Written by Peter D & Scott W
Hello & welcome to this week’s extended preview piece looking at the weekend’s Essex Senior League action as the league hosts ‘Kick It Out (the anti-discrimination campaign) day 2018’ with three matches designated to support this very worthwhile campaign.
Here are Peter and my thoughts on all the fixtures set for this weekend:
Basildon Utd v Woodford Town | Venue: The Hive
Peter: The Bees have had a decent few days, winning three games in five, which put them right in the mix for promotion. They are tied with FC Romania and Redbridge on 82 points with the former above them on goal difference in second spot and the latter below them for the same reason, so winning is all they want to do right now. They welcome a good young side to The Ho Ho in the shape of Woodford Town who could climb back into the top ten with victory here, and they will no doubt cause the hosts some problems. However I feel Basildon will edge this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 3-1
Scott: The Bees end a very hectic week (this is their fourth match in eight days or so) with the visit of mid-table Woodford. Basildon have won all three of them thus far, as they bested Tower Hamlets, Burnham and then Southend Manor late on – all away from home. They sit 3rd on goal difference before this weekend’s action, thanks to FC Romania’s win on Thursday (FCR, Basildon & Redbridge all have 82 points).
Woodford’s recent run of one win in four matches was compounded by a hefty loss to Takeley last weekend though Dee Safer’s side still have a chance of sneaking into the top-ten. The Bees will have to battle once again though I still reckon they will come out victorious here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Enfield 1893 v Takeley | Venue: The Harlow Arena
Peter: Hosts Enfield will look to continue their unbeaten run when they welcome Takeley to Barrows Farm. The hosts are one of the in-form teams and saw their eight match winning run come to an end last time out, however that was a draw at Redbridge, which threw the promotion race wide open. Takeley come to Harlow having just seen their slim hopes of promotion all but ended by FC Romania on Thursday, and this may see them arrive in a downbeat mood. I have a feeling Enfield may grab the points here.
Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 0
Scott: Takeley travel to the Harlow Arena to take on Enfield in what is their fourth match in eight days. Victories over Woodford and Tower Hamlets were halted by a narrow loss to FC Romania and you suspect the promotion challenge has been dashed for now. Enfield are still unbeaten after their draw at Redbridge last weekend, that run stands at nine matches now. I believe we may see a surprise here, going for a home win.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
FC Romania v Tower Hamlets
| Venue: Theobalds Lane | ‘Kick It Out’ Designated Match
Peter: The hosts ‘threw their hat into the ring’ for promotion after Thursday evening’s victory at Takeley, and they now sit in second on goal difference above Basildon and Redbridge. They welcome to Theobalds Lane a Tower Hamlets team who have struggled of late and seem to be going through the motions at times, however they could take advantage of the fact FCR had a tough game on Thursday so may be fresher. However, I can’t see the hosts slipping up here so three points to the hosts.
Pete’s Prediction: 3-0
Scott: FC Romania welcome Tower Hamlets in another of the “Kick It Out” designated matches at Theobalds Lane. FCR narrowly won at Takeley on Thursday night to keep their dream of promotion alive, being one of three teams on 82 points. They welcome a Hamlets outfit that has lost their last seven on-the-spin and conceded seven goals without reply in the losses to Basildon and Takeley in the last week. The hosts may be jaded, though I still believe they’ll edge this one.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 0
Great Wakering Rovers v Clapton | Venue: Burroughs Park
Peter: Rovers could all-but-clinch the title and promotion with a win here against an out-of-form Tons side at Burroughs Park. Rovers lead by five points with four matches remaining so you feel they are the ones to catch now, however they must be wary of this Clapton side who could easily end the hosts fifteen-match unbeaten run. However, the only thing Clapton have to play for is sixth spot as they have West Essex hot-on-their-heels but will this be a big enough incentive? Possibly not and I feel Rovers will continue their march towards the Bostik North.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-0
Scott: Wakering welcome the Tons to Burroughs Park. It’s hard to see where the leaders will ‘brake down’ at the moment in the promotion-race though their opponents will have the freedom to play without pressure though the Tons’ recent run of six losses in their eight matches tells its own story. If Jon Fowell’s side do play near their best, this could be a cracker of a match. That said, Wakering have this knack of ‘grinding out’ wins and they may do so again here.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Hackney Wick v Hullbridge Sports | Venue: OSD
Peter: With Wick’s relegation confirmed in the week and Sports pretty much safe from the drop this game doesn’t have too much riding on it. The hosts have four games left now to try and end the season on a high whilst Sports will still be looking for that win to make their position even more safe so both sides will still want to have a ‘W’ on their record. Feel Sports may edge this one.
Pete’s Prediction 1-2
Scott: Wick welcome Hullbridge in their first match since relegation was unfortunately confirmed for them by virtue of their narrow loss at Stansted in midweek. Just three wins at home all season certainly hasn’t helped matters though they have to look to build for a better season next term now. Other results didn’t exactly assist Hullbridge in midweek and they will look to attain another 3 – 4 points to 100% seal their place in the ESL next season. Although they did well to record a comeback win at Burnham last weekend, they endured a ‘bad day at the office’ in a heavy home loss to West Essex in midweek. My thought is that Sports boss Darren Manning will demand a reaction from his side and they may get all three points here.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
Ilford v Barkingside | Venue: Cricklefield
Peter: It’s the Cricklefield derby on Saturday as Ilford host Barkingside with ‘no love lost’ between these two in recent weeks and months. It has all the ingredients to be an explosive encounter and for the visitors it’s an important one as they need a win to put some daylight between them and the drop-zone. The Foxes themselves have been in terrible form recently however form goes out the window in these type of contests and they often end all square too, hence why I feel this may end a draw.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-1
Scott: The ‘Cricklefield derby’ comes at a time where both sides are enduring a tough time for differing reasons. Ilford’s form has somewhat unravelled thanks to five straight defeats which leaves them vulnerable with regards to a top-ten finish. A poor performance in midweek against relegation-battlers Wadham may not have inspired confidence either. They face a Barkingside outfit that are far from safe themselves, two points ahead of the bottom-four after a recent run of two wins in their last six outings though they lost to Sporting Bengal in midweek.
