would be a mouth-watering contest against Redbridge.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – R. Benardout
JC star man: Daryl Phillips (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold A 3 NW Neasden B 1
JC BARRY GOLDSTEIN CUP
1. Faithfold C Pl. 0, W. 0, D. 0, L. 0, F. 0, A. 0, Pts. 0
2. Heath Banta Pl. 0, W. 0, D. 0, L. 0, F. 0, A. 0, Pts. 0
3. North London Raiders C Pl. 0, W. 0, D. 0, L. 0, F. 0, A. 0, Pts. 0
4. Real Life Pl. 0, W. 0, D. 0, L. 0, F. 0, A. 0, Pts. 0
FAITHFOLD C vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C
There’s a real treat in store on Sunday as Division Three high-flyers Faithfold C entertain dark horses North London Raiders C.
Faithfold’s squad has been boosted by the return of skipper Steve Moss, as well as Nic Viola and stalwart Adam Phillips.
Superhoops boss David Garson believes that “the signing of Jonny Blain from Raiders could be crucial as he is the only one who knows where Brunel University is. Blain has been designated official club navigator”.
It’s fair to say that Moss could not have picked a tougher game to come back for. He’ll be up against leading lights Harry and Jack Franks, two players that Blain has been asked to keep tabs on by the Raiders A management.
It’s clear that L’Orange are in it to win it, and manager Oli Shorts can’t wait for kick-off. He told JC Sport: “We have a full squad once again this weekend and I hope that they bring us three points.
“The cup is a lovely distraction from the league and a chance for my players to play against some great opposition.
“To pit our wits against the Likes of Faithfold, Heath and Real Life who all play in the division above will hopefully be enough motivation for my players.
“A cup run would be great and my players are raring to go. We know that two wins from three in the group will see us into the semis and to pick up three points against Faithfold would put us in a great position.
Blain has fond memories of Brunel. It’s where he helped Raiders A win the Division One title last year.
This is the classic battle of youth against experience and it’s hard to predict a winner. One thing is for sure. It won’t be all Blain sailing!
Venue – Brunel Uni, Ref – W. Blake
JC star man: Jonny Blain (Raiders)
DC Prediction: Faithfold C 2 NL Raiders C 2
HEATH BANTA vs REAL LIFE
One of the good things about the JC Barry Goldstein Cup is that you rarely get a one-sided affair. But that theory could be put to the test here.
Heath Banta boss Ben Nathan believes his side holds the psychological edge going into Sunday’s clash against Division Three rivals Real Life in Hampstead.
Nathan told JC Sport: “We’re looking forward to it, having beaten and drawn with Real Life this seasib, drawing in our last match out.
“We are looking to bounce back with good run in the cup. I have a fully fit squad available with only Alex Waiman and Jamie Beale away.
“We haven’t played for four weeks and are just looking forward to actually playing a game.”
Twenty-one points separate the teams in the league and Nathan hopes that his team show the same kind of ruthlessness as in the first meeting, when they finished in seventh heaven with four goals from Oli Joseph plus further efforts from top-scorer Stefan Simons
and Jeff Gross completed the rout.
But it was a bit closer last month when we saw the Real Life, the plucky Real Life, who were denied a hard earned victory by a late own goal.
The displays of Charlie Bernstein and Ben Kfir gave Real boss Jamie Beaumont plenty of food for thought.
But it is Heath Banta stalwart Oli Joseph that is my danger man. He has netted five times in two games against Real and could again be the major threat, though I’m sure Mr Simons will have something to say about that!
Venue – Hampstead Heath, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Oli Joseph (Heath Banta)
DC Prediction: Heath Banta 4 Real Life 1
Group B standings
1. UJIA Pl. 1, W. 0, D. 1, L. 1, F. 1, A. 1, Pts. 1
2. Zig Zag Pl. 1, W. 0, D. 1, L. 1, F. 1, A. 1, Pts. 1
3. Catford & Bromley Maccabi Pl. 0, W. 0, D. 0, L. 0, F. 0, A. 0, Pts. 0
4. Temple Fortune B Pl. 0, W. 0, D. 0, L. 0, F. 0, A. 0, Pts. 0
CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI vs TEMPLE FORTUNE B
Victory for either side would see them finish the weekend top of the table as the Cats take on a Fortune B team who, according to the league standings, are the weakest team in the competition.
