Essex Senior League Preview (19.1.18)

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Hello & welcome to this week’s piece looking at the weekend’s Essex Senior League action. Recent leaders Redbridge are joint-top with FC Romania at present and start off the action on Friday night. Here are Peter’s and my thoughts on all the fixtures this time around:

Friday 19th January

Redbridge v Barkingside | Venue: Oakside

Peter: These two often throw up some interesting games when they meet, and this game comes at a time where Redbridge haven’t played this year whilst the visitors have had a decent start to the new year.   This could mean the hosts are rusty and Side could take advantage of that maybe?  However, the Motormen lost top spot to FC Romania in midweek so will be looking to regain this for at least 24 hours.  Gonna be a tight one and I reckon this could end all square.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-1

Scott: Redbridge welcome Barkingside to Oakside. The hosts have been out of action recently, though are still on a impressive winning run in the league and in the ESL, are unbeaten at Oakside. ‘Side are unbeaten in their last two matches after ended their long winless streak in the league. It won’t ‘win any prizes’ though have to go for home win here.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

 

Saturday 20th January

Burnham Ramblers v Clapton | Venue: Leslie Field

Peter: Ramblers have had an awful start to 2018, losing both games and conceding fourteen goals in those two outings.  Clapton have also had a poor start to the year but recovered to reach a Semi-final in midweek so will be confident of another win here. Think an away win is probably on the cards.

Pete’s Prediction:  0-2

Scott: Two of the league’s inconsistent sides square up at Leslie Field. Ramblers have lost their last two (v Barkingside & Takeley) heavily and in all have conceded 25 goals in their last six matches. They take on a Clapton side who are finding goals hard to come by of late, having scored nine in their last six matches. So something has to give really you feel in this encounter in what is a heck of a match to call. Am going to plump for a narrow win for the Tons.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Enfield 1893 v Basildon Utd  | Venue: The Harlow Arena

Peter: The hosts haven’t had the best of it over the last few weeks and are second-bottom in the division.  They will take some heart from their performance against a strong Barnet side in midweek but they come up against a pretty decent outfit in Basildon United who will be looking to bounce back from defeat in midweek, however they put seven past Wick in their last league outing so pose a threat for sure.  Think their could be goals in this one and reckon the Bees will come out on top.

Pete’s Prediction: 3-4

Scott: The Bees travel to the Harlow Arena to take on struggling Enfield. The hosts currently sit in the bottom two, four points ahead of bottom side Hackney Wick after seeing their winless run extend to six matches. They lost to improving Sawbridgeworth last weekend. By stark contrast, Basildon have won five out of their last six league outings, drawing the other one though they did exit the Gordon Brasted Trophy in midweek in a narrow loss at Clapton. Last weekend, Marc Harrison’s men thumped bottom side Wick 7-0 and you wouldn’t bet against the visitors having another success here as they seek to keep the pressure on the top two.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Hackney Wick v Takeley | Venue: Old Spotted Dog

Peter: Wick are going through a tough time lately, and after their thrashing at Basildon last time out saw manager and assistant depart.  They now welcome a side who netted nine in their last league game and recently won 4-0 against Wick at the same ground, so not what the hosts would of wanted for sure.  Wick need points now but I can’t see them getting any here as Takeley will prove too strong I feel.

Pete’s Prediction: 0-4

Scott: Hackney Wick welcome Takeley to the OSD. The hosts sit four points adrift at the foot of the table, having lost five out of their last six matches and parted company with boss Tony Ievoli & his management team this week. Factor in that they are the lowest scorers in the division so far this term with 30 goals from 26 matches. They take on goal-hungry Takeley, who battered Burnham 9-0 at Station Road last weekend and have won four of their last six league encounters. Marc Das’ side are five points behind joint-leaders FC Romania & Redbridge before this weekend’s action and it would be a surprise if they slipped up here. Away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 3

Ilford v Great Wakering Rovers  | Venue: Cricklefield

Peter: This could be a good one at Cricklefield as an in form Foxes host title and promotion challengers Rovers.  The hosts have defeated Sporting Bengal United and West Essex in their last two outings and will be looking for a third win on the bounce to potentially leap up two places in the division, whilst Wakering need the points to keep the pressure on the leaders.  Gonna plump for a draw here.

Pete’s Prediction: 2-2

Scott: Ilford welcome Wakering to Cricklefield. The Foxes have had a good week with wins over Sporting Bengal at Mile End last weekend followed by a battling home win over West Essex in midweek. The lower part of the top-half of the table is tightening up with only five points seperating Tower Hamlets in 7th and Woodford Town in tenth place. Allan Fenn & Billy Cove’s men currently sit 9th, and have lost only three home league matches so far this term.

Wakering are in good touch themselves, with only one loss in six matches, with the other five being victories, including last weekend’s rout of Tower Hamlets at Burroughs Park. The ESL’s top-five are breaking away somewhat as GWR sit 5th, eight points ahead of 6th-placed Clapton. The hosts will need to be at their best here to win this one, and GWR have only lost two away league matches thus far this term. Another toughie to predict, though will go away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Sawbridgeworth Town v FC Romania  | Venue: Crofters End

Peter: The Robins are in cracking form in 2018, three wins from four, and they take on an FCR side who were held by Stansted in midweek however they did climb to the top of the table with that point and have also won three out of four in 2018, so this proves to be a pretty decent clash at Crofters.  Another draw I feel.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-1

Scott: A fascinating tie awaits here at Crofters End. Sawbridgeworth are finally making their way up the table, with four wins in their last six outings. Surely key to that has been a meaner defence of late compared to earlier this campaign (with six goals conceded in their last six league matches). John Watters’ side sit 12th now, just four points off the top ten. In-form FC Romania are the visitors here, having seen their winning run ended at Hargrave Park as Stansted held them to a goal-less draw in midweek. The Wolves have only tasted defeat three times in the league so far this term and it’s hard to see that happening here given Sawbo’s indifferent home record this season. That said, I reckon the hosts may get a point here.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

