It’s clash of the titans at the Hive on Sunday when Faithfold and Neasden go head-to-head in a re-run of last year's cup final. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the action in league and cup.
London Maccabi Lions A have unveiled the father-and-son team of Malcolm and Josh Newman as their new management team for season 2010-11.
The move follows the departure of Eilon Kennet who recently stepped down.
JC VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS:
DANNY CARO'S TEAM OF THE WEEK
JC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Steven Field (Brady Maccabi)
JC MANAGER OF THE WEEK
Mitch Young (FC Team A)
JC GOAL OF THE WEEK
Lee Platt (Brady Maccabi) - with the score 2-2, Platt curled home a delicious 25-yard free-kick from 25 yards into the top corner to give Brady the all-important win
JC SAVE OF THE WEEK
David Grossman (FC Team A) – brilliant last-minute penalty save to deny David Dinkin and the Raiders
Warwick Blake (L'Equipe vs Norstar A)
JC MATCH REPORTS
DIV 2:L'EQUIPE 0 NORSTAR A 3
PETER MORRISON TROPHY FINAL
May 15 - venue TBC
JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP FINAL
Hendon United Sports Club A vs Redbridge Jewish Care A
April 17 - Wingate & Finchley FC - 6.30pm KO
JC BARRY GOLDSTEIN CUP FINAL
April 17 - Wingate & Finchley FC - 2.30pm KO
PETER MORRISON TROPHY SEMI-FINALS LINE-UP
Faithfold A vs NW Neasden A
Leeds Maccabi 1st or Manchester Maccabi 1st vs North London Raiders A
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PETER MORRISON TROPHY SEMI-FINAL
FAITHFOLD A vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN A
The Superhoops stand in the way of Neasden and an appearance in a fourth consecutive Peter Morrison Trophy final.
It’s been a tough season for Jamie Cole’s men but the manager is confident the team will clinch its place in the May 15 showpiece.
A 3-1 victory in the quarter-finals against North London Raiders B have put them just 90 minutes away from another big outing.
Speaking after the 4-0 defeat at Redbridge last Sunday, Cole paid tribute to the players who have helped put the team where it is today.
He told JC Sport: “My lads have been a different class over the last threeyears but we have really struggled this season with availability for reasons which I have previously stated.
“However, we will be working hard over the summer to bring in some new recruits and get our trophy back next season.”
Against Raiders, Neasden needed all their experience to see off a talented team. Strikes from Danny Cole, Rob Lerner and Matt Sofier saw them home. But Cole knows that they will have to hit the ground running against a quality Faithfold unit.
Faithfold are on course for a top three finish in the league. And they go into Sunday’s meeting with a slight psychological edge having beaten Neasden 2-0 in the league in September with strikes from Dan Perkins and Paul Babai.
But Faithfold manager Zuriel Solomon is taking nothing for granted, especially with star man Mike Pearson, but having overcome Premier Division leaders Redbridge Jewish Care A in the last round, he believe that his men will have what it takes on Sunday.
Solomon told JC Sport: “We go into what is a massive game with confidence. You can’t write Neasden off as they are still the team to beat and my boys will be on it. It should be a great game with two top teams competing.”
Both teams are packed with pace, power and quality. The winner will meet Leeds Maccabi 1st, Manchester Maccabi 1st or North London Raiders A in the final on May 15.
Sunday will come down to which teams wants it most.
JC team news: Neasden welcome back George Fierstone, James Gershfield and Ben Ellis along with Adam Levene while Jake Gottlieb could be in line for a start. Lee Cash faces a late fitness test on a tight hamstring.
For Faithfold, midfielder Alex Kaye is rated “doubtful” while striker Mike Pearson is cup-tied.
Neasden squad: Max Shields, Sammy Ross, Kyle Bentwood, Jonny Ellis, Jake Gottlieb, Adam Klein, Matt Sofier, George Fierstone, James Gershfield, Ben Ellis, Lee Cash, Rob Lerner,
James Abrams, Carl Peters, Adam Levene
Venue – The Hive, Ref – M. Lavender
JC star man: Kyle Bentwood (Neasden)
DC Prediction: Faithfold A 1 NW Neasden A 2
JC BARRY GOLDSTEIN CUP
GROUP A FINAL STANDINGS
1. Faithfold C (Q) Pl. 3, W. 2, D. 1, L. 0, F. 10, A. 4, Pts. 7
2. North London Raiders C (Q) Pl. 3, W. 2, D. 1, L. 0, F. 7, A. 5, Pts. 5
3. Real Life Pl. 3, W. 1, D. 0, L. 2, F. 8, A. 9, Pts. 3
4. Heath Banta Pl. 3, W. 0, D. 0, L. 3, F. 4, A. 11, Pts. 0
1. Temple Fortune B (Q) Pl. 3, W. 3, D. 0, L. 0, F. 8, A. 8, Pts. 6
2. UJIA Pl. 2, W. 1, D. 1, L. 1, F. 6, A. 2, Pts. 4
3. Catford & Bromley Maccabi Pl. 2, W. 1, D. 0, L. 1, F. 7, A. 4, Pts. 3
4. Zig Zag Pl. 3, W. 0, D. 1, L. 2, F. 4, A. 11, Pts. 1
UJIA vs CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI
It’s a winner-takes-all clash at the Hive where second-placed UJIA start as favourites against the Cats.
Darren Rolfe’s men are fancied for more than one reason. Firstly, they have home advantage. Secondly, a draw will do to take them through. Thirdly, the sit above the Cats in Division Three. Fourthly, they beat the Cats in the league this season.
However, the Cats won the most recent meeting and go into the game all guns blazing following last weekend’s 5-0 demolition of Zig Zag.
Eli Baraty led the rout with a brace, with other goals coming through Dan Stone, James Kleinman and Ryan Kangisser.
