Matchday Five of the JC MSFL Season throws up some great fixtures including an Essex derby in Division Two. Danny Caro looks ahead to all the action as well as a big new signing in Division Three.
Wishing all MSFL players, officials and referees a happy new year.
JC SAVE OF THE WEEK
Arthur Kaplan (Hendon B) - 30 seconds into the game the FC Team striker broke through and unleashed an excellent shot that was heading into the top corner. Kaplan dived full-length across the goal and produced a stunning one-handed parry to push the ball wide. Top class
PREM DIV:FAITHFOLD A vs NL RAIDERS A
DIV 4:BRADY B vs SPEC
YOUR WEEKEND PREVIEW STARTS HERE:
JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
5 - Jamie Wolfson (North London Raiders A)
BRADY MACCABI vs FAITHFOLD A
The big games keep coming thick and fast for Brady and on Sunday, they will need to put in a real backs-to-the-wall job if they are to stop Faithfold.
Try as hard as they might, the Brady boys were unable stop champions Redbridge last weekend in a game where Zak Presky put in a real shift.
Jon Green and Jonny Ellis have added another dimension to Brady this season but they will have their work cut out against a top Faithfold team.
Josh Rosenfeld’s men will arrive looking for three points. He told JC Sport: “Faithfold will be an extremely tough challenge for us. I fancy them for the title this year and playing the likes of them is the reason why I took this job.
“We will give them a tough game, battle until the end and looking forward to getting out there.
“Unfortunately, due to Rosh Hashanah, we will not be training this week and we need to bounce back quickly after last week's result.”
Faithfold blew me and North London Raiders away last Sunday with a 90-minute display of pure class. Mike Pearson, Alex Levack, Alex Kaye and Dan Howard were a class above, while the team really looked the part.
Pearson and Levack scored goals out of nothing while Kaye produced another all-action 90-minute display.
Lorian Madanes also showed that he’s more than capable of producing magic moments while you should never write off Daryl Phillips.
Faithfold assistant-manager Daryl Phillips told JC Sport: “We look forward to the game against newly-promoted Brady and are expecting a tough game.
“We hope our boys will be taking it easy over the festive period and not eating too much honey cake.
“Shana tova to all MSFL players.”
Faithfold will be looking to make it three out of three on Sunday and I can’t see Brady stopping them.
JC team news: Brady will take a full-strength squad with the exception of striker Paul Hakim.
Paul Sammeroff is still sidelined with an anke injury for Faithfold. Paul Savitz may return to the squad if he does not break down in training this week.
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – M. Fox
JC star man: Lorian Madanes (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: Brady Maccabi 1 Faithfold A 3
LONDON MACCABI LIONS A vs FC TEAM A
Mitch Young has been riding on the crest of a wave this week following the 3-2 win over Harmen A – FC Team’s first-ever in the Premier Division.
His troops came back from the dead with goals from Matt Drage, Simon Peterman and Jules Noti.
But it was the performance of Dave Ossack which pleased Young most – a performance that earned him a place in my team of the week.
A two-goal head-start is not something that Team can afford the Lions on Sunday.
Managed by Josh Newman and Malcolm Newman, the Lions blew Raiders B away last Sunday is a top-class performance.
Captain Ben Joseph reminded everyone just how good he is - continually found the ball in dangerous areas setting the tone and tempo throughout. He ran the game for Lions.
New signing Alex Bowman deservedly grabbed a brace to show for his tireless work up front with two excellent finishes as well as some great hold up play.
Reflecting on the win, Josh Newman told JC Sport: “We played some really good football, particularly in the first half.
"However, the game still highlighted areas that we need to work on but the improvements since the season has started have been promising. In order to have a good year we will need to continue improving week after week.”
There will be lots of young attacking talent on show at Rowley Lane. Yoav Lebens, Joseph and Bowman will be looking to get the better of Richard Salmon, Shai Davidi and Danny Moss.
Ultimately, I can see this game being won and lost in midfield.
Venue – Rowley Lane, Ref – L. Benson
JC star man: Alex Bowman (LML)
DC Prediction: LM Lions A 2 FC Team A 1
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS B vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN A
Neasden will be looking to extend their 100 per cent record when they travel to Brunel for the second time this season.
