FA Vase First Round Proper (ESL sides) & ESL/ECC Preview (20.10.17)

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Intro by Scott W

This weekend, the Buildbase FA Vase reaches the First Round Proper stage and some ESL sides are in action across the weekend. Which teams will triumph and bag £825 in prize money? There are also a limited number of Essex Senior League fixtures this weekend plus a solitary tie in the Errington Challenge Cup. Here are Peter’s and my thoughts on this weekend’s ties…

FA Vase First Round Proper

Friday 20th October

Holland v Great Wakering Rovers   |   Venue: Rush Green Bowl

Peter:  Rovers travel to Clacton on Friday evening to see if they can continue their FA Vase adventure when they take on Thurlow Nunn One side Holland.  The hosts have won six and drawn four of their ten league games so far, sitting in eleventh place, whilst Rovers have lost their last two without scoring but I feel their one Step advantage may count here and although it will be a tough assignment for them, they will grab the victory.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Scott: Wakering travel to Clacton’s Rush Green Bowl to take on Step 6 side Holland in the first local FA Vase tie on Friday night. The Thurlow Nunn Division One side are currently mid-table having won six of their ten league matches thus far. Wakering won at West Essex in the last round of the FA Vase though have lost twice this week against Clapton and Sawbridgeworth Town so Iain O’Connell will likely be demanding a reaction from his players. If the visitors have the right attitude then I can see them going through to the next round.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


Basildon Utd  v   Biggleswade    | Venue: The Hive

Peter: This proves to be a tough test for the Bees as they take on Spartan South Midlands Premier side Biggleswade at The Hive.  The visitors sit fourth in the division having won seven of their eleven league matches so far whilst The Bees sit in second spot in the ESL and will be no doubt confident of victory though. Hard one to call here but because of home advantage I will plump for the hosts, maybe after extra time.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 2

Scott: The Bees welcome Spartan South Midlands (SSM) Premier side Biggleswade to the Hive. Basildon defeated Walsham-le-Willows in the last round and have had an excellent start to the campaign in the league. Capping that off, they signed ex-Hullbridge forward Luke Hornsley this week and he scored in a home win over Barkingside in midweek. The visitors cannot be discounted either though as they are in the top five of their Step 5 division as well, having won seven matches thus far this term. Home advantage might be the deciding factor in this one and I reckon it will be a tight one.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1


Beckenham Town   v    Sawbridgeworth Town   |   Venue: Eden Park Avenue

Peter:  The Robins travel to Kent to take on Southern Counties East Premier side Beckenham Town and the hosts have had a rather mixed season, having won five and lost five of their ten league games so far. Sawbo themselves have had a rather mixed start but have won twice on the road in the Vase and also recorded victory at Great Wakering Rovers in midweek so will be confident of victory here.  And I expect them to sneak this one too.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Scott: Southern Counties East Premier side Beckenham welcome Sawbridgeworth to Eden Park Avenue. The hosts are mid-table in their Step 5 division, having won five and lost five matches so far this term. Sawbridgeworth have only won three ESL matches so far this term, though did send Hadleigh Utd out in the last round. The visitors did pick up a morale-boosting win at Wakering in midweek though I suspect this one will be a tough encounter for John Watters’ side.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1


Burnham Ramblers  v  Leighton Town  |  Venue: Leslie Field

Peter: Ramblers welcome Spartan South Midlands Premier side Leighton Town to Leslie Field in the midst of their best spell of the season so far which has seen them win their last three games scoring fourteen goals in the process.  The visitors are having a fairly decent campaign themselves, sitting sixth after six wins, three draws and only two defeats so far.  No reason why the hosts can’t pull of another decent win here and I feel they may just do that.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 0

Scott: Burnham host SSM Premier side Leighton at Leslie Field. Burnham got arguably their result of the season thus far overcoming Redbridge in a barn-storming match in midweek though welcome a Leighton side that are in the top six of their league having won six of their 11 matches so far this season. The test will be whether the hosts maintain their level of performance from midweek then heck knows what could happen. I’m going go for a draw here.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2