Whichever way you look at it, this looks like a home banker although Cats joint-manager Adam Lewis is taking nothing for granted.
The Cats have had plenty of trials and tribulations in recent seasons but the win over Division Three table-toppers Glenthorne A show you that they are back on track. A decent draw in the ‘weaker group’ means that they have every chance of reaching the final at Wingate & Finchley on April 17.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Adam Lewis told JC Sport: “We’re looking slightly thin on the ground this week, but should hopefully be able to put out a strong team nonetheless.
“The last two weeks have been very annoying with postponements, but we're really raring to get a third consecutive win on the board still.
“With no Temple Fortune A team game this week we'll be wary of one or two A-team faces turning up in their team, but with or without them, we know it won't be an easy game and we'll have to put in a good performance.”
Fortune have lost five on the spin in the league, so the cup comes as something of a welcome distraction for the team managed by Gavin Levy and Rob Jay.
Both will be concerned by the fact that they have failed to register in their last two games. That’s now six blanks this season. Hardly the kind of return that will have teams shaking in their boots.
Jay was relatively pleased with the level of performance in the 1-0 defeat at Neasden C last Sunday and ahead of the trip to Edmonton, he had this to say. “We have a couple of absentees this week, most noticeably Simon Allen in the centre of defence, but looking forward to our first Minor Cup game this season.”
The absence of Allen is a big blow. He often holds things together at the back, and with Eli Baraty, Ashley Stokes and Rafi Marom in top form, there can surely only be one winner.
Venue - Norsemen FC, Ref – M. Vandermolen
JC star man: Jonny Lee (Catford)
DC Prediction: Catford & Bromley 3 Temple Fortune B 0
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
SOUTHGATE HARMEN A vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A
It’s hard to believe that both Harmen and Raiders were playing Division One football last season. Both have taken to the top-flight like ducks to water.
It’s also hard to believe that as we enter March, they are meeting for the first time this season.
But as luck would have it, the old bus scenario of none for ages and then two come along at once will rear it’s head as the teams lock horns again next week, this time in the last eight of the Peter Morrison Trophy.
With this in mind, it will be interesting to see whether or not both camps play their strongest hand. 2011 has been stop-start for both sides and I believe that the fact that Raiders recorded a league double over Harmen last season will count for nothing.
Both teams have four league games remaining with Raiders starting Sunday’s clash five points better off. I was surprised to see that Raiders average only 2.1 goals in the league this season, but it’s also worth remembering that they had six chalked off after Lions B folded.
Like Raiders, Harmen have had their highs and lows this season, with the 4-1 win at last season’s champions Neasden A the clear highlight. But they have conceded 15 goals in the last two games, 25 in their last four, and I’m sure manager Dan Uzan is keen to tighten up at the back.
Ziggy Lichman, the Harmen keeper, has earned some rave reviews since joining London Lions’ Saturday first team in the Spartan South Midlands League. There are few better keepers in the MSFL in terms of an all-round game.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Harmen boss Dan Uzan told JC Sport: “We have a strong team available for Sunday and we are looking to improve on our recent league performances and get a much-needed win.
“Raiders have had a great season so far and we will have to be at our best. Should be a good game.”
The Raiders will have a certain Mr DC in goal on Sunday, making his first appearance of the season.
Like Harmen, the Raiders are keen to finish the season strongly. Alex Olcot, Jamie Wolfson, Adam Joselyn and Jacob Gold have all made Rep Team outings recently and they will be looking to show their quality once more.
This should be an entertaining affair.
