Written by Scott W & Peter D
Hello and welcome to the return of our Essex Senior League Preview pieces as the duo of Peter and Scott once again go head-to-head, offering their thoughts on the various fixtures the ESL throws up every week.
Have a peek at our thoughts for this weekend’s matches.
Friday 22nd February
Woodford Town v Hoddesdon Town | Venue: Harlow Arena
Pete: Both these sides have only won once in their last six matches, and both drew in midweek as well, with the hosts involved in an eight-goal thriller in midweek. This one proves to be a tight contest as well, so I am going to go for a draw in this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Scott: The weekend’s action begins with Hoddy travelling to Harlow to face Woodford. Town are coming back off a extraordinary high-scoring home draw with Southend Manor in midweek. One win in their last seven matches sees them in 6th, five points adrift of Walthamstow in 5th. Hoddesdon also drew in midweek, at home to Ilford after going out of the Errington Challenge Cup last weekend at home to Clapton. Simon Riddle’s side have also found wins hard to come by of late with one win in their last six league games. In my view, the hosts may be up for this one so I’m going for a home win.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Saturday 23rd February
Clapton v Barkingside | Venue: Old Spotted Dog
Pete: The Tons are an unpredictable beast so knowing what one will turn up this weekend is anyone’s guess. Barkingside are hoping that the bad one turns up as they need to start winning games in order to pull themselves away from danger. Side though have lost three straight now in all competitions, so they are not in good form themselves, and I have a feeling Clapton will win this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 0
Scott: The Tons welcome ‘Side in what is another important match, particularly for the visitors. Clapton enjoyed a good win at Hoddesdon to make the last four of the Errington Cup last weekend though league-wise, consistency still eludes them. ‘Side have suffered defeats to Saffron Walden and Walthamstow in respective Cup and League matches this week and need to start picking up points with games starting to run out. If Alex Goldstone’s team have the urgency as well as the focus then they may get the points though Jon Fowell’s side are scoring well at present. Home win.
Scott’ Prediction: 2 – 1
Hullbridge Sports v Takeley | Venue: Lower Road
Pete: What a big game this is!! Second-placed Bridge take on third-placed Takeley with the hosts a point ahead of their opponents having played two games less ahead of kick off, and with the hosts unbeaten in their last four league outings taking on a Takeley side who haven’t won in two, form suggests a home win. But either side are quite capable of getting a result in this one, but I feel it may end a draw.
Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Scott: Hullbridge finally get back to league commitments this weekend after a frustrating dry spell due to weather-related postponements. They have two matches in hand on leaders Stansted though they face a Takeley outfit that have won one of their last four matches. Darren Manning’s side have signed Greg Frederick and Joe Wright from West Essex & Sawbridgeworth respectively as they look to ‘finish the job’ and take the ESL title. Takeley were held at St Margaretsbury ten days ago and arguably need to win to avoid losing more ground on the top three. This will be another tight affair, though the hosts firepower might just make the difference.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Ilford v St Margaretsbury | Venue: Cricklefield
Pete: Eight points separate Ilford in tenth and St Margaretsbury in eighth but the form for both is the same over the last six games for each, with three wins each, although Ilford have conceded a lot more goals in that time, it must be said. Should be another competitive game this one and I reckon another draw is on the cards.
Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1
Scott: St Margs travel to Cricklefield to face the Foxes, on the back of a fine win at Stanway last weekend which sent them through to the Gordon Brasted Trophy Final. Two losses in their last seven league matches sees them well in contention for a top-ten finish and they held Takeley to a draw of late too. Ilford were held at Hoddesdon in midweek though lost at Tower Hamlets last weekend. I feel Max Mitchell’s side are ‘in rhythm’ at present and may take the points here.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Leyton Athletic v Enfield | Wadham Lodge Stadium
Pete: Bottom side Leyton take on an Enfield side who are unbeaten in their last four, and with Leyton having lost their last four it all points to an away victory. The hosts were thumped 6-2 at home to Sporting Bengal last time out too whilst Enfield have kept clean sheets at Takeley and Walthamstow in their unbeaten run and it’s hard to see anything other than an away win here.
Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 3
Scott: Enfield have another tricky test after their midweek draw at Redbridge by facing bottom side Leyton Athletic at Wadham Lodge. The E’s are unbeaten in their last four matches though will need to be ‘on their guard’ as although Leyton lost heavily to Sporting Bengal last weekend, they still carry a goal threat. However, the home side’s long winless run is an obvious concern. Will their recent added goal-power, I believe the visitors will triumph.