They came back three times against Raiders A recently, before going on to edge home 4-3 in a thriller. Another action-packed 90 minutes is on the cards here.
Managed by Darren Yarlett and Lee Cash, Neasden have a really strong squad again this season with competition for places across the pitch.
Striker Jason Lindsay has looked the part since his summer move from Shirley Park while the team has an embarrassment of riches in midfield.
In Jake Gottlieb, Danny Daggers, Paul Babai, Matt Sofier and Ryan Glynne, Neasden have a strong unit with great pace out wide. Bradley Sharp and Rob Lerner continue to push for a start and it’s clear that they will be up for the game against a team they beat in the latter stages of the cup last season.
Cash wants nothing less than three points. He told JC Sport: “Our aim for Sunday is a good performance, lots of goals, concede as few as possible and our 100 per cent record intact.”
Raiders suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of the Lions last weekend. They missed the presence and leadership of central defenders Rik Sherman and Dan Grossman.
They conceded from three set-pieces will no doubt be looking to keep Neasden at arm’s-length, given the number of dead-ball experts in the opposition ranks.
Looking ahead to the game, Raiders boss Rob Richman told JC Sport: “We are looking for a much improved performance from last week. Last week was a lesson that you can't only turn up for 45 minutes.
"Neasden will be another really tough examination but we are all looking forward to it."
This promises to be an intriguing contest between two teams excellent on the counter. It could all boil down to which team keeps its composure in front of goal.
JC team news: Raiders welcome captain Rik Sherman and Dan Grossman back in the squad. Dave Esterkin is out while Nicky Woolf a big doubt having picked up a back injury in the defeat to Lions.
Neasden will be missing Rob Lerner, who is away, while Adam Klein will have a late fitness test on his baby toe.
Venue – Brunel Uni, Ref - J. Feenstra
JC star man: Matt Sofier (NWN)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders B 1 NW Neasden A 2
SOUTHGATE HARMEN A vs NORTH LONDON RAIDERS A
Gulp! It could be calculators at the ready as basement battlers Harmen welcome the Raiders to their new home in Enfield.
A real fanfare atmosphere is expected although the ground will be filled with tension, as well as black and white balloons, as both teams have yet to record a win this season.
Harmen were unable to hold on to a 2-0 advantage as they slipped to a 3-2 defeat against FC Team.
Manager Dan Uzan came away mightily disappointed, in a game that featured goals from predator Alex Bourne and the excellent Nick Gold.
“We have let ourselves down again,” Uzan told JC Sport. “The first half was a great performance that we totally dominated, and we were slightly disappointed to come in only 1-0 up.
"Nick Gold, who in my opinion was the best player on the pitch, played a fantastic through ball which Alex Bourne ran on to and finished as if he'd never been away.
"But in the second half we gave away three sloppy goals including a penalty and a header from a corner.
"We lost our shape and that cost us the game. FC Team did very well, and they deserve to be in the Prem.
"But we will look to Sunday to get a win against Raiders at our new home ground."
Raiders hope that a new year brings with it a change of fortune. The team average three goals a game, however they continue to concede at an alarming rate.
Jamie Wolfson and captain David Rhodes have been the top two performers to date, and travelling fans are expecting a major improvement on Sunday.
There could be an intriguing head-to-head between the Ellis brothers to keep an eye on in what promises to be a high-octane affair.
Venue – Southbury Leisure Centre, Ref – B. David
JC star man: Nick Gold (Harmen)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen A 2 NL Raiders A 3
7 - Jamie Kent (Brixton Old Boys A)
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN B
On paper, this one has home banker written all over it. And I can’t see it being much different on grass.
The Chigs have recovered from a bad start to record victories in their last two games. Ever the perfectionists, manager Richard Slater wants his troops to tighten up at the back as they go in search of a top two finish.
Last week they came from behind to power past Montana. They were in impressive form in the second half with the goals coming through Glenn Michaels, Paul Lenchner, Daniel Castle, Jon Swead and Anthony Mendel.
If Michaels can find the net 15 times and Mendel, Castle and Lenchner continue to chip in with regular goals, I can see them being there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
Swead was the star of the show against Montana last week and I can see him and Castle dominating the midfield on Sunday.