Venue – Ashmole School, Ref – L. Thorne
JC star man: David Rhodes (Raiders)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen A 1 NL Raiders A 2
JC DIVISION ONE
CAMDEN PARK vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B
Fact. Raiders B have the same number of points as the team who won the Division One title last season – coincidentally, their A team!
Fact. The title has not been won as Division One finished with nine teams last season. This year it has 10.
Fact. Raiders B have won 11 out of 14 and lost 1.
With all these facts in mind, it’s no surprise to see that manager Rob Richman has banned any talk of the title from the Raiders training ground.
But one thing is clear, the title is within sight, although they still have some very big games coming up. Like Arsenal, their destiny lies in their own hands, although I fancy Raiders to win the league more than I do the Gunners!
L’Orange go into the game on the back of a hard fought 3-0 win over nearest rivals Chigwell Athletic. David Dinkin and Rik Sherman were among the scorers in what was a big result for the team, their ninth straight win.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Richman told JC Sport: “We have been on a very good run in the league since October and our aim is to keep up this consistency and level of performance.
“Over the course of the last few months what is most pleasing is that we haven't relied on one or two individuals but it has been a real collective effort.
“Camden are another good side who gave us a really hard game pre-Christmas and we will travel to the Hive ready for another tough game."
Jonny Hesselberg and Nicky Woolf were the marksmen when Raiders edged home 2-1 in the corresponding fixture.
Richman knows that strikers win you games, defenders (and keepers) win you league titles. His troops have kept three league sheets this season but Richman is asking for more.
“Promotion definitely isn't wrapped up yet. We still have some very tricky games coming up and a lot of the teams below us have games in hand. We will give our all in the remaining few games and come two months time hopefully we can look back on a successful season.
“This team has progressed so much since the season began and with seven of the boys in the team against Chigwell aged under 23, we still have a lot more scope for improvement.”
Camden got back to winning ways last week when they smashed five past Montana A. The evergreen Rick Harris reveled in his role as emergency striker. He bagged two with others coming from Rob Kaplan and Ben Harris.
Manager Justin Rockberger was also keen to praise the efforts of Adam Baginsky.
That was Camden’s first win in seven. I expect them to find things much tougher against a well-drilled Raiders team who I expect to do just enough over the course of 90 minutes.
JC team news: For Raiders, Jonny Hesselberg, Dan Grossman and Lewis Blitz should all return to the squad.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – R. Cahill
JC star man: Dan Grossman
DC Prediction: Camden Park 1 NL Raiders B 2
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN B
Chigwell had more than just their pride hurt last weekend when they went down 3-0 to Raiders B in the top-of-the-table clash.
A top five finish now looks their best bet as the teams around them have games in hand.
Last Sunday was the fourth time they have failed to score in the league this season.
Player-manager Richard Slater did not mince his words at his pre-match press conference. He told JC Sport: “After two straight defeats, we must win on Sunday.
“I don’t care about the performance, I just want three points. It’s as simple as that.”
The Chigs have won eight out of 14 this season. They currently lie second but the only problem is that they have lost the other six. Had their turned some of those defeats into draws, things might have panned out differently, but I can see them doing the business in front of their fans here.
Harmen go into the game reflecting on a number of long-term injuries. Manager Mark Engel has seen his plans scuppered by Dan Henig’s broken leg and an ankle problem for Daniel Amram.
But rather than look back, he’s keen to look forward. Engel told JC Sport: “We need to step up a gear or two. The players are good enough to compete at the top end of the division, they just need to step up and prove they can on a more regular basis.”
With both camps out to prove a point, this should be an enthralling contest.
JC team news: Chigwell this week re-signed Craig Peal, who left the club in 2008. Pearl, 33, is a former Watford FC academy player, and also former Wingate & Finchley midfielder.
Venue – Peter May, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Russell Yershon (Chigwell)
DC Prediction: Chigwell Athletic 3 Southgate Harmen B 1
FC TEAM A vs MONTANA BOCA UNITED A
There has been a real shift in power in Division One this season. Established teams such as Montana and Camden have felt the force of the new boys, with North London Raiders B, Chigwell Athletic and FC Team A setting the division alight.