Halstead Town  v  Tower Hamlets  | Venue: Rosemary Lane

Peter: Hamlets travel to North Essex to take on Thurlow Nunn One side Halstead Town full of confidence after a resounding 5-2 win at Stansted in midweek.  The Mile End club are having a terrific season and sit fifth in the ESL whilst their opponents are a step below and sit in ninth after five wins, five draws and three defeats in their thirteen games so far.  It will be a tough game for Hamlets however I believe they have enough to get through in this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Scott: Tower Hamlets travel to Rosemary Lane take on ECL Division One side Halstead Town. The hosts are mid-table in their Step 6 league currently while Hamlets have really improved this season, compared to last with one of the bigger differences being goal threat. They scored five in their win at Stansted and thrashed Little Oakley in the last round of the Vase and should start as favourites here, having scored 34 goals in the ESL alone this term.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3


Hullbridge Sports  v  Colney Heath    |   Venue: Lower Road

Peter: Sports welcome Spartan South Midlands Premier side Colney Heath to Lower Road knowing they could desperately do with a win and a cup run after a difficult season to date.  Their opponents aren’t having a great season either, sitting bottom of the league after five defeats from six, so they may well have the same ideas too.  However, I back Hullbridge to get back to winning ways here.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Scott: SSM Premier Division side Colney Heath travel to Lower Road to take on an inconsistent Hullbridge side. Hullbridge recorded a gutsy win at home to Hackney Wick last weekend though went down at Wadham Lodge in midweek. Colney Heath though have only won one of six matches in their division. I reckon this one could be tight and have goals in it as well.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2

London Lions  v   Clapton   |    Venue: Rowley Lane

Peter: The Tons enter the Vase at this stage after their runners-up finish last season and they sit sixth in the ESL this season after a fairly decent opening three months of the season.  Their opponents London Lions sit tenth in the Spartan South Midlands One after four wins, three wins and four defeats in eleven games.  Their last home game saw a remarkable ten-goal thriller against unbeaten league leaders Southall, eventually losing 6-4, and I feel they will fall to defeat again to their higher-step opponents from East London.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 3

Scott: SSM Division One side London Lions welcome Clapton to Rowley Lane. The hosts are mid-table in their Step 6 division and will be aware that Clapton are coming back into form with wins over Great Wakering and Sporting Bengal Utd this week and sit sixth in the ESL table. I reckon the visitors will pull through here.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2


Welwyn Garden City  v Takeley      |  Venue: Herns Way

Peter: This proves to be a terrific battle between two high-flying sides in their respective leagues, hosts WGC sit second in the Spartan South Midlands Premier with nine wins and a draw from their ten games whilst Takeley are top of the ESL having won ten and losing two of their 12 games so far.  Almost impossible to call this one so going to say home win by the tightest of margins although I think there will be goals in this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 2

Scott: In this all-Step 5 tie, Spartans South Midlands Premier side Welwyn Garden City welcome ESL’s Takeley to Herns Way. The hosts are second in their division and unbeaten thus far. Takeley got a good win over Woodford Town in midweek and have won ten of 12 league matches thus far. This will be a stern test of Marc Das’ side though they might prevail here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


Sunday 22nd October

Enfield 1893  v  Coggeshall Town        |  Venue: The Harlow Arena

Peter: This will prove a tough test for Enfield as they welcome Thurlow Nunn Premier high-flyers Coggeshall Town to The Harlow Arena.  The visitors sit second in the table with ten wins from thirteen and with a goal difference of 32 have certainly impressed along with leaders Felixstowe & Walton United.  Enfield though have knocked out the impressive Stowmarket Town in the last round and have recorded some impressive wins this season so will certainly have a chance.  However I feel the visitors may prosper here.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Scott: Coggeshall travel to The Harlow Arena to take on Enfield 1893. The visitors are sitting pretty in second spot in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division having won ten of their 13 matches thus far. Enfield have started to pick up a bit of league form and gave Takeley a fright last weekend before prevailing at home to Waltham Forest in midweek. Defensively though they do need to tighten up and Coggeshall average three goals a game in their league games alone and consequently, I would think they would be too strong for Matt Hanning’s side.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 3


FC Romania  v  Eynesbury Rovers   |   Venue: Theobalds Lane

Peter: FCR welcome United Counties Premier side Eynesbury Rovers to Theobalds Lane on Sunday as they enter the Vase at the First Round stage.  The visitors sit in seventh place after eight wins from thirteen league games, so they will prove a tough test for the hosts.  FCR are in good form lately though so if they can continue this then they should win through to the next round.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Scott: FCR welcome United Counties side Eynesbury Rovers to Theobalds Lane. Ion Vintila’s side picked up a narrow win at West Essex in midweek and will look to keep up their good form in cup competitions this season, as they did well in the FA Cup earlier this season. Eynesbury Rovers are in the top ten of their division having won eight of their 13 matches thus far. The Wolves will need to play well to seal their side’s progression and I reckon they will do just that.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 0


Essex Senior League

Saturday 21st October

Southend Manor v Wadham Lodge    |     Venue: Southchurch Park

Peter: Manor welcome Lodge to Southchurch Park unbeaten in their last four games, winning three of those matches, after they finally found some form expected of them in pre-season.  Lodge have struggled somewhat this campaign after lots of upheaval at the club although they are unbeaten in two games following a draw and a win at home in their last two.  However, they have lost all six of their away games so far and I expect Manor to have too much for them in the end.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 0

Scott: Manor welcome Wadham to Southchurch Park. The hosts are on a good run now and are starting to tighten up in defence. With games-in-hand in the league as well, Start Marshall’s side will certainly be keen to grab the points. Wadham did hold West Essex last weekend before a home success over Hullbridge Sports in midweek so they will look continue to build their season, game-by-game.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1


Sporting Bengal Utd  v  Barkingside     |   Venue: Mile End Stadium

Peter: Hosts Sporting are along with Hackney Wick and Waltham Forest the worst form side in the division over the last half-dozen games having lost five of those games, although visitors Barkingside are not much better off having lost four of their last six so both sides desperately need the points here to kick-start their seasons again.  However, I reckon this one may end all-square.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: These two out-of-form sides meet at Mile End. Sporting Bengal have lost their last six straight league matches and will want to get a good result to get themselves ‘back on the road’ to a good league position. Barkingside have lost their last three on-the-bounce in the league though have signed a few players recently and this may be a good opportunity to pick up a much-needed win for them as well. I reckon they’ll be goals in this tussle though I suspect the visitors may pinch it.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 3


West Essex v Stansted  |   Venue: Mayesbrook Park

Peter: Since hitting top-spot earlier in the season hosts West Essex have had a rather mixed bag of results, winning two, drawing one and losing three, whilst Stansted have won three and lost three meaning calling this one is fairly impossible.  The Airportmen were humbled 5-2 at home by Tower Hamlets last time out though so will want to put this behind them whilst the hosts lost a tight encounter at home to FC Romania.  Think this may end a draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: Finally in the league action on Saturday, Stansted travel to Mayesbrook Park in a tussle of two more inconsistent outfits. West Essex have lost their last three straight league matches without scoring so they’ll need the likes of Cameron Gray and Isaac Marfo to support Michael Mignot more in the goal-scoring stakes in my view while Stansted had their mini-revival ended by Tower Hamlets in midweek as they conceded five in that encounter. This match could really go either way though my gut feeling says the hosts will pinch it by the odd goal.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2


Errington Challenge Cup First Round

Saturday 21st October

Redbridge  v   Ilford           |  Venue: Oakside

Peter: There is a derby at Oakside as Redbridge and Ilford meet in the Errington Challenge Cup and the hosts were on a seven-game winning run until it was ended at Burnham Ramblers on Tuesday, whilst Ilford are unbeaten in five after a solid few weeks, so this proves to be a tough and tight battle. I do fancy The Motormen to progress in this one though.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Scott: The other game on Saturday sees two big ESL names clash at Oakside in an Errington Challenge Cup encounter. The Motormen saw their great league end at Burnham in midweek and will be eager to get themselves started to go on another good run against an Ilford side they beat 5-1 at Oakside in the league only a month ago. Ilford are in good form at present though as they unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions and will probably want to ‘level the score’ after that aforementioned loss earlier in the season. Throw in that it’s a cup-tie as well and this could be a real battle. The question for me is can Ilford keep up their decent recent defensive record against the dynamic Redbridge forward line. If they can, then it might be a different result this time around. Even so, it’s hard to go against the hosts so I’ll plump for a narrow home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1


You can follow Peter on Twitter: @ped1980 and on his website at http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/unofficialesl

You can follow me, 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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