Catford joint-manager Adam Lewis told JC Sport: "We have real, genuine quality we can bring into the side and it's a testament to the players who beat Zig Zag 5-0 last Sunday that Joel Isaacs and Ryan Kangisser both had to settle for places on the bench.
"UJIA are a good, solid team and we know we'll have a game on our hands come 10.30 on Sunday morning. However, we've already beaten them once this season and feel that we could have got something from the game we lost to them by the same scoreline, when we were barely able to field a full 11.
"They have some very good individual players who we will have to work hard to stop playing, but we also contain our own fair share of quality and have been developing an effective game plan as the season has progressed.
"One thing's for certain. We're both teams that like to play the ball on the floor and, providing the Underhill pitch is in good nick, there could be some good stuff on show from both teams."
The U’s were also in top form last Sunday, sticking five past a Temple Fortune B team that had already qualified for the semis.
Ben Nassim was the hat-trick hero with Dan Roth maintaining his impressive run of form with a double.
With Nassim and Assi Avital in tandem up top for the U’s, questions will undoubtedly be asked of the Cats defence.
Goals have been a problem for the Cats in the league but the cup is a different animal altogether and the management team of Simon Wolfson, Adam Lewis and Joel Isaacs who have done a decent job this season.
One man who deserves a trip to Wingate & Finchley is Jeremy Leigh, the UJIA full-back. You can read his pre-match though on Twitter @JerryDLeigh. Leigh, in both his and my opinion, is one of the best left-backs in the lower divisions. I played alongside him for Brixton Old Boys B a few seasons ago and ran out of superlatives for the man with a big engine and even bigger heart.
So if Leigh, Nassim and Avital are at the Hive on Sunday, my money is on UJIA coming away all smiles.
JC team news: Catford are missing Eli Baraty who will be a big miss, but they have more players available than ever before.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – D. Jorden
JC star man: Jeremy Leigh (Catford)
DC Prediction: UJIA 3 Catford & Bromley Maccabi 2
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A
Table-topping Redbridge go into their penultimate league game of the season knowing that victory on Sunday would go a long way to securing a first-ever Premier Division title.
That is the prize now within touching distance for Sam McCarthy’s men who last week putting defending champions Neasden A to the sword with a 4-0 demolition.
Dean Nyman led the rout with a brace with Daran Bern and Mitch Lassman putting the icing on the cake.
Redbridge have only lost two games in all competitions this season, one of those was against the Raiders so revenge will be the name of the game for McCarthy’s men who were beaten 4-0 in the corresponding fixture.
McCarthy knows that nothing less than a win will do, with home fans expecting them to open Raiders up.
The match was originally scheduled for mid-February before falling victim to a late downpour. At the time, McCarthy said to me: “We took an unprecedented battering from Raiders early on in the season and we owe them one.
“This time around we will be back on our home turf, with a full side. I can promise Raiders a highly fought competitive game.”
Redbridge have gone on to win seven out of eight league games, they drew the other, and they will be looking to put on a good show in front of their fans. The likes of Nyman, Bern, Steve Summers, Adam Stolerman, Lewis Walker and Lassman have been in prolific form this season along with keeper Dan Lee who has kept three clean sheet in the division’s meanest defence.
Looking ahead to the big match, McCarthy told JC Sport: “The logistics speak from themselves. If we can secure a win on Sunday we will go into the last game against Hendon in the enviable position of being three points ahead and carrying a large goal difference in our favour.
“This game can clinch us the title and so the team wont need reminding come 10.15 on Sunday what they need to deliver.”
A top three finish is the aim for the Raiders who have endured a very stop-start 2011. Their last outing was a professional 2-0 win at Southgate Harmen A but everyone in the camp knows the importance of Sunday’s meeting.
The Raiders have the utmost respect for what Redbridge have achieved this season but they certainly won’t be giving them the red carpet treatment.
With a big Peter Morrison semi-final coming up, the Raiders are looking for a strong finish to their first season back in the Premier. A spokesman for the club told JC Sport: "We don't do boring goalless draws. We will go to Fairlop and give it a real go."
This has all the makings of a cracking game of football and a great advert for the MSFL.
May the best team win.
JC team news: RJC have a full-strength squad available with Brad Frankel returning to the squad having come through unscathed in a run-out with the B team last week. Ben Sollosi also returns to the squad.
Raiders will be without Mark Leader, but there is hope that Anthony Shaw could return.
Redbridge squad: Dan Lee, Craig Sandford, Joel Berg, Adam Hakimi, Russell Leiter, Ritchie Caplin, Ben Sollosi, Alex Lishak, Steve Gevertz, Danny Hakimi, Mitch Lassman, Sam McCarthy, Lewis Walker, Adam Stolerman, Dean Nyman, Steve Summers, Daran Bern, Daniel Sugarman, Sam Van Gelder, James Rubin, Brad Frankel
Raiders squad: Danny Berliner, Dan 'follow me on Twitter @DanCohen17' Cohen, Ben Sheldon, Anthony Shaw, Danny Bloom, Joe Tankel, David Rhodes, Matt Leader, James Fattal, Danny Bloom, Jonny Shapiro, Alex Olcot, Adam Joselyn, Andrew McMaster, Adam Posner, Jamie Wolfson, Jacob Gold, Igal Yahya
April 3 – Hendon A (a) – L
April 17 – Hendon A - JC Cyril Anekstein Cup Final (Wingate & Finchley, 6.30pm)
April 3 – Southgate Harmen A (h) – L
April 10 or 17 – Leeds Maccabi 1st or Manchester Maccabi 1st – Peter Morrison semi-final (a)
TBC – North West Neasden A (a)
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – G. Silver, KO – 10.15am
JC star man: Daran Bern (Redbridge
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC A 3 NL Raiders A 1
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN B
Hoping for a favour from north west London rivals Raiders in Essex, the Hammers must give their full focus
David Garbacz’s men warmed up for the match with a friendly against Holy Moun Zion.
