Essex Senior League & FA Vase (ESL) preview (4.1.18)

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Hello & welcome to the return of both our Preview pieces, the ESL for 2018 and the “small matter” of a FA Vase 4th Round tie featuring the last ESL side left in the competition, Hullbridge. Below are Peter’s & my thoughts on this weekend’s action.

The FA Vase Fourth Round Proper

Tring Athletic v Hullbridge Sports | Venue: Grassroots Stadium

Peter: Hullbridge travel to Hertfordshire as the league’s only remaining representatives in the Vase this season.  And the hosts, who had an appalling start to the season, have picked up very well in the last few weeks, winning four of their last five league outings and also scoring victory over Berkhamsted in the previous round (Berkhamsted are unbeaten in the league) so Hullbridge will have a tough task.  However, Sports themselves are on a decent run of form too having lost only once in six, with four of those wins, so it promises to be a decent cup tie, however one that I feel the visitors will prevail in.

Peter’s Prediction: 0-2

Scott: Hullbridge make the trip to the Grassroots Stadium seeking to make it to the last 16 of the Vase for the first time in their history. The hosts here ended the calendar year well though Sports are on an upturn of form themselves of late, having evaded ending 2017 bottom of the ESL table. Manager Darren Manning will undoubtedly have his side raring to go, and they may just do the business here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


Basildon Utd v West Essex | Venue: The Hive

Peter: The Bees are in decent form, having won five of their last six, and they come up against a West Essex side who had won three on-the-spin before losing their final game before Christmas. Basildon are a tough side to break down, with only three goals conceded in their last six, and with suitable firepower up front they will be hard to beat.  Going for a home win.

Peter’s Prediction: 2-0

Scott: The Stags travel to the Hive as the ESL resumes for 2018. The Bees battled hard to see off an below-par Wakering side at Burroughs Park last time out and the likes of Michael Mignot & Fatos Zeqiri face a strong, miserly Basildon defence. Kwame Kwateng’s side are going to have to defend well to get any change out of this match in my view.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1


Burnham Ramblers v Barkingside | Venue: Leslie Field

Peter: Ramblers are on a decent run & welcome a Barkingside team to Leslie Field hoping they can put 2017 behind them, especially the second half, and start over again after a poor run of results.  The break may have done them good but feeling the hosts will take the spoils in this one.

Peter’s Pediction: 3-1

Scott: ‘Side take on improving Burnham at Leslie Field. Ramblers currently sit in 11th spot in the table, though the entire bottom half of the table is seperated by 12 points. Burnham boss Lee Hughes will want to keep standards high & a win here could see them go 10th. The visitors are right ‘in the thick of it’, two points off bottom spot and though they may test the hosts, I’ll go for a home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Hackney Wick v Great Wakering Rovers
| Venue: Old Spotted Dog

Peter: Wick face a tough game after the two-week break when they welcome Great Wakering Rovers to The Old Spotted Dog. Rovers are flying whilst Wick are not, and with no win in four for the hosts it does seem unlikely they will cause Rovers much damage here.  Away win.

Peter’s Prediction: 0-3

Scott: Bottom side Wick welcome Wakering to the OSD. The hosts are on a poor run of four losses in their last six matches. Manager Tony Ievoli has another tough test here in the shape of Wakering who have the third best defence in the league thus far. Wakering will need to go on another good run to claw their way back into the top-four, starting with the points here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3


Ilford v FC Romania | Venue: Cricklefield

Peter: The Romanians have won their last four and have scored 23 goals in their last six, more than any other side in the division, as they continue to chase down Redbridge at the top of the table. Ilford will be hoping they can be more consistent after the break, their last six games of two wins, two draws and two defeats kind of sums up their season to date.  Feel this could be a tight one though, and a draw as a result.