 

Sporting Bengal Utd v Waltham Forest    | Venue: Mile End Stadium

Peter: Two sides in need of a boost after not starting the year too well, Bengal have lost all three games so far whilst Forest started the year well with victory over Clapton however two frustrating losses at FC Romania have set them back a touch.  Still I’d rather be in Forest’s shoes right now and I believe they will take victory at Mile End.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-2

Scott: Sporting Bengal entertain Forest at Mile End. Imrul Gazi’s side have lost their last three on-the-spin in the league, with defeat at Woodford Town in midweek. The hosts here have only scored seven goals in the their last six matches which sees them in 14th place though are five points above the bottom six. Forest are also ‘looking over their shoulders’ at the relegation scrap as they are a place behind Bengal and three points worse off. Qayum Shakoor’s side saw their recent unbeaten league run end at FC Romania last weekend to compound their poor away league record so far this term. Both sides need the points here though Forest may edge this one.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Wadham Lodge v Tower Hamlets  | Venue: Kitchener Road

Peter: Lodge have gone backwards since the departure of Marc Farrell a few weeks ago and have slipped back into the bottom four on goal difference, whilst Hamlets began the year well but have slipped back in their last two outings, and with their last game being a 6-1 hammering at GWR they will want to get back to winnings ways.  Got a feeling this could well be a draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 2-2

Scott: Tower Hamlets make the trip to Walthamstow to take on Wadham. The hosts are winless in their last five matches now after a narrow loss to Southend Manor last weekend. this recent barren run has seen them slide back into the bottom four. They take on a Hamlets side that isn’t in great form with two wins & three defeats from their last six league matches. They still sit in 7th place though, level on points with West Essex and four points behind Clapton. Joint-manager AJ Ashinike’s side will need to tighten up defensively after a heavy defeat last weekend at Wakering. Even so, I’m going for a away win here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3

 

West Essex v Southend Manor  | Venue: Mayesbrook Park

Peter: Hosts West Essex will want to try and get back to winning ways after they have started 2018 with just one point from nine, although that point did come away at Basildon United.  Manor themselves got a vital win at Lodge last time out and will look to build on this victory but will have to defend well against a West Essex side who create plenty, but can they convert them in this game?  I reckon they will have enough to defeat the visitors but it will be close.

Pete’s Prediction: 3-2

Scott: The Stags welcome Manor to Mayesbrook Park. The hosts have had a bad week with losses to Hullbridge at home last week and at Ilford in midweek. That said, they are in a respectable 8th place in the table though are being caught by the teams immediately below them (Ilford and Woodford Town). Manor ended their recent winless run with a eventful win at Wadham last weekend though they are still pourous at the back having conceded 20 goals in their last six league matches. In terms of respective records so far this term, Manor have a good away league record having won exactly half of their matches away from Southchurch Park. West Essex don’t have a great home record though they will seek to partly correct that here. I have a feeling there’ll be goals in this one, going go for a home win in an entertaining match.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2

 

Woodford Town (2017) v Stansted   |  Venue: Goffs Lane

Peter: The hosts followed up two draws at the start of 2018 with victory over Sporting Bengal United last time out, whilst the visitors have thrashed Clapton and held FC Romania so far this year as they ended a run of nine straight defeats previously, so both are in solid form.  Hard one to predict this one so yet again I am plumping for a draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-1

Scott: The last tie of the weekend sees two sides who have both had good weeks meet at Goffs Lane.  Dee Safer’s side defeated Bengal in midweek to go unbeaten in their last four league matches as they look to establish a creditable top-ten run. Stansted followed up a really good win at Clapton last weekend with a shut-out draw at home to FC Romania in midweek. Interestingly, of all the sides currently in the bottom half of the table, the Airportmen have the joint-best defence away from home (with Sawbridgeworth Town). That defence will be tested though I’m going go for a battling draw here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

 

You can follow Peter on Twitter: @ped1980

If you’d like to follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottMHC14

Also, you can check out how the sides did this weekend with our respective round-ups on here on Peter’s site: www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/unofficialesl/  and here on my blog by Sunday. That’s your lot for this week. Bye for now & thanks for reading.

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Match Report: Great Wakering Rovers 6 – 1 Tower Hamlets (ESL 13.1.18)

Essex Senior League

Venue: Burroughs Park

Attendance: 61

2017-18 Season – Match 51

Date: Saturday 13th January 2018 3pm KO

Great Wakering Rovers: Green & White Shirts, White Shorts and White Socks

Tower Hamlets:  Orange Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

The Tower Hamlets ‘huddle’ before KO
Both teams before KO

 

Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

In my first Essex Senior League match of 2018, I returned to Burroughs Park to see Great Wakering Rovers take on Tower Hamlets. Wakering were missing the likes of Jimmy Cook and Aaron Russell with the forward trio of Jay Nash, Chris Bryan and Nathan Dewberry leading the line, with Ricky Evans and Neil Richmond options on the bench. Hamlets were also depleted with the likes of Luke With, Curtis Pond, Kane Wilson and Igor Furtado unavailable. Wale Odedoyin and James Ross led the attack, while Jordan Stansbury made his debut between the sticks.

The match began with Wakering on the front foot as five minutes in, forward Nathan Dewberry headed over the bar after being found by full-back Jason Ring’s cross from the right. Dewberry did break the deadlock just two minutes later as he robbed the unfortunate Stansbury in possession and slotted home from a narrow angle. Wakering nearly made it two moments later though Hamlets full-back John Watson cleared off the goal-line well. The hosts were not to be denied though as Dewberry grabbed his second of the afternoon on 16 minutes, following fellow forward Chris Bryan’s threaded pass.

Hamlets were on the back-foot in general play though did pull one back just past the half-hour as winger Elias Tackie’s surging run troubled the home backline and the ball found its way to forward James Ross who slotted home. The hosts hit back though as the visiting defence continued to struggle with the pace of Wakering’s attacks. Billy Johnson’s curling free-kick made it 3-1 before Johnson struck again in first-half added-time beating Stansbury when one-on-one.

