2017/18 FA Cup Prelim Round: Results round-up

Written by Scott W (Twitter: ScottMHC14)

Hello & welcome to a special round-up of some of the results from this weekend’s FA Cup Prelim Round ties, specifically involving Essex Senior League & Bostik Division Clubs. The winners of each receive £1,925 in prize money & a place in the First Qualifying Round of the competition.

Saturday 19th August

AFC Hornchurch  2 – 0 Brentwood Town   

Venue: Bridge Avenue   Attendance: 309

The Urchins progressed to the next round, defeating fellow Bostik North side Brentwood at Bridge Avenue. Both goals came in the second half from Hornchurch striker Ross Wall (64’ & 84’). Craig Shipman’s side will have to wait another season for a potential FA Cup adventure.

AFC Sudbury 4 – 0 Aveley

Venue: Wardale Williams Stadium   Attendance: 174

Sudbury comfortably defeated fellow Bostik North side Aveley at the Wardale Williams Stadium. The Yellows took the lead through Julian Smith with 27 minutes on the watch. Three minutes before the break, Adam Mills doubled the home side’s advantage. After the break, two goals in ten minutes from Dave Cowley (60’) and Alfie Carroll (69’) sealed the win for Jamie Godbold’s side.

Barking 0 – 0 Saffron Walden Town

Venue: Mayesbrook Park    Attendance: 76

Barking held Thurlow Nunn Premier side Saffron Walden Town at Mayesbrook Park. This stalemate means that both sides will have to do it all again at Catons Lane in midweek.

Bowers & Pitsea 0 – 2 Haringey Borough

Venue: Len Salmon Stadium    Attendance: 174

Haringey overcame Bowers at the Len Salmon. The visitors led on 67 minutes as former Bowers player Ayron Coley struck, soon after coming off the bench. Borough made their progression into the next round safe with moments left as fellow substitute Ashley McDonald grabbed their second.

Bury Town 1 – 2  Tilbury

Venue: Ram Meadow    Attendance: 233

Tilbury fought off a late fightback from Bury Town to make it into the hat for the next round at Ram Meadow. Tilbury led after the quarter-hour through Adam Vyse before just past the hour mark, fellow striker Luke Hornsley doubled their lead. Darren Mills pulled one back for Town with 21 minutes remaining.

Canvey Island 0 – 2  Witham Town

Venue: Park Lane    Attendance: 224

Witham Town produced a good away-day win to defeat Canvey at Park Lane. Tyler Corlett put the visitors ahead on 21 minutes. Substitute Sam Ashford secured the win late on for Adam Flint’s men.

Clapton 2 – 0 Norwich Utd  

Venue: Old Spotted Dog   Attendance: 122

Clapton secured their passage into the next round by defeating Bostik North side Norwich Utd at the Old Spotted Dog. Substitute Raphael Duyile put the Tons ahead three minutes before the break. After the interval, Ikem Odeh sealed an important win twenty mnutes from time for Jon Fowell’s men.

Dereham Town 3 – 0  Corby Town

Venue: Aldiss Park    Attendance: 164

Bostik North side Dereham grabbed a good win at home to Corby Town. After only three minutes, Daniel Beaumont put the Magpies ahead. Dereham sealed the win with two goals in the last ten minutes courtesy of Ashley Jarvis and Beaumount grabbing his brace. Credit has to go to Corby goalkeeper Paul Bostock who played in this match aged 47 – best wishes to him.

Grays Athletic 2 – 0 Redbridge

Venue: Parkside   Attendance: 174

Grays defeated ESL side Redbridge on the 3G at Parkside. Sully Zuhdu gave the hosts the lead seven minutes before the break. Then, just six minutes after the re-start, Joao Carlos doubled the lead and ensured Jamie Stuart’s side are in the next round.

Great Yarmouth Town 1 – 0 Basildon Utd

Venue: Sandown Road    Attendance: 163

Great Yarmouth grabbed a late winner to knock out ESL side Basildon Utd in a tightly-contested match at Sandown Road. Substitute Lee Roots grabbed the winner eight minutes from time to seal the hosts’ passage into the next round.

Haverhill Rovers 1 – 1 Heybridge Swifts

Venue: The New Croft    Attendance: 188

This hard-fought encounter ended in a draw. Heybridge were reduced to ten men after just 15 minutes as defender Ryan Henshaw saw red. Swifts took the lead just three minutes later though, as Sam Bantick struck. Rovers recovered after the break though to seal a replay as Jordan Palmer scored 12 minutes from time. The replay will be played at Scraley Road in midweek.

Hertford Town 4 – 1   Hadleigh Utd

Venue: Hertingfordbury Park   Attendance: 260

Bostik North newcomers defeated Thurlow Nunn Premier side Hadleigh at Hertingfordbury Park. Hertford led after just two minutes through Daniel Bond. Jason Beck doubled the lead just before the break. Hadleigh pulled one back from the spot, thanks to Ben Elliott’s penalty on the hour. Hertford pushed on though as Bond got his second nine minutes later. Substitute Charlie Ruff grabbed a fourth for Town on 74 minutes, soon after coming on.

Ilford 1 – 1 Haverhill Borough

Venue: Cricklefield   Attendance: 82

Ilford were held by Thurlow Nunn Premier side Borough at Cricklefield. Khadean Campbell gave the Foxes the lead ten minutes before the break with a curling 20-yard strike. Borough were level only eight minutes later though as Sam Hawley struck. Ilford had to see out the last 17 minutes with ten men but they held on for a replay at New Croft 3G in midweek.

Long Melford 1 – 2 FC Romania

Venue: Stoneylands    Attendance: 84

FC Romania secured their place in the next round with a good win at Stoneylands. Sergiu Pitaru gave FCR the lead with 26 minutes on the clock, before Toby Cleaver doubled the lead eight minutes before the break. Melford raised their game in the second half, and grabbed a goal back six minutes from time though substitute Nathan Rowe. The visitors held on though for a good win.

Maldon & Tiptree 4 – 1 Waltham Abbey

Venue: Park Drive   Attendance: 73

Maldon knocked out fellow Bostik North side Abbey at Park Drive. The home side took the lead on the quarter-hour through Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe. Only two minutes later, Chris Millar made it two. Macauley Joynes pulled one back for the Abbotts seven minutes before the break. After the break, Kieraan Bailey restored the Jammers’ two-goal cushion on 55 minutes, before Ogedi-Uzokwe grabbed his second two minutes later to seal a good win for Kevin Horlock’s men.