Peter’s Prediction: 1-1

Scott: In-form FCR take on Ilford at Cricklefield. The Foxes are in 9th place at present, though they face a stern test here against the division’s current top-scorers. I feel that while Ilford have it in them to pull off results on the day, they need to show it more and I can see FC Romania narrlowly taking the points here as well.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


Redbridge v Stansted | Venue: Oakside

Peter: This game brings a Redbridge side who have won ten-in-a-row against a Stansted side who have lost nine-in-a-row.  Predicting this one therefore should be an easy one yer?  Well this league had thrown up some weird results to date and who knows after a two-week break what shape either side could be in. However, I still think The Motormen will maintain that gap at the top to at least seven points after victory here.

Peter’s Prediction: 3-1

Scott: Redbridge welcome the Airportmen to Oakside. The hosts are on a blinding run at present, though will be aware that the sides immediately behind them have games in hand. Stansted by contrast are on a torrid run, and are the joint-lowest scorers in the division alongside Barkingside so far this term. You’d think ‘home win’ though Stansted can graft and they did just that in the reverse match earlier this season in a battling defeat on that occasion.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Update: This match has been Postponed due to storm damage at Oakside.


Sawbridgeworth Town v Sporting Bengal Utd
| Venue: Crofters End

Peter: The Robins remain down in the lower reaches of the table following another inconsistent month whilst Sporting Bengal lost only once in their last six outings as they continue to punch well above their weight.  However, I feel the home side’s luck may change in this one and they will pick up all three points.

Peter’s Prediction: 2-1

Scott: Sawbridgeworth entertain Bengal at Crofters End. Town are still hampered by inconsistent form somewhat, and know that they are only four points off the foot of the table. Sporting Bengal are on a decent run of one loss in their last six so will be tough opposition here. Draw for me.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Takeley v Wadham Lodge | Venue: Station Road

Peter: With only one win in their last six games you’d be fair to say that the Walthamstow side have not reacted well to the loss of manager Marc Farrell, and they travel to Station Road to take on a Takeley side who have won three of their last four and will be looking to get 2018 off to a flyer no doubt. Fancy a home win here.

Peter’s Prediction: 3-2

Scott: Marc Das’ side welcome Wadham to Station Road. The hosts have won three of their last four matches as they look to ‘keep the heat’ on the top two. Wadham haven’t won in their last four matches and will need to play well to prevent the hosts racking up another three points. Home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1


Tower Hamlets v Enfield 1893 | Venue: Mile End Stadium

Peter: These two have had similar runs of form over the last six, and wins have been hard to come by for either side.  Hamlets have lost four of their last six whilst Enfield have only one win from six.  Both sides can ‘turn it on’ when they want to though so all depends really what side ‘turns up on the day’.  Difficult one to call but guessing both will want to hit the ground running in 2018, therefore I feel this one will end all-square.

Peter’s Prediction: 1-1

Scott: Enfield make the fairly short trip to Mile End to take on Tower Hamlets. Both sides are not in the best of form at the moment, though Hamlets have won two of their last four matches and will back themselves at home. Enfield are winless in their last five matches and arguably need the points more as they look to pull aeay from the relegation scrap. I agree with Peter, it’s a tough one to call though I’ll head for a draw too.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2


Waltham Forest v Clapton | Venue: Kitchener Road

Peter: Forest have hit a ‘purple patch’ of form of late and are unbeaten in five games, with three wins and two draws, whilst The Tons have been rather inconsistent of late (two wins, two draws and two defeats), however their win at West Essex prior to the two-week break would of given them some cheer going into the new year.  Think this one will end all square.

Peter’s Pediction 2-2

Scott: Forest take on Clapton at Kitchener Road. The hosts are unbeaten in their last five matches andu that deserves respect. The Tons are not ‘firing on all cylinders’ at present and know that they have ground to make up on the top-four. That said, I have a feeling that Clapton will edge this one, possibly well-backed from the stands.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


That’s your lot for this week, if you’d like to follow Peter on Twitter, he’s at @ped1980 or via his consistently updated website at

You can also follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottMHC14 or on his blog here at which includes recent trips to Bostik North matches at Bowers & Pitsea & AFC Hornchurch.


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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