The quarter-finals of the Peter Morrison Trophy take centre stage this weekend with three tops matches scheduled as well as a full programme in the JC MSFL and JC Barry Goldstein Cup. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the big match action.
PETER MORRISON TROPHY SEMI-FINAL DRAW
Redbridge Jewish Care A or Faithfold A vs North West Neasden A or North London Raiders B
Leeds Maccabi or Manchester Maccabi 1st vs North London Raiders A or Southgate Harmen A
JC PHOTO GALLERIES:
JC CAC SEMI-FINALNEASDEN A vs REDBRIDGE A
JC CAC SEMI-FINALHENDON UTD SC A vs LOS BLANCOS
JC VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS:
JC CAC SEMI-FINALHENDON UTD SC A vs LOS BLANCOS
JC REFEREE OF THE WEEK
Laurence Thorne (Southgate Harmen A vs North London Raiders A)
JC GOAL OF THE WEEK
Joey Kolirin (L'Equipe)
JC SAVE OF THE WEEK
Dan Cohen (NL Raiders A)
JC MISS OF THE WEEK
Adam Posner (NL Raiders A)
MATCHDAY 25 REPORTS:
JC CAC SEMI-FINALSREDBRIDGE CLINCH FINAL BERTH
JC CAC SEMI-FINALSHENDON END LOS BLANCOS DREAM
JC BGCREAL LIFE vs HEATH BANTA
PETER MORRISON TROPHY SEMI-FINAL DRAW
Redbridge Jewish Care A or Faithfold A vs North West Neasden A or North London Raiders B
Leeds Maccabi or Manchester Maccabi 1st vs North London Raiders A or Southgate Harmen A
PETER MORRISON CUP QUARTER-FINAL DRAW
North West Neasden A vs North London Raiders B (13.3)
Redbridge Jewish Care A vs Faithfold A (13.3)
North London Raiders A vs Southgate Harmen A (13.3)
Leeds Maccabi vs Manchester Maccabi 1st (3.4)
JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP FINAL
Redbridge Jewish Care A vs Hendon United Sports A
Final - April 17 at Wingate & Finchley, 6.30pm KO
JC BARRY GOLDSTEIN CUP FINAL
Final - April 17 at Wingate & Finchley, 2.30pm KO
YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE:
PETER MORRISON TROPHY QUARTER-FINALS
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A vs FAITHFOLD A
Match of the day comes at fortress Fairlop where the teams lying first and third in the Premier Division go head-to-head in the last eight of the Jewish FA Cup.
Sam McCarthy’s men boast a 100 per cent record at home this season and they thumped Faithfold 5-1 there in November when a hat-trick from Daran Bern plus one apiece from Ben Sollosi and Sam McCarthy jnr eased them home.
It was much closer second time around when an 83rd minute strike from Ben Sollosi maintained RJC’s proud record of only having lost one game all season.
A ding-dong affair saw Daryl Phillips and Mike Pearson strike for Faithfold. Danny Hakimi scored RJC’s other goal. Faithfold blew a golden opportunity to win the game when Alex Levack had a penalty saved by Dan Lee.
After the game, Faithfold manager Zuriel Solomon told JC Sport: “We should have won but as we are well aware, if you don’t take your chances you get punished. I’m proud of how we’ve applied ourselves. I still think we have a chance for the title.”
Redbridge manager Sam McCarthy told JC Sport : “We didn’t get our defensive game together. We are grateful to our keeper who saved us with the second penalty and one brilliant save in particular.”
I expect Sunday’s meeting to be just as close. Redbridge go into the game on the crest of a wave having clinched their place in their first ever cup final against Neasden A last Sunday. McCarthy really flexed his muscles, putting out a top quality squad including David Soutar and Steve Summers, along with Bern and Adam Stolerman who started on the bench.
Looking ahead to the crunch clash, McCarthy told JC Sport: "After last week's victory, the team are on a high and although we will not let this go to our heads, we intend to tend to take the game to Faithfold right from the off and set a fast pace.
"The team, I feel, are only just now starting to realise their full potential. It sometimes takes time for players to settle into a type of play and get become a more effective unit, instead of a group of individuals.
"Last week's game gave me the comfort of knowing that things are now starting to click. Sunday's game will be highly competitive, of that I'm sure. But I remain confident that we can take the game in 90 minutes."
For Faithfold, it’s really last-chance saloon but manager Zuriel Solomon is quietly confident of booking a place in the semis against Neasden A or Raiders B.
Looking ahead to the crunch clash, Solomon told JC Sport: “I’m very confident for Sunday. We have a full squad just sweating on the fitness of Alex Kaye but should have Alex Levack and Dan Howard back in the squad.
“It will be a difficult day away to the league leaders and everyone’s favourites. But I have confidence in my boys if we work and play hard we will get the right result.”
Redbridge have really upped the ante this season. This is undoubtedly the strongest ever group of players the club has had and I can’t see them failing. The games keep coming thick and fast but you won’t hear anyone complaining if the finish the season with pots of gold.
