Hello & welcome to this week’s piece looking at the weekend’s Essex Senior League action following last weekend’s ‘blanket of postponements’ caused by the inclement weather. Below are Pete’s and Scott’s thoughts on all the fixtures set for this weekend (Weather-permitting):
Saturday 10th March
Barkingside v Enfield 1893 | Venue: Cricklefield
Peter: Hosts Side are winless in four although have drawn three of those, whilst Enfield have won three on the spin and are almost up to mid-table after one defeat in their last six outings. Fancy an away win here.
Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Scott: In the first of the full ten-match programme this weekend, ‘Side welcome in-form Enfield 1893 to Cricklefield. The hosts are winless in their last four matches, sitting in 15th place and arguably need to improve on their present record of three home wins this term thus far. By contrast, The E’s have won their last three matches which has seen them rise to 13th prior to this weekend. Hard one to call here so I’m going for a draw.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1
Basildon Utd v Stansted | Venue: The Hive
Peter: The Bees are continuing to have a great season and their form over the last six games has seen them win four and suffer only one defeat, whilst for visitors Stansted its one win in their last six with four losses as their great start to 2018 has hit a wall of sorts. Expecting the hosts to get the job done here.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-0
Scott: Basildon welcome Stansted to the Hive, still ‘on a high’ after a hugely important win over Redbridge at Oakside in midweek. That win sees Marc Harrison’s side two points off the summit and with four wins in their last six matches, they are looking good ahead of the busy run-in. The Airportmen have lost their last four on-the-trot and although they are in 14th spot, the congested bottom-half means they are 4 points clear of the bottom four. Factor in that after this match, Paul Pittuck & Marc Benterman’s team have only six matches remaining. Have to go home win here.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Clapton v Hackney Wick | Venue: Old Spotted Dog
Peter: The Tons are in great form lately with four wins and two losses in their last six, whilst Wick are still bottom and well adrift of the rest after five straight losses. Despite the continued boycott from the Ultras, I don’t believe this will be an issue and the hosts will take the points in the OSD derby.
Pete’s Prediction: 4-0
Scott: The Tons take on Wick in the ‘Old Spotted Dog Derby’. Jon Fowell’s side have been defeated only once in their last five outings (and that was narrow loss to Takeley) and remain 6th, nine points ahead of Tower Hamlets & Ilford. Wick have lost their last five though haven’t been in action for a number of weeks due to postponements. They remain bottom, ten points adrift of nearest rivals Wadham so their hopes of avoiding the drop are fading. Have to be honest in that Clapton may add to their tenants’ woes here as well.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 0
FC Romania v Hullbridge Sports | Venue: Theobalds Lane
Peter: The hosts are unbeaten in their last six games with three wins and three draws, and they will be buoyed by their win at Ilford to reach the Brasted final at Easter. They welcome a Hullbridge side who have just one win from six, although four of those are draws, and they were smashed at Takeley on Thursday evening in the Brasted Trophy. Therefore I feel the hosts will most likely take the points.
Pete’s Prediction 3-0
Scott: Hullbridge travel to Theobalds Lane less than 48 hours after their 6 – 0 loss against Takeley in the Gordon Brasted Trophy (GBMT) Quarter-Finals. The hosts are proving hugely difficult to beat, although their have drawn three of their last six league matches. Ion Vintila’s men did convincingly get through to the GBMT Final at the expense of Ilford in midweek. The Wolves are also one of only two sides still unbeaten at home thus far this season.
Hullbridge are two points from safety and have drawn four of their last five matches. They come into this fixture with only three league wins away from home thus far. With the Wolves needing the points to maintain top spot, I can see this being a tough assignment for Darren Manning’s side.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Great Wakering Rovers v Waltham Forest | Venue: Burroughs Park
Peter: Rovers are the most in-form team according to the form table over the last six games, and with five wins and a draw and 19 goals scored they will certainly prove tough for visitors Waltham Forest who have been very inconsistent lately and no wins in five outings. Can’t really see beyond a home win here.
Pete’s Prediction: 3-1
Scott: Wakering entertain Forest at Burroughs Park. GWR sit 2nd, a point off FC Romania at the summit. Iain O’Connell’s side have only conceded three goals in their last six league matches and they also possess the third-best defence in the league so far this season. Forest are winless in their last five matches, they sit 17th in the table, two points clear of the bottom four with seven matches left (including this one). Hard to see Wakering slipping up here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 0
Redbridge v Southend Manor | Venue: Oakside
Peter: The Motormen have gone ‘off-the-boil’ in their last three outings, with no wins in three, however their two defeats were against their promotion rivals whereas with no disrespect to Southend Manor, they are not in the same league at the moment, who have suffered two straight losses and are nervously looking over their shoulders at the moment. Think Redbridge will get back to winning ways in this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-1
Scott: Manor travel to Oakside to take on a Redbridge battling to avoid a ‘mini-slump’ at present following their midweek home loss to Basildon. Interestingly, The Motormen have the worst goal difference (+33) of the top five sides at present, they sit 3rd at present. Both sides are winless in their last three outings, Manor currently sit 12th, seven points above the bottom four. This might be a good match for Ricky Eaton & Joey May’s side and I reckon they will prevail here.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 0
Sporting Bengal Utd v Burnham Ramblers | Venue: Mile End
Peter: Massive game down at the bottom sees Sporting come into this one in poor form having lost five out of six lately, whilst Ramblers have lost all their games in 2018 and are in freefall. Feel the hosts may edge this one.