Newmarket Town 1 – 2 Ware

Venue: Ridgeons Stadium   Attendance: 100

Ware secured a good away-day win at Newmarket to make the next round. Yannick Kamanan put Kem Kemal’s side ahead after only five minutes. A Jack Watson penalty levelled things for the home side, before Kamanan struck again 12 minutes into the second half to grab the win for the Blues.

Potters Bar Town 4 – 1 West Essex

Venue: Pakex Stadium      Attendance: 121

Potters Bar recovered from faling behind to record a good win over ESL side West Essex at the Pakex Stadium. Michael Mignot gave the visitors the lead six minutes before the break. George Nicholas levelled for the Scholars almost immediately, before Eoin Casey put the hosts ahead on 52 minutes. Steve Brown grabbed a third mid-way into the second half, before Casey sealed the win with his second with twenty minutes left.

Soham Town Rangers 2 – 1 Cogenhoe Utd

Venue: Julius Martin Lane   Attendance: 123

Soham edged to an important win over Cogenhoe Utd. Two goals in a four-minutes spell saw Soham take the advantage through Daniel Buddle (36’) and Matt Allan (39’). After the break, the visitors pulled one back through Matt Long though Soham held on to secure their place in the next round.

Southend Manor 2 – 3 Gorleston

Venue: Southchurch Park   Attendance: 64

Manor narrowly lost out to Thurlow Nunn Premier side Gorleston at Southchurch Park. Manor took the lead through Michael Hopkins two minutes after the break. Jack Garrod levelled for the visitors on 58 minutes, before taking the lead five minutes later through Connor Deeks’s penalty. Stuart Marshall’s side were reduced to ten men as winger Alfie Lindfield was sent off. Manor fought back though and levelled through defender Daniel Okah’s over-head kick. The hosts probably thought they’d done enough for a replay though Gorleston’s Garrod grabbed his second in injury-time to seal the win for Ricci Butler’s side.

Stowmarket Town 1 – 1 Romford

Venue: Humber Doucy Lane

Romford held Stowmarket Town at Humber Doucey Lane. The home side took the lead through Andrew Wood four minutes before the break. Paul Martin’s side levelled on 53 minutes through Jonathon Adebayo to get back in the match and the sides couldn’t be separated so it’ll be a replay at Ship Lane in midweek.

Tower Hamlets 0 – 4 Takeley

Venue: Mile End Stadium    Atendance: 55

Takeley saw off ESL rivals Tower Hamlets to make it through to the First Qualifying Round for the first time. Mitchell Das put the visitors ahead after six minutes, before George Wappett increased the advantage eight minutes later. Bryn Thorpe added a third though it may have been an OG. Stuart Zanone sealed a good win for his side with three minutes remaining.

Sunday 20th August

St Margaretsbury 2  –  2 Hullbridge Sports

Venue: The Recreation Ground

Hullbridge fought back to deny St Margaretsbury and take the tie to a replay. Hullbridge took the lead through Sam Dulieu’s free-kick after only four minutes. St Margetsbury levelled through captain Ryan Wade’s penalty on 54 minutes. The hosts then took the lead with twenty minutes remaining as Wade struck again from the penalty spot. Hullbridge secured a replay with a last-gasp leveller from substitute Ronnie Pallett. The replay will be held at Lower Road in midweek.

The First Qualifying Round takes place on the weekend of September 2nd/3rd. Thank you for reading.

2017-18 FA Cup Preliminary Round: Preview

Written by Peter D & Scott W

This weekend sees ten ESL sides compete in the Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round. The winners of each tie are awarded £1,925 and will make the First Qualifying Round of this year’s competition. Here are Peter and Scott’s thoughts on the upcoming ties:-

Saturday 19th August (3pm KO’s)

Clapton v Norwich Utd      Venue: Old Spotted Dog Stadium

Peter: The Tons welcome Bostik North side Norwich United to The Old Spotted Dog for what could be a potential ‘cupset’ here as the Tons are more than useful whilst the visitors sit bottom of their league after two defeats from two, however they will surely be a tough test for the home side still although I feel if you factor the travel and unfamiliar surroundings for the visitors, this may count against them and I can see the hosts pulling off a shock here.

Pete’s Prediction: 2-0

Scott: Jon Fowell’s Tons welcome Isthmian North Norwich Utd to the Old Spotted Dog. Clapton have been inconsistent form-wise in league & cup so far though Norwich will be looking for a morale-boosting win though Steve Eastaugh’s men will need to be ‘on-the-ball’ as their hosts may well fancy this one.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1


Grays Athletic  v  Redbridge    Venue: Parkside

Peter: Parkside hosts Bostik North Grays against Redbridge and the visitors come into this cup-tie off form after two straight defeats without scoring in the league.  Grays have won one and lost one so far in the Bostik North however they should have enough I feel to see off the Motormen here.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 0

Scott: Jamie Stuart’s side welcome ESL side Redbridge to Parkside. Grays will see this as a winnable tie though will be conscious of the Motormen’s forward line which could make this one a tricky match. For Redbridge, it’ll be interesting how they perform after a largely inconsistent start to the ESL, and the new artificial pitch at Parkside might also be a factor in this one.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1


Great Yarmouth Town  v  Basildon Utd     Venue: Sandown Road

Peter: The Bees travel to the Norfolk coast to take on Great Yarmouth Town full of confidence after a more than decent start to their campaign.  Basildon saw off Walsham-le-Willows in the last round and come up against a Yarmouth side who lost 4-1 at Godmanchester Rovers in midweek.  However, the hosts did thrash Diss Town 5-0 at home in the last round so can score goals so this will prove a tough test for Marc Harrison’s side.  I feel the fact that Basildon are staying in the area Friday evening will help their preparation even more and this will help see them to a marvellous victory I feel.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Scott: Basildon make the long trip to Norfolk to take on ECL Premier Great Yarmouth Town at Sandown Road. The hosts are currently mid-table in their division, having played two matches. Basildon have started their ESL campaign well, and it’ll be interesting to see what effect their preparation for the match will have.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 1


Ilford v Haverhill Borough       Venue: Cricklefield

Peter: Ilford hosts Thurlow Nunn Haverhill Borough hoping they can bounce back from their midweek loss at Burnham Ramblers although they can look towards the visitors’ league form this season which is played three, lost three, however Borough’s only win this season came in the FA Cup at Enfield 1893 so Ilford should be mindful of this.  But I can see the Foxes getting the result here.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 0