Confirmed Redbridge squad: Dan Lee, Craig Sandford, Joel Berg, David Soutar, Ritchie Caplin, Mitch Lassman, Danny Hakimi, Ben Sollosi, Sam McCarthy, Lewis Walker, Adam Stolerman, Dean Nyman, Steve Summers, Daniel Sugerman, Alex Lishak, Steve Gevertz, James Rubin, Russell Leiter, Sam Van Gelder, Adam Hakimi
The teams last time:
Faithfold: Law; Levack, Frenner, Howard; Savitz, Kaye, J Taylor, Dymant, Mandes; Pearson, Phillips
RJC: Lee; Sandford, A Hakimi, Frankel, Leiter; McCarthy, Sollosi, D Hakimi, Lassman; Bern, Summers
Venue – Fairlop
JC star man: David Soutar (Redbridge)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC A 3 Faithfold A 1
NORTH WEST NEASDEN A vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B
Cup holders Neasden go into Sunday’s meeting with Division One leaders North London Raiders B knowing that their season will end if L’Orange pull off a shock.
Jamie Cole’s men are strong favourites to go through as they look to bounce back from last week’s Anekstein semi-final defeat against Redbridge A.
Neasden felt that they did not get the rub of the green against the east Londoners but with Cole back from Vegas and his brother, Danny, back in the loop they will go into the game all guns blazing. It’s not often they lose back-to-back games in Jewish football, so the message is clear. Raiders be warned.
For the Raiders, it’s fair to say that this is arguably their biggest ever game in Jewish football. I know they have won titles but that is over the course of a season, so in terms of the most important 90 minutes for Rob Richman and co, Sunday will be the real deal.
Winning has become a habit for L’Orange who reached the last eight after a nail-biting penalty shootout win over Oakwood in the last round. They are on fire in the league although Richman knows they will have to step up a level if they are to live with a top-class Neasden team.
Richman told JC Sport: “We are really looking forward to Sunday's game against the current holders of the Peter Morrison Trophy, Neasden A. Over the last few years Neasden have been the best team in Jewish football and we are excited to have the opportunity to test ourselves against them.
“Our league form has been good over the last few months and we will try and take that into Sunday's cup game.
“Neasden are big favourites but we will try to give them a good test in what I hope will be a great game of football."
I can see Raiders giving a good account of themselves but in the end, Neasden’s superior quality will prove decisive.
JC team news: For Neasden, Sammy Ross and George Fierstone returns. Ben Ellis is rated 50-50. Having missed his flight last week, Danny Cole is definitely in. Adam Klein joins the squad.
For Raiders, David Esterkin is away and Alex Bloch is cup-tied but they hope to welcome Lewis Blitz back into the squad after two weeks out.
Neasden squad: Max Shields, Sammy Ross, Jonny Ellis, Kyle Bentwood, Adam Klein, Dan Cole, George Fierstone, Matt Sofier, Lee Cash, Shai Revivo, Rob Lerner, James Abrams, Ben Ellis, James Gershfield
Venue – The Hive, Ref – D. Cohen
JC star man: Danny Cole (Neasden)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden A 3 NL Raiders A 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN A
With a trip to Leeds or Manchester up for grabs, I’m looking forward to an action-packed affair between two sides who met only last Sunday.
It was the Raiders who came away with a slight psychological edge after second-half strikes from Joe Tankel and Igal Yahya sealed a hard fought victory.
I expect the second meeting to be just as tight, even though the Raiders have home advantage this time.
Harmen were missing five key men last week including midfielder Ben Murrell. It’s clear that both teams came away with food for thought.
In the absence of manager Dan Uzan, Harmen captain Jon Morris took charge as player-manager. After the game, he told JC Sport: With five of our first team players out injured, we were down to the bare bones with regards to our squad. With so many injuries we were restricted to the style of football we could play.
"We focused on putting 10 men behind the ball and defending as a team. We knew with the shooting ability of Ben Graham and Jon Hirshler we could create chances.
"In the first half we looked solid and kept Raiders chances down to the bare minimum. Had it have not been for a superb save from Raiders keeper, who flicked Ben Graham's 25-yard shot onto the crossbar, we would have gone in at half time 1-0 up.
“Second half Raiders put the pressure on us and they scored from a corner. Our heads dropped slightly after that and we lost our focus.
"Zig pulled off some great saves but the second goal was inevitable ... We pushed our defence on to encourage the midfield to pressurise their defence but were unable to find a goal to spark a comeback."
"On the day it was a fair result but we have gained encouragement for our next meeting and feel Raiders are there for the taking."
This was the view from the Raiders camp. Adam Fegan said: “I was delighted with the result and the performance, particularly from a number of individuals.”
Danny Caro added: “The players deserve great credit for the way they went about their work - their attitude and their commitment. We made hard work of it but remained patient and got there in the end."
The midfield battle will be all important again on Sunday and it could all boil down to which teams takes their chances.
Venue – Brunel Uni, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man: Igal Yahya (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders A 2 Southgate Harmen A 1
More to follow ....