Half-Time: Great Wakering 4 – 1 Tower Hamlets

Wakering were well on top, and Hamlets withdrew young stopper Stansbury, replacing him with experienced stopper James Pellin after the break. Pellin was called into action, denying Dewberry and a moment later, another Johnson free-kick. Iain O’Connell’s side made it five through Johnson slotting home, completing his hat-trick eight minutes after the break. Dewberry matched his team-mate with 19 minutes remaining, completing his treble and a big win for the home side.

The Rovers defence were solid though in all honesty, the visitors did not trouble them too much, though forward Wale Odedoyin made his presence felt in attack, assisted by the willing running of winger Tackie. Late on, substitute Harry Matthews’ drive forced a good save out of home ‘stopper Louis Hawes before fellow substitute Kayode Tobun’s deflected free-kick also kept Hawes honest. Though all in all, it was a bad day ‘at the office’ for the East London outfit.

Full-Time: Great Wakering Rovers 6 – 1 Tower Hamlets

Teams

Great Wakering Rovers

Louis Hawes (GK), Jason Ring, Kia Froud, Scott Pethers (Capt), Oliver Woodhouse, Sam Carter, Billy Johnson (Neil Richmond 77′), Tom Anderson (Ricky Evans 71′), Jay Nash, Nathan Dewberry (Finley Dopson 77′), Chris Bryan

Goal-scorers: Nathan Dewberry [7′,16′ & 71′], Billy Johnson [39′, 45+1 & 53′]

Booked: Bryan  | Subs Not Used: Murford

 

Tower Hamlets

Jordan Stansbury (GK) (James Pellin 46′), Daniel McCarthy, John Watson, Tola Odedoyin, Jerome Anthony, Elias Tackie, Jacob Kolanda (Harry Matthews 57′), Wale Odedoyin, James Ross, Frankie Sinclair (Capt), Alex Salmon (Kayode Tobun 62′)

Goal-scorer: James Ross [31′]

Booked: Salmon, W Odedoyin | Subs Not Used: Ashinike

Essex Senior League Preview (12.1.18)

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Hello & welcome to another Preview piece looking at this weekend’s Essex Senior League action. With leaders Redbridge not in action this weekend, attention turns to the chasing pack and the frenzy that is the bottom-half of the table. Here are Peter & my thoughts on this weekend’s action:

Saturday 13th January

Barkingside v Woodford Town (2017) | Venue: Cricklefield

Peter: Side have began 2018 in positive fashion so far and will look to continue this now vein of form against a Woodford side who threw away a three-goal lead last time out.  Both sides’ form over the last few weeks has been fairly similar too so expect a tight one at Cricklefield.  Gonna edge for Barkingside win though.

Peter’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Scott: Barkingside ended a torrid run last weekend with a thumping win at Burnham and welcome Woodford Town to Cricklefield. The hosts here also gave Basildon Utd a tough Monday night match in the Errington Challenge Cup before exiting – once again on penalties. Loan signing Ryan Imbert has ‘hit the ground running’ since joining ‘Side from Witham Town recently. Woodford were three goals up before being pegged back to a draw by Southend Manor at Goffs Lane in midweek. Both sides have been leaky at the back this term and therefore I’m plumping for a draw here.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Basildon Utd v Hackney Wick | Venue: The Hive

Peter: The Bees are unbeaten in five and had won four in a row until West Essex’s late leveller last time out meant they had to settle for a draw at home, however they welcome a Wick side who are bottom of the division and haven’t won for five games now.  The Bees have one of the meanest defences in the league too although they haven’t scored too many of late, but they should have too much for this Wick side.

Peter’s Prediction: 2-0

Scott: The Bees welcome Wick to the Hive as Marc Harrison’s side look to continue their stellar season thus far. Basildon were held by West Essex last weekend in league action but did go through in the Errington Challenge Cup at Cricklefield in midweek. Wick are still going through a tough phase, winless in their last five matches, with losses to Great Wakering (ESL) last weekend and Takeley in the Gordon Brasted Trophy in midweek. The Bees have only lost one of their last six matches and will probably take the points here.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 0

Clapton v Stansted  | Venue: Old Spotted Dog

Peter: The Tons have had a mixed last few weeks although remain in the top six, and they welcome the league’s most out-of-form side in the shape of Stansted to Old Spotted Dog who are on a terrible losing run right now and are wondering where their next points are coming from.  The Tons did start 2018 with defeat at Waltham Forest, however I feel they will get back to winning ways here.

Peter’s Prediction: 2-0

Scott: The Tons welcome the Airportmen to the OSD. Jon Fowell’s side have won two of their last six matches after defeat last weekend at Waltham Forest as they seek to shake off the inconsistency which has slightly blighted their tilt at the top, sitting in 6th place currently. Stansted’s torrid run was halted by a postponement last weekend though this is a tall order for Paul Pittuck’s side you would think to get a result here. Home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Enfield 1893 v Sawbridgeworth Town | Venue: Harlow Arena

Peter: The hosts’ form has been rather poor over the last few weeks and their defeat at Tower Hamlets last weekend wasn’t the start they needed in 2018.  And they welcome a Sawbo side who started the year with an emphatic home win over Sporting Bengal United last weekend before snatching a point at Hamlets, so they are in decent form and will pose a threat. However I feel this one may end all square.

Peter’s Prediction: 2-2

Scott: Sawbridgeworth travel to the Harlow Arena to take on Enfield 1893 in an interesting encounter. The hosts can certainly pose a threat though they just haven’t got the results thus far this term to back that up. Form-wise, they are winless in their last six matches. They face a Sawbridgeworth outfit that are picking up a few results and achieved a good win over Sporting Bengal last weekend before being held by Tower Hamlets in midweek. Concidentally, Enfield were defeated by Hamlets last weekend. Hard one to call this though the visitors may just edge this one.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


FC Romania v Waltham Forest
| Venue: Theobalds Lane

Peter: These two met only a few days ago in the Errington Challenge Cup and on that occasion FCR came away with a 2-1 win although Forest were unlucky to lose that one, so they have an immediate chance to gain revenge for that loss.  The hosts’ league form has been excellent and are currently on a five-game winning run, whilst Forest are much improved of late and are six unbeaten in the league with four wins.  This is going to be a tight contest and I feel a point a piece.