Scott: Ilford welcome ECL Premier side Haverhill Borough to Cricklefield. Ilford’s start to the ESL has been inconsistent though they will want to respond well following their loss in midweek. In contrast, Borough have lost all three of their matches so far in the ECL Premier though they did knock out Enfield 1893 in the last round of the FA Cup.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 0


Long Melford  v  FC Romania        Venue: Stoneylands

Peter: Hosts Melford have only picked up one point from three league games however their only win was against Hackney Wick although they were lucky to win that one.  FC Romania on the other hand have won all their league games so far although needed a replay to defeat Waltham Forest in the last round. Despite the hosts having home advantage I still believe the visitors will have too much for the Suffolk side.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 3

Scott: FC Romania travel to the Suffolk/Essex border to take on Long Melford at Stoneylands after knocking out Waltham Forest in their EPR replay in midweek. Long Melford haven’t won yet in the ECL Premier though they did knock out ESL newcomers Hackney Wick in the last round. Given the firepower they have in their side, FCR could very well prevail here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


Potters Bar Town  v  West Essex     Venue: Pakex Stadium

Peter:  West Essex’s terrific away record so far this season will be put under immense pressure as they travel to take on Bostik North side Potters Bar Town.  The hosts have started the season well, winning both their games so far and averaging two goals a game in the process, and having home advantage as well I feel they will probably have just much for the high-flying ESL outfit.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Scott: An intriguing tie sees Isthmian North newcomers Potters Bar take on ESL side West Essex at the Pakex Stadium. Both sides have started their respective seasons well. West Essex will be looking to get to the First Qualifying Round in their first-ever FA Cup campaign which would be a fabulous achievement, should they prevail here. Potters Bar will be looking to continue the ‘winning habit’ and being at home may give them an edge.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2


Southend Manor v Gorleston         Venue: Southchurch Park

Peter: Manor welcome another Norfolk side to Southchurch Park after they defeated Wroxham there in the last round, however in Gorleston the challenge proves even tougher as the Thurlow Nunn side have won four of their five competitive outings so far, scoring fifteen times in the process, with their only defeat coming against big-spending Stowmarket Town last time out.  Manor have had a steady start to the campaign but are finding goals hard to come by and this was a problem in defeat to ESL leaders Takeley in midweek when they rued missed opportunities in defeat. This will be a tight contest however I see the Norfolk side progressing in this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Scott: Manor welcome ECL Premier side Gorleston in another interesting tie at Southchurch Park. Manor edged out the visitors’ divisional rivals Wroxham in the last round, though with Gorleston starting their league season well, this may be a sterner test for Stuart Marshall’s side.

Scott’s Prediction:  0 – 1


Tower Hamlets v Takeley               Venue: Mile End Stadium

Peter: Hamlets are a far tougher nut to crack this season and they will give Takeley a game – no doubt about that, however the hosts struggled to beat a poor FC Broxbourne Borough side in the last round and are yet to record a league win.  Takeley on the other hand, have won all five competitive games this season although their midweek win against Manor was a tad fortunate, but they will surely have too much for Hamlets in the end and will progress I feel.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Scott: Hamlets welcome ESL early high-flyers Takeley to Mile End. Although Hamlets haven’t won in the ESL yet this term, they do look a stronger outfit compared to last season, though Takeley are unbeaten in all competitions thus far and will take some stopping here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3


Sunday 20th August

St Margaretsbury   v  Hullbridge Sports     Venue: Stanstead Abbotts

Peter: The Sunday game sees Hullbridge travel to Hertfordshire to take on Spartan South Midlands side St Margaretsbury.  The hosts have lost both their league games so far and sit bottom on goals conceded whilst Sports have picked up two wins in all competitions this season including a 5-1 hammering of Ipswich Wanderers in the last round.  St Margaretsbury’s only win came against Burnham Ramblers in the last round when they fought back from 2-1 down to win in stoppage time and they hope to repeat that feat against another ESL side.  However I feel Sports will have just enough to see off the hosts.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Scott: On Sunday, Hullbridge travel to Stanstead Abbotts following their impressive win over Ipswich Wanderers in the last round. St Margetsbury edged out Hullbridge’s ESL compatriots Burnham in the last round and will be in for another tough one here. Hullbridge have found some form of late, particularly in front of goal and if that continues here they may have the edge.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


As always, my thanks to Peter for his contribution to these Preview pieces.

You can follow Peter on Twitter: @ped1980 and on his website featuring regular results round-ups & match reports at http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/unofficialesl/ 

You can follow Scott W on Twitter: @ScottMHC14

Bostik Division North Results round-up – Matchday #2

Written by Scott W  (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello & welcome to the round-up of action that transpired in Bostik League Division North in midweek (Monday-Wednesday).

Monday 14th August Result

Haringey Borough  1  –  1  Barking

Venue: Coles Park       Attendance: 188

Haringey came back from behind to hold the Blues at Coles Park. Glen Golby & Justin Gardner’s side took the lead after 25 minutes through a goal from Ricky Tarbard. The task for Borough got harder when Jorge Dtassi-Sambu saw red just before the hour mark. The ten men did find an leveller though as defender Scott Mitchell’s goal sixteen minutes from the end ensured it was honours even.

Tuesday 15th August Results

Bowers & Pitsea  3  –  0  Witham Town

Venue: Len Salmon Stadium      Attendance: 160

Bowers comfortably swept aside ten-man Witham at the Len Salmon Stadium. Bowers forward Tony Stokes scored from the penalty spot after 34 minutes to give Rob Small’s men the lead. Adam Flint’s side saw Ryan Imbert dismissed early in the second half as their evening got ever-tougher. Stokes converted another spot-kick ten minutes into the second half before Lewis Manor made the points safe only two minutes afterward.

Canvey Island  2  –  3 Tilbury

Venue: Park Lane     Attendance: 268

Tilbury resisted a Canvey fight-back to take all three points at Park Lane. The Dockers took an early lead just three minutes in through Kurt Smith’s opener. Smith then scored at the other end as Canvey levelled, before Ryan Charles’ goal six minutes before the break gave Danny Heale’s side the lead. Tilbury roared back though late on as goals from Adam Vyse and Smith again sealed a good win for Gary Henty’s side.

Cheshunt  1  – 3  Ware

Venue: Theobalds Lane   Attendance: 147

Cheshunt suffered their second successive loss at the hands of a resurgent Ware at Theobalds Lane. The Ambers took the lead five minutes before the break thanks to Tom Bruno’s opener. Ware recovered well after the interval though, levelling through Yannick Kamanan’s goal seven minutes into the second half. Ware sealed the points with further second-half goals by Murat Karagul (65’) and substitute Finbarr Robins (87’).

