Written by Peter D & Scott W
Hello & welcome to this week’s piece looking at the weekend’s Essex Senior League following a midweek where Wakering went joint-top with Redbridge. Peter also returns so below are his and Scott’s thoughts on all the fixtures set for this weekend (Weather-permitting):
Friday 23rd February
Woodford Town P – P Takeley | Venue: Goffs Lane
This match has been postponed due to floodlight failure, Town announced on Friday lunch-time.
Saturday 24th February
Barkingside v Basildon Utd | Venue: Cricklefield
Peter: The hosts welcome the Bees to Cricklefield having stretched their unbeaten run to four games after a draw in midweek, although they were two goals up in that one so felt disappointed to only get a point. The Bees, who have lost only once in their last ten, will be looking to grab the three points to keep the pressure on the top two and put in a good performance at FC Romania in the week, however I expect this one to finish all square.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-1
Scott: The Saturday action kicks off with ‘Side host Basildon at Cricklefield. Michael Walther’s side have drawn their last three matches, including a home draw against Southend Manor last weekend followed by holding Waltham Forest in midweek. Basildon battled to a goalless stalemate at FC Romania in midweek, and have only lost one of their last ten matches now, sitting in 4th place. This could be another battle and the Bees need the points to keep tabs on the top-three.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
Clapton v Sporting Bengal Utd | Venue: Old Spotted Dog
Peter: The Tons saw their four-game winning run ended by Takeley last weekend, but they welcome a struggling Sporting Bengal side to The Old Spotted Dog who have lost all but one of their last eight games, although that one was a thumping home win over Waltham Forest, however Clapton are playing some decent stuff at the moment so will take the win here I feel.
Pete’s Prediction: 3-1
Scott: The Tons welcome Sporting Bengal to the OSD. Jon Fowell & Wayne Seal’s side narrowly lost out to Takeley last weekend in what was their first loss in five matches. Sporting have had two weeks off and are in 15th place, two points above the bottom four. One win in their last five outings means they need points to avert falling into the bottom four. Home win for me.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 0
FC Romania v West Essex | Venue: Theobalds Lane
Peter: The Romanian’s long unbeaten record is still ongoing after they drew at home to Basildon United in midweek, although they had ‘keeper Darabant to thank for that, and they welcome a free-flowing attacking West Essex to Theobalds Lane who ended their four-game winless streak with victory at the start of the month, however they have been out of action for three weeks now so there may be some rustiness, and I feel the hosts may take advantage of this to pick up the points.
Pete’s Prediction: 4-2
Scott: The tricky matches keep coming for the Wolves as West Essex are the visitors to Theobalds Lane here. The hosts were held by Basildon in midweek, while West Essex’s tie at home to Redbridge was postponed. FCR have drawn three of their last five matches and West Essex can definitely pose a threat those postponements have hampered the Stags recently. Still reckon the hosts should prevail here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Hullbridge Sports v Wadham Lodge | Venue: Lower Road
Peter: This is what you call a ‘six-pointer’ down at the foot of the table. Sports are unbeaten in four outings and grabbed an important win last time out against Tower Hamlets, whilst Lodge ended a six-game winless run with victory over their Walthamstow rivals Forest last time out. Both need the points to take them closer to getting out the bottom four, however I feel this may end all-square.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-2
Scott: Hullbridge welcome Wadham in what is a massive ‘six-pointer’ at the bottom. The hosts had midweek off due to the inclement weather and may need to improve on last weekend’s performance in their narrow win over Tower Hamlets. Wadham overcame Forest in the ‘Walthamstow Derby’ last weekend to avert a winless league run. This could well be a scrappy battle with goals in it.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2
Sawbridgeworth Town v Great Wakering Rovers | Venue: Crofters End
Peter: This proves to be a pretty decent game at Crofters, as The Robins, who have certainly picked up in 2018, host league leaders GWR who themselves are unbeaten in eight games having won seven of those in the process. And with the Robins having won at Burroughs Park earlier in the campaign, this shows they have what it takes to get the better of the visitors. However, I can see the league leaders grabbing the points.
Pete’s Prediction: 0-2
Scott: In-form Wakering head to Crofters to take on Sawbridgeworth. Iain O’Connell’s side went joint-top following their narrow win at Ilford in midweek. Sawbo were held by the Foxes last weekend before grabbing a late win at Burnham in midweek. John Watters’ side are looking at breaking into the top ten after a run of two defeats in their last seven and this will be another test of GWR’s mettle.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1
Southend Manor v Ilford | Venue: Southchurch Park
Peter: This proves to be a battle on the Essex Coast as Manor host The Foxes with both sides in similar form of late. Manor are unbeaten in their last two whilst Ilford are winless in four, although all those games were very tight indeed. Expecting another tight one here and another draw I feel.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-1
Scott: Manor welcome Ilford to Southchurch after a harrowing midweek which saw their match at Hackney Wick abandoned just minutes in due to serious injury to a Manor forward. Our best wishes go to Ellis in his recovery. The hosts have been affected by injuries of late and arguably still need a few points to avoid getting dragged into the relegation slug-fest. The Foxes are also finding wins hard to sustain though they may get the job done here.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Tower Hamlets v Stansted | Venue: Mile End Stadium
Peter: Hamlets form in 2018 has been mixed to say the least, and they are winless in five coming into this one. Stansted have hit a small ‘sticky patch’ after beginning 2018 brilliantly, although they ended a two-game losing run with a point in midweek, although it was a late leveller that denied them all three. Will be a tight one this I feel but one I believe the visitors may just edge.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-2
Scott: This fascinating encounter sees Hamlets entertain Stansted at Mile End. There were definitely positives to take for the hosts in their loss at Hullbridge last weekend and I feel the Airportmen will need to defend well here. The visitors fell to defeat at Enfield last Saturday before holding Woodford at Goffs Lane in midweek. Hamlets are winless in their last five matches with Stansted winless in their last three so this could be another battle. Hard one to call, going for a entertaining draw.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Waltham Forest v Enfield 1893 | Venue: Kitchener Road
Peter: Another huge six-pointer down at the foot of the table sees Forest host Enfield at Kitchener Road. Forest are winless in their last four although fought back to draw in midweek after trailing by two at the break, whilst Enfield have won two in a row to see them spring out of the bottom four and go above their opponents on goal difference in this one. The winner of this game could put five points between them and the bottom four, whilst the loser could find themselves back in it, so very important. Reckon this could end all square though.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-2
Scott: Lastly on Saturday, Enfield make the trip to Kitchener Road to take on Forest. The hosts’ four-match winless run has come at a bad time with Ryan Maxwell’s side hovering just above the bottom four. Enfield went above Forest last weekend thanks to a good home win over Stansted, their third win in their last five matches. With this being Forest’s third match in 8 days, will this affect their performance levels? Time will tell.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Check our respective blogs on Sunday for our round-up’s of ESL action. You can follow Peter on Twitter: @ped1980 and Scott: @ScottMHC14.