That’s not forgetting Brady Maccabi, but for now, lets talk about FC Team.
They were back to their best last Sunday when they stuck 12 past Redbridge B. They look to have overcome a recent blip and manager Mitch Young deserves much of the credit.
After giving Jonny Breger more of an attacking licence last week, he repaid his manager with a stunning four-goal super-show that left Young drooling. The gaffer described the man knows as ‘Bregs’ as the “Frank Lampard of the MSFL”.
Breger was not the only outstanding performer on the day. Matt Drage looked the business, playing in the hole. Young described him as the “Paul Scholes of Jewish football”. Happy to take the plaudits, Drage was quick to play down rumours that the comparison was based on football ability and nothing to do with ginger hairs!
Young will be demanding more of the same when the Team entertains a Montana side that was crushed by the golden oldies of Camden Park.
Having sold promising young keeper Daniel Cohen this week, it will be Lee Duskwick in the firing line on Sunday.
Young will remind his troops they still have 18 points to play for. They edged past Montana 2-1 in September when Danny Moss and Ollie Segal were the marksmen in a game they came from behind to win.
It's the start of a big month for FC Team, with games against Harmen B, Raiders B and Brady coming up. I expect them to run out comfortable winners against Montana with the goals shared around.
Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – C. Stupack
JC star man: Matt Drage (FC Team)
DC Prediction: FC Team A 5 Montana Boca Utd A 1
OAKWOOD vs BRADY MACCABI
It’s the clash of the titans at Parmiters as
Brady have won their last five in the league and are unbeaten in seven. They have been one of the teams of the season so far but manager Josh Rosenfeld knows that the job is far from done.
Sunday will be a test of their character as they go to a ground notoriously hard to get a result.
Rosenfeld has been doing his best to keep the team sharp as they haven’t played since January 16.
Asked for his hopes for the game, Rosenfeld told JC Sport: “Playing the match would be a start. I think its been about five weeks now without a game in the league.
“We need to make sure the focus is still there.”
Focus and match sharpness are key words in football. They are not things you can turn on and off like a tap. And they could not have asked for a harder game to return to action in.
They Oaks missed a golden opportunity last Sunday, when they failed to hold on to a 2-0 lead against Lions C. It could be two points dropped that they are left to come the end of the season.
Joint-manager Ric Blank told JC Sport: “We were disappointed not to pick up three points on Sunday but you can't win ‘em all and Lions were worthy of their point.
“We’re very excited to play Brady- we had a real tough test against them last season and it’s clear they've improved since then.
“The season’s reaching a thrilling climax and we want to be part of it. So we’ll be up for it and it could be a classic.”
There’s nothing further for me to add.
JC team news: For Oakwood, goal-scoring sensation Ian Tussie is away on a stag while Ben Myers is a serious injury doubt. The club has been boosted by the news that Dan Ash is returning to training this week. An Oakwood’s spokesman said: “Ash won’t be involved on Sunday just yet, but it'’ a big step in his recovery from tearing his cruciate in the second game of the season.”
Brady have re-signed Josh Gordon in time for the game.
Venue – Parmiters, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man: Josh Gordon (Brady)
DC Prediction: Oakwood 1 Brady Maccabi 2
JC DIVISION TWO
FAITHFOLD B vs NORSTAR A
Norstar A were the worst-hit team following the resignation of Holy Mount Zion. Phil Peters’ men had six points taken off them and speaking from experience, I know how much this can deflate a team.
On Sunday they face what could be their hardest game of the season. They have slipped down to fourth although going into the game, they lie a point ahead of Faithfold, having played a game more.
Without a win in three games, the Stars were beaten 4-2 by Faithfold just before Chanukah. Daniel Hildebrand (2), Joe Levi and Seth Green were the chief tormentors.
The same Daniel Hildebrand destroyed Hendon B virtually single-handedly last weekend as the Superhoops turned in a 5-2 victory.