Garbacz has named a full strength for Sunday, saying that “competition for places as rife as at any time of the season with everyone desperate to be included for the big games at the business end of the season”.
It’s just over four weeks until they line-up for another cup final, with title rivals Redbridge Jewish Care A standing in their way. That match will come 10 days after a potential league decider.
But first things first, Neasden B at home on Sunday, a team they can ill-afford to take lightly, especially with Danny Daggers confirmed in the line-up.
It finished 2-0 to the Reds in the corresponding fixture when Ben Kon and Ari Last saw them home.
But Garbacz is concerned that his team may have lost their some focus, especially with Redbridge starting to pull away.
The Hendon manager told JC Sport: “We have not played a league game for a number of weeks but the boys have kept sharp with some impressive recent friendly wins.
“Our main priority for Sunday is to secure three points to remain in the title picture and as ever we do not under-estimate any team in the Premiership whatever their form or position .
“Clearly we also need to score some goals to try and bridge our goal difference gap with Redbridge so it is fair to say we will be playing with the emphasis on attacking flowing football.
“We are playing the game at the John Lyon school in Harrow which is a beautiful playing surface and should suit our intentions for this match.
“The boys are itching to get out there after our mini break and although we will be treating the opposition with respect, we fully expect to put on a bit of a show on Sunday .
“We would also like to wish North London Raiders the very best of luck in their match against Redbridge and look forward to sending messrs Caro and Fegan a large case of the finest claret should they happen to do us a favour.”
It’s hard to believe that Neasden B have won only one league game this season. Five matches have been lost by one-goal margins, while they have only suffered heavy defeats twice. However, their worst result came in the Anekstein when they were humbled by fourth division Los Blancos.
However, they are a proud bunch and will be looking to give a good account of themselves against opponents who recently stuck seven past their A team.
Joint-manager Ryan Glynne told JC Sport: “We want to compete and we can still have a say where the title goes.
“We want to show that we are good enough for next year and will show that.”
Hendon have looked the real deal this season and they will go flat out for the result that would take them into the league finale against Redbridge competitive. I can see them adopting a shoot-on-sight policy and it could be a morning for Neasden defender to throw themselves into the firing line.
The Bentley brothers – Josh and Paul, along with keeper Russell Corin, Alex Gilbert, Martin Smulovitch Motti Korman, Josh Lipman, Ari Last, Avidan Last, Saul Conway, Ben Kon and Josh Lipman have had excellent seasons, with young Yishai Last giving fans a taste of the future.
When all is said and done, I think that Hendon will be holding all the aces on Sunday.
JC team news: Neasden are without keeper Andy Emden.
April 3 – Redbridge (h) – L
April 10 – NW Neasden A (h) - L
April 17 – Redbridge - Hendon A - JC Cyril Anekstein Cup Final (Wingate & Finchley, 6.30pm)
April 17 – Southgate Harmen A (h) - L
Venue – John Lyon School, Ref – W. Blake
JC star man: Martin Smulovitch (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC A 4 NW Neasden B 1
FC TEAM A vs BRADY MACCABI
Two teams who would grace the top-flight are ready to rumble as second-placed FC Team entertains Brady Maccabi.
The promotion rivals start the game neck-and-neck points-wise, although Brady have two games more so the emphasis will be on FC Team.
If the first meeting is anything to go by then this should be a classic. It finished 4-3 in November when Josh Hershman (2), Steve Field and Ben Gershuny saw Brady home.
Richard Salmon, Adam Rones and Jake Weiner registered for Team.
After Brady No. 2 Simon Hakim told JC Sport: “This a huge fillip for us. We conceded a couple of bad goals from set-pieces but have scored four excellent ones ourselves.
There’s three of us up there who are challenging for the title so it’s looking interesting for the rest of the season."
Hakim was not wrong, although Oakwood are well and truly in the equation too.
FC Team player manager Mitch Young said: “Fair play to Brady. They did well. But we won’t be panicking. We have matches in hand and are still very happy with our start. We were caught out a bit on the break, but the goals they got were all well crafted so you have to credit them.”
Another humdinger is on the cards with both teams in top gear. FC Team go into the back on the back of a memorable 4-3 win over table-toppers North London Raiders B. Left-back Rones led the way with a double, while Craig Edwards and a last-ditch strike from Shai Davidi settled it. But they could not have done it without the heroics of keeper David Grossman, who made two top-class saves including a late penalty save with the score 3-3.
Young knows that nothing less than three points will do. He told JC Sport: “This is quite simply a must-win. We have done well beating Raiders last week but it will be pointless beating raiders then not getting the result against Brady.
“Obviously this is easier said than done as Brady are a great team and Josh has done a fantastic job in assembling a highly-talented squad. But we are in good form and we believe we can win.
“We need to win and will be going all out for the win. Promotion is out of our hands but we have to do all we can to give ourselves the best possible chance and that is by winning our remaining three games.”
Brady showed real quality and character to come from 2-0 down to beat Southgate Harmen B last Sunday. It was a win that made manager Josh Rosenfeld proud, and rightly so. Steven Field, Josh Hershman and Lee Platt continued their excellent league run of just one defeat in 13 matches, with Field and Platt’s strikes straight out of the top-drawer.
After the game, Rosenfeld told JC Sport: “We showed true grit, resilience, and character to come back with 20 minutes to go and score three goals and win the game. This shows the strength our boys have especially as we missed Jason Sears and Mark Smith.
“Everyone was saying how Brady have been stalling for the past couple of weeks, but we have still lost one league game in 13 and from a brand new side. That’s pretty outstanding whatever the remainder of the season has to offer.
“We need to take that character in to next week and every game now is a cup final.”
Looking ahead to Sunday, Rosenfeld has labelled it as a 'Super Sunday showdown' with the other key clash sees Raiders take on Brady.
