Players from the JC MSFL return to action after a one week break for Passover, with the match of the day seeing the top two teams go head to head in the Premier Division. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the action.
CUP FINAL DATES
April 22 - JC Barry Goldstein Trophy - UJIA vs North West Neasden C - 2.30pm at Wingate & Finchley
April 22 - JC Cyril Anekstein Cup - Hendon Utd SC A vs Brady Maccabi A - 6.30pm at Wingate & Finchley
April 29 - Peter Morrison Trophy - Hendon Utd SC A vs Oakwood - 10.30am at Wingate & Finchley
YOUR WEEKEND REVIEW STARTS HERE:
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
Relegated: Southgate Harmen A, North London Raiders A
15 - Mike Pearson (Faithfold A)
12 - Danny Kon (Hendon A), Marc Lazare (Neasden)
FC TEAM A vs BRADY MACCABI A
Brady are without some key players on Sunday and manager Josh Rosenfeld is keeping everything crossed that they don’t pick up any more injuries against FC Team, with one eye on the forthcoming JC League Cup final against Hendon.
With both teams have secured their top-flight status, there is really no pressure on either side and I think this will lead to an open and entertaining affair.
The battle of two of the promoted teams sees Brady looking to extend their two-point gap over Team, and they have a game in hand.
Revenge will be the name of the game for Rosenfeld and co. They were beaten 2-0 at Rowley Lane in early October with Simon Peterman and Richard Salmon the goal men.
Looking ahead to the game, Rosenfeld told JC Sport: “We just need to try and get through the game without picking up any more injuries before the cup final.
“Paul Hakim, TJ, Nicky Smith, Jon Ellis, Josh Gordon, Joel Lassman all remain out for Sunday’s game. Four of them are major doubts for the cup final and I’m not sure they will make it unfortunately if Im honest.
“Team, like us, have had an impressive first season in the Premiership and know they will want to finish the season ahead of us.
“My boys are all playing for places so I expect them to put out a good performance.”
FC Team have claimed four wins in their first-ever season in the top-flight and they are hungry for more. They’ve taken four points from their last six and are looking to put on a good show on Sunday.
Manager Mitch Young told JC Sport: “It’s our last home game of the season and we are hoping to reward our fans for their support this season.
“It has been a tough first year but we have managed to achieve our objective and have not looked out of place in the division.
“I hope we can play some nice football and try and score lots of goals. We played well in our last game when the pressure is off so I am hoping for the players to relax and express themselves.
“Brady will want to have a decent performance in preparation for their cup final so this will no doubt be a tremendously hard game, but we are ready to compete."
Jonathan Green and Richard Salmon are the form men for both teams and I can see both getting on the scoresheet in an entertaining contest.
JC team news: For FC Team, David Ossack is still out with injury as is Jules Noti. Jonny Breger is set to return while Ollie Segal is on honeymoon.
Venue – Meadow Park, Ref – N. Cooper
JC star man: Simon Peterman (FC Team)
DC Prediction: FC Team A 2 Brady Maccabi A 2
LONDON MACCABI LIONS A vs HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB A
Treble-chasing Hendon are down to the bare bones when they travel to leaders Lions A at Rowley Lane on Sunday.
Manager David Garbacz knows that his men will need to pull out all the stops against a talented Lions team that is still smarting from the recent loss against Redbridge.
A Hendon win on Sunday would virtually secure the title for the Hammers who start the match a point behind Lions with three games in hand.
Revenge will be the name of the game for Hendon against the Lions who are the only team to beat them in the league this season.
Speaking to JC Sport in his midweek press conference, Garbacz told JC Sport: “We go into a massive potential league decider against Lions with the squad down to it's bare bones due to people being away for Pesach.
“However, our main strength this season has been the quality of all 17 members of our squad and with it the ability to deal with situations like this and still be able to go into big games with lots of confidence.
“That said, it is not ideal - we will only have one sub on the bench so the 12 who will turn out on Sunday have an enormous responsibility on their shoulders.
“Lions have done tremendously well to be in such a challenging position this year. I did not expect them to be our nearest challengers but as the likes of Redbridge Faithfold and Neasden have faltered they seem to have gone from strength to strength so they deserve enormous credit for that.
“They have a fine mixture of youth and experience and at Rowley Lane will be exceptionally hard to beat. However we know that we have three proper cup finals in our next three games and the buzz and excitement amongst our squad is sky high.
“We have not come this far this season to start faltering now and assuming the boys go easy on the matzos for the last two days of yom tov, we hope that the champagne will be well and truly on ice come Sunday afternoon.”
The recent defeat against Redbridge left a bad taste in the mouth for some of the Lions players. The are not used to losing and have turned into something of a well-oiled machine this season.
Keeper Sam Castle saw his proud record of four games without conceding come to an end and he will need to be on top of his game again on Sunday.
Lions know all about the qualities of Hendon midfielder Ben Lauffer. He is one of the reasons the Reds have done so well this term and his head-to-head with Lions skipper Yoav Lebens will be key to the outcome.
The Lions will feel they have a point to prove and they will be looking to restore their four-point lead with another solid display.
Giving their availability problems, I think Hendon would take a draw. But knowing them as I do, they will approach the game full of confidence and go for gold.
If you're looking for a high-quality affair and a good advert for Jewish football, I advise you to get down to Rowley Lane on Sunday morning.
JC team news: For Hendon, Josh Bentley, Dovid Korman Yoav Kestenbaum and Martin Smulovitch are all away for Pesach . Motti Colman has gone on Aliyah.
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – W. Blake
JC star man: Russell Corin (Hendon)
DC Prediction: LM Lions A 1 Hendon Utd SC A 1
REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A vs FAITHFOLD A
Defending champions Redbridge will not give up on the title until it’s mathematically impossible. But you wouldn’t expect anything less from a team managed by Eilon Kennet.
The east London giants have won nine out of 15 games this season and with star striker Adam Bolle bang in form, you’d have to fancy that to notch up another victory on Sunday.
Over the years, RJC and Faithfold have shared some titanic battles and Sunday should be no different.
RJC boss Eilon Kennet told JC Sport: “We need to continue winning every game to keep our season alive.
“I can only hope that availability is good this week and we can field a strong side against Faithfold, who are always hard to beat.”
The emergence of Bolle has been a major factor behind RJC’s resurgence over the second half of the season, as has the return of Adam Hakimi. And with Steve Summers once again fully fit, I can see it being another busy morning for Ben Law in the Faithfold goal.
If the first meeting is anything to go by then Sunday should be a classic. RJC edged a five-goal thriller with strikes from Adam Stolerman, Ben Sollosi and Hakimi. Top-scorer Mike Pearson bagged a brace for the Superhoops.
Faithfold go into the game in good spirits following the impressive 4-1 win over Neasden A. Stalwart Daryl Phillips (2), captain marvel Alex Levack and Joe Cohen were the scorers in a memorable win.
The performance of the returning Alex Kaye and keeper Ben Law were real plus points for the team eyeing a top four finish.
They will see finishing above Neasden as a realistic target and if they can achieve that goal, they can look forward to next season with plenty of optimism.
As for Sunday, I’m tipping home advantage to sway it and RJC to collect maximum points.
Venue – Fairlop, Ref – K. Goodman
JC star man: Danny Sugarman (RJC)
DC Prediction: Redbridge JC A 2 Faithfold A 1
Relegated: Southgate Harmen B
23 - Jamie Kent (Brixton Old Boys - includes goals scored for Brixton B)
17 - Dan Orgel (Redbridge JC B)
WOODFORD WANDERERS vs NORSTAR A
Sunday could be make or break for Norstar. One of a cluster of teams on 28 points, Phil Peters’s troops know they must beat Woodford to keep alive their hopes of automatic promotion.
The 3-2 defeat against Brixton really hurt but they have a chance to put things right and put the pressure on Redbridge and Brixton ahead of their big showdown next weekend.
It all looked so good for the Stars a couple of weeks ago and at the midway point of the Brixton game they were still smiling. But not even the heroics of keeper Ben De La Fuente were enough to earn them what would have been a crucial point.
Sunday will be a real test of character for the Orange boys. Having beaten Woodford 3-1 in February they will certainly fancy their chances, but it could all boil down to bottle and temperament as the east Londoners have nothing to lose.
Striker Josh Green bagged a brace in the corresponding fixture with Eli Houri finishing the job. With an inferior goal difference on the other teams in the mix, they must focus only on taking maximum points and leave the other teams to sweat it out next weekend.
It has been a real team effort from the Stars, with Adam Jason and Green grabbing the headlines on the goal-scoring front. Peters’ priority must be on tying his star man down to long-term contracts and he’s been fighting off a whole host of big offers for his star keeper.