Peter’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: Forest once again travel to Theobalds Lane to take on FCR following their cup match in midweek, in which the hosts recorded a narrow victory. FCR are top of the chasing pack in 2nd place at pesent thanks to a very consistent run and only three defeats in 23 matches so far. In league action last weekend, the Wolves picked up a good win away at Ilford while Forest battled a trimuph at home to Clapton. Forest are definitely showing signs of improvement and a good result would only endorse that. That said, it’s hard to see anything but a win for the promotion-chasing hosts here.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Great Wakering Rovers v Tower Hamlets | Venue: Burroughs Park

Peter: Rovers began 2018 with a comfortable win at bottom side Hackney Wick and have been in excellent form of late, however they welcome a Tower Hamlets side to Burroughs Park who have also started 2018 in positive fashion so this proves to be a good contest here. Reckon the hosts will win but it will be a tight contest and an entertaining one I feel too.

Peter’s Prediction: 3-2

Scott: Another fascinating tie sees Wakering take on Hamlets at Burroughs Park. Fifth-placed GWR started 2018 the right way with a routine win at strugglers Hackney Wick while the visitors defeated Enfield last weekend. Hamlets also held Sawbo to a draw on Monday night. GWR will want to shake off the memory of their last home match just before Christmas though if they bring their ‘A-game’ here they will be tough to stop. Hamlets are also having a good season in 7th spot and have won three of their last six matches. Another hard one to predict, though i suspect the hosts may just pull through.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Sporting Bengal Utd v Ilford | Venue: Mile End Stadium

Peter: The hosts started 2018 with a heavy defeat at Sawbridgeworth, and with no win in three games they will be looking to get back to winning ways.  However, up against this Ilford side that will prove a tough assignment although The Foxes’ form hasn’t been great either, no league win in four and have lost their last two.  Interesting one to call this however I feel it may end all square.

Peter’s Prediction: 1-1

Scott: Another intriguing tie awaits at Mile End where Sporting Bengal entertain Ilford. Both sides are finding wins hard to come by of late with the hosts winless in three matches and the visitors winless in their last four encounters. 13th-placed Bengal could do with some points to ward off being dragged into the scramble at the bottom while it seems Ilford are stuck in mid-table. Draw for me.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Takeley v Burnham Ramblers  | Venue: Station Road

Peter: The Station Road outfit may have fallen some way behind the leaders over recent weeks however they still pose a huge threat and with three wins from four are in decent form right now.  They welcome a Burnham side to their home who began 2018 with a stunning home loss to Barkingside, bringing them back down to earth with a bump after finishing 2017 with two wins.  Fancy the hosts to grab the points here.

Peter’s Prediction: 3-1

Scott: Burnham travel to Station Road to take on high-flyers Takeley. The hosts are in good form and were boosted by a good cup win at Hackney Wick in midweek. League-wise, they sit in 4th place as part of the chasing pack. Burnham’s good recent run was ended by a heavy loss to Barkingside last weekend though on their day, Lee Hughes’ side can still spring a surprise. They will have to go some though to get past Takeley’s strong backline though. Home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Wadham Lodge v Southend Manor | Venue: Kitchener Road

Peter: Lodge haven’t won in the league for four games now and have only one win in six, whilst Manor haven’t won in five, and with three of those defeats are now starting to look over their shoulders at the teams below.  They did fight back from 3-0 down in midweek to grab a point so showed character there, and they will want to go one better this time round.  Think Manor may end their winless run in this one.

Peter’s Prediction: 0-2

Scott: Manor are on the road again as they visit Kitchener Road to take on Wadham. The hosts here were not in action last weekend though one win from their last six outings tells you that they need to pick things up a bit. Manor managed a come away with a point from Woodford Town in midweek though I can see this one being a scrappy battle to be honest. Adam Peek’s men are also finding it hard to get wins of late and thus, I can see this one being a draw as well.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

West Essex v Hullbridge Sports | Venue: Mayesbrook Park

Peter: The hosts haven’t won in two although had won three previous to that, but they did hold Basildon to a draw at the Hive last time out.  Sports will be trying to put their disappointing Vase defeat behind them with a good performance here and no doubt three points to go with it.  And with two wins in their last three league games there is no reason why they couldn’t do it, however West Essex will pose a huge threat.  Fancy this one to end all square.

Peter’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: The Stags entertain Hullbridge at Mayesbrook Park. The hosts recovered well to get a point at Basildon last weekend while Hullbridge boss Darren Manning will undoubtedly be looking for a reaction here following their disappointing FA Vase exit last weekend. With both sides being quite open at the back sometimes, I can see goals in this encounter. Another hard one to call, though I’m going go for a narrow away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 3

That’s your lot for this week. If you’d like to follow Peter on Twitter, he can found at @ped1980

If you’d like to follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottMHC14

And finally, for more on the local Non-League scene, have a listen to this week’s Grassroot Football Show here: https://m.mixcloud.com/EastLondonRadio/grassroots-football-show-11th-january-2018/

In addition, both Peter & me spent the day with Hullbridge and here’s a special podcast with pre-match thought & post-match reaction with a number of contributors: https://m.mixcloud.com/EastLondonRadio/grass-roots-football-show-special-tring-athletic-vs-hullbridge-sports-jan-18/

Match Report: Tring Athletic 5 – 1 Hullbridge Sports (FAV 6.1.18)

The FA Vase Fourth Round Proper

Venue: Grassroots Stadium, Cow Lane

Attendance: 217

2017-18 Season: Match 50

Saturday 6th January 2018 3pm KO

Tring Athletic: Red Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Hullbridge Sports: Blue & White Striped Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

Me & Peter D before the match (Tring v Hullbridge FAV 6.1.18)


Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
| Images by Neil Hunwicks (Twitter: @ABridgeTooFar16) unless stated

On FA Vase Fourth Round day & in my 50th match of the season, I made the trip to Cow Lane to see Spartan South Midland Premier side Tring Athletic welcome the Hullbridge Sports, the last Essex Senior League side remaining in this year’s competition. The winner would attain a place in the Last 16, something neither side had done previously.