Peters was clearly blown away by the quality of the Faithfold team who beat them in December. After the game, he told JC Sport: “This was a deserved victory for Faithfold who clearly wanted it more than us as the game went on. Having led for so long, and then re-taken the lead after conceding a sloppy goal, we looked to be clinging on to the victory. But credit to Rob and his boys, they dug deep and exploited our tired legs in the last 15 minutes.
"If they can get that team out each week then they'll certainly be up there come the end of the season and will hopefully take some points of the other guys fighting for the title."
The Woodford result apart, Faithfold have been in terrific form and I can see them handing a rare league double defeat to the Stars.
JC team news: Norstar are missing lots of players this week and are struggling to field a team. Phil Peters had "one signing blocked by another club in the league which we're not happy about but hope to make a signing or two before the end of today. We have re-signed Jonny Kay who played for the club last season but has been injured and travelling for the past 12-months".
Phil Peters will be re-signed from Pinner and Adam Goldsmith has been convinced to re-join the club after terminating his contract in January. Nick Hudson, who hasn't started training yet after two months out injured, will be risked. Cheap train fares from Birmingham are being explored as they make every attempt to get the game on. Peters added: "The B team are short as well so we can't even borrow from there."
Venue – The Hive, Ref – M. Lavender
JC star man: Joe Levi (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Faithfold B 2 Norstar A 1
L’EQUIPE vs WOODFORD WANDERERS
Woodford have slipped into third position almost unnoticed and I wholeheartedly expect them to crank up the pressure on the top two ahead of the long trip to Barnet.
Three consecutive victories have lifted the Essex giants above Norstar and Faithfold. Dismantling leaders Temple Fortune could be asking a bit much but second place is certainly within their grasp.
Revenge is the name of the game for Alex Aviram’s men who were surprisingly beaten 4-2 by L’Equipe just after Chanukah when strikes from Jules Bohm, Paul Rubenstein (2) and David Prager sealed one of the upsets of the season.
Manager Gideon Chain was rewarded with JC Manager of the Week and he will be relishing pitting his wits against one of the league’s leading lights.
L’Equipe warmed up for this crunch clash with a hard fought win over FC Team B, courtesy of a strike from Paul Rubenstein. However, Chain and co know that Woodford will be a completely different kettle of fish.
However, the visitors have injury concerns. As Aviram explains: “It's the same old story for Woodford. Big injury problems all season have continued to frustrate and haunt us.
“Star centre back Adam Poole is out for season with an ankle injury while lLeft back Andrew Levy struggles to get back in time from a broken toe. Manny Simberg in doubt due to ankle injury. New signing Gregg Lautman in doubt over hamstring injury while Samm Pearey and Darren Ezekiel are both out due to travel commitments.”
However, there was some good news. “A big plus for Woodford is strikers Darryl Green and Jerome Marks have both found form, scoring 10 goals between them in there last three games.”
Aviram and skipper Harrison Midda have looked the real deal since pairing up in midfield, while the gaffer is looking for more of the same from Elliott Winner who scored last time out. The ever-reliable Adam Schacter is expected to lead the backline again.
Looking ahead to Sunday, striker Darryl Green told JC Sport: “The boys are bang up for this on Sunday, after the game got cancelled last week we are all feeling fresh and ready to give this lot a battle...battle of hasting...PASTING!
“With my strike partner Jerome back banging in goals all over the place there is no way we'll lose to this team again.
“It's just a shame we lost a few games earlier in the season with a weaker squad, but now we are firing on all cylinders.
“The only down side is we have picked up another casualty with Adam Poole going under the knife to get his bunions done. We all wish him well!"
Stick your mortgage on the Wanderers sealing their eighth league win of the season.
Venue – King George V, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man: Adam Schacter (Woodford)
DC Prediction: L’Equipe 1 Woodford Wanderers 4
JC DIVISION THREE
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C vs TEAM JLGB
Bouncebackability is the name of the game for title-chasing Redbridge on Sunday. They came a cropper against Norstar last week and manager Richard Bronzite hopes that it was no more than a blip as they prepare to entertain local rivals JLGB.