Hertford Town  0  –  6  Bury Town 

Venue: Hertingfordbury Park         Attendance: 209

Bury Town bounced back from Saturday’s draw by demolishing newcomers Hertford Town at Hertingfordbury Park. Glenn Draper’s OG gave Town the lead eight minutes in, before Leon Ottley-Gooch put Ben Chenery’s side two-up at the break. After the break, Town piled on the goals with Ollie Cenfer (49’), Ryan Jolland (69’), and a late Ollie Hughes brace in the last eleven minutes sealed a big win for the visitors.

Maldon & Tiptree  A  –  A   AFC Sudbury 

Venue: Park Drive        Attendance: 143

This match was abandoned at half-time due to floodlight failure. The Yellows had taken the lead thanks to L’heureux Menga’s calm finish mid-way into the first half. Maldon levelled through Junior Ofelia-Uzokwe’s tap-in with ten minutes of the half remaining. However, the match was halted as the lighting became steadily worse and this match will be replayed later in the season.

Mildenhall Town   0  – 1    Dereham Town 

Venue: Recreation Way     Attendance: 204

Dereham picked up another narrow win, this time at Recreation Way. The match was only settled with moments left as Jake Anema’s strike was the deciding goal that gave the Magpies their second win on the trot.

Potters Bar Town   2 – 1   Brentwood Town

Venue: Pakex Stadium      Attendance: 130

Potters Bar fought back to claim an important win at the Pakex Stadium. Brentwood took the lead through Matt Price after 25 minutes. As half-time was approaching, the Scholars levelled thanks to Steve Brown’s goal. With five minutes remaining, Lee O’Leary pounced to give Steve Ringrose’s side their second win of the season.

Soham Town Rangers  4  – 1    Norwich Utd  

Venue: Julius Martin Lane        Attendance: 134

Soham recovered from the previous weekend’s loss to hand Norwich Utd their second straight loss. Soham led through Joe Carden’s goal eight minutes before the break. Two goals in the space of eight minutes after the break from Lewis Endacott (56’) and Marcus Hall’s penalty (64’) gave Robbie Mason’s side a comfortable cushion. The Planters pulled one back through Adam Hipperson though Soham’s Matt Allan scored a late fourth to give his side a good win.

Waltham Abbey  0  –  1   Aveley    

Venue: Capershotts             Attendance: 105

Aveley pulled off a narrow win at Capershotts. Tommy Spillane’s 21st-minute goal was enough to give the Millers the points & their first win of the campaign.

Wednesday 16th August Results

Grays Athletic 0  –  2  AFC Hornchurch

Venue: Parkside       Attendance: 377

Hornchurch fought to a good win at Parkside. The Urchins led through Bradley Warner with 15 minutes to play. The visitors were awarded a penalty just four minutes later, which resulted in Grays’ Glenn Wilson being sent off. Unfortunately, forward Leon McKenzie had his penalty saved by Grays goalkeeper Lamar Johnson. Hornchurch did get a second goal however, as with moments remaining, George Purcell securing the points for their second win of the campaign.

Romford   1 – 5    Heybridge Swifts

Venue: Ship Lane        Attendance: 127

Heybridge produced a superb performance to defeat ‘Boro at Ship Lane. The visitors went ahead on 21 minutes through Sam Bantick’s opener. Only four minutes later, Luke Callander doubled Swifts’ advantage. Just past the hour, Juan Luque made it three. Romford grabbed a goal back thanks to Jonathan Nzenga on 71 minutes. Late on, Heybridge inflicted further pain on the home side as Luque got his second ten minutes from the end and with the match in its final moments, Harrison Chatting added a fifth.

This match was Romford Manager Paul ‘Magic’ Martin’s 400th league match in charge of the side; many congratulations go to Paul for his long, successful reign in charge of the club, thus far.

This weekend, Bostik North clubs are involved in the FA Cup Prelim Round, the action in the league returns on Friday/Saturday 25th/26th August.

ESL 2017/18 – Preview & Results (Matchday Round 4)

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Intro by Peter D

With the ESL now in full swing the games are now coming thick and fast and this week is no exception as there are Premier Division games as well as an FA Cup replay to boot, here are the thoughts of Scott W and myself as we look forward to those fixtures:-

Update: Results will be at the end of this article. Thank you.

Monday 14th August (7.45pm KO’s)

Barkingside v West Essex                                Venue: Cricklefield

Scott: Barkingside welcome West Essex to Cricklefield for their second home match in three days. Both sides won on Saturday, Barkingside narrowly did so over Stansted whilst West Essex continued their fine recent run by winning at Waltham Forest. To be fair, both sides are unbeaten thus far in the league though that record could well disappear after this one.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 1

Peter: Side have won two out of two in the league so far this season although they have had to work hard for both of those victories, whilst West Essex have won all their away games so far in all competitions and are looking like dark horses in the league this season early on.  I fancy an away win here.

Pete’s Prediction 0-2


Enfield 1893 v Redbridge                   Venue: The Harlow Arena

Scott: Matt Hanning’s side welcome the Motormen to the Harlow Arena. Both teams lost their respective encounters on Saturday, Enfield lost at home to Ilford while Redbridge were the latest victim of the Takeley ‘juggernaut’ at Station Road on Saturday. Ricky Eaton & Joey May’s team arguably haven’t found their best form just yet though their squad depth may be useful in this one.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Peter:  Enfield welcome Redbridge to the Harlow Arena having lost all three competitive games so far this term, although their football has probably deserved better than that. Redbridge lost for the first time this campaign with defeat at Takeley so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from this set back.  I am expecting a reaction from the Motormen though so going for an away win.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-3


Tuesday 15th August (all 7.45pm KO’s)

Basildon Utd v Hullbridge Sports                   Venue: The Hive

Scott: Basildon welcome Hullbridge to The Hive. Both sides triumphed on Saturday, with Marc Harrison’s side defeating Wadham Lodge at home, whilst Sports narrowly beat Sporting Bengal at Mile End in a nonetheless good win for Rob Hodsgon’s men. This could be a hard-fought encounter though I feel the hosts will edge it.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Peter:  The Bees have begun life under Marc Harrison with two wins from two in the league and along with their cup win against Walsham le Willows too they are in good shape this time out.  Hullbridge started slowly but have won their last two games in all competitions so this proves to be a tough encounter for both sides.  Going to go for a score draw here.

Pete’s Prediction:  2-2


Burnham Ramblers v Ilford            Venue: Leslie Field

Scott: Ilford make the trip to Leslie Field to take on Lee Hughes’ Burnham Ramblers. The hosts here started well at the weekend though before falling away at FC Romania on Saturday. Ilford had goal-machine James Peagram’s hat-trick to thank for a win last weekend. The visitors will fancy their chances here as Burnham simply have to stop conceding goals to ‘put a lid’ on their recent form.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Peter:  Ramblers come into this one having lost every competitive game this season and their latest defeat was an 8-2 thrashing at the hands of FC Romania.  Ilford have recorded two convincing away wins this campaign and will be looking to add another one at Leslie Field and I believe they will achieve this too.

Pete’s Prediction: 0-4


Sawbridgeworth Town v Stansted             Venue: Crofters End

Scott: Sawbridgeworth welcome the Airportmen to Crofters End, having got their first win of the campaign at the weekend. John Watters’ side will surely look to ‘keep the ball running’ here, though Stansted have lost two of three matches so far, they’ve proved to be a gritty outfit, conceding an average of one goal a game in that time. That said, I reckon Sawbo will have added confidence from the weekend’s win to take a narrow win here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 0

Peter:  Local pride is at stake at Crofters as Sawbridgeworth Town host Stansted and the hosts come into this off the back of their first win of the season after defeating Hackney Wick 4-1 at home with ten men.  Stansted fell to a disappointing 1-0 loss at Barkingside at the weekend so will be looking to bounce back from that.  Feel the hosts may get the win here though.

Pete’s Prediction: 3-2

Waltham Forest v FC Romania (FA Cup EPR Replay)   Venue: Kitchener Road

Scott: Forest welcome FCR in this FA Cup Extra Prelim Round replay. Forest produced a good display to hold Ion Vintila’s side at Theobalds Lane that precipitated this replay. FCR showed they were ‘in the mood’ for goals by scoring eight in the league on Saturday and they will take some stopping here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Peter:  Following a 2-2 draw in the original tie back on August 5th, these two play again for a place in the Preliminary Round and an away tie at Long Melford.  Forest are the only side to prevent the Romanians from winning this season but have yet to win in three league outings themselves.  As mentioned FCR have won all three league games and the last one saw them hit eight past Burnham Ramblers and they have already won at the Matchday Centre this season with an opening day win against Wadham Lodge, and I believe they will repeat this feat again.

Pete’s Prediction: 2-3

Wednesday 16th August (all 7.45pm KO’s)

Hackney Wick v Sporting Bengal Utd             Venue: Old Spotted Dog

Scott: Hackney welcome Bengal to the OSD on Wednesday night. Both sides have shown glimpses of their talents so far though Bengal are still searching for their first win this term. Both sides lost last weekend, albeit in different manners. I think this will be hard-fought draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Peter:  Wick come into this one in not ideal circumstances after they lost 4-1 at the weekend and then saw manager Chris Davis part company by mutual consent shortly afterwards.  The club have announced Tolga Dervish is the new head coach and his first job will be to bounce back from that defeat.  They take on a Sporting Bengal United side who have only picked up one point from their three games so far in the league although that point was against an impressive West Essex outfit.  Got a feeling this may end all square.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-1

Southend Manor v Takeley                 Venue: Southchurch Park

Scott: Manor welcome Marc Das’ side to Southchurch Park, looking to stop the so-far perfect Takeley record (3 wins from 3 matches) and breach the thus-far unbreached Takeley defence in the league. Manor had a battle in getting a point at Wakering on Saturday whilst Takeley dispatched Redbridge on the same day. I don’t think the visitors will find it easy here though Manor will need to counter-punch with their own firepower and do it well.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Peter: A potentially cracking encounter awaits us at Southchurch Park as Southend Manor host Takeley, with the hosts having beaten Wroxham here in the Cup two weeks ago and are also unbeaten in two away games in the league.  Takeley along with FC Romania have been the most impressive starters to the season though and with four wins from four in all competitions this says it all.  However this is the visitors first away game of the campaign so it will be interesting to see how they do, personally I have this one down as a draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-1

Wadham Lodge v Great Wakering Rovers                 Venue: Kitchener Road

Scott: Wadham welcome Wakering to Kitchener Road. Wadham were edged out by Basildon on Saturday late-on while Wakering battled hard for a draw on the same day. Wadham are still waiting for their first win though their defence will have to play well as the visitors do have an energetic midfield and are a threat from set-pieces.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Peter:  Lodge haven’t begun the season brilliantly, losing four of their five competitive fixtures so far.  Wakering have had a mixed start to their season themselves but will fancy their chances against a Wadham side struggling for confidence thus far and I feel the Burroughs Park side may sneak a win here.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-2



Monday’s Results

Barkingside 0 – 3 West Essex  | Venue: Cricklefield  | Attendance: 85

Enfield 1893 1 – 0 Redbridge  | Venue: The Harlow Arena | Attendance: 59

Tuesday’s Results

Basildon Utd 1 – 0 Hullbridge Sports | Venue: The Hive | Attendance: 194

Burnham Ramblers 3 – 2 Ilford | Venue: Leslie Field | Attendance: 23

Sawbridgeworth Town 1 – 2 Stansted | Venue: Crofters End | Attendance: 42

Waltham Forest 1 – 2 FC Romania (FA Cup EPR Replay) | Venue: Kitchener Road | Attendance: 42

Wednesday’s Results

Hackney Wick 0 – 2 Sporting Bengal Utd | Venue: Old Spotted Dog | Attendance: 57

Southend Manor 0 – 1 Takeley | Venue: Southchurch Park | Attendance: 80

Wadham Lodge 0 – 5 Great Wakering Rovers | Venue: Kitchener Rd |Attendance: 33


You can follow Peter on Twitter: @ped1980 and on his website at http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/unofficialesl

You can follow Scott W on Twitter: @ScottMHC14

Also, you can follow the ‘umbrella’ that is the Grassroot Football Show on Twitter at @ELRFootball & also online at elrgfs.blogspot.co.uk

Bostik Division North Results round-up – Matchday #1 of 2017/18 Season

Written by Scott W  (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello & welcome to the first round-up of action of the new season in the Bostik League Division North on Saturday (12th August).

Saturday 12th August Results

AFC Hornchurch 3 – 0 Soham Town Rangers  

Venue: Bridge Avenue        Attendance: 168

Jimmy McFarlane’s Urchins started the season with a good win against Soham at Bridge Avenue. New signing Brad Warner put the home side ahead after just six minutes. Hornchurch made the win safe with goals from George Purcell  on 72’ and substitute Ross Wall added a late third with six minutes left.

AFC Sudbury 1 – 1 Canvey Island   

Venue: Wardale Williams Stadium      Attendance: 384

This battle of the two recently-relegated clubs ended all square. Canvey took the lead just before the break through George Sykes. Jamie Godbold’s Sudbury got a late leveller three minutes from time though thanks to forward Adam Mills.

Aveley 1 – 3 Bowers & Pitsea

Venue: Parkside    Attendance: 354

Bowers were the party-poopers at Aveley in their first league match at their new Parkside home. All the goals came in the second half. Bowers took the lead through Fahad Nyanja’s opener ten minutes after the interval. Rob Small’s side doubled their advantage on 66 minutes thanks to forward Lewis Manor. Terry Spillane’s men pulled one back four minutes later thanks to Jordan Peart’s goal. Manor struck again though for the visitors nine minutes from time to seal a good win for one of last season’s surprise packages.

Barking 2 – 3 Waltham Abbey

Venue: Mayesbrook Park   Attendance: 85

Barking narrowly lost out in their first match back at Step 4. Abbey took the lead ten minutes in through Billy Holland’s opener. Ben O’Brien levelled for Glen Golby & Justin Gardner’s men. The visitors re-took the lead thanks to goals from Darelle Russell and new signing Christian Assombolonga, before the hosts made it a nervous end thanks to Billy Jones’ penalty late on.

Brentwood Town 2 – 2 Hertford Town

Venue: The Brentwood Arena      Attendance: 144

Brentwood began their campaign with a draw against newly-promoted Hertford Town at the Brentwood Arena. It started well for Craig Shipman’s side as Matt Price gave them the lead after just five minutes. Forward Harrison Georgiou doubled that lead five minutes before the break. To their credit, Hertford responded with two goals in four minutes in the last quarter of the match. First, Charlie Edwards scored then just three minutes later Ollie Sharman levelled. Brentwood finished the match with ten men as Georgiou was sent off late on.

Bury Town 1 – 1 Romford

Venue: Ram Meadow   Attendance: 318

Bury Town & Romford shared the points at Ram Meadow. Paul Martin’s side took the lead through Jonathan Nzenga’s goal with 18 minutes left. The Blues responded though with nine minutes remaining as Cemal Ramadan’s goal ensured a point for Ben Chenery’s side.

Dereham Town 1 – 0 Cheshunt  

Venue: Aldiss Park    Attendance: 161

Dereham picked a narrow but nonetheless decent win over Cheshunt at Aldiss Park. Jamie Forshaw grabbed the only goal of the game just after the hour mark in Neal Simmons’ first league match in charge.

Heybridge Swifts 2 – 1 Mildenhall Town

Venue: Scraley Road      Attendance: 172

Heybridge picked up an opening-day win against newly-promoted Mildenhall at Scraley Road. Reece Grant grabbed a first-half brace to give Jody Brown’s side the advantage at the break. Mildenhall pulled one back from the penalty spot thanks to Christopher Bacon 13 minutes from time. The visitors were reduced to ten men late on as Jake Kerins saw red for two bookable offences.

Norwich Utd 0 – 2 Haringey Borough

Venue: Plantation Park    Attendance: 124

Haringey pulled off a good win at Plantation Park. An OG from Andy Eastaugh after just six minutes put Tom Loizou’s side ahead. A late second from substitute Michael Ademayui made the points safe.

Tilbury  1 – 2  Grays Athletic              

Venue: Chadfields     Attendance: 202

Grays grabbed all three points late on at Chadfields. Jamie Stuart’s side took the lead eight minutes after the break thanks to talismanic striker Kieran Bishop. Tilbury levelled six minutes from time through Emiel Aiken’s goal. Though Grays were not to be denied as a late penalty from Bishop sealed the win.

Ware  0 – 1  Maldon & Tiptree         

Venue: Wodson Park     Attendance: 95

Maldon started their season with a narrow win at Wodson Park. Forward Chris Millar got the game’s only goal four minutes before the break to give Kevin Horlock’s men the perfect tonic as they set about another promotion charge this season.

Witham Town 1 – 2 Potters Bar Town

Venue: Spa Road   Attendance: 72

Potters Bar came from behind to grab a good win at Spa Road. All the goals came in a frantic three-minute period. First, Witham took the lead thanks to Usman Adeniji’s goal four minutes after the re-start. Only a minute later, the visitors levelled through Eoin Casey. And only moments later, George Nicholas scored what ended up being the winner on a good day for Steve Ringrose’s side.

There is a mid-week programme of matches in the Bostik Division North, the fixtures are below.

Monday 14th August – 7.45pm KO

Haringey Borough  v Barking          Venue: Coles Park


Tuesday 15th August – 7.45pm KO’s

Bowers & Pitsea v Witham Town       Venue: Len Salmon Stadium

Canvey Island v Tilbury                        Venue: Park Lane

Cheshunt  v Ware                                Venue: Theobalds Lane

Hertford Town  v  Bury Town            Venue: Hertingfordbury Park

Maldon & Tiptree  v   AFC Sudbury           Venue: Park Drive

Mildenhall Town   v   Dereham Town        Venue: Recreation Way

Potters Bar Town  v  Brentwood Town       Venue: Pakex Stadium

Soham Town Rangers   v   Norwich Utd      Venue: Julius Martin Lane

Waltham Abbey  v   Aveley                              Venue: Capershotts


Wednesday 16th August 7.45pm KO’s

Grays Athletic v AFC Hornchurch        Venue: Parkside

Romford v Heybridge Swifts                Venue: Ship Lane


Check back later this week for more from the Bostik League Division North.

Essex Senior League 2017/18 – Predictions (Matchday Round 3)

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Hello & welcome to our next round of predictions, as the Essex Senior League returns this weekend following the FA Cup Extra Prelim Round action last weekend. Once again, I’ll be (jokingly) pitting my wits against my good friend & Grassroot Football Show colleague Peter Dudley in predicting the results in the ESL this season on both our blogs. Do you agree with our thoughts of this weekends’ round of matches?

Saturday 12th August (all 3pm KO’s)

Barkingside v Stansted                        Venue: Cricklefield

Scott: Barkingside welcome Paul Pittuck’s side to Cricklefield. Both sides lost out in FA Cup action last week and both will be looking for a better result here. The fact that both sides also have virtually new squads this term makes this tricky to predict, though I’m going for a narrow home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Peter:  Side will be looking to bounce back from a heavy home defeat at home to Stowmarket Town in their FA Cup tie last weekend whilst the visitors’ also exited the cup at Redbridge so both will have to put those disappointments behind them.  Both sides have played Great Wakering Rovers away and had differing fortunes, Side winning whilst Stansted were beaten, and looking at this one I feel the hosts may grab the points.