Onto the teams then and Tring Athletic were skippered by centre-back Dan Steadman with a front three of Max Hercules, Luke Dunstan & Chris Vardy with Jack Read on the bench, more on him later. Hullbridge named a fairly strong side with Russell Harley between the sticks, Rob Hodgson and Gus Douglas as the centre-back pairing with skipper Jimmy Cox and Michael Salako in attack. Perry Hirst also made his first start for the club on the left flank.

Both sides took time adjust to a heavy pitch in the early stages of this match. Midfielder Harry Watkins’ free-kick kept the Tring defence alert six minutes in. Tring responded with forward Luke Dunstan firing a shot wide of the left-side post moments later. Tring took the lead on 12 minutes in freakish circumstances, as Sports right back Shawn Coe in his haste to clear, his attempted clearance struck centre-back Gus Douglas and rebounded into the net.

To be fair, Hullbridge were not out of the match at that point, though they did find it hard to settle into their passing game. Midway into the half, Tring forward Chris Vardy showed promise with a good run down the right flank, though his cross was just out of reach of winger Eliott Goward. Soon aftewards, Hullbridge responded as from Watkins free-kick, Rob Hodgson’s effort drew home goalkeeper Jack Hopwood into action. The visitors had a decent spell as forward Michael Salako’s curling effort struck the woodwork with Hopwood beaten after taking advantage of a slip by Tring right-back Colm Parrott and fellow forward Jimmy Cox’s lob going just wide.

Tring went into the interval ahead but there wasn’t much between the sides really as the visitors could’ve done better with one or two of the chances they’d carved out in the opening 45 minutes.

Hullbridge’s Gus Douglas (#6) powers a header away (Tring v Hullbridge FAV 6.1.18)

Half-Time: Tring Athletic 1 – 0 Hullbridge Sports

They say “goals change games”. And that certainly happened two minutes into the second half as substitute Jack Read doubled the home side’s lead with a close-range finish past visiting custodian Russell Harley. Six minutes later, Sports winger Perry Hirst’s drive was denied by Hopwood’s legs.

Tring were pressing well and got their third of the afternoon just shy of the hour mark as Vardy prodded home from close-range on his 200th appearance for the club. Hullbridge did pull a goal back from the penalty spot through skipper Cox after Hodgson was fouled in the area.

The hosts were still looking dangerous in attack as the game got stretched. The Hullbridge defence, led by the warrior that is Hodgson, made a number a important tackles in the second half. Tring were not taking “No” for an answer though as pacey winger Max Hercules’ shot was parried by Harley for a corner with twenty minutes left. From the resulting corner, Mark Riddick got a leap on everyone else and nodded home to vanquish any doubt of the hosts’ progression here.

Hullbridge substitute Luca Frankis headed over in a rare second-half chance for the visitors a minute later. Read had two more chances to add to his account soon after but couldn’t find the target. Tring did get a fifth on the stroke of ninety minutes as Hercules crowned off an impressive performance with a close-range effort past Harley.

Full-Time: Tring Athletic 5 – 1 Hullbridge Sports

Dejected Hullbridge players post-match as their FA Vase dream ends (Tring v Hullbridge FAV 6.1.18)

In fairness, there was no doubt as to how worthy Tring were in winning this tie today. I wish them well in the next round and for the rest of the season. Also, I would also like to thank them for their very good hospitality, a really nice club with a good programme as well.

Hullbridge will be disappointed today, particularly with their second-half performance as they went somewhat “off-the-boil” going forward after the break. That said, perhaps the score-line was a tad harsh though credit has to go to Tring for taking their chances and for their work-rate. I would like to say thank you to manager Darren Manning & the club for having me on the team coach as well today, that was nice and also to be joined by Non-League & Grassroot Football Show (GFS) colleague Peter D was great too.

There will be a special podcast by Peter & Me from the day for GFS available in the near future. The link wil be posted here, when available.

Teams

Tring Athletic

Jack Hopwood (GK), Colm Parrott, Chris Mason, Mark Riddick, Dan Steadman (Capt), Dave O’Connor (Steve Nott-Macaire 73′) Max Hercules, Tommy Twelves, Chris Vardy (George Carbery 81′), Luke Dunstan, Elliott Goward (Jack Read 29′)

Goal-scorers: Gus Douglas (OG) [12′], Jack Read [47′], Chris Vardy [58′], Mark Riddick [70′], Max Hercules [90′]

Booked: Steadman, O’Connor | Subs Not Used: Sunderland, Hart

Hullbridge Sports

Russell Harley (GK), Shawn Coe, Sam Taylor, Joe Pattison, Robert Hodgson, Gus Douglas, Mike Edgar (Matt Tapley 52′), Harry Watkins, Michael Salako, Jimmy Cox (Capt), Perry Hirst (Luca Frankis 71′)

Goal-scorers: Jimmy Cox [Pen 64′]

Booked: Taylor   | Subs Not Used: Poole, Ranger, Siemienczuk

Referee: Alex Rayment

Assistant Referees: Ian Stewart & Tom Ratherham

Essex Senior League & FA Vase (ESL) preview (4.1.18)

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Hello & welcome to the return of both our Preview pieces, the ESL for 2018 and the “small matter” of a FA Vase 4th Round tie featuring the last ESL side left in the competition, Hullbridge. Below are Peter’s & my thoughts on this weekend’s action.