The 2-0 defeat ended a run of four straight league wins and was also the first time they have failed to register.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Bronzite told JC Sport: “We have a massive game on Sunday. We need to get back in the habit of winning games. There is a lot to play for still this season and we need to get over last week and start Sunday with a bang. It’s a massive game for us as a team.
“I have changes to make to the side due to potential injuries, people away so my boys need to know if they want be involved every week, they must start doing again on the Sunday!!
“I will make sure I have at least 14 this week. If we want to win this league we need to show more hunger and desire.”
JLGB go into the game on the back of a heavy defeat against Glenthorne. I don’t think things will get much easier on Sunday, although manager Robert Silverman disagrees.
Silverman told JC Sport: “I think a shock could be on the cards on Sunday. I think Redbridge's form has dipped slightly and we had a close game in a pre-season friendly with Redbridge winning by the old goal in nine.
RJC can ill-afford to drop any more points and I think that Sunday will be a case of normal service being resumed.
JC team news: Redbridge are without Hadley Silver, Jamie Chapman, Raanan Firmin and the suspended Elliot Castle. Bronzite is waiting to hear from Jon Kaye, Marcus Starr, Sam Sollosi, Daniel Gordon who have minor niggles.
JLGB hope to have Paul Black, Lee Stone, Ian Levy, Joe Cullum and Justin Freedman back for Sunday’s game.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – B. David
JC star man: Dean Silver (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC C 4 Team JLGB 0
UJIA vs GLENTHORNE UNITED A
Glenthorne raised a jar or two in honour of Norstar B last Sunday after their job of clinching the Division Three title was made a bit easier when rivals Redbridge C suffered a surprise defeat.
Goals from joint player-manager Dan Lipman, Paul Biller, John Lessem, Dan Shafron and Dave Blackman helped the Thornes romp to a 5-0 success over Team JLGB.
Now Lipman and co are targeting three more points as the Thornes go in search of win number 12.
Lipman told JC Sport: “It was a big win for us on Sunday and with RJC C losing the momentum is with us.
“We have a strong squad for Sunday and I’m hopeful that we will continue where we left off against JLGB.”
Eighteen points separate the teams ahead of kick off with many people believing that UJIA will only have a chance if they try to park the bus on the goalline.
But player-manager Darren Rolfe is against such tactics and he wants his troops to go toe to toe in a football exhibition against the leaders.
Rolfe told JC Sport: “I hope to give Glenthorne as good a game as we did last time out, hopefully with points coming back to the U's.
I’m not so confident, especially when you consider that UJIA were thumped 4-0 by Redbridge in their last league outing.
With the title in sight, I just can’t see Glenthorne slipping up here.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – D. Nathan
JC star man: Dan Shafron (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: UJIA 0 Glenthorne Utd A 4
NORSTAR B vs ZIG ZAG
Rumour has it that Jonny Bunt, the Norstar boss, is running scared as he’s fearful of the JC Manager of the Week curse striking again.
The Stars have everything to lose as they go in search of a third straight league win. Bunt’s boys extended their run to five games without defeat.
Josh Green and Jonny Kaye were the goal-scoring heroes as they recorded a hugely impressive win over title-chasing Redbridge C away last Sunday. But the million dollar question is, are they ready for DJ Neal?
Bunt told JC Sport: “We have the utmost respect for Zig Zag, and despite last week’s cracking result we will be taking nothing for granted.
“DJ Neal has a team that have pace in forward areas and if we switch off and let the game develop into an Under-14s style match we could be in trouble.
“The key for us will be to keep the ball and pass it on the deck as we did in the 4-1 earlier in the season and hope they have cause to sub their goalie in the middle of the game again”
“Norstar are not a team famous for physically dominating opponents but after outmuscling them in our previous meeting we will be looking to impose ourselves in every area of the game and keep Zig Zag under pressure for the whole 90 minutes.
“We have a skeletal squad depleted by injury and absence, so will be looking for the boys to dig deep at Chase Lodge!”