Chigs gaffer Richard Slater told JC Sport: “Nothing less than a win will do for us Sunday, even this early on in the season. We must maintain our good run of form.’
The signs are that this could be a tough season for Neasden. Manager Daniel Hodes is looking to bring more quality into the squad.
After last weekend’s 3-0 defeat against Oakwood, Hodes gave this brutally honest assessment. “Right now lacking enough quality to win games and this may take a long time to come until we can really challenge teams,” he told JC Sport.
I think Chigwell will have the brains and brawn to win this game.
JC team news: For Chigwell, Jamie Fox returns to squad after getting hitched last weekend. Simon Felstein and Michael Witzenfeld (work), Adam Goodman (away) Lloyd Becker, Marc Radzan and Rob Shepherdson (injured) miss out.
Chigwell squad: Marc Jacobs, Lee Hyams, Alex Norman, Paul Lenchner, Glenn Davis, Russell Yershon, Dean Michaels, Jonathan Swead, Daniel Castle (capt), Richard Slater, Craig Pearl, Antony Mendel, Jamie Fox, Glenn Michaels
Venue – Peter May Sports Centre, Ref – A. Djanogly
JC star man: Alex Norman (Chigwell)
DC Prediction: Chigwell Athletic 3 NW Neasden B 1
OAKWOOD vs NORSTAR A
Unbeaten in three, Oakwood will be looking to add another notch to their belt when they host the Stars.
James Abrams, Dan Ash and Adam Levine were the marksmen in the 3-0 win at Neasden B last Sunday, but it was defender Rob Davidson who caught the eye with “a spotless performance at left back”. Joint-manager Ric Blanc said he played with “pace, power, bravery and composure”.
Now Blanc and co are setting their sights on Norstar. He told JC Sport: “As always, we’re looking forward to the game this weekend.
“We know that newly-promoted sides are full of momentum and belief so it will be a very difficult game against Norstar. Afterall, we were a newly promoted side ourselves once!
“The boys are fit and firing at the moment and looking forward to each game. That’s a great frame of mind to be in and long may it continue. Shana tova everyone.”
Norstar go into the game on the back of a 6-1 mauling at the hands of third division Glenthorne B. But manager Phil Peters isn’t hitting the panic button yet.
After two frustrating cup defeats, Norstar boss Phil Peters has reported “an almost full-strength squad” for Sunday. He said: “We're currently leaking goals at the back and not putting away our chances at the other end.
“With lots of competition in the attacking department, the lads up top are going to have to start taking their chances otherwise I’m going to be forced to play myself again - and after a wonderful free-kick last weekend I'm not sure anyone would have too much of a problem with that.
“We lost 3-1 to Oakwood in the cup last season and we know they're a solid team who are very hard to break down. Three defeats in a row is unacceptable for me and Slav and we'll be challenging the boys to get back to winning ways.
“We're also hoping that most of the Oakwood boys choose to stay up north after the Rosh Hashanah break rather than coming down for a relatively meaningless early season match!”
Oakwood are at home and on fire. I can only see one winner.
JC team news: The Oaks are missing Eddie Manson or Kintish again this week while Ben Myers completes his suspension. Blanc added: “I’d actually almost forgotten about him but he rolled up to training the other night as if he’d never been away asking to play. He’ll be back next week.”
Venue – Parmiters, Ref – A. Myerson
JC star man: Rob Davidson (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: Oakwood 3 Norstar A 1
TEMPLE FORTUNE A vs SOUTHGATE HARMEN B
Harmen boss Marc Cohen believes his team can go on to bigger and better things following last week’s victory over Woodford.
Not many teams stop Woodford from scoring but the Harmen boys executed Cohen’s game-plan to the letter, and he was desperately unlucky not to win JC Manager of the Week for his efforts.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Cohen told JC Sport: “I was so proud of the team’s performance last weekend and we are determined to build on that result with another win this weekend which would be a very happy and sweet start to the new year.
“We will be going into this weekend full of confidence after a great win.
“We picked up a couple of injuries, however we have good strength in depth and will be looking to build on the momentum with another big performance.
“The defence were immense in our last game and they will be key again.