The FA Vase Fourth Round Proper

Tring Athletic v Hullbridge Sports | Venue: Grassroots Stadium

Peter: Hullbridge travel to Hertfordshire as the league’s only remaining representatives in the Vase this season.  And the hosts, who had an appalling start to the season, have picked up very well in the last few weeks, winning four of their last five league outings and also scoring victory over Berkhamsted in the previous round (Berkhamsted are unbeaten in the league) so Hullbridge will have a tough task.  However, Sports themselves are on a decent run of form too having lost only once in six, with four of those wins, so it promises to be a decent cup tie, however one that I feel the visitors will prevail in.

Peter’s Prediction: 0-2

Scott: Hullbridge make the trip to the Grassroots Stadium seeking to make it to the last 16 of the Vase for the first time in their history. The hosts here ended the calendar year well though Sports are on an upturn of form themselves of late, having evaded ending 2017 bottom of the ESL table. Manager Darren Manning will undoubtedly have his side raring to go, and they may just do the business here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Basildon Utd v West Essex | Venue: The Hive

Peter: The Bees are in decent form, having won five of their last six, and they come up against a West Essex side who had won three on-the-spin before losing their final game before Christmas. Basildon are a tough side to break down, with only three goals conceded in their last six, and with suitable firepower up front they will be hard to beat.  Going for a home win.

Peter’s Prediction: 2-0

Scott: The Stags travel to the Hive as the ESL resumes for 2018. The Bees battled hard to see off an below-par Wakering side at Burroughs Park last time out and the likes of Michael Mignot & Fatos Zeqiri face a strong, miserly Basildon defence. Kwame Kwateng’s side are going to have to defend well to get any change out of this match in my view.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

 

Burnham Ramblers v Barkingside | Venue: Leslie Field

Peter: Ramblers are on a decent run & welcome a Barkingside team to Leslie Field hoping they can put 2017 behind them, especially the second half, and start over again after a poor run of results.  The break may have done them good but feeling the hosts will take the spoils in this one.

Peter’s Pediction: 3-1

Scott: ‘Side take on improving Burnham at Leslie Field. Ramblers currently sit in 11th spot in the table, though the entire bottom half of the table is seperated by 12 points. Burnham boss Lee Hughes will want to keep standards high & a win here could see them go 10th. The visitors are right ‘in the thick of it’, two points off bottom spot and though they may test the hosts, I’ll go for a home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Hackney Wick v Great Wakering Rovers
| Venue: Old Spotted Dog

Peter: Wick face a tough game after the two-week break when they welcome Great Wakering Rovers to The Old Spotted Dog. Rovers are flying whilst Wick are not, and with no win in four for the hosts it does seem unlikely they will cause Rovers much damage here.  Away win.

Peter’s Prediction: 0-3

Scott: Bottom side Wick welcome Wakering to the OSD. The hosts are on a poor run of four losses in their last six matches. Manager Tony Ievoli has another tough test here in the shape of Wakering who have the third best defence in the league thus far. Wakering will need to go on another good run to claw their way back into the top-four, starting with the points here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3

 

Ilford v FC Romania | Venue: Cricklefield

Peter: The Romanians have won their last four and have scored 23 goals in their last six, more than any other side in the division, as they continue to chase down Redbridge at the top of the table. Ilford will be hoping they can be more consistent after the break, their last six games of two wins, two draws and two defeats kind of sums up their season to date.  Feel this could be a tight one though, and a draw as a result.

Peter’s Prediction: 1-1

Scott: In-form FCR take on Ilford at Cricklefield. The Foxes are in 9th place at present, though they face a stern test here against the division’s current top-scorers. I feel that while Ilford have it in them to pull off results on the day, they need to show it more and I can see FC Romania narrlowly taking the points here as well.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Redbridge v Stansted | Venue: Oakside

Peter: This game brings a Redbridge side who have won ten-in-a-row against a Stansted side who have lost nine-in-a-row.  Predicting this one therefore should be an easy one yer?  Well this league had thrown up some weird results to date and who knows after a two-week break what shape either side could be in. However, I still think The Motormen will maintain that gap at the top to at least seven points after victory here.

Peter’s Prediction: 3-1

Scott: Redbridge welcome the Airportmen to Oakside. The hosts are on a blinding run at present, though will be aware that the sides immediately behind them have games in hand. Stansted by contrast are on a torrid run, and are the joint-lowest scorers in the division alongside Barkingside so far this term. You’d think ‘home win’ though Stansted can graft and they did just that in the reverse match earlier this season in a battling defeat on that occasion.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Update: This match has been Postponed due to storm damage at Oakside.

 

Sawbridgeworth Town v Sporting Bengal Utd
| Venue: Crofters End

Peter: The Robins remain down in the lower reaches of the table following another inconsistent month whilst Sporting Bengal lost only once in their last six outings as they continue to punch well above their weight.  However, I feel the home side’s luck may change in this one and they will pick up all three points.

Peter’s Prediction: 2-1

Scott: Sawbridgeworth entertain Bengal at Crofters End. Town are still hampered by inconsistent form somewhat, and know that they are only four points off the foot of the table. Sporting Bengal are on a decent run of one loss in their last six so will be tough opposition here. Draw for me.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Takeley v Wadham Lodge | Venue: Station Road

Peter: With only one win in their last six games you’d be fair to say that the Walthamstow side have not reacted well to the loss of manager Marc Farrell, and they travel to Station Road to take on a Takeley side who have won three of their last four and will be looking to get 2018 off to a flyer no doubt. Fancy a home win here.

Peter’s Prediction: 3-2

Scott: Marc Das’ side welcome Wadham to Station Road. The hosts have won three of their last four matches as they look to ‘keep the heat’ on the top two. Wadham haven’t won in their last four matches and will need to play well to prevent the hosts racking up another three points. Home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

 

Tower Hamlets v Enfield 1893 | Venue: Mile End Stadium

Peter: These two have had similar runs of form over the last six, and wins have been hard to come by for either side.  Hamlets have lost four of their last six whilst Enfield have only one win from six.  Both sides can ‘turn it on’ when they want to though so all depends really what side ‘turns up on the day’.  Difficult one to call but guessing both will want to hit the ground running in 2018, therefore I feel this one will end all-square.