Pete’s Prediction:  2-1

Basildon Utd v Wadham Lodge            Venue: The Hive

Scott: Wadham are the next visitors to The Hive Stadium. Basildon are unbeaten in league & cup so far, whilst Wadham are winless in the league. This will be a tough test for James Falaise & Kevin Lucas’ side and I reckon the Bees will have ‘enough in the locker’ in this one to claim the points.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 0

Peter: The Bees have played two, won two in all competitions at home this season, a 2-0 win over Clapton in the League followed up by a 3-0 win over Walsham le Willows in the cup in midweek, whilst Wadham Lodge have lost both league games this season and exited the cup in midweek against Step Six side Framlingham Town so will be desperate for a win here.  Can’t see it though and expect the hosts to prevail.

Pete’s Prediction:  3-0

Clapton v Woodford Town (2017)             Venue: Old Spotted Dog

Scott: Clapton welcome Tony Ievoli’s Woodford to the Old Spotted Dog Stadium. Even though it’s very early on in the season, there’s been a degree of contradictions for both sides in terms of results. Clapton will undoubtedly be looking to triumph in what is their first home match of the campaign, while Woodford will seek to take advantage of their week off having not been in FA Cup action last weekend. I think this one could be an entertaining goal-fest, though it’s hard to look past the Tons, despite Woodford’s ability to score goals of late.

Scott’s Prediction: 4 – 2

Peter: The Tons come into this one off the back of two wins, one in the league against Ilford and one in the FA Cup at FC Clacton last weekend.  Woodford themselves didn’t play last weekend as they did not enter the FA Cup this season but their league form so far is a 0-5 home defeat to Ilford and then a 5-2 win at Wadham Lodge, so a mixed start it has to be said.  Feel the Tons may be too strong here and will take the win.

Pete’s Prediction: 2-0

Enfield 1893 v Ilford                                        Venue: The Harlow Arena

Scott: Enfield welcome Allan Fenn’s Foxes to the Harlow Arena. Both sides were involved in tight FA Cup matches last weekend, Enfield narrowly losing out to Haverhill Borough and Ilford pulling through against Woodbridge Town. It’s arguable that both sides haven’t quite settled and found their rhythm yet following quite large squad overhauls in the summer, albeit for differing reasons. It’s hard to separate these two, so I’m plumping for a draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Peter: Enfield have lost both their competitive games this season although have probably been unlucky in both, whilst Ilford kept free-scoring Woodbridge Town at bay last weekend in the cup so will take some heart from that.  Think this one could end all square.

Pete’s Prediction: 2-2

FC Romania v Burnham Ramblers                          Venue: Theobalds Lane

Scott: FC Romania, unbeaten in league and cup thus far, welcome winless Burnham to Theobalds Lane. The visitors have a daunting task here to get past an FCR defence that hasn’t yet conceded a goal in two league matches. If anything, the pressure is off Burnham and there were ‘shoots of recovery’ last weekend in the FA Cup as they battled hard in a narrow loss. I reckon it’ll be a home win though not a massive one.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 0

Peter: FCR have won both league games without conceding but will admit they haven’t been at their best so far, which is a worry for everyone else.  They were held to a 2-2 draw in the Cup by Waltham Forest last time out whilst for Burnham it’s been a difficult start to the season as many had predicted it would be.  However, despite losing all three competitive games so far they have showed battling qualities in all three which should be an encouragement for the club.  However I can’t see anything other than a home win here.

Pete’s Prediction: 3-0

Great Wakering Rovers v Southend Manor             Venue: Burroughs Park

Scott: Wakering welcome neighbours Manor to Burroughs Park. The ‘form book’ sometimes ‘goes out the window’ in derby matches and this could be the case here. Manor’s defence does look stronger than last term; though I can’t help thinking Wakering will want to roar back from a disappointing loss last weekend at Newmarket in the FA Cup, buoyed on by the home crowd in this one. With that in mind I’m going to ‘make hay’ and go for a score draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Peter: The eagerly awaited derby between GWR and Manor comes only three weeks into the season and with the sides only four miles apart, local pride is always at stake here. Rovers were thrashed at Newmarket Town last weekend in the Cup whilst Manor recorded a very impressive win over Wroxham at Southchurch Park, also in the cup, last weekend.  Tough one to call this one so I reckon it will end all square.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-1

Sawbridgeworth Town v Hackney Wick           Venue: Crofters End

Scott: Sawbridgeworth welcome the Wickers to Crofters End. This could be a compelling match with the home side announcing a slight alteration to their management team on Thursday. Although Wick are unbeaten in the league thus far, I reckon the home side’s fortunes will change and they could do so here. I reckon we’ll see a narrow home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Peter: The Robins have endured a difficult start to the season, suffering two home defeats to West Essex, one in the league and one in the Cup, although they did grab an encouraging draw at Redbridge in their other league outing so far.  Wick are unbeaten in two league games after beginning their first senior season impressively, although they suffered a disappointing home defeat to Long Melford at the weekend in what was a frustrating afternoon for them.  I have a feeling the Robins may sneak this one though and grab their first win of the campaign.

Pete’s Prediction: 3-1

Sporting Bengal Utd v Hullbridge Sports         Venue: Mile End Stadium

Scott: Bengal welcome Hullbridge to Mile End with both clubs looking for their first league win of the campaign. Last time out in the league, Bengal held West Essex at Mayesbrook Park so for them it could be about maintaining level of performance, whilst in FA Cup action last week, Hullbridge picked up a morale-boosting home win against Ipswich Wanderers. This is Bengal’s first home match and Hullbridge’s first match away from Lower Road, though I still think Bengal may edge a hard-fought contest.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Peter: Both sides have drawn one and lost one in the league so far although they had differing fortunes in the FA Cup, with Sporting going down 3-2 at Hadleigh United whilst Hullbridge recorded their biggest victory in the competition with a 5-1 drubbing of Ipswich Wanderers, which was mightily impressive indeed.  I feel the confidence this has almost certainly given the visitors will take them to victory here.