“David Marcus has been in sparkling form the last two weeks and Harmen will be looking to him and Bradley Cohen to pull the strings in the middle of the park.
“Paul Stein will be one of the danger men and will be searching to add to his account for the season.”
The luck was against Fortune who were eliminated from the JC League Cup last week, going down 3-2 against second division Faithfold C after extra time.
Having caused a major upset of their own in beating Hendon A last season, Fortune got a taste of their own medicine with a strike from Ben Simons sending them tumbling out.
Michael Goldberg maintained his rich vein of form while Rob Benson popped up with the other.
Manager Lee Fegan was looking to take the positives out of the game in which they hit the woodwork several times and came up against an inspired keeper.
Fegan told JC Sport: “We were unfortunately to lose last weekend. Our players have kept their heads held high and we are ready to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.
“We just hope that the crossbar at the Hive is thinner than the one at Gosling Park due to being deprived by the woodwork on five occasions.
“Shooting practice is also being worked on tonight at training.”
While Marcus and Stein are the biggest threats for Harmen, Fortune have many strings to their bow in the final third.
I’m predicting goals aplenty but Harmen to edge home.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – M. Lavender
JC star man: Paul Stein (Harmen)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen B 3 Temple Fortune A 2
WOODFORD WANDERERS vs MONTANA BOCA UNITED
Woodford and Montana hope that the new year brings renewed hope as they look to get back to winning ways.
I’m expecting a good old-fashioned battle between two honest and hard-working teams.
The Woodford boys are still licking their wounds after being frustrated by Harmen B.
Back-to-back defeats have hurt as has the fact that they have yet to register in the league.
Manager Alex Aviram and No. 2 Daniel Shafron have been working hard behind the scenes in a bid to put things right.
In Jerome Marks and Elliot Gold, the Wanderers have two of the best players in the division and home fans will be looking for a big display from Darryl Green.
The wheels came off in the second half for Montana last week and they will need to be on their guard as they take on a team from east London for the second consecutive week.
Darren Cohen and Simon Hecker found the net in the first half but they had no answer to wave after wave of Chigwell attacks.
Manager Viv Emanuel now faces a headache. Cohen has rapidly turned into the Paul Warhurst of the club. He excels at the heart of defence but can also do a job up top. But I think that clean sheets must be the priority.
Consistency is the name of the game for Montana this season and they will be little margin for error between now and the end of the season.
It’s a hard one to call and I can see the teams coming away honours even.
Venue – Redbridge Sports Centre, Ref – A. Russell
JC star man: Adam Osper (Montana)
DC Prediction: Woodford 1 Montana 1
4 - Gav Noe, Raph Noe (both Hendon B), Joey Lazare (LM Lions B), Dan Lipman (Glenthorne Utd A)
FAITHFOLD B vs LONDON MACCABI LIONS B
Rob Shooman’s Faithfold have had plenty of time to reflect on defeat in the cup.
Now they need to build on the derby win over their C team and go in search of another three points against Lions.
With their respective A and C teams in fine fettle, I expect them to have a solid campaign with promotion the name of the game.
Winning at home is the key for the Superhoops this season and Shooman will be looking for big performances from the likes of Adam Grossman and Ben Lewis.
The Lions have started strongly with Jamie Kyte’s summer signings bedding in well.
It will be important for the visitors to start well and expect an early onslaught.
If they can do this I can see them getting something from the game.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – R. Benardout
JC star man: Henry Ziff (Lions)
DC Prediction: Faithfold B 1 LM Lions B 1
FC TEAM B vs FAITHFOLD C
Faithfold C never do things the easy way but neutrals believe they deserved their luck on the way to a memorable cup win over first division Temple Fortune A last Sunday.
Player-manager David Garson performed heroics in goal with a performance that earned him a slot in JC Team of the Week.
The crossbar also played a blinder though Garson is in two minds whether or not to name it in the starting XI again!
The goals and experience of Ben Simons means that Faithfold will always score goals. He will be a big player for them again this season as they go in search of their first win in Division Two.
Matt Smith showed that he knows how to finish last week while Dan Lowen is also expected to contribute goals on a regular basis.
Gaffer Garson told JC Sport: “We’re looking forward to building on last week’s performance.”