Peter’s Prediction: 1-1

Scott: Enfield make the fairly short trip to Mile End to take on Tower Hamlets. Both sides are not in the best of form at the moment, though Hamlets have won two of their last four matches and will back themselves at home. Enfield are winless in their last five matches and arguably need the points more as they look to pull aeay from the relegation scrap. I agree with Peter, it’s a tough one to call though I’ll head for a draw too.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

 

Waltham Forest v Clapton | Venue: Kitchener Road

Peter: Forest have hit a ‘purple patch’ of form of late and are unbeaten in five games, with three wins and two draws, whilst The Tons have been rather inconsistent of late (two wins, two draws and two defeats), however their win at West Essex prior to the two-week break would of given them some cheer going into the new year.  Think this one will end all square.

Peter’s Pediction 2-2

Scott: Forest take on Clapton at Kitchener Road. The hosts are unbeaten in their last five matches andu that deserves respect. The Tons are not ‘firing on all cylinders’ at present and know that they have ground to make up on the top-four. That said, I have a feeling that Clapton will edge this one, possibly well-backed from the stands.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

That’s your lot for this week, if you’d like to follow Peter on Twitter, he’s at @ped1980 or via his consistently updated website at www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/unofficialesl/

You can also follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottMHC14 or on his blog here at survivor16b.wordpress.com which includes recent trips to Bostik North matches at Bowers & Pitsea & AFC Hornchurch.

Match Report: AFC Hornchurch 3 – 4 Brentwood Town (BLN 1.1.18)

Isthmian League Division North

Venue: Bridge Avenue

Attendance: 243

New Year’s Day (Mon 1st Jan 2018) 3pm KO

2017-18 Season: Match 49

AFC Hornchurch: Red & White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Brentwood Town: Sky Blue Shirts, White Shorts, Sky Blue Socks

 

Warm-up before KO (AFC H v BT – BLN 1.1.18)
The teams on their way out before KO (AFC H v BT – BLN 1.1.18)

Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

On the first day of 2018, I travelled to another new ground for me, Bridge Avenue to see leaders AFC Hornchurch take on the inconsistent Brentwood Town in another Isthmian League Division North encounter. The hosts were without the likes of Kenzer Lee and Eliott Styles as Leon McKenzie and George Purcell led the attack, with Theo Fairweather-Johnson and Tobi Joseph options from the bench. Brentwood, who have shown they have a result in them this term were led up front by Matt Price and Andy Freeman with skipper Matt Hall in midfield and forward Izzy Bademosi on the bench.

The visitors started strongly and went ahead on four minutes as forward Matt Price calmly slotted past home goalkeeper Sam Mott into the right corner. The hosts still didn’t stir as Town doubled their lead only three minutes later with full-back Jack Gardner’s speculative shot decieving Mott and finding its way in. Hornchurch found some urgency on 21 minutes as bustling target-man Leon McKenzie teed up strike partner George Purcell though the latter couldn’t get a shot away.

For the next few minutes, both sides traded chances with Price firing over for the Blues and Purcell also unable to find the target from 20 yards out for the Urchins. Brentwood also had to withstand pressure from the odd set-piece too though they extended their lead on the half-hour as winger Alfie Hilton’s ball found its way to Price who found fellow forward Andy Freeman who acrobatically lashed home to give the hosts the proverbial ‘mountain to climb’ in this match.

McKenzie headed over the bar five minutes before the interval though in my view, the Urchins endured a forgettable half in both penalty areas. Town had taken their chances at the right time and rightly led at the break.

Half-Time: AFC Hornchurch 0 – 3 Brentwood Town

Soon after the break, the hosts brought on Messrs Fairweather-Johnson & Joseph in place of defender Jed Chouman & winger Matthias Famino. The changes worked as seven minutes into the second half, Fairweather-Johnson’s shot was blocked for a corner, from which Brentwood conceded a spot-kick for an adjudged hand-ball which Purcell duly tucked away into the left corner, past visiting custodian Anthony Page to lessen the arrears.

The long second-half continued for the Blues as skipper Matt Hall had to clear one effort off the goal-line. Soon after, Fairweather-Johnson’s headed over from Purcell’s cross. Hornchurch ‘stopper Mott then reacted well to deny Freeman’s drive on the hour before minutes later being called into action again to deny Price’s lofted effort as Brentwood attempted to make the points safe.

Brentwood were defending fairly deep as the Urchins sensed they could get back into this encounter, having the majority of the play in the last 20 minutes or so, though Town held firm, led well at the back by central defenders Harry Gibbs and Brendan Cavalier. On a rare foray forward with three minutes of normal time remaining, substitute Izzy Bademosi was found very well by midfielder Theo Jones’ cross from the left flank and the striker made no mistake, slotting home past Mott.

Brentwood defending late on.. (BLN 1.1.18)

The Urchins were far from done though against a tiring Blues defence as firstly McKenzie nodded home at the far post with moments remaining. Then in added time, the Urchins were awarded another spot-kick after Joseph was fouled in the area, which Purcell once again converted.

Unfortunately for the Urchins, they’d given themselves too much to do after the interval though the visitors were still relieved to hear the final whistle sound that ended a tough encounter here. Promotion rivals Bowers & Pitsea’s defeat means that Jimmy McFarlane’s side remain top of the pile by three points, while Brentwood’s triumph sees them up one to 19th place, nine points clear of bottom side Cheshunt.