JC BARRY GOLDSTEIN CUP
GROUP A STANDINGS
1. Real Life Pl. 1, W. 1, D. 0, L. 0, F. 4, A. 3, Pts. 3
2. Faithfold C Pl. 1, W. 0, D. 1, L. 0, F. 2, A. 2, Pts. 1
3. North London Raiders C Pl. 1, W. 0, D. 1, L. 0, F. 2, A. 2, Pts. 1
4. Heath Banta Pl. 1, W. 0, D. 0, L. 1, F. 3, A. 4, Pts. 0
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C vs HEATH BANTA
Heath Banta’s cup hopes are hanging by a thread following last week’s shock defeat against Real Life.
Only a victory on Sunday would keep their destiny in their own hands when they make the trip to Hatfield.
L’Orange have yet to record a win in the competition although the draw against Division Three high-flyers Faithfold C proves they can mix it with the best the Barry Goldstein Cup has to offer.
Jack Franks was their star man last Sunday. He certainly left an impression on Faithfold manager David Garson.
Raiders boss Oli Shorts is relishing the prospect of taking on another of the third division’s leading lights. Ahead of the meeting with Heath Banta, he told JC Sport: “A positive result last weekend against Faithfold is a nice platform to build on for this weekend’s tough fixture.
“I don’t know what to make of Heath’s result last weekend against Real Life. A bad day at the office or maybe Heath are concentrating more on the league than the cup. I hope it's the latter but if not then I’m sure we’ll get some sort of Heath Banta backlash and it’ll be our job to stop them.
“I always thought it would be tough to get out of the group stages but it we manage to get something from the game then it's a real possibility.
“We have some terrific players in the team and last week we showed that we can mix it with some of the best teams.
“There is a huge buzz around the Raiders camp at the moment and the players are desperate to get to Wingate & Finchley.”
The battle between young Franks and Heath hotshot Stefan Simons could prove decisive in this one. It will all boil down to which front man gets the service.
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – R. Caplin
JC star man: Alex Kanter (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders C 3 Heath Banta 2
REAL LIFE vs FAITHFOLD C
Real Life are just 90 minutes away from claiming a place in the semi-finals following last week’s heroic display against Heath Banta.
Goals from Charlie Bernstein, Andy Wisnia and Paul Franklin set up a result that many deemed impossible. But they could not have done it without a stunning display at the back from former boss David Tropp.
Now the Real boys are keen to show that result was not a flash in the pan. They are within touching distance of a fairytale story although the chances are that they will have to play even better on Sunday.
Faithfold are the second-top ranked team in the competition. They have some household names in Jonny Blain and Ben Simons and look well-equipped to reach the final.
However, it’s clear Real have other ideas. As Eddie Lewin explains: “We’re on the up. Our first win in months has boosted team confidence and morale hugely.
“We’re already looking healthy on numbers for Sunday which has hindered us all season.
“The team is very focused on getting a good result. Having Jamie Beaumont make a sub appearance last week is a big boost.”
The famous Edgwarebury slope could prove something of a leveller and it could all boil down to which team wants it most.
JC team news: For Faithfold, Matty Kleinman has returned to the B team.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – S. Ansher
JC star man: Paul Franklin (Real Life)
DC Prediction: Real Life 3 Faithfold C 3
GROUP B STANDINGS
1. Temple Fortune B Pl. 1, W. 1, D. 0, L. 0, F. 4, A. 2, Pts. 3
2. UJIA Pl. 1, W. 0, D. 1, L. 1, F. 1, A. 1, Pts. 1
3. Zig Zag Pl. 1, W. 0, D. 1, L. 1, F. 1, A. 1, Pts. 1
4. Catford & Bromley Maccabi Pl. 1, W. 0, D. 0, L. 1, F. 2, A. 4, Pts. 0
ZIG ZAG vs TEMPLE FORTUNE B
Group B also has surprise leaders with Temple Fortune B leading the way following the stunning win over the Cats.
Terry Jeffries and Dean Ingram bagged brace in a sensational 4-2 win. It’s hard to believe that the competition outsiders are now just 90 minutes away from the semis.
Speaking after the Catford win, Fortune joint-manager Rob Jay said: "It was a good performance and well deserved victory. Dean Ingram stood out with two goals and two assists.
“We have competed well in the last few weeks and this result was coming. I hope we can use this to push on for the run-in of the season.”
DJ Neal Cohen has been dreaming of a Wingate final for many years. But unless his troops play out of their skins, he will have to keep on dreaming.
Cohen hopes that Danny Jacobs will wipe away the cobwebs and blow Fortune away, but I expect the visitors to make themselves hard to break down.
Fortune have had little to cheer about this season but now that they have the bit between their teeth, not even a DJ Neal master-plan will stop them on Sunday.
Venue – Montrose Park, Ref – N. Bloom
JC star man: Terry Jeffries (Fortune)
DC Prediction: Zig Zag 2 Temple Fortune B 3
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
NORTH WEST NEASDEN B vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS A
It’s hard to believe that we’re in early March and I’m writing about Lions’ final game of the season.
It would be an understatement to say that the season has been a major disappointment for everyone involved. A couple of weeks ago, manager Eilon Kennet told me about his frustrations of the failure to replace defender Louis Basger and Mike Pearson.
