ESL 2017/18 – Preview (29.9.17)

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Intro by Scott W

Following the FA Vase action last week for the majority of ESL sides, the full league fixture programme returns on Saturday. Below are Peter’s and my thoughts on Saturday’s action.

Saturday 30th September

Barkingside  v  Sawbridgeworth Town     |    Venue: Cricklefield

Peter:  ‘Side come into this one off the back of two straight home defeats whilst Sawbridgeworth sit just above the bottom four after five defeats in eight league games, however they have won their last two away from home, both in cup competitions against tough sides, so will no doubt pose a threat in this one.  I reckon a draw will be the outcome here.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: Sawbridgeworth travel to Cricklefield to take on ‘Side in an intriguing league encounter. The hosts have lost their last three in all competitions and will want to react to last weekend’s home loss in the FA Vase. Sawbridgeworth are in the middle of a mini-revival after winning three of their last four in all competitions. This will definitely be a test for both sides though Sawbridgeworth may edge this one.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


Basildon Utd   v  Tower Hamlets    |    Venue: The Hive

Peter: The Bees have slipped to fourth after results went against them in the last week or so, and they welcome the most in-form side in the division to The Hive in Tower Hamlets who have won six straight in the league and put ten past Little Oakley in the Vase last weekend.  The Bees had a much tougher win last weekend, needing extra time to see off Walsham le Willows, and another tough test awaits them here.  Gonna go for a draw here too.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: Basildon welcome Tower Hamlets to the Hive with both sides residing in the top six. The visitors have won their last five ESL matches on-the-trot so the Bees will know there’s in for a tough match here. That said, the hosts’ only loss in the ESL this term so far was at home to Enfield 1893 and their forward line will very likely give the Hamlets backline a hard afternoon as well. This one has potential for goals and it could be a score draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2


Great Wakering Rovers  v   FC Romania   |    Venue: Burroughs Park

Peter: Wakering welcome FC Romania to Burroughs Park having won their last four games in all competitions whilst the visitors have slipped to eighth after a recent bare patch (and cup competitions) but did grab their first win in five games with a last-gasp win a Southend Manor in the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy on Wednesday.  Fancy a home win here though.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 0

Scott: One of the games of the day sees Wakering take on FC Romania at Burroughs Park. Iain O’Connell’s side have won their last four matches in all competitions and are on the way to making Burroughs Park somewhat of ‘a fortress’ though you write off the ever-dangerous FCR at your peril, despite them only winning one of their last four league matches. That said, the visitors will really need to be on their mettle though to take all the points here. Wakering may just edge this one.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1


Hackney Wick v Stansted      |       Venue: Old Spotted Dog

Peter: Wick are yet to win a home game this season although they have won twice on-the-road in the last few games but come up against a Stansted side who held an in-form Tower Hamlets before losing on penalties in the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy, and prior to that had won two games in a row scoring eleven in the process.  For me it all points to an away win here.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Scott: Two mid-table sides do battle at the OSD as Wick welcome Stansted. Tolga Dervish’s side have won two of their last five league matches so they’ll be in decent spirits. Stansted thrashed out-of-form Wadham last weekend in their previous league match last weekend so they’ll be keen to continue their recent improvement on the score-sheet. This match is difficult to predict though I’ll plump for Paul Pittuck’s side to edge it.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


Redbridge  v  Hullbridge Sports          |        Venue: Oakside

Peter: The Motormen had been on a five-game winning streak in all competitions until they fell to Coggeshall Town after a replay in the Vase in midweek.  However their league form is good and they welcome a Hullbridge side to Oakside who sit just two places above the bottom four after an indifferent start to their campaign, however a 3-0 win at Ilford last weekend in the Vase certainly gave them some confidence (as well as their penalty shoot out win over Sporting in the GBMT on Tuesday). But Redbridge I believe will have too much firepower and will win this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Scott: Sports travel to Oakside to face a Redbridge side that exited the FA Vase at Coggeshall Town in midweek. Ricky Eaton & Joey May’s side will undoubtedly be looking for a better result here and continue a run that’s seen them win their last four league matches. Hullbridge recorded a really good win in the FA Vase last weekend though in the league they are winless in their last three matches and I feel that their defence will be tested here against the Motormen’s lively forward line. Rob Hodgson’s side does have the knack of grinding results out though I still think we’ll see a home win here.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Southend Manor  v  Waltham Forest     |    Venue: Southchurch Park

