Written by Peter D & Scott W
Intro by Scott W
The ESL stages it’s much-awaited ‘Ground-Hop’ Weekend with four matches moved from the traditional 3pm kick-off and I for one hope it is a success. Here are Peter and my thoughts on the weekend’s action (3pm KO’s on Sat unless stated) :
Friday 10th November (7.45pm KO)
Barkingside v Clapton | Venue: Cricklefield
Peter: Game One of the ESL Ground Hop weekend comes from Cricklefield as Barkingside host Clapton. The hosts are having a poor run of form which has seen them lose four of their last five, including a 7-0 drubbing at Takeley last weekend whereas the visitors are on a seven-game winning streak in the league after they beat Hullbridge Sports last weekend, although they did lose in the Brasted Trophy on penalties in midweek. Don’t think this will affect them too much though and predict a narrow away win.
Peter’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Scott: Barkingside welcome the Tons to Cricklefield. The hosts had a day to forget last weekend away at Takeley last Saturday while Clapton won at Hullbridge last weekend. The Tons are getting results of late in the league and they won’t be under-estimated by the teams around them, although they did go out of the Cup on spot-kicks to Southend Manor in midweek. Barkingside need to find some form as they are finding wins hard to come by recently though this is hardly an easy match to come into to find that form. My gut instinct says away win, and the Ultras might well be in attendance to back Jon Fowell’s side.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
Saturday 11th November – Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Burnham Ramblers | Venue: Oakside (12pm KO)
Peter: Game Two of the ESL Ground Hop weekend sees The Motormen hosts Burnham Ramblers at Oakside and the hosts are flying right now, with nine wins from ten league games, where as the visitors have lost two straight in the league after three wins in a row prior to that, although they held FC Romania to a goal less draw in midweek before losing on penalties. Fancy a home win here though.
Peter’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Scott: The Saturday action gets underway at midday as Burnham provide the opposition for the Motormen at Oakside. Ricky Eaton & Joey May’s side are getting victories regardless of whether they are ‘playing at their best’ or not as evidenced when I saw them at Stansted recently. Burnham gave Tower Hamlets a tough game last weekend as well though this is another tough assignment for the Leslie Field side. Keeping the likes of Moses, Poku & Coxi-Sebastfao quiet is no mean feat though Lee Hughes’s side are a determined outfit this term. The hosts will need to play well though I still think they will have enough in the locker to prevail here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 0
Waltham Forest v Woodford Town (2017) | Venue: Kitchener Road (2.30pm KO)
Peter: Game three of the ESL Ground Hop sees the afternoon kick off between Waltham Forest and Woodford Town at Kitchener Road in Walthamstow and brings together two teams who are on losing streaks although Forest have lost their last seven in the league whilst the visitors have lost their last three. Both are also conceding on average nearly 3 goals a game in their last ten so defences are a problem for both so can see goals in this one. Reckon this could be a high score-draw.
Peter’s Prediction: 3 – 3
Scott: The action moves to Kitchener Road next as Waltham Forest take on Woodford Town. Forest are badly needing some wins to stave off being at the foot of the table, which they are only not occupying on goal difference. Forest have lost their last seven league matches on-the-spin though importantly their last win was over the same opposition at Goffs Lane in the Errington Challenge Cup last month. Woodford have lost their last three league matches though they do currently sit in 10th spot so this is a tough one to gauge. Both sides could be lifted by a decent crowd though I reckon it could end honours-even.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Basildon Utd v Southend Manor | Venue: The Hive
Peter: The Bees come into this five unbeaten and sit top of the tree and they welcome a Manor side who saw Adam Peek and Aaron Bloxham take over as Manager and Assistant following Stuart Marshall’s recent departure. Their two games in charge have resulted in a defeat and a penalty shoot out win, but this will be a difficult task against a flying Bees outfit. Manor have lost their last three in the league and I get the feeling they may lose this one too.
Peter’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Scott: The Bees welcome Manor to the Hive. Marc Harrison’s side have found their stride again in recent matches and also possess some good attacking options. They currently sit top of the table by a point and are unbeaten in five matches in the league. Manor have had a decent start under caretaker boss Adam Peek as they gave FC Romania a tough match in defeat last weekend and then beat Clapton on penalties in the Errington Challenge Cup in midweek. This match isn’t easy to call though the hosts will look to make the Hive a fortress again and perhaps enjoy a certain type of ‘victory meal’ afterwards!
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Stansted v Sawbridgeworth Town | Venue: Hargrave Park
Peter: A local derby awaits us at Hargrave Park as Stansted host Sawbridgeworth Town with the hosts having lost three in a row in the league whilst The Robins have become more solid of late with four draws in their last six outings. And two 6-0 home wins in the cup over the last week will of given the visitors much heart going into this one although Stansted held Grays Athletic before losing on penalties in the County Cup in midweek. Think a draw is on the cards here too.
Peter’s Prediction: 1 – 1
Scott: Stansted welcome a Sawbridgeworth side bordering on resurgency in recent matches. The Airportmen may be on a three-match losing run in the league though they did give Grays Athletic a fright in the Essex Senior Cup in midweek before exiting on penalties. Sawbridgeworth welcomed back Toby Cleaver recently and he’s certainly made an early impact. Sawbo held Wadham Lodge last week in league action but they have also picked up two home 6-0 wins in both the Gordon Brasted Trophy and Errington Challenge Cup in the last two weeks so there are signs that John Watters’ men could pick up some results and in league terms, that may happen here.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
West Essex v Ilford | Venue: Mayesbrook Park
Peter: Over the last ten games these two have almost indentical records although over the last five games West Essex have lost three to Ilford’s one and the visitors have won four of their last six so are in better recent form. West Essex did push Brentwood Town to penalties in midweek in the County Cup so can battle when needed. Fancy a narrow away win though if I’m honest.