Full-Time: AFC Hornchurch 3 – 4 Brentwood Town

Finally, I’d like to say thank you to AFC Hornchurch for their hospitality & wish both sides well for the rest of the season. And also, thanks to you for reading. Happy New Year!
Teams

AFC Hornchurch

Sam Mott (GK), Alex Bentley (Capt), Jay Porter, Jed Chouman (Tobi Joseph 47′), Nathan Cooper, Olumide Oluwatimilehin, Matthias Finimo (Theo Fairweather-Johnson 47′), Sean Roberts, Leon McKenzie, George Purcell, Bradley Warner

Goal-scorers: George Purcell [Pen 53′ & Pen 90’+1], Leon McKenzie [88′]

Booked: McKenzie, Bentley   | Subs Not Used: Hursit, Livings & Collis
______________

Brentwood Town

Anthony Page (GK), Jack Gardner, Connor Martin, Theo Jones (Ollie Bell 87′), Harry Gibbs, Brendan Cavalier, Alfie Hilton (Izzy Bademosi 75′), Matt Hall (Capt), Matt Price, Andy Freeman, Luke Foster (James Pugsley 67′)

Goal-scorers: Matt Price [4′], Jack Gardner [7′], Andy Freeman [30′], Izzy Bademosi [87′]

Booked: Gibbs, Hall  | Subs Not Used: Wiggins, Mitchell

Referee: Elliott Kaye

Assistant Referees: Farai Hallam & Endrit Malaveci

Match Report: Bowers & Pitsea 0 – 2 Ware (BLN 30.12.17)

Isthmian League Division North

Venue: Len Salmon Stadium

Attendance: 138

Saturday 30th December 2017 3pm KO

The 2017-18 Season: Match 48

Bowers & Pitsea: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Ware: Blue & Sky Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

 

Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Photos by Scott W & Andy Wilkins (Twitter: @andywilkins2015)

In my last match of 2017 and with the ESL on a festive ‘mini-break’, I travelled to the Len Salmon Stadium to see Bowers & Pitsea take on Ware in a rare Isthmian League Division North match (for me).

The hosts elected to rest a few key players with Messrs Knight, Dicks & Nyanja all on the bench with Lewis Manor (who recently signed a deal to stay at the club until season’s end) and Tony Stokes leading the attack. For Ware, hot-shot Yannick Kamanan led the line with Damien Green and skipper Nicholas Symons marshalling the defence.

The match began in quite a cagey way with the visitors conceding more fouls than they would’ve liked which therefore gave Bowers midfielder Jamie Salmon chances from distance and eleven minutes in, he sent one free-kick just wide of the right-side post. Four minutes later, forward Tony Stokes’s header went just wide. Ware had a lot of defending to do as they struggled to clear their lines at times though they managed to soak up pressure from the hosts.

As we past the 20-minute mark, the visitors started to push forward as winger Marvin Hamilton blasted a decent effort over the bar, while moments afterward, Sam Alderson’s free-kick fizzed just wide of home custodian Callum Chafer’s post. On the cusp of the half-hour point, Ware forward Ross Elsom mis-kicked his effort when in on goal while minutes later, following good work by winger Johnny Ashman, forward Lewis Manor slotted his shot wide.

Six minutes before the break, Ware responded as forward Yannick Kamanan toe-poked a shot wide in what was a let-off for Rob Small’s side. The visitors did break the deadlock only a minute later as Chafer brillantly denied Kamanan’s initial shot though Hamilton stole in to grab a tap-in. Although the hosts were not at the fluent best, it was still a little hard on them, especially given that Ashman was a real threat down the right flank.

Half-Time: Bowers & Pitsea 0 – 1 Ware

Ware made two changes at the break, with Acea Laurent and Hady Traore replacing Alaa Oujdi & Andrew Tirivanhu.

Bowers started the half ‘feeling the pressure’ a bit perhaps though Callum Leahy slotted his shot wide following a good run by full-back James Thomas eight minutes into the second period. Soon after coming off the bench, forward David Knight headed wide for the hosts. The visiting back-line remained resolute with substitute Traore making a good tackle to deny fellow substitute Fahad Nyanja from breaking down the right wing.

Also, Bowers struggled to create chances for the likes of Manor and Knight up top. You sensed that Ware were growing in confidence somewhat and with the hosts piling forward seeking that all-important leveller, with ten minutes remaining a long-ball found the pacy winger Alderson who beat the home defence and then coolly lobbed over the on-rushing Chafer to pretty much seal the points for Craig Edwards’ side. Late on, Knight and Nyanja couldn’t find the target for the hosts though in fairness, it could’ve been worse for the hosts as Kamanan sent a long-range drive wide and also sent another crashing drive against the woodwork and midfielder Ahmed Abdulla also blasted a shot wide of the left-side post in added-time.

In the end, it just wasn’t Bowers’ day and Ware deserved the points in what is their first win under Craig Edwards, the first of a few (at least) you suspect for the wily campaigner.

 

I’d also like to thank Bowers for their hospitality and well as it was my first visit to the ground, it is a ‘nice patch’ they have. Thanks also to Bowers assistant boss Mark Ashford and fellow non-leagu colleague Andy Wilkins who you may find is going down the line of Photography, my best wishes to him in that.

_____________________

Teams

Bowers & Pitsea

Callum Chafer (GK), Ryan Boswell, James Thomas, Martyn Stokes (Capt), Lewis Clark, Callum Leahy, Jamie Salmon (Jamie Dicks 58′), Ben Sartain, Johnny Ashman (David Knight 61′), Lewis Manor, Tony Stokes (Fahad Nyanja 61′)

Booked: Leahy, Boswell | Subs Not Used: Easterford & Pinto

Ware

Harry Voss (GK), Junior Appiah, Alaa Oujdi (Acea Laurent 46′), Andrew Tirivanhu (Hady Traore 46′) Damien Green, Nicholas Symons (Capt), Marvin Hamilton (Murat Karagul 73′), Ahmed Abdulla, Yannick Kamanan, Ross Elsom, Sam Alderson

Goal-scorers: Marvin Hamilton [40′], Sam Alderson [80′]

Booked: Oujdi, Symons | Subs Not Used: Harris & Yuill

Referee: Christopher Bodell
Assistant Referees: Dajour McKenzie-George & Kennedy Kikulwe