Pete’s Prediction: 0-2

Takeley v Redbridge                                      Venue: Station Road

Scott: Takeley, among the early ESL pace-setters, welcome Redbridge to Station Road. The home side are unbeaten in league & cup so far this term, whilst the Motormen perhaps haven’t quite found their best form as of yet, though they did pick up an important win in the FA Cup last weekend. The visitors will still have to have a good day in defence though as Takeley have been scoring well in the opening weeks of the campaign. If the visitors rise to the occasion, then we could see a heck of an encounter here.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2

Peter: A potentially huge clash already this season takes place at Station Road as two of the pre-season favourites clash and Takeley have certainly had a fine start to the campaign with three straight wins, all at home, in all competitions whilst Redbridge have also played three home games and won two of them which included an FA Cup victory over Stansted last time out.  Almost impossible to call this one however gonna go for a narrow home win.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-0

Waltham Forest v West Essex                    Venue: Kitchener Road

Scott: Waltham Forest welcome West Essex to Kitchener Road. Forest are searching for their first league win, though have started the season OK. West Essex have started well, and are unbeaten in the league thus far and picked up a memorable away-day win in the FA Cup last weekend. The visitors will have to be on their guard here though as Forest can move the ball well going forward.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Peter: Forest are yet to win in two league outings so far however they did hold FC Romania to a draw last weekend in the FA Cup.  Both of West Essex’s wins have come at Crofters against Sawbridgeworth Town, one in the league and one in the cup, and they look more than useful this term.  Got a feeling the visitors may grab another impressive victory in Walthamstow as well.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-3

You can follow Scott W on Twitter: @ScottMHC14

You can follow Peter on Twitter: @ped1980 and on his website at http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/unofficialesl/LeagueNews

Also, you can follow the ‘umbrella’ that is the Grassroot Football Show on Twitter at @ELRFootball & also online at elrgfs.blogspot.co.uk

Bostik Division North Matchday #1 Preview

Written by Scott W  (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello and welcome to the new Isthmian Division North season, now known as the Bostik League Division North after twenty years of it being known as the Ryman League. It’s been mentioned that only one club will be relegated come season’s end and two will be promoted. Below is a list of the fixtures on Matchday #1.

Saturday 12th August  (3pm KO’s)

AFC Hornchurch v Soham Town Rangers      Venue: Bridge Avenue

Jimmy McFarlane’s Urchins welcome Soham to Bridge Avenue. Hornchurch have recruited a number of good players during the summer, including the likes of forwards Bradley Warner and Theo Fairweather-Johnson. Soham’s late revival of form at the latter stages of the season certainly assisted them in averting relegation last term and will look for a positive start here.

AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island           Venue: Wardale Williams Stadium

This encounter sees two sides that were both relegated last term clash as Canvey travel to Sudbury on the Suffolk/Essex border. Both sides will also be looking for a favourable campaign and may well be in the play-off hunt come season’s end. Former Bowers & Pitsea forward David Knight are among the signings Danny Heale has made in the close-season.

Aveley v Bowers & Pitsea               Venue: Parkside

Aveley welcome Bowers & Pitsea in what is their first league match at their brand-new Parkside home, which they will continue to share (as they did with Mill Field) with tenants Grays Athletic for the next two seasons. In what could be an even more highly-contested division than last term, both sides may be angling for another run at the play-offs this term.

Barking v Waltham Abbey        Venue: Mayesbrook Park

Essex Senior League champions Barking welcome Waltham Abbey to Mayesbrook Park in their first match back at Step 4. The hosts have a much-changed squad and a new co-manager in Justin Gardner this term, joining Glen Golby in the dug-out. The Abbotts will be looking to avoid the nerves of a relegation dogfight this season, as they had at times last campaign. Will Barking see previous ESL champions Bowers & Pitsea’s ‘yardstick’ of a top-six finish last season as encouragement for them? Perhaps, though I suspect they’d be content with a mid-table finish in April.

Brentwood Town v Hertford Town       Venue: The Brentwood Arena

Brentwood welcome Bostik North newcomers Hertford Town to the Brentwood Arena. Craig Shipman starts his first full season in charge with a squad largely the same as last term, though forward Lamar Reynolds clinched a big move to EFL Two side Newport County during the summer. Hertford might be thankful for the temporary reduction in relegation this season, though it’ll be an adventure for Gavin Kelsey’s men this term.

Bury Town v Romford          Venue: Ram Meadow

Romford travel to Ram Meadow in their season’s opener. Both these sides achieved creditable mid-table finishes last term. Paul Martin’s side has stayed in the division for around a decade and will look to continue to progress this term.

Dereham Town v Cheshunt       Venue: Aldiss Park

Dereham welcome Cheshunt to Aldiss Park. The Magpies appointed Neal Simmons in the summer as their new manager, as they look to improve on their 18th place finish last term. Cheshunt, who for a while last season looked to be contenders for a play-off spot, eventually finished a very creditable 10th. Jonny Ashman is among their summer signings as they perhaps quietly seek another tilt at the play-offs this term under manager Paul Wickenden.

Heybridge Swifts v Mildenhall Town              Venue: Scraley Road

Jody Brown’s side have made a number of intriguing signings in the summer as they look to avert another scramble with the drop, after their final-day heroics last season. They welcome newcomers Mildenhall to Scraley Road. I saw Heybridge in pre-season at Southend Manor in which they played very well, they might fancy a tilt at a top ten-finish, under the radar.

Norwich Utd v Haringey Borough         Venue: Plantation Park

The Planters take on ‘Borough in their league opener. Both sides perhaps performed above expectations last term as they achieved top-ten finishes.

Tilbury  v  Grays Athletic                 Venue: Chadfields

Tilbury welcome Grays to Chadfields. Tilbury finished 12th last season, as Grays finished bottom of Isthmian Premier last term. Grays though have overseen somewhat of a squad re-construction which has seen old faces such as Lamar Johnson and Jamie Slabber return to the club. Under Jamie Stuart’s tenure, they will be going for an immediate return to Bostik Premier.

Ware  v   Maldon & Tiptree           Venue: Wodson Park

Ware, who were reprieved from the drop in the summer, welcome last season’s play-off finalists Maldon & Tiptree to Wodson Park. Maldon’s top-scorer last term Liam Nash grabbed a huge transfer to League One side Gillingham in the summer though Kevin Horlock’s Jammers will again look to be in the promotion reckoning this season.

Witham Town v Potters Bar Town      Venue: Spa Road

Finally, Witham welcome newcomers Potters Bar to Spa Road. Ex-Stansted forward Sam Ashford is among the additions to Adam Flint’s side this term. It could be an ‘open book’ as to how these two get on this season.

Check back at the weekend for the the first Bostik League Division North results round-up of the new season.