The emergence of players such as Jordan Marks has given them room for optimism but the bottom line is that they just have not been consistent enough.
Last season, the boys from Rowley Lane lost just two matches, and they took the title race down to the wire before going down in the final match of the season against Neasden A. The season before they lost five.
This season they have lost seven matches and are out of both cups. It would be fair to say that these are testing times for the Sunday section of the club, especially after the demise of the B team.
In a recent article, stalwart defender told JC Sport that the “younger members of the club’s adult section are losing interest, with, at times, just three players turning up to training". This has made life tough for Kennet and some of his more established players.
It has also been a tough first season back in the top-flight for Neasden B. Eight defeats in 10 does not make good reading, but they have pushed most rivals close pretty much week in, week out.
Injury to striker Ryan Sher has left them struggling on the goal front. They have scored just 10 goals in 10 games.
However, they are looking forward to picking up results between now and the end of the season.
Joint-manager Ryan Glynne told JC Sport: “We have everyone back and fit with a full squad for Sunday apart from Jason Bookbinder and Ryan Glynne.
“We’re looking forward to an entertaining game and will try to give a good account of ourselves.
“It’s been tough for us this season. We have lost too many games by the odd goal and it shows we are not far from competing in this league.
“We will continue to fight for every point and maybe affect where the title will go.”
Neasden go into the game on the back of a 3-1 defeat against Faithfold in the Morrison. Danny Daggers put them ahead but they were pegged back by the hungrier team.
Although the Lions trashed Neasden’s A team at the Hive, I can’t see them doing the same here.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – G. Silver
JC star man: Alex Bowman (Neasden)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden B 2 LM Lions B 2
BRADY MACCABI vs CHIGWELL ATHLETIC
Bray lost ground in their pursuit of the leaders last Sunday but promotion lies firmly in their hands.
It needed a special display from keeper Oli Colmans to earn them a point at Oakwood, a game where Josh Gordon marked his second debut for the club with a goal in a 1-1 draw.
Colmans’ performance impressive the JC panel of judges so much that he made Team of the Week. Every successful team needs a top-notch keeper and I expect Colmans to get over the disappointment of Arsenal’s Champions League defeat and help Brady get back to winning ways.
Consistency has been the name of the game for the Edgware boys whose one and only defeat in the league came against Harmen B in September. With games against Harmen, FC Team and North London Raiders A coming up later this month, it’s vital they take maximum points here.
Josh Rosenfeld, the Brady manager, told JC Sport: “We need to give a much better performance than we did last week, otherwise we will lose ground in the challenge of promotion.
“We’re still unbeaten in around eight league games now and were still full of confidence. We don’t know much about Chigwell as we are yet to play them this term, but what we know about Essex teams are they are full of passion and they are always physical. They are right behind us in the table so we need three points to pull away.
“Three points are a must this week, not only that but a much, much better display from last week.”
Promotion is well and truly out of Chigwell hands now. Consecutive defeats against Harmen, Raiders and Redbridge have left them with a real uphill battle.
However, they still have nine points left to play for and I expect Richard Slater and his troops to battle in their three remaining games.
The Chigs have failed to score in over 180 minutes and it’s clear that Slater is looking for a major improvement.
Slater told JC Sport: “I’m looking for a big performance from the boys. Seven defeats is unacceptable for a squad with this ability.
“The league and promotion are now long gone for this season after losing our last three,
but we’re focused on getting back to winning ways on Sunday.”
JC team news: Brady will be without Nick Stern, Ben Gershuny, James Steele and Andy Smith this week which leaves them short in some areas, but Rosenfeld is confident that he has “the squad and players to come in and do the job that’s needed.
For Chigwell, Sam Rosenthal, Richard Slater, Adam Goodman and Russell Becker all miss out for various reasons.
Chigwell: Rob Shepherdson, Simon Felstein, Dean Michaels, Adam Shafron, Glenn Davis, Jon Swead, Daniel Castle, Michael Witzenfeld, Craig Pearl, Adam Conway, Marc Radzan, Russell Yershon, Doron Weinstein, Glenn Michaels, Paul Lenchner
Venue – Little Bushey Lane, Ref – W. Blake
JC star man: Josh Hershman (Brady)
DC Prediction: Brady Maccabi 2 Chigwell Athletic 1
LONDON MACCABI LIONS vs MONTANA BOCA UNITED A
Relegation-threatened Lions C should expect no favours from a Montana side who have enjoyed an upturn in form.
Jamie Kyte’s men have brought in the old game in recent games with players such as Danny Reuben and Scott Levy contributing vital goals in their bid to avoid the drop.
The Lions still have nine points to play for as they look to climb out of the danger zone, with Redbridge B, Camden Park and Southgate Harmen B also fighting for survival.
And with Lions’ A team finishing their season on Sunday, there’s a chance that we could see a familiar face or two in the club’s C team between now and the end of the season.
Reuben and Ricky Rinder were the saviours in Lions’ last outing, when they came from two goals down to grind out a point. Lions’ last win came on November 21 and with their run-in featuring rematches against Oakwood and Montana, they really have their work cut out.