Rosenfeld told JC Sport: "All we can do is concentrate on our game and our performance. The last time we played Team it was one of our best performances of the season and if we do not match that second time around we will be second best.
"We know they have a lot of quality and they are very threatening from certain areas on the pitch. We are looking forward to the game.
"Five games to go and, as mentioned last week, they are all a cup finals."
Sunday features the division’s top-scorers against the meanest defence. Something must give. Surely.
JC team news: For FC Team , Jonny Breger is away on holiday, but they welcome back Andy Sheena and Lee Bibring could make debut.
Brady have an almost fully-strength side out with the exception of Ryan Fox.
The teams last time:
Brady: Colmans; Graham (sub: Jacobs) , Fox, Sears, Levy; N. Stern, Field, Berman; Gershuny, Smith (sub: D. Stern), Hershman
FC Team: Grossman; Segal, Silverman. Weiner, Green (sub: Hecht); Rones, Breger, Wood, Benari; Young, Salmon.
April 3 – Camden Park (h) – L
April 10 – Chigwell Athletic (h) - L
April 3 – Chigwell Athletic (a) – L
April 10 – NL Raiders (h) – L
April 17 – Camden Park (h) - L
Venue – Old Camdenians, Ref – M> Fox
JC star man: Lee Platt (Brady)
DC Prediction: FC Team A 2 Brady Maccabi 2
MONTANA BOCA UNITED A vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS C
At the beginning of the season, I think it would have been fair to say that if one of Montana or Lions would go down, most people would’ve bet on Montana. How wrong they were.
By hook or by crook, they’ve done it. In the end, relegation was never really an issue so credit to caretaker-managers Raymond Harrod and Adam Osper, along with all the boys.
The recent win over Camden Park was massive, added with the timing of the three points awarded after Redbridge B forfeited.
Montana have failed to score in six out of 16 games this season and it’s clear that chairman Harrod needs to invest in a striker or two over the summer.
Revenge will the buzz word for the Montana boys in their pre-match teamtalk. Looking ahead to Harrod told JC Sport: “Our hopes are three points after the 1-0 defeat in our last meeting with Lions.”
Jamie Kyte’s Lions went down fighting last Sunday as they were edged out by Oakwood. Not even the presence of A-team captain Motti Colman could inspire them to pull off an escape act.
There were plenty of tears at the final whistle and there could be some more as they prepare for their final game of the season.
The Lions pulled out all the stops to get the right result last weekend and people have said that if they’d have got that kind of team out and played with the same kind of spirit week in, week out this season, they would not be in this predicament. But the bottom line is that the table never lies.
A home win would see Montana consolidate in sixth spot while the Lions must muster a big victory if they are to avoid finishing with the wooden spoon.
JC team news: For Montana, Adam Osper is unavailable for remainder of season as he prepares for London Marathon, but Simon Peterman is back from travelling.
April 10 – Oakwood (h) - L
Venue – The Hive, Ref – K. Goodman
JC star man: Simon Peterman (Montana)
DC Prediction: Montana Boca Utd A 2 LM Lions C 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs OAKWOOD
Sunday is full of top-quality matches and this one is about as tasty as they get.
The sides have been very evenly matched, with L’Orange drawing against the Oaks in league and cup over two sets of 90 minutes this season. Raiders edged through the cup game, holding their nerve to win through on penalties.
I believe that home advantage and vociferous support will see them arrive in Uxbridge confident of seeing record a 13th league success of the season, and one that would ultimately see them crowned league champions.
They were on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller last Sunday, but did well to come back from 3-0 down, staging a dramatic recovery with goals from Jonny Hesselberg and two from top-scorer David Dinkin. It could have been even better had Dinkin converted a late, but it was not to be.
The miss apart, Dinkin had another excellent game and he will be looking to right the wrongs from last week and start the celebrations. Elliot Espinoza, Mike Hershman, Nicky Woolf and Dan Grossman have also been in excellent form throughout the campaign and they will be keen to ensure that the race for the trophy does not go to the wire.
The Raiders have a tough run-in with high-flying Team followed by Oakwood and then a finale against title chasing Brady, but they would not have it any other way.
Looking ahead to the crunch clash, Raiders boss Rob Richman told JC Sport: “Oakwood are a top side and we have had two great games with them already this season.
“It will be another tough game but with just a couple of games left this season we will be looking to go out and enjoy ourselves."
The Oaks made heavy weather of beating Lions C last Sunday. In the end, a strike from Eddie Manson steered them to their seventh win of the campaign.
The likelihood is that regardless of the result on Sunday, Raiders will land the title leaving FC Team A, Brady and Oakwood to battle it out for second spot and the second automatic promotion spot. But speaking from experience, the northern boys should do everything within their powers to finish as high as possible, remembering that Southgate Harmen A went up having finished third last year.
For now at least, they are in charge of their own destiny in a game between two teams who have plenty of admiration for one another. And it’s not every day I say that.
It’s clear that everyone in the Oakwood camp is champing at the bit. As joint-manager Ric Blank explains: “We can’t wait for Sunday. We’ve got a lot of respect for Raiders – they’re a good team and a great set of lads and we know well be in for a real battle. Anything less than our best won’t be good enough.
“Both sides have big aspirations and it will be a tight game won by a moment of magic.
“It’s going to be a tight end to the season whatever happens and we’re determined to go out and enjoy ourselves on Sunday and make the most of these big games.
“May I also take this opportunity to wish ex-Oakwood vice, vice-captain Steven Berke mazal tov on his wedding this weekend. The best of all the Jews in all the land.”
So while one Oakwood player will have plenty to cheer about at the weekend, the million dollar question is, will another 11 or so? Only time will tell …
JC team news: For Raiders, Lewis Blitz and Alex Bloch return while Matt Greene is likely to make his first appearance for the B's in over a year. Mike Hershman and Jonny Hesselberg are out. David Rhodes returns to the A team.