It’s been a season of frustration for Woodford, but the bottom line is they are safe. Strange things seem to happen when a team with nothing to play for takes on a team with everything at stake. I recall the match when Zig Zag needed to beat Team JLGB to win the Division Four title several years ago, but they had a shocker and were thumped 4-1.
Peters knows that if his men fail to handle the big occasion and are unable to hold their nerve, Woodford have the players to hurt them.
A trip to Redbridge is far less intimidating in early spring than on a dark, cold morning in December and it's for this reason and this reason alone that I'm banking on an away win.
Venue – Redbridge Sports Centre, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Jeff Gotch (Norstar)
DC Prediction: Woodford Wanderers 2 Norstar A 3
CHAMPIONS: Hendon Utd SC B
Promoted: Camden Park
21 - Doron Weinstein (Redbridge Jewish Care C - includes one for B team), James Gold (LM Lions B)
LONDON MACCABI LIONS B vs FAITHFOLD C
Only a mathematical miracle can save Faithfold C from going down.
The must take maximum points from their last two games, and score a sackload of goals, if they are to finish above FC Team B, although they will also need a big favour from their B team seven days later.
Player-manager David Garson will be relieved to hearing that Lions B are missing top-scorer James Gold. It would have been intriguing to see his battle with Faithfold top-scorer Ben Simons, but Lions’ most capped player this season will be unable to add to his tally of 26 goals in all competitions.
The signs look ominous though as the Lions are bang in form, recently hit Faithfold for six and boss Jamie Kyte will be encouraging his troops to go for the jugular despite a whole host of absentees.
He told JC Sport: “There’s no reason why we can't finish the season on a high.”
The only way Faithfold will win this game is if messus Kyte and co walk under a lot of ladders, miss their alarm calls or turn up at the wrong ground!
JC team news: Faithfold welcome back David Sherman from his trip to Graceland, Dan Lowen returns from his trip to Poundland, Ben Portnoi is expected to recover from leaning to far to the left on seder night after his second glass of wine. Jimbo Stanton misses out as he has yet another wedding and the Superhoops will have to make do without Sneezy, Bashful, Doc, Sleepy and Happy due to work commitments as we look for the fairytale finish!
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – L. Thorne
JC star man: Joel Reuben (Lions)
DC Prediction: LM Lions B 3 Faithfold C 1
CHAMPIONS: Glenthorne Utd B
Promoted: Shirley Park
Relegated: Hendon Utd SC C, Team JLGB
28 - Craig Sandford (Glenthorne B), Saul Conway (Shirley Park)
GLENTHORNE UNITED B vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN C
Sunday sees a re-run of the recent JC Barry Goldstein Trophy semi-final as the champions welcome cup finalists Neasden C.
No doubt, revenge will be the name of the game for the home side who were stunned into submission by a well-drilled Neasden team a couple of weeks ago.
With one or two places up for grabs in the Neasden cup final starting XI, players will be out to impress against a team that beat them 1-0 earlier in the season.
Joint-player-manager Craig Sandford cracked home the winner in the corresponding fixture and with the team only two games away from finishing with a 100 per cent record, there is plenty on the line for the Thornes.
Young keeper Jordan Davidson has been one of the stars of the show for Glenthorne this season, while Sandford has been grabbing the headlines on a regular basis. And with two games remaining, he’s looking to secure the JC MSFL Golden Boot as he closes in on the 30-goal mark.
Glenthorne’s home form has been imperious. They’ve smashed home 24 goals and kept three clean sheets in five game. It really is a fortress. And with NWN having one eye on next weekend’s cup final, I can see the Thornes making it 15 out of 15.
Venue – London Marathon Playing Fields, Ref – B. Pieters
JC star man: Richard Rosenthal (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd B 3 NW Neasden C 1
SHIRLEY PARK vs UJIA
Darren Rolfe will turn into the ‘tinker man’ on Sunday morning as he looks at his plans B and C ahead of next weekend’s Minor Cup final.
The UJIA boys have been busy this week, with a cup final song and suit fittings order of the day. I’ve heard reports of a bust-up as Jeremy Leigh demanded Chas & Dave while Rolfe wanted Sinatra. In the end the gaffer had it his way!
Rolfe will be considering wrapping up the likes of Assi Avital, Ben Nassim and Matt Radstone in cotton wool as he’s desperate to take a full-strength squad to Wingate next weekend. However, Gavin Sherman and Leigh are keen to play. Clearly they want to avoid any rustiness at their age ahead of such an important game.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Rolfe told JC Sport: “We may explore some different avenues this week in preparation for the final.
“We had a great game against Shirley recently and had we finished the game with 11 men instead of nine it may have been a different result.
“They have now been promoted in second - well done to them for that. However, we are focusing on another positive result and a clean sheet to take into the final at Wingate.
“We have a good selection available for Sunday. It would be nice to get one over the Shirlies......”
Rumour has it that some of the Park life have not stopped partying after the runners-up spot was secured.
Player-manager Dave Lusman will have to shuffle his pack although that won’t stop them going on the attack as they look to finish the season as the league’s highest scorers. They have already registered an incredible 83 goals but the magical 100 is no longer a realistic target.
It’s clear that Lusman and co want to go out with a bang. “It’s lucky we’re already promoted as we go into this one with a team of capable players, who are all going to be played out of position due to absentees and injury,” Lusman told JC Sport.
“We’re be gunning for all three points but would be more then happy with a draw to finish the season.”
As we all know, talk is cheap in football. Both teams will go flat out for maximum points so may the best team win.
Venue – Gladstone Park, Ref – S. Russell
JC star man: Gideon Gold (Shirley)
DC Prediction: Shirley Park 2 UJIA 2
CHAMPIONS: Brady Maccabi B
Promoted: Athletic Bilbaum
Wooden spoon: Boca Jewniors
19 - Terry Jeffries (Temple Fortune B)
18 - Edward Green (Bilbaum)
16 – Ben Hart, (NL Raiders C), James Joseph (Brady B
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C vs BRADY MACCABI B
Champions Brady will be looking to turn on the style when they bring down the curtain on a memorable first season against Raiders C.
Josh Dagul’s troops have been the real deal in a season where they took the division by storm and have finished as top-scorers.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Dagul told JC Sport: “With the title already wrapped up we will be able to enjoy ourselves on Sunday.
“That being said we still want to win the game and end the season on a high.
“I know for a fact that James Joseph, currently on 19 league goals, will be looking to tie up the Division Four golden boot on Sunday, as well as Reiss Mogilner, a potential outsider so I'd expect goals on Sunday.”
Joseph and Mogilner have been two of the stars of the show for the Brady bunch this season, but in truth, they have been excellent from front to back with experienced duo Jerome Colmans and Jonny Meltzer giving them a calming influence.
Raiders have also impressed this season and manager Oli Shorts will be looking to finish the season on a high against a team that beat them 5-1 last month. Joseph (2), Mogilner, Dan Hildebrand and Daniel Mattey were the scorers that day.
L’Orange showed great bouncebackability skills to thump Temple Fortune B 5-1 with Josh Fineman, Ashley Davidson, Darren Russell, Joe Newton and Daniel Garb.
Having made such a fine start to the season, both Shorts and Rich Abrahams are disappointed with how the season tailed off and with one or two players looking to impress in a bid to win new contracts, I expect them to give a good account of themselves.
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – M. Fox
JC star man: Josh Fineman (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders C 2 Brady B 3
TEMPLE FORTUNE B vs SPEC FC
Close but no cigar. That is the story of SPEC FC’s season as Laurence Conway’s men are left to reflect on what might have been.
Failure to beat Athletic Bilbaum means that Sunday’s trip to Temple Fortune B is little more than a dead-rubber with only pride to play for.
Indeed victory for either side would not alter the make-up of the division in any way, so I urge both sets of players to entertain the fans with attack, attack, attack the order of the day.
SPEC FC have kept five clean sheets this season and keeper Michael Rhodes will be looking to finish on a high before joining his Team GB teammates in France.
James Lesner was the matchwinner when the teams met in November but I can see Conway encouraging his troops to shoot on sight on Sunday in what could be a busy morning for Fortune keeper Phil Small.
Looking ahead to kick-off, SPEC FC's Ricky Lawrence told JC Sport: ""Sunday's game does have an end of season feel about it, but it's important we get the result to ensure we finish third.
"We are all hoping to sign off the season in style and we know that Laurence won't accept anything less."
Fortune have not won a league game since December, although it hasn’t been for the sake of trying. They’ve conceded nine goals in the last two games and it appears that the end of the season cannot come soon enough after their dreams of another appearance in the semi-finals of the Barry Goldstein Trophy fell flat.
I expect the SPEC FC big guns to call all the shots as Conway’s cohorts bow out on a high.
Ref – B. David
JC star man: Ashley Lawrence (SPEC FC)
DC Prediction: Temple Fortune B 1 SPEC FC 3