FC Team B have a tough game at Redbridge next week so it’s vital they get something from this game.
They gave a good account of themselves against Hendon B last week with Freddie Marks on target again in a 2-1 defeat.
Captained by the ever-reliable Eddie Sternberg, there is a great sense of belief in the camp that they can put a couple of tough years behind them and if their big players start firing and firing regularly, then a top five finish is up for grabs.
Every point is crucial for both teams and I can see both sets of fans coming away with something to smile about.
JC team news: Faithfold welcome back Dan Lowen and Jamie Taylor.
Venue – Meadow Park, Ref – M. Cowan
JC star man: Matt Smith (Faithfold)
DC Prediction: FC Team B 2 Faithfold C 2
GLENTHORNE UNITED A vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE C
There’s a hat-trick of big derbies this weekend. The Merseyside derby, the north London derby and the east London derby and you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be plenty of talking points after the latter.
Glenthorne got the better of Redbridge last season – running out league champions by a five-point margin.
The Thornes scored three more goals and conceded two less than their local rivals but that is all in the past.
It’s time to wipe the slate clean with revenge the name of the game for the visitors.
Doron Weinstein was their two-goal hero in the win over L’Equipe last Sunday. There was also a stand-out display from Hadley Silver in midfield.
Manager Dan Gordon told JC Sport: “On the back of our first three points of the season, we are looking to continue where we left off.
“The fixture computer throws up another huge game for us as we make the short trip to Glenthorne for our second meeting of the season already.
“After a 2-0 defeat last time out we would like to finally bury them this time around.
“Glenthorne are a great side and with Dan Lipman they have a great player who can play at a much higher level.
“Most of our players know most of theirs so rivalry is huge. We have been working on Glenthorne’s weakness in training and will be going at them from the start.
“I can tell you that none of my players will be at Faces night club this Saturday and a 48-hour drink ban is in operation after Yom tov.
“Anyone that wants to come and watch this match gets a free spray tan on arrival!
“I have a 20-man squad to chose from. A win is all we want and I will be picking my best possible 14-15.”
Lipman showed his class last Sunday with a hat-trick easing them past Neasden C in the cup. It’s clear the boy is sheer quality and if you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile.
Looking ahead to the clash, he told JC Sport: “We’re at full-strength this week.
"It feels a bit strange to be playing Redbridge for the second successive league match, but who is to argue with the fixture gods.
“We started very slowly against Neasden last week and were lucky to go in at half time ahead. This week I'm hoping we fly out of the blocks."
Fans are advised to arrive early to what should be a stonking affair.
Venue – Fairlop Oak, Ref – A. Lewis
JC star man: Hadley Silver (RJC)
DC Prediction: Glenthorne Utd A 2 Redbridge JC C 2
7 - Saul Conway (Shirley Park)
CATFORD & BROMLEY MACCABI vs GLENTHORNE UNITED B
It’s David against Goliath in Edmonton on Sunday as the Cats welcome team-of-the-moment Glenthorne B.
The Cats go into the game in buoyant mood following successive wins in league and cup.
Eli Baraty, Yonni Bord, Ashley Stokes and keeper Guy Ben-Aroya have played key roles in those wins, and last week it was the turn of stalwart Joel Isaacs who hit the winner against JLGB.
Sunday against Glenthorne will be a notch or two up in terms of opposition.
Looking ahead to the match, Catford joint-manager Adam Lewis told JC Sport: “I'm sure we'll be written off by everyone before this week's game, but we're hoping we can spring something of a surprise.
“We’ve already come a long way since that first game and haven't conceded from open play in our last two games.
“We know this will be our toughest test of the season; Glenthorne B are better than this division, but if we approach the game in the right way and play to our full potential then just maybe we can come away with something.
“Our squad is getting stronger and stronger and it's amazing to think that just a year ago we were worried about the oldest name in the MSFL folding.
“Last week, for the first time in recent memory we had a selection problem because we had too many players available. It’s certainly a nicer problem to have than scrambling around every week and long may it continue, because we have a whole squad of truly fantastic guys.”
Unlike some of the other divisions, Glenthorne, my tips for the title, do not look like letting me down.
It’s clear they are packed with quality from front to back and have only conceded once in three games.