Oakwood are without Rob Davidson, Jonny Beilin and Bobbie Cousins but will field a strong side regardless.
April 10 – Brady Maccabi (a) - L
April 3 – Southgate Harmen B (a) - L
April 10 – Montana Boca Utd A (a) – L
April 17 – Southgate Harmen B (h) - L
Venue – Brunel Uni, Ref – R. Benardout
JC star man: Mike Hershman (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders B 2 Oakwood 1
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE B vs CAMDEN PARK
It will be ‘squeaky bum time’ at Fairlop on Sunday as relegation rivals Redbridge and Camden meet for the second time in a week.
The Essex boys came away from a five-goal thriller victorious courtesy of strikes from Jamie Cooper, Daniel Gordon and James Rubin. But that win will count for little unless they do it again, as Southgate Harmen B and Camden have games in hand.
Points on board is the best policy in my eyes and I’m certain RJC manager Ben Norris will be looking to go out on a high, especially with their A-team playing on the next pitch.
Looking ahead to the clash, Norris told JC Sport: “Were going into this weekend’s game knowing we’ve given ourselves an almighty chance of staying in this division.
“Camden have great strength and I’m sure they’ll be looking to impose themselves on us but as long as we play our game we should get the result.
“Even if we win were not guaranteed safety but at least we’d have done our part.”
Goals from Gideon Barnett and Nick Gold were not enough for Camden last week when manager Justin Rockberger came away saying: “We played OK first half, second half not as well and got done. Small rally at the end but not enough ...”
Rockberger will be demanding 90 minutes of blood and sweat in a bid to avoid tears in the coming weeks. They must arrive at Fairlop with no fear and coming out fighting.
This is a game that will be won and lost in midfield and I expect Redbridge to have just about enough on the day.
April 3 - FC Team A (a) - L
April 17 - Brady Maccabi (a) - L
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – M. Vandermolen
JC star man: Jamie Cooper (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC B 2 Camden Park 1
FAITHFOLD B vs TEMPLE FORTUNE A
The Division Two season comes to what is expected to be a dramatic close on Sunday, with the league title up for grabs.
Rumour has it that the league organisers will have the real trophy at the Hive with Fortune in pole position, while a replica will be taken to Redbridge in case they slip up and Brixton win against Woodford.
Knowing Andrew Souber, the Fortune boss, as a I do, I’m sure he’d have ripped off your hand if at the start of the season, you told him he had to win his last match to win the title. There is even a possibility that Fortune may not have to win. They start the day top of the table and are hell-bent on finishing in the same position.
Unlike Brixton, Fortune’s destiny lies in their own hands. They are now just 90 minutes away from winning the pot of gold. The boys in red and yellow were unable to land the title at Woodford last week but they’d be foolish to look a gift-horse in the mouth twice.
Souber was calmness personified in his midweek press conference. He told JC Sport: “It’s fair to say that for the last few games we have not been at our best.
“I know that the boys are determined to put in a good performance and hopefully that will be good enough.
“They gave us a very tough game last time so our feet are very much on the ground.”
Souber was, of course, talking about the recent 4-3 victory, a game where Scott Shindler (2), Rob Benson and Daniel Woolfe were his goal men. That result confirmed promotion and they have plenty more to shout about come 12.15 on Sunday.
Shindler has been one of the team’s star performers. Benson has also had another standout campaign in front of goal, although he has not been as prolific in recent weeks.
Faithfold go into the game on the back of a 7-1 mauling at the hands of Brixton. It was a game when everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
Results-wise, this season has been a big improvement on the last one and they will be looking to go out on a high in front of their fans. Several players will be looking to impress manager Rob Shooman in a bid to win new contracts.
Faithfold have little more than pride to play for. They can finish no higher than their current position of fifth which is no disgrace when you think of the quality of the teams above them.
Daniel Hildebrand and Doron Hershkorn have two of their most impressive performers and I think the fact they have yet to keep a clean sheet in the league tells you and Shooman exactly when they need to strengthen over the summer.
Sixteen goals have flown past the Faithfold keeper in the last 270 minutes and I can see him being the busier man here.
Rumour has it that Scott Shindler has been fined two weeks wages after arriving at the match late last week. Souber has severely reprimanded his star defender who was allegedly spotted outside branches of Oddbins and Threshers, topping up on champagne. He might get a chance to crack open a bottle or two for his Sunday lunch.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – N. Burns
JC star man: Michael Goldberg (Fortune)
DC Prediction: Faithfold B 1 Temple Fortune A 3
WOODFORD WANDERERS vs BRIXTON OLD BOYS
It says a lot about Brixton that they have lost fewer games than title favourites Temple Fortune A.
They have also conceded fewer goals but they come up short, so far, in the most important column. Points. And they will do well to get three on Sunday.
Star striker Jamie Kent made it 16 league goals for the season with a treble against Faithfold last week. Alon Hershkorn (2), Rob Hershkorn and Dan Sherman wrapped up a 7-1 victory.
There is a distinct possibility that the title could be settled by goal difference, a department that Brixton trail by a single goal. But first things first. They must get at least a point, although they will no doubt be aiming for all three.
I recall manager John Nitka, then manager of South Manxs, watching Hendon United B in a title decider at Little Bushey Lane a few seasons ago when the other team did him a favour and helped him win the title. Nitka has been rummaging around looking for his lucky pants in the hope that lightning strikes twice. Stranger things have happened.
However, the bad news is that Woodford were back to their best last week. They prevented Temple Fortune from winning the title in their own back yard and Alex Aviram’s men will be looking to end the Brixton party.
Looking ahead to the big match, Nitka told JC Sport: “This Sunday's game is important to win to consolidate our position as runners-up and hope Temple Fortune slip up so then we go up as champions.