Cohen has never been one for mind games. But when he heard that Norstar are struggling to raise a team, he said: “It’s a disgrace.” He went on to say, “I, on the other hand, have a full-strength team.”
It may not be jumpers for goal-posts on Sunday but it’s fair to say that if there is any schoolboy defending on show, Norstar will cash in.
Venue –TBC, Ref – R. Caplin
JC star man: Josh Green (Norstar)
DC Prediction: Norstar B 3 Zig Zag 1
JEWVENTUS vs PINNER JFC
There should be goals aplenty when free-scoring Jewventus takes on basement battlers Pinner for the second time this season.
Gabriel John’s men romped home 7-0 on the opening weekend of the season with goals from Richard Fogelman (3), Jeremy Kornhauser (2), Aron Taylor and James Moore.
John is keeping his fingers crossed that rustiness does not play a part on Sunday. He told JC Sport: “Jewventus go into a battle at the bottom having not played for three weeks. A full and strong squad looks to do the double over Pinner.
“With Richard Fogelman still looking to become the season’s top scorer, he will be chomping at the bit to bag a few.”
Gaffer John is not taking the game lightly and will expect his troops to perform to their highest abilities, especially given Pinner have made big strides during the season.
John added: “Jewve don’t want to become Pinner’s second scalp of the season.”
Pinner go into the game boosted by the knowledge that they will replay Los Blancos after they won their appeal to have the game that was abandoned at half time.
Player-manager Vivian Emanuel admits that “it’s been a crazy few weeks for the team”. Emanuel told JC Sport: “After losing 10-2 to a far superior Los Blancos team, we found ourselves without a game for two weeks.
“My concern is a loss of team moral as we really need to pick up the pieces at training on Wednesday to give us a good boost for Sunday.
Emanuel has been busy spending chairman Les Conway’s money. He’s drafted in Bradley Lobetta who looks set to make his debut against Jewventus.
Emanuel said: “A few players who have finished or are due to finish their seasons have contacted me and I hope this will help us to finish on a high this season. Believe it, and if my sums are right, we could finish ninth this season, which would be a club high. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true. Now it’s time to call in some favours.
“I am under no illusions that Sunday’s game is going to be very tough. Jewventus are a very good team. I just hope we can give a good account of ourselves. A draw would be fantastic!”
Scoring goals has been a major concern for Pinner this season and it wouldn’t surprise me if Emanuel tried to persuade Fogelman to join them, after the game!
Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – N. Burns
JC star man: Richard Fogelman
DC Prediction: Jewventus 4 Pinner JFC 2
NORTH WEST NEASDEN C vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C
Neasden will be looking to make it three games without defeat when they take on a Hendon they lost 5-3 against in November.
Doubles from Dani Rothenburg and Haki Elias plus one from the ever-reliable Benny Goldberg wrapped up a Reds win that left manager Avi Gelley a very happy man.
Neasden boss Louis Taylor did a Fergie and lashed out at the referee after the final whistle. Thankfully he’s calmed down a bit and is looking forward to Sunday’s rematch.
Taylor told JC Sport: “We’re really looking forward to getting back to playing on grass after last week’s mudfest!
“We were the victim of an appalling miscarriage of justice last time we played Hendon, with a challenge on our keeper that made Wayne Rooney’s look like a hug!
“We’re after revenge and need to make our games in hand count - starting with a win on Sunday. With Ed Bloom back in between the sticks, and the returning Adam Levene pushing for a starting place, the team looks strong.
Player-manager Louis Taylor is looking to continue his highest scoring season since playing for Oakhill Thirds in Manchester all those years ago!
Neasden start the game eight points behind the Hustlers, but they have four games in hand. Taylor is expected to name an attacking line-up as they look to close the gap.
It should be a classic!
JC team news: Neasden are still missing Jamie Isenwater (broken wrist) but he is getting closer to a return.
Hendon are hopeful Benjy Israel will be fit.