Peter’s Prediction: 0 – 1
Scott: The Stags battle the Foxes at Mayesbrook Park. Kwame Kwateng’s team battled really hard in a narrow loss to Brentwood Town in the Essex Senior Cup in midweek. That same spirit will be needed as they face Allan Fenn’s side who are on a decent run with only two defeats in their last eight matches in all competitions. Both of those recent losses have been away from home so Ilford will want to redress that here. This encounter could have goals in it, though the Foxes may edge it in my view.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Hackney Wick v Wadham Lodge | Venue: Old Spotted Dog (5.30pm KO)
Peter: The final game of the Ground Hop weekend comes from The Old Spotted Dog as Hackney Wick entertain Wadham Lodge in the evening kick-off. And this is an important game down at the bottom with Lodge on their best run of the season having won two of their last four whilst Wick recently ended a five game losing run, however were defeated last time out making it five defeats from six. Could be a good battle this one and I reckon a draw will be a result.
Peter’s Prediction: 1 – 1
Scott: Rounding off the Saturday action is this late kick-off at The Old Spotted Dog. These two sides have won seven matches between them thus far this term. Wick have won one of their last seven matches in the league and still haven’t trimuphed at home yet this season. Wadham reside at the foot of the table, behind Waltham Forest on goal difference. Wadham have won two of their last seven league matches, both of them at home. The visitors here have been better defensively though in recent matches so this might be a tight one. Draw.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1
The FA Vase Second Round
Great Wakering Rovers v FC Romania | Venue: Burroughs Park
Peter: Rovers host fellow ESL side FC Romania at Burroughs Park for a place in the Last 64 of the Vase and the hosts have won seven of their last nine in the league and won at Hullbridge Sports in midweek, although they made hard work of it in the end. FC Romania have won seven of their last eight league games and are on a five-game winning streak so it proves to be a super contest at Burroughs Park. Rovers did win the league game here 4-0 but this was around the time FCR were in FA Cup action and with no distractions this time around will be much more competitive I feel. Gonna go for a draw after extra time and a replay next week.
Peter’s Prediction: 2 – 2 (AET)
Scott: Great Wakering welcome ESL stable-mates FC Romania to Burroughs Park. Both sides will want to progress to the next round undoubtedly and Wakering played well at times in their midweek league win at Hullbridge. The Wolves narrowly overcame Burnham in the Gordon Brasted Trophy in midweek. Especially being at home, I think Wakering will edge a tough match.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Hullbridge Sports v Wembley | Venue: Mile End
Peter: This will be an emotional game for the hosts as joint-managers Rob Hodgson and Aaron Hunwicks announced this would be their last game in charge before Hodgson returns to just playing whilst Hunwicks leaves the club altogether. They could certainly do with a positive send-off after Tuesday night’s loss to Great Wakering Rovers meant they had lost eight of their last ten and sat bottom of the form table. However, they come up against a Wembley side whose recent form of no wins in four may give Hullbridge some hope, but it will still be a difficult game against a top six Spartan South Midlands side. Sadly I feel the visitors will prevail in this one.
Peter’s Prediction: 0 – 2
Scott: Hullbridge take on Wembley at Lower Road. It was announced in midweek that this match will be the last under the current management of Player / Manager Rob Hodgson and Player / Assistant boss Aaron Hunwicks, though the former will stay on the playing staff, at least in the interim period. On-the-pitch, Sports fought back quite well against Wakering in midweek after a poor first half of that encounter. They knocked out Colney Heath away from home in a replay in the last tound of the Vase though will have another tough encounter here though I’d like to believe that Hullbridge, backed by a decent crowd will get the job done here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Tower Hamlets v Enfield 1893 | Venue: Mile End
Peter: Another all-ESL tie sees Hamlets, who have won three of their last five, take on Enfield at Mile End with the visitors having a rather mixed couple of weekends, losing 7-1 to Great Wakering Rovers before winning 5-1 against Woodford Town the weekend after. Not sure what to expect from the visitors then although in an important FA Vase tie against well known oppostion certainly should see them compete well. Hamlets though seem to have knack for goal-scoring recently and with an average of 2.5 a game in their last ten league outings although Enfield are averaging 2.4 a game over the same period. Hamlets have a much better defensive record though so gonna go for a narrow home win.
Peter’s Prediction: 3 – 2
Scott: Finally in the Vase action involving ESL sides, Hamlets welcome dvisional rivals Enfield to Mile End. Hamlets ground out a result at times over Burnham last weekend in the league though a much-changed side got heavily beaten by Sawbridgeworth in the Cup in midweek. A bit like a few other sides, you’re not quite sure which Enfield is going to turn up going by their results of late though they did pick up a big win over Woodford Town last weekend, thanks in part to recent signing John Bricknell. Hamlets will be fired-up for this encounter though and keeping the likes of Curtis Pond and Kane Wilson quiet won’t be easy for the visitors. I suspect the hosts may edge it.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
You can follow Scott @ScottMHC14 on Twitter
You can also follow Peter on Twitter – @ped1980 or on his website at ww.leaguewebsite.co.uk/unofficialesl/