"As I said at the start of the season we will be in division 1 next season and then watch us go."
Of course a heavy Brixton defeat could hand the runners-up spot to Norstar so there may be a case of role reversal for Nitka if Phil Peters is willing to make the long shlep over the Redbridge.
Nitka never settles for second best and he will adopt an all-out attacking policy to ensure that his men stick to their side of the bargain and do what they need to do.
The head-to-head between Kent and Jerome Marks will be worth the admission fee alone while Aviram could unleash Mitch Hahn from the start as they look to put the cat amongst the pigeons.
Aviram has a big problem this week as half of the team will be on travels due to personal reasons. Aviram told JC Sport: "At the moment we are struggling to get 11 players. A lot of my team must travel and the other half is injured. This Sunday a make-shift team have to do the job and I have no doubt they are fully capable."
Sunday will be a morning for cool heads and it could also be a morning when visiting keeper Jake Doffman, a candidate for Young Keeper of the Year, needs to be on top of his game.
It should be a classic!
JC team news: Woodford skipper Harrison Midda is available after putting in an MOM performance last week. Jerome Marks will also be available for selection. Aviram will also welcome back David Green after returning from a three-month injury. Aviram himself is in doubt due to injury.
Venue – Redbridge Sports Centre, Ref – A. Myerson
JC star man: Darryl Green (Woodford)
DC Prediction: Woodford Wanderers 3 Brixton Old Boys 2
GLENTHORNE UNITED A vs HEATH BANTA
Leaders Glenthorne should take nothing for granted when they welcome Heath Banta to Old Chigwellians.
As this is the same Heath Banta team that whipped them 4-1 earlier in the season when Stefan Simons, Benji Peters and Oli Joseph were among the scorers.
I don’t think people should read too much into Heath Banta’s poor performances in the JC Barry Goldstein Cup. They lost all three matches but manager Ben Nathan gave several squad players run-outs in a couple of their matches.
Now, the team’s full focus is on Sunday’s trip to Essex. Nathan told JC Sport: “We will be back to full strength for our league run-in in an effort to gain promotion.”
The Thornes have been in imperious form at their Chigwell fortress and they will be boosted by the recent derby win over Redbridge which has given them a six point lead.
Looking ahead to the weekend clash, Thornes joint-player-manager Dan Lipman told JC Sport: “It’s a massive game this week. Win and we pile the pressure on to RJC.
“We were poor at Hampstead Heath earlier in the season, but after beating RJC last time out the boys are revved up and focused.
“The job is clear, win our last three games and we win the league."
Heath Banta have only lost once on their travels in the league but I think the Thornes will leave them seeing double.
April 3 – Zig Zag (a) – L
April 10 – Catford & Bromley Maccabi (a) – L
April 17 – UJIA (a) - L
Venue – Old Chigwellians, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Danny Shafron (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne United A 3 Heath Banta 1
TEAM JLGB vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C
It’s been a tough old season for everyone connected to Team JLGB. Quite possibly the toughest, in fact. But credit to Robert Silverman and his boys for battling to the very end.
They were recently beaten by Redbridge but are back for more, and hopefully a better result. Scoring goals has been the biggest issue for the JLGB brigade but they do their best to give as good as they get every 90 minutes and credit to them for that.
A full-house is expected on Sunday as Redbridge have sold our their end and extra stewards could be called in to ensure safety is maintained before, during and after the game.
JLGB go into their penultimate game of the season with potentially a thread-bare squad. Paul Rich is out for the rest of the season, Paul Black and Barry Green are 50/50 at the moment. Mike Marks misses out too. Lee Stone returns at centre back and Matt West right midfield.
Silverman told JC Sport: “We know its going to be a tough game, and to be honest we are just seeing the season out now in the hope that we are able to survive relegation through whatever means possible.
“One of those means is by picking up shock points in our last two games, so we will be attacking as much as possible.”
RJC have lost just one away game in seven in the league. They also gave an excellent account of themselves in the recent cup tie against Neasden A. With Dan Gordon, Anthony Mendel, Greg Bookman, Lee Grodent and Marc Silver, they have boys who have been there, seen it and done it. The experienced group have given the team a rock-solid base with Gordon banging away the goals with great regularity.
The return of Mendel from a loan spell in Cyprus has given the squad a lift and they will need one following the derby defeat against Redbridge.
Second place seems the most likely finish for Redbridge now but they must not under-estimate the challenge of a JLGB team fighting for their lives.
April 10 – UJIA (h) - L
April 10 – Faithfold C (h) – L
April 17 – Zig Zag (a) - L
Venue – Peter May Sports Centre, Ref – M. Cowan
JC star man: Greg Bookman (RJC)
DC Prediction: Team JLGB 1 Redbridge JC C 3
ZIG ZAG vs REAL LIFE
Relegation six-pointer don’t come much bigger than this as basement battlers Real Life look to bounce back from their JC Barry Goldstein Cup heartbreak when they make the short journey to Montrose Park.
The gave a good account of themselves in the cup competition but now have five games left to save their Division Three status.
Sunday will be a day for big hearts and they have plenty of those in the Real Life camp.
Charlie Bernstein and Eddie Lewin were the marksmen against a Raiders C team that could hold their own in Division Three.
Having not scored all season, skipper Lewin has now hit two in two and will be looking to bring much needed goals to the league.
It’s hard to believe that we’re in March and Real Life still yet to win a league match all season. Jamie Beaumont’s troops will be looking at this game as a real opportunity to get off the mark. Charlie Bernstein is now in a rich vein of form and will lead the line for Life.
Three points are essential for the Zeds who face two more tough games against teams at the top over the next fortnight. Carling don’t do teamtalks but if they did, they should hand a copy to DJ Neal Cohen whose words of wisdom have been unable to rally the troops more than three times this season.
It finished 4-4 the last time the teams met on a day when only the neutrals went home happy. Rob Greene (2), Dan Markeson and Max Curtis registered for Life with Danny Fenton, Laurence Rosenthal, Neil Marcus among the scorers for the Zeds.
I’m sure Cohen won’t mind a 9-0 or ugly 1-0, as long as his men win. The Zig Zag gaffer will remind his team that two of their three wins have come at Montrose Park including a memorable 2-1 success over high-flying Faithfold.
He will be asking for one last push from his team but that might not be enough to stop Real Life from coming away with a deserved point.
JC team news: For Real Life, player-manger Beaumont returns after a week off on the ski slopes.
April 3 – Heath Banta (h) - L
April 17 – Redbridge JC C (h) - L
April 3 – UJIA (h) – L
April 10 – Norstar (h) - L
Venue – Montrose Park, Ref – A. Yuchetel
JC star man: Eddie Lewin (Real Life)
DC Prediction: Zig Zag 3 Real Life 3
ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs SHIRLEY PARK
Shirley Park have seen their promotion aspirations falter badly over the last three games.
On Sunday, they have the perfect chance to get back to winning ways when they take on lowly Bilbaum for the second time this season.
It finished 6-2 to the Park boys in November when Jason Lindsay fired a hat-trick, Gideon Gold added two and joint-player-manager Dave Lusman put the icing on the cake.
Lindsay and Gold have been top-notch all season while Ilan Shaki has been on top form in defence. But for a team challenging at the top, their form on the road has been decidedly dodgy.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Lusman told JC Sport: "Ourhopes of promotion are in the hands of other as it stands. We’ve had a bad run of results over the past month which hasn’t been down to our form.
"We’ve been unfortunate not pick up more points, and if it wasn’t down to stupid errors we would be in a different position in the league table.
"However, we're looking forward to setting the record straight this Sunday and hope to bounce back."
The Bilbaum boys have failed to build on an encouraging first season. They won 11 games last season but have so far only won seven, and they’ve already lost two more games than they did the whole of last season. They have also conceded the second most goals in the entire league so it’s clear what area manager Josh Ejdelbaum must strengthen over the summer.
The goals of Edward Green, Seb Silverman and Simon Finkelstein can only take them so far but if they can reproduce the performance against Hendon, then you have to give them half a chance.
Looking ahead to the big game, Ejdelbaum told JC Sport: “Shirley were much more clinical than us earlier in the season, and are a good side. But we’ve improved since we played them, so hopefully can give a better performance, and snatch a result.”
This is a game I believe both teams are capable of winning, but will ultimately come down to the team that takes its chances.
JC team news: For Bilbaum, with captain Mark ‘Own-Goal Pasha and vice-captain Ed ‘Dolly the Sheep’ Green joining Callum ‘Super-Dry’ Little on a romantic skiing break in the Alps, the Baums need to find a new captain for Sunday’s game.
April 10 – Jewventus (h) - L
April 17 – Los Blancos (h) - L
April 10 – NL Raiders C (h) - L
April 17 – NW Neasden C (a) - L
Venue – Hampstead Heath, Ref – R. Caplin
JC star man: Dave Lusman (Shirley)
DC Prediction: Athletic Bilbaum 2 Shirley Park 3
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C vs TEMPLE FORTUNE B
The Hustlers will be the first team in the bottom division to finish their season. They finish at Glenthorne next week so the chances are that Sunday will be their last chance to win a game this season.
Having thumped Fortune 5-0 in November, you’d have to fancy them again here. Benny Goldberg was the star of the show. He hit three on a day when everything he touched turned to goals.
Some of you may have heard the song ‘A team of Carraghers’. Well, if Hendon had a team of Goldbergs, the chances are that they would win the league. But they haven’t and they won’t, well not this season anyway.
Manager Avi Gelley is looking for a big performance in front of his own fans for the last time this season and rumour has it that Goldberg is planning something a bit special.
Fortune defied the odds to reach the last four of the JC Barry Goldstein Cup. Having qualified with a game to spare, managers Gavin Levy and Rob Jay won’t read too much into last week’s capitulation against UJIA.
And according to Jay, it sounds like they’re down to the bare bones on Sunday.
He told JC Sport: “We’re hoping to get a team out with loads of injuries and players away. We currently just have one fit striker in Terry Jeffries while our three first-choice centre backs all away."
So it’s fair to say that this looks like a home banker and there’s every chance it could turn into the Benny Goldberg show.
April 3 – Glenthorne B (a) - L
April 17 – NL Raiders C (h) - L
Venue – West Hendon< Ref – D. Nathan
JC star man: Benny Goldberg (Hendon)
DC Prediction: Hendon Utd SC C 4 Temple Fortune B 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C vs LOS BLANCOS
There’s a cracker in store in Hatfield where promotion-chasing Los Blancos travel to JC Barry Goldstein Cup semi-finalists Raiders C.
The visitors welcome 17 squad members back this week, and the players are all raring to go after last week's disappointment against Neasden C.
It’s no coincidence that last week was only the second game all season that Los Blancos have failed to score. The occasion was against a Blizzard Storm team that recently did a double over table-topping Glenthorne.
Joel Minsky, the LB boss, is confident his men will return to winning ways. He told JC Sport: “At the moment, it is looking like everyone is available bar Julian Gertner who is taking the next few weeks off as he ramps up his marathon training.
“We all want to put last week behind us as quickly as possible, and I'm confident with the personnel available and the hunger in the team that we can pick up all three points.”
The Raiders are much-improved from the team that was thumped 7-2 by the Blancos at the beginning of November. Star man Dany Kon (3), Sami Birnbaum (2) Adam Cohen and Dovid Greenberg were the goal men for the boys in white.
Sunday’s meeting will feature two of the best strikers in the lower divisions with Kon going toe-to-toe with Raiders hotshot Harry Franks.
Both clubs are pulling out all the stops in a bid to keep their star men at their clubs for at least another season. Franks was on top form last weekend when his double steered L’Orange into the last four of the cup.
They might be the lowest-ranked team in the division but no-one will fancy them in the semis.
But it’s all about the league on Sunday with manager Oli Shorts aiming for six points from their last three games.
The Raiders have had a mixed bag of results at home and if Los Blancos execute their game-plan, I would back them to run out narrow winners in what should be an enthralling contest.
April 10 – Shirley Park (a) – L
April 17 – Temple Fortune (a) - L
April 3 – Jewventus (a) – L
April 10 – Glenthorne B (a) - L
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – N. Bloom
JC star man: Adam Cohen (Los Blancos)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders C 2 Los Blancos 3
NORTH WEST NEASDEN C vs GLENTHORNE UNITED B
There’s an intriguing contest in store at Hadley as title favourites Glenthorne take on a Neasden team who look to have found form at just the right time.
The Thornes were back to their best last weekend when they put Pinner to the sword in the top against bottom clash, cruising home 15-0.
At times it was a procession with top-scorer Fabio Revieccio helping himself to five. Strike partner Dan Lassman added two more plus an impressive seven assists while winger James Law contributed a hat-trick.
However, it appears that all is not rosy behind the scenes at the club. Sources close to Thornes player-manager Elliot Coulton have told me that he is “close to walking out” and “definitely won’t manage the team next season.” I fear that this could be a fall-out from the recent events surrounding the A-team’s derby against Redbridge C.
Coulton could now become the Jose Mourinho of the MSFL. The Special One left Porto straight after they won the Champions League. And now it appears that the Kosher One is threatening to do the same, albeit the Division Four title!
Revieccio is the red-hot favourite to land the Division Four Player of the Year title. He fired a hat-trick against Neasden in the corresponding fixture which finished 4-0.
But Louis Taylor, the Neasden manager, is keen to set the record straight and push the champions-elect much closer second time around.
His team were on top form against Los Blancos last weekend, when Elliot Setyon went home with the match ball after scoring three of the best in a 5-0 win.
Taylor realises that his men will have to be on top of their game again. He told JC Sport: “We have a strong team for what will be our toughest test this season.
“Glenthorne would have looked at our last few results and will know that it won’t be as easy as it was the first time we played.
“Ed Bloom continues in goal and with him there, I have every confidence that we can keep it tight at the back.
“Elliot Setyon is fresh from his Team of the Week display and will continue up front. We still feel we can go for promotion this season and the result of this game should tell us if we are where we need to be.”
In terms of a prediction, I’m going with Glenthorne based on the fact that Neasden defender Adam Levene is playing for the club’s A team in the Morrison semi-final. This could leave them unbalanced at the back and I can see messrs Revieccio and Lassman giving them a testing morning.
April 3 – Pinner (a) – L
April 17 – Shirley (h) - L
April 3 – Hendon C (h) – L
April 10 – Los Blancos (h) – L
April 17 – Jewventus (h) - L
Venue – Hadley FC, Ref – S. Ansher
JC star man: Mitchel Ross (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: NW Neasden C 1 Glenthorne Utd C 3
PINNER JFC vs INTER BOREHAMWOOD
There will only be one winner here as title-chasing Borehamwood take on wooden spoon favourites Pinner.
Oluseun Thomas’ men are bang in form having won their last three. They have kept three clean sheets this season with the last one coming a fortnight ago and I’m confident that keeper Mike Mirrelman will notch up another here.
Borehamwood looked the business against a stronger Jewventus outfit.
They showed championship quality to come from behind. Nick Smith’s stunner brought them level before the introductions of Jamie Taylor and Dan Goldsmith proved decisive.
Speaking at his pre-match conference, Borehamwood boss Oluseun Thomas told JC Sport: “Unfortunately, Mirrelman will be away but I’m sure we have quality in depth in the GK position.
“But this week I want to leave the talking down to the boys on the pitch. They know Pinner will not be a walk in the park but intend to continue to put pressure of those above us.”
There could be a late twist ahead of the game with Simon Linden, the Blizzard Storm manager, looking into loaning a couple of his players to Pinner as the Borehamwood boys look to close the gap on the Storm.
It’s a long way back from a 15-0 mauling but that is what Vivian Emanuel and his Pinner boys have to recover from after they were outclassed by Glenthorne.
Emanuel has been spending much of the week trying to get collective chins off the ground, but the signs do not look encouraging.
But credit to the Pinner chief. He could’ve done a Fergie and not spoken to the press, but he did, and he came out fighting.
“After Sunday’s mauling, we are hurting bad and are ready to hit back with a vengence. Borehamwood are a good team but we really think if we play it right we can battle and get a result.
“We are missing Asher Levin, Mike Berman due to injury and with Jordan Segal’s suspension in force you would think we would be weak. I am probably spending the remainder of the season in goal, which I am very happy about.
“Just before the transfer window closed we signed ex-FC Team striker Asher Gershuny. I have known Asher for years and I am really looking forward to playing in the same side as him. Asher is a great striker and on his day can bang in the goals.
“We are also hopefully in the next few weeks seeing the return of Sam Cramer and Marc Peterman from uni which will give our side a boost.”
If most teams were missing their regular keeper it would hurt them. But not Borehamwood. I think whoever plays in goal will be able to take a pipe, slippers and copy of the JC as I can’t see them having anything to do.
Sunday should be a stroll in the park for Inter.
April 3 – Neasden C (h) - L
April 10 – Borehamwood (a) - L
April 3 – Blizzard (h) – L
April 10 – Pinner (h) – L
April 17 – Blizzard (a) - L
Venue – Bannister Sports Centre, Ref – P. Dobkin
JC star man: Jerome Colmans (Borehamwood)
DC Prediction: Pinner JFC 0 Inter Borehamwood 8