Last week they hit a higher division team for six in the cup and the signs are that they will only get better.
Manager of the Week Craig Sandford told JC Sport: “We are fully aware that Catford & Bromley will be determined to put the previous 8-0 result behind them and would have a strong will to win.
“We are also aware that they won on Sunday and didn’t concede a goal. I have to make sure the players go into the game focussed, disciplined and aware of what we need to do to get the three points.
“I’m sure Manchester United would not turn up at The Emirates after their 8-2 win thinking the game is already won.
“Previous results mean nothing and we take each game at a time. I’m delighted with our three previous wins and the club is in high spirits but you win nothing in October. We wish everyone a happy new year.”
Given Catford’s recent improvement, I can’t see it finishing 8-0 again, but I can see the east Londoners coming away with maximum points.
JC team news: For Glenthorne, Josh Wynne will be selling hot dogs outside White Hart Lane, Lewis Walker is away and Paul Block will hopefully be a new father. Mitchell Ross is injured and Richard Rosenthal may be washing his hair. Adam Shafron returns from Miami
Venue – Norsemen FC, Ref – M. De La Fuente
JC star man: James Rubin (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: Catford & Bromley 1 Glenthorne Utd B 3
UJIA vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN C
Revenge is the name of the game for UJIA on Sunday.
Edged out by Louis Taylor’s men on the opening weekend of the season, it’s clear that Darren Rolfe’s troops will be up for the challenge.
Rolfe told JC Sport: “Sunday is revenge time for UJIA. We lost to Neasden first game of the season and will be at full strength on Sunday as we had a few players missing from our first game.
“The whole squad remain positive and I know Taylor’s lads will be a tough challenge but we’re up for it.”
Neasden were well beaten by Glenthorne A in the cup last Sunday and Taylor is looking for a big reaction on Sunday.
Taylor returns to the squad having been cup-tied last week. He told JC Sport: “We have quite a few players back for this game. I’m no longer cup-tied and I’m hoping I can persuade myself to start up front. Captain Ed Bloom comes back from injury - a massive lift for everyone.
“We are beginning to see some of our players leave for university but with the addition of the versatile Marcus Mann to the squad I think we have enough quality in the squad.
“I was a little disappointed with some of the commitment shown by some of the players last week in the cup - with lots of players available, I’m going to have to be ruthless and pick the team that I believe will win the game.”
With Taylor and Bloom in the team, it’s hard to see past Neasden, but they underestimate the U’s at their peril.
Venue – The Hive, Ref – H. Raffe
JC star man: Marcus Mann (Neasden)
DC Prediction: UJIA 1 NW Neasden C 2
SHIRLEY PARK vs BLIZZARD STORM
While Shirley Park are packed with big names Blizzard Storm are not. Until now, that is.
Manager Simon Linden this week completed the signing of Team GB and London Lions star Aron Barnes, who goes straight into the squad for Sunday’s meeting with the Park life.
The acquisition of a player likes Barnes speaks volumes of Blizzard’s ambition which shows no sign of letting up despite a disappointing start.
A delighted Linden told JC Sport: “In what is the shock of the week, Seb Vandermolen and Simon Linden wined and dined Barnes on a luxury yacht in Canvey Island.”
The deal is thought to be in the region of 16 million shekels but these are only rumours at this stage.
Part of the package agreed is that close friend Alex Gold is also signing for Blizzard.
The good news does not stop there as Adam Nathan makes a dramatic return to the Blizzard squad which is looking for a overdue win.
Linden added: “We’re confident we can kick-start our season this weekend. It’s a massive game for us.”
Shirley won’t mind the focus being off them for a change. Like Manchester United and Liverpool, they did their business much earlier, bagging star striker Saul Conway from Hendon A.
It’s no surprise that Conway already tops the scoring charts and he will be disappointed with anything less than 30 goals in Division Three.
Shirley have claimed a win in league and cup and joint-manager Dave Lusman is eyeing three more points on Sunday.
“Blizzard are a sharp team and won’t be underestimated. Park go into this fixture with a strong squad. We hope to improve on our performance last week against Blizzard. We didn't wake up until the second half kicked in. We wont be making that mistake again.
“We’re good to go. The Soul man will bring the drama up front and the Benfredj brothers hope to extend their goal-scoring account.Park life!”
This has all the ingredients for an epic.
JC team news: Shirley Park welcome Dan Beckwith to the ranks. He is in line for his debut. Gideon Gold returns from a thumb injury after having a light run-out next week.
Venue – Gladstone Park, Ref – S. Levy
JC star man: Aron Barnes (Blizzard)
DC Prediction: Shirley Park 2 Blizzard Storm 1
4 - Terry Jeffries (Temple Fortune B)
SPEC vs FC TEAM C
Do not walk under any ladders. Do not open an umbrella indoors. Those are the instructions from SPEC manager Laurence Conway as his threadbare squad prepares for the visit of FC Team C.
The SPEC boys have experienced a run of rotten luck since returning to the JC MSFL.
Long-term injuries to keeper Michael Rhodes and midfielder Elliot Wallis have hit them hard. Wallis picked up a terrible injury in the match against Brady B at Rowley Lane last week.
SPEC’s Ricky Lawrence told JC Sport: “After the horrendous injury suffered to Elliott Wallis last Sunday, we will be doing our best to make sure heads are not down and that we stay as upbeat as possible.
“Unfortunately Elliott wasn't the only injury in the game as James Lesner went off injured too and will miss this Sunday's game and possibly a couple more due to a shoulder problem.
“Laurence Rosenthal also suffered a thigh strain so he is a doubt for next Sunday. It's fair to say the injury curse at SPEC didn't start and end with Michael Rhodes.”
With a big crowd expected, Lawrence is expecting a tough battle on Sunday. “We don't know much about FC Team C but from their results they seem like a very decent side and seem to score goals for fun,” he said.
“It should be an interesting game and we're expecting a very close encounter but now is the time for our players to step up and if they do so we are still capable of challenging at the right end of the table.
“We know after our recent injuries we're in for an even tougher season, but spirits are surprisingly high and we're all prepared to give it our all.
“We had an excellent training session on Monday and we're determined to put a smile on Michael and Elliott's faces.”
The visitors go into the game bang in form. Matt Sheldon has been a revelation along with another Raiders old boy Rob Sanford. And it’s only a matter of time until Dave Wexler finds his shooting boots.
Looking ahead to Sunday, manager Michael Myers told JC Sport: “We want to maintain our winning streak. We’ve scored 18 goals in the past three games and only conceding five.
“University has started again and injuries are creeping into the squad but I believe that we have enough quality in the squad to consistently perform well.
“Everyone is excited to play against SPEC, who were tipped for the title after a successful pre-season, but FC Team C are proving that they are contenders in this division.
“I think the game could go either way and it will be about which team wants it more.
“The man to watch this week is Matt Sheldon. He has scored four goals in his last three games from right wing and is determined to add to his tally.”
Venue – Hatch End Playing Fields, Ref – N. Burns
JC star man: Matt Sheldon (FC Team)
DC Prediction: SPEC 2 FC Team C 2
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C vs JEWVENTUS
After a rousing best man’s speech at Jon Galloway’s wedding last week, Gabriel John is promising a “special” teamtalk ahead of Sunday’s visit to Raiders C.
For one reason or another - wedding or Tyger Paw – John has been unable to give due care and attention to his team so far this season. But he promises that that will change from Sunday.
The Jewve boys recently took Neasden B the distance in the cup, going down to two goals in the last 15 minutes of extra time. John was rightly proud of the performance against a Division One team and rightly so.
He knows that only a similar performance will do against a red-hot Raiders.
Speaking in his midweek press conference, John told JC Sport: “This week sees us pitted against old foes NLR C, who with the twins in full flow gave us a bit of a hiding last year.
“This year should be different. After a few doubts pre season, we’ve managed to gather a strong squad and I’d hope to get at least take a point.
“With Gab Saul returning and Dan Ezra looking sharp again, Jewve should be a match for the young bucks of NLR.”
It’s been all systems go for Raiders C so far this season, but manager Oli Shorts will remind his troops that it’s still early days.
Shorts told JC Sport: “After three wins on the spin, we enter the game with a full strength team and new-found belief.
“We know Jewventus very well from last season and although results suggest otherwise, we know we'll be in a competitive game on Sunday.