Scott’s Prdiction: 1 – 3
Redbridge v Southend Manor | Oakside
Pete: Its 16th vs 18th at Oakside as hosts Redbridge, who have only lost one in five coming into this one, take on a Manor side who had lost three straight matches until Tuesday’s crazy draw at Woodford, increasing the gap to the bottom two to seven points now. A win for The Motormen would see them pull further clear of the danger zone, whilst Manor would do the same if they managed to grab the win. Do fancy a home win here though.
Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 0
Scott: Manor travel to Oakside. Redbridge ended a dry spell due to postponements with a good showing in their draw with Enfield in midweek. Manor also got a point in a high-scoring draw at Woodford in midweek though they really need to get a few wins under their belts to draw themselves out of the bottom three. This could be another all-action match with twists & turns though I’ll head for a narrow home win.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2
Sawbridgeworth Town v Walthamstow | Crofters
Pete: The Robins have dropped to 14th after a run of just one win in six, whilst Stow have kept themselves just about in the promotion race having won four of their last six. The Robins though will give their opponents a tough game no doubt, but I feel the visitor’s firepower will get them over the line in this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2
Scott: Sawbridgeworth take on ‘Stow at Crofters. John Watters lost out to Eastern Senior League South side Newbury Forest in a friendly last weekend and also saw top scorer Joe Wright depart to Hullbridge this week. One win in their last six league matches has seen them drop outside the top ten. Walthamstow are unbeaten in three matches following a comfortable win over Barkingside on Monday night and certainly could have scored more than they did. Being totally honest, I’d would be really surprised if ‘Stow slipped up here.
Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 3
Stanway Rovers v Sporting Bengal Utd | Hawthorns
Pete: The hosts will be smarting from their disappointing loss at home to St Margaretsbury in last weekend’s Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy Semi Final, whilst Sporting themselves lost on penalties in midweek in the Errington Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals, so both would like to put that disappointment behind them. Stanway’s league form isn’t too bad though, with three wins from their last four, whilst Sporting have won two of their last three, so this suggests a decent battle. Gonna go for a narrow away victory.
Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Scott: Stanway entertain Sporting Bengal at the Hawthorns. Stanway will be looking to bounce back from a heavy loss in their Gordon Brasted Trophy Semi-Final to St Margaretsbury last weekend though they have won four of their last seven league outings to sit 11th in the standings. Sporting exited the Errington Cup on spot-kicks in midweek though struck six in a big win last weekend at Leyton Athletic. Terry Spillane’s side will have a tough job on their hands to restrict the goal-hungry forwards that Imrul Gazi’s side has. Draw for me.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Tower Hamlets v Saffron Walden Town | Mile End
Pete: A three-game unbeaten run, which has seen seven points out of a possible nine, has pulled Hamlets twelve points clear of the bottom two now, so more points here could extend that gap but they come up against a Walden side who have the best record over the last six games, five wins, and netting twenty-two goals in that time too, more than anyone else in the division. It’s going to be a tough ask for Hamlets to keep Walden at bay and I feel they just will not do that as the visitors will take victory here.
Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 4
Scott: Hamlets welcome Saffron Walden to Mile End, as they look to pull further clear of the bottom three. They are unbeaten in three after a home win over Ilford last weekend though face an altogether tougher task here as Walden have won five of their last six league matches. Factor in a big win in the Errington Cup over Barkingside last weekend and you know Jason Maher’s side will take some stopping. Away win for me.
Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 3
West Essex v Stansted | Mayesbrook Park
Pete: The hosts reached the Errington Challenge Cup Semi-Final in midweek, whilst Stansted reach the final of the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy Final last weekend, but it’s back to the grind of the league this weekend, and league leaders Stansted lost their latest unbeaten run last time out in the league with defeat at Walthamstow, so will be looking to get back to winning ways against a West side who haven’t the best home record this season. The hosts are unbeaten in four though and have won their last two, so won’t be an easy opponent. I feel though that the hosts will grab victory here.
Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 3
Scott: Finally this weekend, West Essex look to build on their recent revival as they face leaders Stansted. West showed promise before being held to a penalty shoot-out win at Sporting Bengal in the Errington Cup in midweek plus they are unbeaten in their last four league matches. Stansted’s long league unbeaten stretch was ended by Walthamstow in their last league match two weeks ago, though they returned the favour against the same opposition to make the Gordon Brasted Trophy Final last weekend. The Airportmen still need to keep winning though as closest rivals Hullbridge have matches in hand and the Stags will be a test though am still thinking an away win here.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
That’s all for this week, check back on both our blogs for our ESL round-up’s by Sunday.