That said, it’s clear that they have the resources to put out teams capable of taking maximum points from their remaining fixtures. Reuben has shown time and again that he can score some quite exquisite strikes while Levy, Jon Green and Shai Davidi also know where the goals is.
I was impressed with Montana’s fight-back against FC Team A last Sunday which ended any lingering relegation fears. This came on the back of the award of three points for an earlier match forfeited by Redbridge B.
Brothers Gary and Darren Cohen found the net in the final third of the match against Team last weekend. Although Team manager Mitch Young believes an injustice was done, Montana's saw it differently. Very differently indeed.
Goodmaker told JC Sport: "We were full value for at least a point, with a makeshift XI we were unlucky not to win despite being 2-0 down with 15 minutes to go.
"We missed a number of gilt-edged chances and I can’t really think of any saves they forced our keeper into.
"I’m not sure what game Mitch was watching but for me, as I said, the draw was the least we deserved."
The emergence of Richard Adams, a player I know well from my Faithfold days, has given the team another dimension. He was the team’s standout performer last Sunday.
Montana chairman Raymond Harrod and joint-caretaker-manager Adam Osper have done well to keep motivation levels high in the camp during what has been a tough season for one reason or another. They have suffered injuries to key players while others have been occupied with off-the-field duties since becoming fathers, but the team has soldiered on in spite of a run of bad results.
This is clearly is not the type of team you want to be playing when you season rests on it.
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Richard Adams (Montana)
DC Prediction: LM Lions C 2 Montana Boca Utd A 2
SOUTHGATE HARMEN B vs FC TEAM A
There was good news and bad news for FC Team last Sunday. The good news is that striker Andy Sheena was back among the goals. The bad news was that they failed to hold on to a two-goal lead and failed to capitalise on the draw between Brady and Oakwood.
Team have registered only one win in their last five games. Their inconsistencies date back to December 5 when they were beaten by Brady. The bottom line is that nothing less than maximum points will do on Sunday, and that could be easier said than done against a Harmen team still in need of points to avoid getting dragged deeper into the relegation dogfight.
Like Chelsea, Mitch Young’s men looked the bees knees at the start of the season. Five consecutive wins put them in pole position and although they top the division’s goal charts and have kept four shut-outs, they can ill-afford any more slip-ups.
Young came away from the game last week hugely frustrated. He told JC Sport: “We played very well and were 2-0 up with 15 minutes to go. Somehow Montana got back in the game with a corner and an unbelievable free kick.
"There was no question we were the better side but we must be stronger when we take leads."
Revenge will be the name of the game for a Harmen team who were beaten in a seven-goal thriller against Team in January. Danny Moss (2), Jonny Breger and Richard Salmon were the marksmen for Team with Lloyd Becker (2) and Dan Beckwith registering for the boys from Southgate.
Another high-scoring encounter is on the cards with Harmen in confident mood following last week’s stunning win at Chigwell. Paul Stein was their matchwinner in a victory that manager Mark Engel dedicated to the injured Dan Henig.
After the game, Engel told JC Sport: “Harmen manager Mark Engel told JC Sport: "I'm delighted with the performance, commitment and the result. It was a well-deserved three points. It could have been a wider margin. We will work on our ruthlessness to ensure it isn't so close next week.”
So it’s clear that Sunday is a massive day for both sides, for very different reasons. With games against Raiders, Brady and Chigwell coming up, this looks like Team’s easiest game on paper at least. So I’m expecting great things from the likes of Ollie Segal, Matt Drage and Danny Moss amongst others.
Like Team, Harmen play for one another. They have no real superstars, even if Lloyd Becker has been around the block, but the quality of Becker and Beckwith could make this closer than many expect.
Venue – Ashmole School, Ref – L. Benson
JC star man: Michael Rhodes (Harmen)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen B 1 FC Team A 1
TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs FAITHOLD B
The collapse of FC Marylebone has reopened the race for the top two places in Division Two but leaders Temple Fortune A remain the bookies’ favourites to finish first.
They face Faithfold twice in three weeks with a trip to Woodford sandwiched in between, and having had a nice, long break to recover from the defeat against Brixton I expect them to kick on.
Prior to the Brixton defeat, Andrew Souber’s men had won their last five in the league but the challenge of Faithfold is one that they will be foolish to under-estimate and I’m sure that won’t be the case.
When I asked him earlier in the week, Souber was unsure of the make-up of his squad but I expect Scott Shindler to be in the line-up. The signing of the double winner turned many heads last summer and the defender-cum-midfielder has been one of the standout players in the division, as you’d expect.
Striker Rob Benson has also maintained his high standards and these are just two of the players that Souber needs to perform to the best of their ability if they are to see off what is an equally talented Faithfold team.
There have been mazals in the Faithfold camp in the build-up to Sunday’s clash after manager Rob Shooman became a grandfather for the first time. Poppa Bob, as he will know be known, is relishing the prospect of rubbing shoulders with the leaders as he looks to claim the JC Manager of the Week award for the second time this season.
The Hoops were not so super last Sunday as they were swept aside 5-0 by Norstar A.
Ben Lewis, Faithfold’s assistant-manager, told JC Sport: “We struggled for numbers last week but didn’t turn up. Hopefully we’ll have a few key players back this week which is important so we’re nearly full-strength and raring to go.
“We’re looking to benefit from the experience of Matty Klienman, who we missed last week, but keeper Harry Tyndall is probably still a week away from being fit. Seth Green and Joe Levy return although we may well be missing Dan Hildebrand after aggravating a neck injury during last week’s game.”
There used to be a saying ‘Fortune never do things the easy way’. They won’t have things all their own way, and it certainly won’t be easy, but with their fans right behind them on their home patch, I expect them to do just enough on the day.
Venue – Hatch End Playing Fields, Ref – M. Lavender
JC star man: Jack Morris (Fortune)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune A 3 Faithfold B 2
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C vs GLENTHORNE UNITED A
There’s a mouth-watering derby in store at Fairlop where leaders Glenthorne take on nearest rivals Redbridge C.
Going into the game, the Thornes sit two points clear although RJC have a game in hand. Something must give.
The Thornes go into the game on the back of a shock 5-2 defeat against UJIA. Player-manager Dan Lipman expressed “disappointment” after the game but went on to say that “now all eyes are on Redbridge next week. I still feel the winner on Sunday will go on to win the league”.
Glenthorne recent form has been far from impressive. They have ground out some wins but they have failed to blow opponents off the pitch as they did earlier in the season.
They won the first derby of the season 3-1 with goals from Ashley Stanton, Simon Bitton and Paul Billar but I expect them to face a different Redbridge team altogether on Sunday.
Richard Bronzite’s men warmed up for the clash with a routine 4-0 win over Team JLGB. Anthony Mendel scored his first hat-trick since returning from Cyprus while the ever-reliable Dan Gordon hit the target once more.
Bronzite admitted that his troops were second best that day but with home advantage, they will be looking to go for the jugular from the very first whistle.
He told JC Sport: “It’s a massive game for us. It’s not a title decider but whoever wins this game has one hand on the trophy.
“We know they are a good side. They beat us convincingly at their ground earlier in the season and we need to be at our best. We have not been playing that well in recent games but last week’s win and clean sheet should give us a little boost and hopefully it will all click into place.
I’m predicting a high-octane affair with not too much football being played, as on Sunday it’s only the result that matters.
JC team news: RJC are missing some big players this week. Elliot Castle is suspended while Hadley Silver is away. Bronzite awaits news from Jamie Chapman, Sam Sollosi and Daniel Howard.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Dan Gordon (Redbridge)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC C 2 Glenthorne Utd A 1
NORSTAR B vs TEAM JLGB
A run of five games without defeat have catapulted up the division. They go into Sunday’s meeting with JLGB as strong favourites although it’s clear that manager Jonny Bunt is taking nothing for granted.
Last weekend they beat Zig Zag 4-1 with goals from Danny Polak (2), Jonathan Kaye and Maurice Franks.
The Stars will arrive confident of completing a league double over a team they thrashed 5-1 in mid-October when Adam Seres, Josh Gaon, Rafi Addlestone, Josh Green and Kaye were the marksmen.
The team’s next scheduled match is against Faithfold on April 3 so Bunt will be keen to pick up maximum points here.
Bunt told JC Sport: “After a good and confident win last week that resulted in an unnecessary couple of days of firefighting with the media, we are looking forward to getting back to business this weekend.
“JLGB was the game earlier in the season were I had my finest managerial moment, when 1-0 down at half time, I predicted a 5-1 win and we duly delivered with all five goals in the last 20 minutes.
“On that occasion patience was the name of the game and I expect JLGB once again to be well set up to contain us at Chase Lodge. We will need to show them we respect we have shown all our opponents this season and really concentrate for the whole game.
“That match was Josh Green's B-team debut and he is back this week in a squad that is a little unbalanced. I'm missing a couple a defenders but have all my forward players available so you can expect a bench full of goals ... I just hope no defenders get injured!”
The recent win over Real Life seems like a long time ago now for JLGB. Back-to-back defeats against the East London giants have been hard to take and like then, damage limitation could be the name of the game.
But JLGB manager Rob Silverman is determined to give it his best shot on Sunday. Good luck to him I say. “We go into this game under no illusions that it is going to be another tough game. However, we hope we will be more of a match for Norstar this time around after JLGB have put in two good performances against Redbridge and Glenthorne (despite results), and with a bit of luck, a shock could be on the cards.”
JLGB have not score in more than 180 minutes and if they concede early, I fear that the floodgates could open.
JC team news: For JLGB, Neil Lux and Paul Black are looking to make the squad after battling against injuries. Oli Shoffren, Ian Levy and Stephen Howard could also make long-awaited returns. Barry Green, Lee Stone and Matt West will be big misses however.
Venue – Chase Lodge, Ref – N. Burns
JC star man: Danny Polak (Norstar)
DC Prediction: Norstar B 4 Team JLGB 1
ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C
I’m expecting a high-scoring contest in Hampstead on Sunday when two teams with little more than pride to play for get ready to rumble.
