Written by Peter D & Scott W
Hello & welcome to this week’s Preview piece looking at the weekend’s Essex Senior League action.
Below are Pete’s and Scott’s thoughts on all the fixtures set for this weekend (Weather-permitting):
Friday 13th April
Tower Hamlets v Basildon Utd | Venue: Parkside (Aveley FC)
Pete: This match will be played on the 3G at Parkside, Aveley FC, after Mile End is now out of use for football for the season and Oakside’s pitch at Redbridge, where the tie was originally moved to, may be unplayable, so Aveley came to Hamlets’ rescue. It’s a difficult assignment for the hosts too as they welcome promotion-chasing Basildon to Parkside having lost five games in a row, so confidence won’t be at an all-time high. The Bees comfortably saw off FC Romania last time out, and I feel they will net a comfortable win here too.
Pete’s Prediction: 0-3
Scott: The weekend’s action begins with this match being held on the 3G pitch at Parkside, due to Mile End being unavailable due to the new athletics season. Hamlets have lost their last five in-a-row now after their loss at Barkingside last weekend and saw their midweek fixture at Wadham postponed. The Bees secured a morale-boosting victory over fellow promotion-hopefuls FC Romania last weekend though also were affected by weather in midweek. Two wins in their last four outings means that Marc Harrison’s side has ground to make up on the top three. Hamlets also need the points to get back into the top-ten. Have to go with an away win here.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Saturday 14th April
Burnham Ramblers v Hullbridge Sports | Venue: Leslie Field
Pete: This is a huge game down at the bottom between two local rivals at Leslie Field, and you feel the hosts need the win a lot more than their opponents do, however the visitors will also be desperate for the three points which would take them past the forty point barrier and closer to safety. A win for Burnham could take them out of the bottom four though and only two points behind their opponents, so it really is that important. Tough one to call but I feel the visitors may sneak this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-2
Scott: Burnham welcome Hullbridge in arguably the ‘game of the day’ at Leslie Field. This is the first of two home matches in three days for Burnham, which could have a big say on their fate this season. They fell to defeat to Wakering last weekend and are two points adrift of the safety line. Hullbridge have once again been affected by postponements of late, and lost at resurgent Enfield 1893 last weekend. Defeat here could really put them back into the relegation mire. I reckon there will be goals in this encounter and Darren Manning’s side will need to perform to get the win, and they may edge it.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
Clapton v Sporting Bengal Utd | Venue: Old Spotted Dog
Pete: The Tons are looking to end the season strongly after a difficult spell, and their victory over Redbridge in their last home outing certainly gave them some heart. Sporting themselves need a win to probably secure their status for next season at Step Five and do have a performance in them, but I feel the home side will sneak a win here.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-1
Scott: Clapton welcome Bengal to the OSD. The Tons were held by relegation-battlers Wadham last weekend in a match that the travelling support turned up in numbers to see. On-the-pitch however, one win in their last seven means that West Essex have a chance of pinching 6th place from the Tons at the end of the campaign unless that form improves. Bengal battled to pick up a significant victory over Stansted last weekend and probably require one more triumph to avoid the drop, thanks to a sequence of three wins in their last six outings. That said, Imrul Gazi’s side can come unstuck on their travels so I’m plumping for a home win here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Great Wakering Rovers v Wadham Lodge | Venue: Burroughs Park
Pete: On paper you would say the league leaders Rovers would have a comfortable afternoon at home to second-bottom Wadham Lodge, however pressure does funny things and this one may not be as one-sided as the league positions suggest. The hosts though are unbeaten in fourteen though with twelve of those wins and lead by three points, whilst Lodge haven’t won in three and sit four points away from safety. Cannot see anything other than a home win here.