Peter: Manor have shown flashes of brilliance this term however it’s been a largely poor start for the Southchurch Park side.  They welcome a Waltham Forest team who have had a very up-and-down campaign so far so it’s hard to know how they will do here.  I have a feeling Manor will finally earn some luck and come away with a win here.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Scott: Manor welcome Forest to Southchurch Park. Thus far, the hosts have only played five ESL matches though they are winless in their last four and are another side that needs to tighten up at the back as they seek to kick-start their campaign. Forest have won two of their last five ESL matches and they have scored ten goals in the process. I’m going for a draw here.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2


Sporting Bengal Utd  v  Woodford Town (2017)  |   Venue: Mile End Stadium

Peter: Bengal have had a wonderful start to their season so far and sit second to West Essex only on goal difference and they welcome a Woodford Town side who have lost their last two league games, conceding eight in the process, and I feel the hosts will grab another win here.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Scott: Woodford travel to Mile End to face high-flying Sporting Bengal. In league terms, the hosts are ‘riding the crest of a wave’ having won six of their last seven league matches. By contrast, Woodford have been unpredictable thus far this term, having won just one of their last six league encounters, though that win was away from home. I feel they will need to have a strong start to get anything from this match. Home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1


Takeley  v   Clapton    |   Venue:  Station Road

Peter:  Hosts Takeley are the only side in the division still with a 100% league record, six wins from six, as they sit just a point behind the leaders in third spot.  Clapton sit in tenth position although their recent form has seen them win three of their last four outings, including a comeback win over FC Romania last weekend and then a thumping win at Wadham Lodge in the GBMT in midweek.  However I feel the hosts will make it seven from seven in this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 0

Scott: Takeley welcome Clapton to Station Road in this eagerly-awaited encounter. Takeley are defending their 100% league record while the Tons have been unpredictable in the ESL of late, having won two and drawn two of their five league matches. If Takeley aren’t quite on their ‘A-game’ then we could see a slight surprise though I reckon Marc Das’ side will be well up for this match. Home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1


Wadham Lodge   v   Burnham Ramblers  |    Venue: Kitchener Road

Peter: A lot has happened at Lodge in the last couple of weeks, and what is now a brand-new side and management look to try and improve on their wretched league form which reads played ten, won one and lost nine.  Last Saturday’s 8-0 thrashing at Stansted followed by a 4-0 home defeat to Clapton doesn’t bode well for them and they welcome a Ramblers side who recorded a fine win at Kirkley & Pakefield in the Vase last weekend.  This is an important game between the ESL’s bottom two, and one I feel the visitors will prevail in.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2


Scott: Burnham make the first of two trips to Kitchener Road in a week to take on bottom side Wadham. The home side have made changes to the managerial team & the playing squad recently as they seek to end a four-match losing run in the league. Burnham haven’t won in their last five league matches themselves though they do look a different proposition, compared to last term and if they keep working hard, you do get the feeling that wins will come for them. That might start here, though I suspect it will be a hard-fought match here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3


West Essex  v  Enfield 1893   |   Venue: Mayesbrook Park

Peter: League leaders West Essex welcome fourth-bottom Enfield 1893 to Mayesbrook Park and you’d be forgiven to think that this one would be a routine home win.  Well if you look further into the two clubs form West Essex have only won one of their five home games in all competitions this season and are only top due to their magnificent away record.  Enfield themselves dumped a very useful Stowmarket Town out of the Vase last weekend, inflicting their first home loss in 308 days.  And prior to that they ended Basildon’s 100% league record too so are more than useful.  I have a feeling this may end all square.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: Finally, Enfield travel to Mayesbrook Park as they take on high-flying West Essex. There are signs that the start-of-season ‘honeymoon period’ is coming to an end for the hosts as they’ve lost four of their last eight matches in all competitions. Factor in recent wins at Clapton & Southend Manor though and you get indications of the spirit that is in Kwame Kwateng’s side. Although Enfield have lost four of their last eight matches in all competitions, Enfield have also picked up wins at Basildon (ESL) and Stowmarket (FA Vase) recently so perhaps Matt Hanning’s side are on an upward curve. Even so, this will be a tough match for Josh Sykes & co. and this one could end honours-even.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2


You can follow Peter on Twitter: @ped1980 and on his website at

You can follow Scott W on Twitter: @ScottMHC14

Author: survivor16b

I'm a Mental Health survivor (been surviving for years) & campaigner. I also like Music & Sport. This blog is centred on all things Non-League Football, mainly Match Reports of matches I've seen (mainly Essex Senior League (ESL) but also other Leagues) though it also houses the regular round-up's of the ESL action plus the Essex Olympian League divisions regularly. It also has the odd post about the scary world that we're all in, talking from a Mental Health perspective. Thank you for reading.

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