“Jewventus have some strong players and we will need to match them all over the pitch.
“If my players enter the match with the right attitude then I believe we can have nine points from nine.”
Venue – Hatfield Uni, Ref – A. Yuchetel
JC star man: Matt Keston (Raiders)
DC Prediction: NL Raiders C 3 Jewventus 2
ATHLETIC BILBAUM vs BOCA JEWNIORS
Winning has become something of a habit for the Bilbaum boys so far this season.
Success in three out of their first four games in league and cup have laid the foundations for what could be their best campaign yet.
Player-manager Mark Pasha, Ed Green and Dan Bell have led the way, with Josh Greibach chipping in with some goals that have turned him into a favourite with the fans.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Pasha told JC Sport: “We don’t know a whole lot about our opponents this weekend, but despite that we are hoping to continue the strong start we’ve made to the season.
“We will go into the game fully focused looking to start the new year by adding another three points to our tally so far.
“In a touching gesture ahead of this weeks clash, Bernebaum stadium staff have told me that the tradition half time oranges will be replaced with organic Latvian red apples and the finest New Zealand lavender honey.”
The Baums start Sunday’s match against Boca as narrow favourites but they shouldn’t be expecting a stroll in the park.
Sefton Monk’s Boca have found the going harder than expected, with four defeats already to their name.
Like the Baums, they like to entertain as they showed in last week’s thrilling 3-2 defeat against Raiders C.
I can see more goals flying in at the Heath with Baums’ fans coming away the happier.
Venue – Hampstead Heath Extension, Ref – P. Dobkin
JC star man: Josh Greibach (Bilbaum)
DC Prediction: Athletic Bilbaum 4 Boca Jewniors 2
ATHLETICO FINCHLEY vs BRADY MACCABI B
A first MSFL victory is proving somewhat elusive to new boys Athletico Finchley but I expect them to experience that winning feeling sooner or later.
Sunday might come too soon for them against a Brady team that is going places.
Brady’s match against SPEC was abandoned due to an injury last week and Josh Dagul’s troops will be hoping Sunday’s trip passes without incident.
With Jonny Meltzer, captain James Joseph and Jerome Colmans in fine fettle, the team is looking forward to unveiling attacking midfielder Elliott Dagul in the new year.
Brady are unbeaten this season and I expect them to edge it on Sunday.
Venue – Copthall, Ref – L. Thorne
JC star man: Jerome Colmans (Brady)
DC Prediction: Athletico Finchley 1 Brady Maccabi B 3
BRIXTON OLD BOYS B vs TEMPLE FORTUNE B
Brixton were well-beaten by Bilbaum in the cup last weekend and I think they will find the going tough again on Sunday against high-flying Fortune.
Fortune were without a game last week but they have made an impressive start this season with player-manager Terry Jeffries leading from the front.
Jeffries has hit four goals already this season with veterans Jonathan Dubiner and Dave Sawyer also on target.
At present, the boys in red and yellow score twice as many as they concede and with Simon Allen keeping in commanding form at the back, I can see the visitors registering their third success.
Venue - Clowes
JC star man: Dave Sawyer (Fortune)
DC Prediction: Brixton B 1 Temple Fortune B 3
JC CYRIL ANEKSTEIN CUP ROUND ONE
L’EQUIPE vs BRIXTON OLD BOYS A
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you which way I’m going on this one.
Brixton have a 100 per cent record this season while L’Equipe have lost all their games.
David Prager’s L’Equipe took Redbridge C to the wire last week but things are just not going for them right now.
Prager will keep faith in the tried and tested core set of players who have been with the club for four years but they face a big ask on Sunday.
Brixton were in seventh heaven in the Sunday FA Cup when hat-tricks from Rob Hershkorn and Jamie Kent while Ed Weicz grabbed JC Goal of the Week with a 70-yard stunner.
Kent already has seven goals to his name and looks a good bet for the Golden Boot. No doubt, he’ll be looking to fill his boots here.
Even if L’Equipe can stop Kent, there will be several other players looking to stick one in the net.
It’s Brixton for me.
JC star man: Rob Hershkorn (Brixton)
DC Prediction: L’Equipe 0 Brixton A 5