Pete’s Prediction: 4-1
Scott: The GFS team will be in attendance for this match at Burroughs Park, where title-chasing Wakering take on strugglers Wadham. Wakering’s second-half showing secured the points at Burnham last weekend as their long unbeaten streak continued. Iain O’Connell’s side will no doubt be wary of ‘slipping up’ in a match many will fancy them in. Wadham battled for a point last weekend at home to Clapton, though their midweek match at home to Tower Hamlets was postponed and Jason Ngandu’s side still have six matches remaining after this one. One win in their last five encounters doesn’t bode so well either. I’d be surprised to see anything other than a home win, to be honest.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 0
Redbridge v Enfield 1893 | Venue: Oakside
Pete: Any slip up from the hosts could see them lose more ground on the leaders, and see the chasing pack pull ever closer, so they know three points is a must. But they welcome the leagues most in-form side in Enfield who are on an eight-match winning run, so will be more than capable of getting a result here. Gotta feeling this one may end all square.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-2
Scott: The Motormen take on Enfield as Ricky Eaton & Joey May’s side seek to recharge their own promotion challenge and stop the visitors’ recent superb eight-match winning run. Redbridge’s defensive fragility deprived them of a much-needed win against Waltham Forest last weekend while the E’s obtained big home wins over Hullbridge and Southend Manor in the last week, scoring nine in the process. I feel that if the hosts don’t bring their ‘A-game’ here then they could be undone by Matt Hanning’s men, who may well fancy themselves to prevail here. Going to go for a narrow home win in a goal-laden contest.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2
Sawbridgeworth Town v FC Romania | Venue: Crofters End
Pete: The visitors need to pick up all three points to put any sort of pressure on the top two, currently five points clear of the Cheshunt-based side. However, they come up against a side who have won four of their last five games and could go seventh with victory, so this proves to be a good battle at Crofters. However, I believe the visitors may just edge this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 0-2
Scott: FCR make the trip to Crofters, knowing that they really need the victory after a faltering recent league run of two wins in their last five matches which sees them five points away from the top-two. By contrast, Sawbridgeworth’s derby win over Takeley in midweek means they’ve won four of their last six, sitting in 8th place now. Victory for the hosts could extinguish any lingering promotion hopes for Ion Vintila’s team, if results elsewhere go against them. Tough one to call, though Sawbo might just get the job done here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Stansted v West Essex | Venue: Hargrave Park
Pete: To say The Airportmen need the points is an understatement however they have been on a terrible run having lost nine of their last eleven, which has seen them sink into the bottom four as a result. Opponents West Essex themselves are chasing down a top-six finish although their form has been mixed of late, but you feel right now they should probably have enough to win this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 0-2
Scott: Stansted welcome West Essex to Hargrave Park. The Airportmen are in some bother following a six-match winless run which leaves them two points away from safety. They welcome the Stags who battled hard for victory over Takeley last weekend and have won three of their last five as they look to secure a top-ten finish. This could be ‘an under-rated gem’ of a contest which may end honours-even.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Waltham Forest v Southend Manor | Venue: Kitchener Road
Pete: When these two met earlier in the season Manor came from two goals down to snatch a dramatic win, and they could do with getting another one here to probably bury any thoughts of being pulled into the relegation fight. However, Forest need the points even more as they sit just two points above the drop zone, and with both teams having almost indential records over their last half dozen games, this proves to be a tight contest. Gonna go for a score draw here.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-2
Scott: Forest welcome Manor to Kitchener Road knowing that this match could have a big impact on their survival chances. That said, superb performances at Basildon and Redbridge will give them confidence going in this match against a Southend Manor side that hasn’t had the best of weeks. Adam Peek’s men were held by Woodford Town at home last weekend before a heavy loss at in-form Enfield on Monday night. If Forest can maintain their performance levels then they can grab the win they badly need.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Woodford Town (2017) v Takeley | Venue: Station Road (fixture ‘reversed’)
Pete: This game has been switched to Takeley as Goffs Lane is being used by Landlords FC Broxbourne Borough, so this could sway the advantage to Takeley, who need nothing less than a win if they want to keep their less than slim promotion hopes alive. Woodford though are a good young side with plenty of talent so will certainly gives their opponents plenty to think about, however I reckon the Station Road side will sneak a win here.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-3
Scott: Woodford entertain Takeley in this match moved to Takeley’s Station Road due to Goffs Lane (which Town share with Broxbourne Borough) being unavailable. Woodford produced a good display to hold Southend Manor at Southchurch Park last weekend, and welcome a Takeley side who have already had three matches this week due to their heavy fixture backlog. Losses against West Essex and Sawbridgeworth was followed by a comeback win at Hackney Wick on Thursday night. Dee Safer & Neil Day’s young side are more than useful though on their day and may edge this encounter if they play at their best though you write off Marc Das’ determined outfit at your peril.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
If you’d like to see more content from either Pete or Scott, follow Pete on Twitter: @ped1980 or Scott: @ScottMHC14
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading.