Written by Peter D & Scott W
Hello & welcome to another Preview piece looking at this weekend’s Essex Senior League action. With leaders Redbridge not in action this weekend, attention turns to the chasing pack and the frenzy that is the bottom-half of the table. Here are Peter & my thoughts on this weekend’s action:
Saturday 13th January
Barkingside v Woodford Town (2017) | Venue: Cricklefield
Peter: Side have began 2018 in positive fashion so far and will look to continue this now vein of form against a Woodford side who threw away a three-goal lead last time out. Both sides’ form over the last few weeks has been fairly similar too so expect a tight one at Cricklefield. Gonna edge for Barkingside win though.
Peter’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Scott: Barkingside ended a torrid run last weekend with a thumping win at Burnham and welcome Woodford Town to Cricklefield. The hosts here also gave Basildon Utd a tough Monday night match in the Errington Challenge Cup before exiting – once again on penalties. Loan signing Ryan Imbert has ‘hit the ground running’ since joining ‘Side from Witham Town recently. Woodford were three goals up before being pegged back to a draw by Southend Manor at Goffs Lane in midweek. Both sides have been leaky at the back this term and therefore I’m plumping for a draw here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Basildon Utd v Hackney Wick | Venue: The Hive
Peter: The Bees are unbeaten in five and had won four in a row until West Essex’s late leveller last time out meant they had to settle for a draw at home, however they welcome a Wick side who are bottom of the division and haven’t won for five games now. The Bees have one of the meanest defences in the league too although they haven’t scored too many of late, but they should have too much for this Wick side.
Peter’s Prediction: 2-0
Scott: The Bees welcome Wick to the Hive as Marc Harrison’s side look to continue their stellar season thus far. Basildon were held by West Essex last weekend in league action but did go through in the Errington Challenge Cup at Cricklefield in midweek. Wick are still going through a tough phase, winless in their last five matches, with losses to Great Wakering (ESL) last weekend and Takeley in the Gordon Brasted Trophy in midweek. The Bees have only lost one of their last six matches and will probably take the points here.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 0
Clapton v Stansted | Venue: Old Spotted Dog
Peter: The Tons have had a mixed last few weeks although remain in the top six, and they welcome the league’s most out-of-form side in the shape of Stansted to Old Spotted Dog who are on a terrible losing run right now and are wondering where their next points are coming from. The Tons did start 2018 with defeat at Waltham Forest, however I feel they will get back to winning ways here.
Peter’s Prediction: 2-0
Scott: The Tons welcome the Airportmen to the OSD. Jon Fowell’s side have won two of their last six matches after defeat last weekend at Waltham Forest as they seek to shake off the inconsistency which has slightly blighted their tilt at the top, sitting in 6th place currently. Stansted’s torrid run was halted by a postponement last weekend though this is a tall order for Paul Pittuck’s side you would think to get a result here. Home win.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Enfield 1893 v Sawbridgeworth Town | Venue: Harlow Arena
Peter: The hosts’ form has been rather poor over the last few weeks and their defeat at Tower Hamlets last weekend wasn’t the start they needed in 2018. And they welcome a Sawbo side who started the year with an emphatic home win over Sporting Bengal United last weekend before snatching a point at Hamlets, so they are in decent form and will pose a threat. However I feel this one may end all square.
Peter’s Prediction: 2-2
Scott: Sawbridgeworth travel to the Harlow Arena to take on Enfield 1893 in an interesting encounter. The hosts can certainly pose a threat though they just haven’t got the results thus far this term to back that up. Form-wise, they are winless in their last six matches. They face a Sawbridgeworth outfit that are picking up a few results and achieved a good win over Sporting Bengal last weekend before being held by Tower Hamlets in midweek. Concidentally, Enfield were defeated by Hamlets last weekend. Hard one to call this though the visitors may just edge this one.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
FC Romania v Waltham Forest | Venue: Theobalds Lane
Peter: These two met only a few days ago in the Errington Challenge Cup and on that occasion FCR came away with a 2-1 win although Forest were unlucky to lose that one, so they have an immediate chance to gain revenge for that loss. The hosts’ league form has been excellent and are currently on a five-game winning run, whilst Forest are much improved of late and are six unbeaten in the league with four wins. This is going to be a tight contest and I feel a point a piece.
Peter’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Scott: Forest once again travel to Theobalds Lane to take on FCR following their cup match in midweek, in which the hosts recorded a narrow victory. FCR are top of the chasing pack in 2nd place at pesent thanks to a very consistent run and only three defeats in 23 matches so far. In league action last weekend, the Wolves picked up a good win away at Ilford while Forest battled a trimuph at home to Clapton. Forest are definitely showing signs of improvement and a good result would only endorse that. That said, it’s hard to see anything but a win for the promotion-chasing hosts here.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Great Wakering Rovers v Tower Hamlets | Venue: Burroughs Park
Peter: Rovers began 2018 with a comfortable win at bottom side Hackney Wick and have been in excellent form of late, however they welcome a Tower Hamlets side to Burroughs Park who have also started 2018 in positive fashion so this proves to be a good contest here. Reckon the hosts will win but it will be a tight contest and an entertaining one I feel too.