It should certainly be one for the purists in a match featuring two teams who are best going forward.
Both teams have lost their last couple of games but all that will be forgotten once that first whistle blows.
Bilbaum boss Josh Ejdelbuam told JC Sport: “We edged a close game a few weeks ago. And that has given us the belief that we can do the same again.
“Hendon won’t make it easy. Hopefully we can get the same result again.”
The Hustlers have lost three out of their last four away games and that’s why I’m tipping Bilbaum to nick it.
JC team news: Nick ‘Sleeps in his Bilbaum kit’ Schinder is back from Oxford for the weekend. Despite some of the squad hoping he would stay away, keeper Nick Herman is back from his pilgrimage to Austria, and will be looking to showcase his newly-acquired dancing moves by celebrating a few Bilbaum goals.
Venue – Hampstead Heath Extension, Ref – R. Cahill
JC star man: Nick Herman (Bilbaum)
DC Prediction: Athletic Bilbaum 4 Hendon Utd SC C 3
GLENTHORNE UNITED B vs BLIZZARD STORM
Game of the day in Division Four sees table-topping Glenthorne B welcome nearest rivals Blizzard Storm.
Revenge will be the name of the game for Elliot Coulton’s men who were turned over 5-1 by the Storm back in December. Three goals from Alex Rubin plus two from Joel Kutner earned the Storm the result of their season. But they can expect a much closer game second time around.
The Thornes looked in formidable shape last week, when they put Bilbaum to the sword with a 5-1 victory. The win came courtesy of goals from Fabio Revieccio (2), Dan Lassman, Josh Wynne and James Law
Not content with a multi-talented squad that is bristling at the seams, Thornes manager Elliot Coulton added even more quality with the acquisition of brothers Adam Bernstein and Jamie Bernstein.
Coulton told JC Sport: “These two great signings show our intent of bringing great things to this club.” And in terms of Sunday, Coulton added: “We are looking for revenge.”
Those words would strike fear into most managers but not Simon Linden, the Blizzard Storm boss. He told JC Sport: “We are looking forward to the big game. They are the form team and I don’t think they have lost since we beat them 5-1.
“The key appears to be Reveccio. Stop him and we have a great chance. My squad can beat anyone on our day, Sunday needs to be that day!”
Since that grey day against Blizzard, the Thornes have beaten Shirley Park, Inter Borehamwood and North London Raiders C, amongst others. I can’t see the Storm getting in their way second time around.
Latest: There are storm clouds gathering over Essex this week as Glenthorne United's management teams continue to argue over their clubs priorities. The A-team management and club chairman Sid Shaw are convinced the A's title bid should be priority number one, potentially damaging the B's title hopes. B-team manager Elliott Coulton is standing his ground and has even made the astute signing of the Bernstein brothers ahead of this weeks crunch game. Even signing new players seems to irritate the higher powers at the club. Could it be that the stress of the job is getting all too much for the A-team co-management duo. It was a similar story last season, a good start, followed by a poor finish to the season costing Glenthorne the title. Coulton refuses to let the selfish demands of the club stand in the way of him lifting the Division 4 title. And he has shown his commitment to the whole club by lending the A's ex-Leyton Orient tea boy, Daniel 'Beast' Lassman for their crunch title clash against RJC.
There followed reports that manager Elliot Coulton and James Law threatened to walk out after the team lost it's top three to their A-team which have weakened them for the clash against Pinner.
JC team news: For Glenthorne, Richard ‘Xavi’ Rosenathal is out (suspended) for five weeks, while Josh ‘Rocky Horror’ Hambling is carry a knock but is expected to make the bench.
Venue – The Old Chigwellians, Ref – R. Benardout
JC star man: Adam Bernstein (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd B 2 Blizzard Storm 1
INTER BOREHAMWOOD vs JEWVENTUS
There’s a tasty game in store in Edgware where ambitious Inter welcome a Jewventus team, schnitzels and all.
Richard Fogelman was in delicious form in last weekend’s 7-2 win over Pinner, and even player-manager Gabriel John chipped in with a hat-trick from midfield. You can get 10-1 on another Fogey treble with Corals going 100-1 on John bagging three against the boys in blue and black.
Inter have slipped down to fifth but with games in hand on the teams around them, manager Oluseun Thomas expects them to step up, starting on Sunday.
Thomas told JC Sport: “We are looking forward to getting a game played as we’ve had such a disjointed season. We are all keen to get through our season and get back to our winning ways.
“We won’t be under-estimating the opposition but with the return of Scott Ackerman and new addition Jamie Taylor, we are very confident we will get the job done.”
At this time of year, with uneven surfaces up and down the land, it’s now all about getting the job done for teams vying for promotion.
Inter have quality from back to front and the return of Ackerman will give them an added dimension.
But John is confident that his troops will give as good as they get. He told JC Sport: “We know we are going into a really tough game against good opposition. That said, we gave a great account of ourselves pre-season against Inter and hope to replicate that result.
“I have an entire squad to choose from and will be using it as best as I can.”