Being totally honest, I do wonder when the Foxes are going to find their form and this could be another scrappy encounter though have to go with a ‘Side win here.
Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2
Southend Manor v Sawbridgeworth Town
| Venue: Southchurch Park
Peter: Manor sit eight points above the drop-zone and are probably going to be OK, although they would like another win to just make it more comfortable, however they welcome a Robins side to Southchurch Park playing with freedom and no worries as they sit in eighth spot after a more than decent 2018. However, if Manor can replicate their battling qualities they showed in their last game against Basildon they will give themselves a chance. But I see this one ending all-square.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-2
Scott: Manor welcome a Sawbo side in decent form, on the back of giving Basildon a scare before going down 2 – 1 on Wednesday night. Adam Peek’s side are winless in five matches now and will want to finish the season well. John Watters’ side have had the midweek off after defeat to FC Romania last weekend, though four wins in their last seven outings tells you they are in decent nick. Sawbridgeworth also have a good record at Southchurch Park in previous seasons and I see no reason why that cannot continue here. Away win.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Sporting Bengal Utd v Redbridge
| Venue: Oakside (12pm KO) | ‘Kick It Out’ Designated Match |
Peter: The Motormen are away but they are also at home, if that makes sense, as because Mile End is now closed for football until next season the match was switched to Oakside. This could play into the Motormen’s hands and they need a win to try and get themselves back into the runners-up spot after falling to fourth on goal difference.
This will be a tough assignment though against a Sporting side who have equalled their best points tally in the ESL and are now all-but-safe from any danger of the drop too. Therefore, the pressure is all on Redbridge, and I feel they will sneak this one in an entertaining game no doubt.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-3
Scott: Bengal face Redbridge in this ‘reversed’ match at Oakside, in what is the early kick-off and also serves as one of the three ‘Designated matches’ for this year’s ‘Kick It Out’ Day. These sides have had a rather contrasting week – Bengal matched their best-ever ESL points total with away wins over Clapton and Barkingside while the Motormen were held by in-form Enfield last weekend. Imrul Gazi’s side are seeking their fourth straight ESL triumph while Redbridge really need to plug a three-match winless run here. There could be goals in this one, purely because of their attacking prowess, I’m plumping for an ‘away’ win.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
Waltham Forest v Stansted | Venue: Kitchener Road
Peter: This is a huge game down at the bottom of the table as fourth-bottom Forest host fifth-bottom Stansted, with both sitting just above the drop-zone. A win for either side would give them a great chance of survival, whilst for the loser it’s a nervous look over their shoulders. Recent form suggests a tight one too as both have pretty much the same record over the last half dozen games, so this will probably end all-square.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-2
Scott: This is probably ‘Match of the day’ in the division at Kitchener Road as it has the whiff of “Winner-takes-all’ about it. Both sides have struggled to obtain wins of late with Forest having just one success in recent times and held Southend Manor last weekend. The Airportmen battled to a home draw with West Essex last Saturday before finally ending a seven-match losing run by beating now-relegated Hackney Wick in midweek.
In fairness, there is perhaps a tad more onus on Forest here, not only because they are the hosts here but also it’s their penultimate match of the season. This is not a nice one to have to call quite honestly, and it may well be a scrappy affair- I’ll go home win..just.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
West Essex v Wadham Lodge
| Venue: Mayesbrook Park | ‘Kick It Out’ Designated Match
Peter: Hosts West Essex know a win could take them a point behind sixth place with three games in-hand, whilst for Lodge this is another huge game for them in the battle against the drop. The ‘carrot’ for the visitors is if they win it could see them replaced in the drop-zone by Walthamstow rivals Forest, however they are coming up against a dangerous opponent at Mayesbrook Park who just put five past Hullbridge Sports. Lodge though did net a super away win at Ilford but I feel the hosts may prove too much here.
Pete’s Prediction: 4-2
Scott: Finally this weekend, The Stags entertain Wadham Lodge in what is their second-to-last home match of a very spirited campaign. It is also the third of the ‘Kick It Out’ Day’s designated matches. West Essex have had a good week, following up a good point at Stansted with a very good performance in a big win at Hullbridge in midweek – their fourth win in their last seven outings. Wadham’s week didn’t start well with a heavy loss at Great Wakering last weekend though it did get better for them with a very encouraging away win at out-of-form Ilford in midweek. Ironically, Wadham have conceded exactly half of their total goals away from home (45 goals in 17 matches) thus far and two successes in their last seven matches isn’t great, and the pressure is still on them to win here to escape the bottom four.
Kwame Kwateng’s side are chasing down Clapton for 6th spot and will pretty much secure a top-ten finish with a victory here. The Wadham back-line may also face another tough afternoon dealing with the likes of Michael Mignot & company. Hard to see anything but a home win for me.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
That’s your lot for the Preview this week. If you’d like to follow Peter on Twitter: @ped1980 & Scott: @ScottMHC14