Peter’s Prediction: 3-2
Scott: Another fascinating tie sees Wakering take on Hamlets at Burroughs Park. Fifth-placed GWR started 2018 the right way with a routine win at strugglers Hackney Wick while the visitors defeated Enfield last weekend. Hamlets also held Sawbo to a draw on Monday night. GWR will want to shake off the memory of their last home match just before Christmas though if they bring their ‘A-game’ here they will be tough to stop. Hamlets are also having a good season in 7th spot and have won three of their last six matches. Another hard one to predict, though i suspect the hosts may just pull through.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Sporting Bengal Utd v Ilford | Venue: Mile End Stadium
Peter: The hosts started 2018 with a heavy defeat at Sawbridgeworth, and with no win in three games they will be looking to get back to winning ways. However, up against this Ilford side that will prove a tough assignment although The Foxes’ form hasn’t been great either, no league win in four and have lost their last two. Interesting one to call this however I feel it may end all square.
Peter’s Prediction: 1-1
Scott: Another intriguing tie awaits at Mile End where Sporting Bengal entertain Ilford. Both sides are finding wins hard to come by of late with the hosts winless in three matches and the visitors winless in their last four encounters. 13th-placed Bengal could do with some points to ward off being dragged into the scramble at the bottom while it seems Ilford are stuck in mid-table. Draw for me.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1
Takeley v Burnham Ramblers | Venue: Station Road
Peter: The Station Road outfit may have fallen some way behind the leaders over recent weeks however they still pose a huge threat and with three wins from four are in decent form right now. They welcome a Burnham side to their home who began 2018 with a stunning home loss to Barkingside, bringing them back down to earth with a bump after finishing 2017 with two wins. Fancy the hosts to grab the points here.
Peter’s Prediction: 3-1
Scott: Burnham travel to Station Road to take on high-flyers Takeley. The hosts are in good form and were boosted by a good cup win at Hackney Wick in midweek. League-wise, they sit in 4th place as part of the chasing pack. Burnham’s good recent run was ended by a heavy loss to Barkingside last weekend though on their day, Lee Hughes’ side can still spring a surprise. They will have to go some though to get past Takeley’s strong backline though. Home win.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Wadham Lodge v Southend Manor | Venue: Kitchener Road
Peter: Lodge haven’t won in the league for four games now and have only one win in six, whilst Manor haven’t won in five, and with three of those defeats are now starting to look over their shoulders at the teams below. They did fight back from 3-0 down in midweek to grab a point so showed character there, and they will want to go one better this time round. Think Manor may end their winless run in this one.
Peter’s Prediction: 0-2
Scott: Manor are on the road again as they visit Kitchener Road to take on Wadham. The hosts here were not in action last weekend though one win from their last six outings tells you that they need to pick things up a bit. Manor managed a come away with a point from Woodford Town in midweek though I can see this one being a scrappy battle to be honest. Adam Peek’s men are also finding it hard to get wins of late and thus, I can see this one being a draw as well.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1
West Essex v Hullbridge Sports | Venue: Mayesbrook Park
Peter: The hosts haven’t won in two although had won three previous to that, but they did hold Basildon to a draw at the Hive last time out. Sports will be trying to put their disappointing Vase defeat behind them with a good performance here and no doubt three points to go with it. And with two wins in their last three league games there is no reason why they couldn’t do it, however West Essex will pose a huge threat. Fancy this one to end all square.
Peter’s Prediction: 1 – 1
Scott: The Stags entertain Hullbridge at Mayesbrook Park. The hosts recovered well to get a point at Basildon last weekend while Hullbridge boss Darren Manning will undoubtedly be looking for a reaction here following their disappointing FA Vase exit last weekend. With both sides being quite open at the back sometimes, I can see goals in this encounter. Another hard one to call, though I’m going go for a narrow away win.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 3
That’s your lot for this week. If you’d like to follow Peter on Twitter, he can found at @ped1980
If you’d like to follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottMHC14
And finally, for more on the local Non-League scene, have a listen to this week’s Grassroot Football Show here: https://m.mixcloud.com/EastLondonRadio/grassroots-football-show-11th-january-2018/
In addition, both Peter & me spent the day with Hullbridge and here’s a special podcast with pre-match thought & post-match reaction with a number of contributors: https://m.mixcloud.com/EastLondonRadio/grass-roots-football-show-special-tring-athletic-vs-hullbridge-sports-jan-18/