Written by Peter D & Scott W
This weekend, the ESL programme returns in ‘full flight’. Peter also returns so here are his and my thoughts on the weekend’s matches:-
Friday 8th December
Redbridge v Woodford Town (2017) | Venue: Oakside
Peter: Leaders Redbridge face a tough test against a young Woodford Town side, however the hosts are flying so should fear no-one, and although they will be made to work hard by the Goffs Lane side, I see another three points heading the Oakside outfits’ way.
Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Scott: Friday Night Football returns to Oakside as Redbridge take on Woodford. The hosts have had the last ten days off though their seven-game winning run has them still in top spot. Woodford by contrast lost out in midweek at Great Wakering as they look to end a four-match losing run in the league. The visitors are going need to bring their best to this encounter to deny the free-scoring Motormen. Home win for me.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Barkingside v Hullbridge Sports | Venue: Cricklefield
Peter: The hosts are bottom of the form table over the last six games, having lost all six and conceding 19 goals too, the worst in the league over the same period. And they welcome a Hullbridge side who have renewed vigour under boss Darren Manning and after last weekend’s Vase win over Enfield will be bouncing and confident of victory. Fancy the visitors in this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 0-2
Scott: Hullbridge travel back to Cricklefield to take on out-of-form Barkingside, following their FA Vase Triumph last weekend. The hosts need to end a barren run of six straight league defeats & appointed ex-Manor boss Stuart Marshall as assistant boss this week. Hullbridge are starting to put to turn their form around and may fancy their chances here. I’ll plump for a narrow away win.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Basildon Utd v Takeley | V: The Hive
Peter: What a mouth-watering match up we have here as two teams battling for the top spots in the division and both have unsurprisngly been in good form over their last half dozen games. Takeley have scored the most goals in the division (22) over the last six games but the Bees have the best defensive record (3) in the league of the same period, so proves to be an interesting one. Gonna go for a draw I think.
Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1
Scott: Basildon welcome fellow ESL high-flyers Takeley to the Hive. The hosts were not in action last weekend while Takeley returned to winning ways last weekend and added to it with a good win at Stansted in midweek. Tough one to call here, though they may battle it out to a draw here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Burnham Ramblers v West Essex | Venue: Leslie Field
Peter: Ramblers are unbeaten in their last four games, and have netted sixteen and conceded thirteen in their last six, winning three of those games, including a 5-1 win at Wadham Lodge. They welcome a West Essex side who saw the return of their lynchpin Michael Mignot in last weekend’s last gasp winner against Barkingside, which was their first win in four outings. Actually do fancy a home win here though.
Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 2
Scott: Burnham host West Essex in a fascinating encounter at Leslie Field. Ramblers are unbeaten in four league matches following a late win at Enfield on Monday night. The Stags also won late on last weekend over Barkingside so this one could be a goal-fest.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2
Enfield 1893 v Wadham Lodge | Venue: The Harlow Arena
Peter: The hosts unpredictability continues as you just do not know which Enfield side will turn up each week. The last six games have seen two wins, a draw and three defeats, and their last game saw a crazy 4-3 home defeat to Burnham Ramblers, a game they could have easily won. They welcome a Lodge side to Barrows Farm who saw their six-match unbeaten run ended at home to Burnham Ramblers in their last league outing, so no doubt they will want to get back to winning ways. However, I fancy the hosts may win a entertaining one here.
Pete’s Prediction: 3-2
Scott: Lodge travel to the Harlow Arena. Enfield need to ‘knuckle down’ in the league, having lost three out of their last five matches and conceding goals is an issue for Matt Hanning’s side. Wadham were not in action last weekend and have been a tad inconsistent of late. The hosts may pinch this one.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Hackney Wick v FC Romania | Venue: Old Spotted Dog
Peter: New Wick boss Tony Ievoli saw his new side battle back from 3-1 down at Manor in midweek to force a penalty shoot-out, which they won, to reach the Quarter Finals of the Errington Challenge Cup and give him his first win at the club. Their league form hasn’t been brilliant of late though, with a 4-0 home win over Burnham their only win in the last six games, and they welcome a side in terrific form in the shape of FC Romania, who could go second with a win here. The Romanians have netted nineteen and conceded five in their last six and I feel they may add more goals in this one and take an away win.
Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 4
Scott: Wick welcome FCR to the Old Spotted Dog. Tony Ievoli’s side went through on spot-kicks at Manor in an Errington Challenge Cup match in mid-week. FC Romania are still in great form and given Wick’s home form, they may fancy this tie.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
Southend Manor v Clapton | Venue: Southchurch Park
Peter: Manor will be smarting after letting a lead slip in midweek to eventually lose on penalties and losing out on a Quarter Final place in the Errington Challenge Cup, and off the back of two successive league defeats it’s not been a good week or two for the Southchurch Park side. They welcome a Clapton side who come into this off the back of a defeat at Metropolitan Police in the London Senior Cup, although they put up a very good second half showing, so will take those positives into this game. Reckon the Tons may sneak this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 0-1
Scott: Manor welcome the Tons to Southchurch Park and are in the midst of a mini-blip in terms of form. Clapton exited the London Senior Cup at Met Police in midweek though were not in action last weekend. I think the visitors will prevail.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
Stansted v Ilford | Venue: Hargrave Park
Peter: The Airportmen aren’t exactly flying right now, eight defeats in-a-row and conceding almost three goals a game has seen them drop into the bottom four and only three points off the bottom, and they welcome an Ilford side who who are unbeaten in three and could go up to seventh with a win here. Sadly for the hosts can see a ninth straight defeat on the horizon.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-2
Scott: The Airportmen welcome the Foxes to Hargrave Park. Paul Pittuck’s men are on a tough run of eight straight league defeats, the latest one being a home loss to Takeley in midweek. Ilford won in the Gordon Brasted Trophy Waltham Forest in midweek though league-wise they are unbeaten in three matches.
Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2
Tower Hamlets v Sporting Bengal Utd | Venue: Mile End Stadium
Peter: Its the Mile End derby at the weekend and this one is impossible to call, although Sporting are the ones with the better form over the last couple of weeks, currently four games unbeaten, whilst Hamlets have lost three of their last four. Hamlets do have a six point lead over their rivals currently though, 7th against 11th, but a Sporting win could take them into the top ten. However, I reckon like most derbies it will end all-square.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-1
Scott: Hamlets welcome Bengal in the ‘Mile End derby’. The hosts have lost three of the last four league matches while Bengal are unbeaten in their last four matches. Think this one may be a battle and end honours-even.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Waltham Forest v Sawbridgeworth Town | Venue: Kitchener Road
Peter: Forest have had a decent couple of weeks, winning three of their four league games and climbing to just six points off the top ten. They did however lose at home to Ilford in their Brasted Trophy Quarter Final in midweek but welcome a Sawbo side who have struggled to get any sort of consistent form going this campaign. Think Forest may sneak this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-1
Scott: Forest take on Sawbo at Kitchener Road. The hosts are on a decent run of late, unbeaten in three in the league. Sawbridgeworth are in decent form league-wise, having lost two of their last six matches so this is set to be a good encounter. I’ll go for an away win.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
If you’d like to follow Peter’s work, his Twitter is @ped1980 and website is at http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/unofficialesl/
You can also follow Scott at @ScottMHC14 on Twitter.