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – M. Cowan
JC star man: Louis Taylor (NWN)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden C 3 Hendon Utd SC C 2
ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs GLENTHORNE UNITED B
Having finished in seventh heaven against Bilbaum in October, champions-elect Glenthorne B are odds-on completing a league double here.
Star man Fabio Revieccio went home the hero in the first meeting after blasting home four of the best.
James Law (2) and Sam Rank finished the job.
Season 2010/11 is clearly the beginning of a new dawn for everyone connected to Glenthorne. Chairman Sid Shaw knows that they have had plenty of false dawns, but it’s plain for all to see that they are the real deal again.
Bragging rights at Faces is important to everyone this side of Essex. They have their work cut out to get back to the top, especially with Redbridge Jewish Care, Chigwell Athletic and Woodford Wanderers for company, and in higher divisions, but Shaw, Dan Lipman, David Blitz and Elliot Coulton know that it’s better that they take one step at a time, rather than one step forward and then two back.
With Revieccio, Josh Hambling and Steve Faye giving the team a rock-solid spine, wonder kid Josh Wynne continues to push Sam Sollosi for the tag of the new boy wonder in that neck of the woods. Wynne is the son of Daniel Wynne, the voice of Tottenham Hotspur, so young Josh still has some way to go to become the most famous name in his household!
Glenthorne have overcome pretty much every obstacle put in front of them this season. Coulton has an embarrassment of riches to work with but he’s doing a top job.
Four wins on the bounce have come at just the perfect time as their title rivals have started to choke. And five clean sheets have helped no end.
Bilbaum go into the game on the back of a 4-2 defeat against Inter. They have struggled against the top teams although last week’s performance was a big improvement on the first meeting with Inter, and that has given manager Josh Ejdelbaum food for thought.
Rob Rodney felt hard done by not to win JC Goal of the Week for his delightful 35 yard chip last Sunday and he’s promising to pull something special out of the bag again.
All three of Bilbaum’s wins have come at their Hampstead home this season and I don’t expect them to sit back and admire the Thornes.
Speaking after the game last week, Ejdelbaum told JC Sport: “Compared the mauling we suffered to Inter earlier this season, we gave a great performance - and really gave them a game.
“They are one of the strongest teams in the division, but our boys did well, battled hard, and we’ll hopefully get back to winning ways next week.”
I can’t see them getting in the way of Glenthorne as their title party gathers momentum, but as long as they huff and puff, they should keep it respectable.
Venue – Hampstead Heath, Ref – D. Jorden
JC star man: Steve Faye (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Athletic Bilbaum 2 Glenthorne Utd B 5
INTER BOREHAMWOOD vs BLIZZARD STORM
The top match in the bottom division sees second-placed Blizzard travel to an Inter team lying fifth in the table.
It was vital that Inter bounced back from the drubbing at Glenthorne, and they did just that with a 4-2 victory at Bilbaum. Jerome Colmans, Jeff Gotch, Jonny Meltzer and Scott Ackerman were the goal men for Oluseun Thomas’ men.
Although there is daylight between Blizzard and their nearest rivals, they have played more games than the teams in and around them.
Sunday is a derby for Linden is a match that he’s labelled ‘When Inter Borehamwood met Fonehouse Borehamwood’.
Looking ahead to the big clash, Linden told JC Sport: “My players don't need reminding how important this match is. Sunday is a six-pointer that could make or break our promotion bid.
“I’m expecting a very tough Inter Borehamwood side and we will need to match them all over the park.
“Last week I was very proud of my squad for putting in a superb 90 minute shift against Shirley Park. With the same attitude and discipline maybe we can get the three points this weekend.
“It’s going to be tough but we will have a crack at it. My squad should be at near full-strength with hopefully the inclusion of Alex Gold. Sean Ladier is fit and will return after missing the last two matches.
A draw would help neither side and although both are packed with potential matchwinners, I’m predicting a cagey affair and one that finishes deadlocked.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – M. Cohen
JC star man: Sean Ladier (Blizzard)
DC Prediction: Inter Borehamwood 1 Blizzard Storm 1