“We think we can get a result.”
I wouldn’t expect anything less than fighting talk from the Jewve chief, but talking the talk and walking the walk are two very different things.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – D. Jorden
JC star man: Scott Ackerman (Borehamwood)
DC Prediction: Inter Borehamwood 3 Jewventus 1
LOS BLANCOS vs PINNER JFC
By all accounts, Pinner were desperately unlucky to get thumped 7-2 by Jewventus last week. They bossed proceedings for 65 minutes but eventually ran out of steam as they came up against a striker, and midfielder, in top form.
But manager Vivian Emanuel and chairman Les Conway were proud of the effort. Emanuel told JC Sport; “Firstly lets get last Sunday out the way. It was a frustrating game we should never have lost based on our performance. The first 70 minutes were the best performance a Pinner side has put in.
“We showed Jewventus and the league we are a team to be reckoned with but the last 20 minutes were down to fitness and concentration. At 2-1 we were really chuffed but it shows we are a good team.
“Asher Levin’s goal was something special. A long throw from your truly into the box and he chested it and popped it over his head into the back of the net. Yaacov’s goal was simple defensive error to allow him to be free in the box.”
Having been thumped 10-2 by LB earlier in the season, Emanuel is promising a better and more wholehearted performance. “10-2 was a deserved result last time around. We were lacklustre and showed no effort to play football. This Sunday however will be different.
“We have strong squad out and will battle for everything. I have plans for Sunday to make sure we battle for every ball and give the league its greatest shock of the season.
“We wont just fizzle out and try out hardest to get points. This week’s match against LB and next weeks against Glenthorne will be hard and I hope we will come out with four points and be in stronger position.”
As for his further plans, Emanuel went on to say: “With seven days left in the transfer window I am looking for some strong players to bolster the squad to go into our last seven games.
“As I have always said, ‘Pinner, don’t knock it until you try it". Come give us a go. We are determined and fun bunch of lads. Every game will be a battle and we have good team spirit.”
Los Blancos came away from their JC Cyril Anekstein Cup semi-final against Hendon with heads held high. Had it not been for a nightmare start, manager Joel Minsky is wondering just how close they could have pushed Hendon. But it was not to be.
As ever, Dany Kon proved he can cut it on the big stage. Many players have frozen in front of the JC cameras, but not King Kon who tried to take the game to Hendon and scored the LB goal.
Keeper Josh Cohen also came away with a rave review but I expect him to be no more than a spectator here.
Now manager Joel Minsky expects his troops to register league win number 11. The title remains a possibility although second place looks more realistic.
With Neasden, Bilbaum and Jewventus on the horizon, there’s no reason why LB cannot take maximum points from their next four games. Now that would certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons.
Venue – South Oxhey, Ref –
JC star man: Daniel Horowitz (Los Blancos)
DC Prediction: Los Blancos 4 Pinner JFC 1
SHIRLEY PARK vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN C
The runners-up spot remains the goal for Shirley Park but they could have their work cut out against Neasden on Sunday.
The Park boys enjoyed a rare weekend off last time around and managers Dan Oade and Dave Lusman believed they are well-placed to finish the season strongly.
With key players fighting fit, they are confident of coming away with three points against a defence featuring two players with Premier Division experience.
Lusman told JC Sport; “Park go into this one on the back of some close calls over the weeks that could have resulted in us climbing up division four in the race for promotion.
“Neasden are in good form of late and I’m sure there going to prove difficult to break down.
“Jason Lindsay and Gideon Gold are expected to lead the front line, while Nicky Plotnek has threatened to hang up his boots if he doesn’t score. The responsibility lies with Oade who is going to have to steer us to victory without his counterpart - the one they call the Jewish Pele.
“It’s all to play for Xbox (Howard Yuchetel) is pushing for a starting place in-between the sticks and has his eyes on the prize; a clean sheet to add to his collection.
“It’s Park or nothing ... three points in the bag, a must-win.”
I don’t think it will be as plain-sailing as Lusman. In Adam Levene and Ed Bloom, Neasden boast two top-notch players, while player-manager Louis Taylor is having one of his best seasons in front of goal.
Taylor takes his squad to Gladstone Park in buoyant mood. He told JC Sport: “We have perhaps one of our strongest squads this week. Laurence Spear comes back in to challenge misfiring striker Louis Taylor for a place up front, alongside match winner Elliot Setyon. Adam Levene is fit again and Michael Perkin comes in on a free transfer from FC team to replace Ed Bloom who is away.
“I'm thinking of changing up the formation to use the strengths of the players we have available, but rumours of a Christmas Tree (or Chanukah bush!) formation are wide of the mark.
Last week it was Elliot Setyon who helped steer them past Hendon C. That’s two wins and two clean sheets now so if home fans are expecting an easy ride they can think again.
JC team news: For Shirley, Sacha Benfredj, Dave Lusman, Adam Redhouse, Simon Shelley and Aron Jackson are out. its
Venue – Gladstone Park, Ref – L. Eppel
JC star man: Mike Perkin (Neasden)
DC Prediction: Shirley Park 1 NW Neasden C 1