Pete’s Prediction: 3-2
Scott: This is arguably the ‘game of the day’ as two of the bottom 6 face-off at Mile End. Both sides are in poor form with Sporting tasting success once in their last six matches while Burnham have lost their last six in-a-row which has seen them slide to 19th, two points from safety. Sporting sit in 16th and I can see goals in what could be an attacking game here. Can’t seperate the sides either, draw.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Takeley v Ilford | Venue: Station Road
Peter: Hosts Takeley have won four of their last six games and come into this one off the back of a 6-0 hammering of Hullbridge Sports in their Brasted Quarter Final in midweek. Ilford on the other hand have had a mixed last half-dozen games, and were brushed aside by FC Romania in their midweek Brasted semi-final tie. Going to go for a home win.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-0
Scott: Takeley take on inconsistent Ilford at Station Road after their big win in the GBMT Quarter-Final on Thursday night. For me, squad rotation will be a factor for the hosts given the numerous amount of fixtures they have to play in the coming weeks. Ilford remain 8th and are vying with Tower Hamlets and West Essex for a 7th-placed finish. Takeley may edge what I suspect may be a bruising battle here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
West Essex v Tower Hamlets | Venue: Mayesbrook Park
Peter: Both these teams got back to winning ways recently after mixed runs, however Hamlets have won their last two and will fancy a third straight win at Mayesbrook Park no doubt. West Essex though are a dangerous side on their day, and I feel this is a hard one to call. Sitting on the fence for this one, score draw.
Pete’s Prediction 2-2
Scott: West Essex welcome Hamlets to Mayesbrook Park. The Stags have won one match in their last six, and interestingly have only scored 19 goals in 13 home league games so far this term. Kwame Kwateng’s side currently sit 9th with 12 matches left. Hamlets have won their last two, sitting in 7th place, level on points with Ilford. Their away record isn’t great though with five wins in 14 away matches. I reckon there will be goals in this encounter and that could favour the hosts.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2
Woodford Town v Sawbridgeworth Town | Venue: Goffs Lane
Peter: Hosts Woodford have been rather solid of late and are in the top ten in the form table, and they welcome a Sawbo side who have had a decent 2018 so far and sit just two places below the hosts in the form guide. Another tough one to call here so reckon this one could be a rather entertaining draw.
Pete’s Prediction: 3-3
Scott: Finally on Saturday, Woodford take on Sawbo at Goffs Lane in a battle of 10th v 11th in the table. The hosts have only lost one of their last six encounters in a decent ‘first’ season in the ESL. Sawbridgeworth have intruigingly lost only four away matches in 15 thus far this season. This is a tough game to call and I can’t really seperate these sides. Draw.
Hello and welcome to an extended round-up of the action in the Essex Olympian League this weekend, stretching from the Premier Division to Senior Division Two plus results from Divisions Three & Four and action in the Anagram Records Trophy & Senior League Cup.
Anagram Records Trophy – Quarter-Final
Catholic Utd 2 – 0 Sporting Hackney
The Super Hoops progressed to the last four of the competition as they saw off Middlesex County Premier side Sporting Hackney at Wellstead Gardens. Goals from Max Kent and Mike Trenkel were enough to seal the win and they will face Wormley Rovers at home in the Semi-Finals on Saturday 24th March.
Senior League Cup – Quarter-Finals
Frenford 4 – 3 White Ensign
Frenford battled past fellow Olympian Premier side White Ensign to progress to the semi-finals. The visitors led 2-0 before a penalty from Bradley Nobbs five minutes before half-time and a Danny Lock [51′] free-kick levelled things up for Frenford. Daniel Driscoll made it 3-2 before Ensign levelled and late on, substitute Georgie Fairhead got the winner to secure the Premier Division leaders’ progression.
Springfield 2 – 4 Newham Utd
Newham caused an major upset at Arun Close and sent Premier Division Springfield out of the competition. Goals from Omar Jomanday, Ousman Ndure, Michael Omari and Nick Read did the business for the EOFL Div Two outfit. Springfield replied thanks to goals from Jamie Doyle and Jack Mundy.
Olympian League – Premier Division
Basildon Town 3 – 1 Bishop’s Stortford Swifts
Basildon picked up only their second win of the season here. Strikes from Yaw Danso, Dominic Locke and Sam Marsh sealed the win and kept alive their slim hopes of avoiding the drop this season. Stortford are in 8th spot.
Harold Wood Athletic P – P Manford Way (Due to a waterlogged pitch)
Leigh Ramblers 1 – 4 Kelvedon Hatch
Keveldon powered to a big win over Ramblers at Belfairs Park. Anthony Aylett, James Burt, Lee Newton and George Saunders goals sealed the points which leaves Hatch in 4th spot and Ramblers in 10th.
Rayleigh Town 3 – 2 May & Baker E.C
May & Baker’s topsy-turvy form continued as Rayleigh grabbed a last-gasp win over the former leaders. Town led through Aaron Pallett and Harry Talbot goals before an Oxby penalty and a Henry Osei strike brought them back level. Peter Beaumont’s 90th minute goal sealed all three points for second-bottom Rayleigh and therefore May & Baker missed the chance to leapfrog Frenford at the summit.
EOFL – Senior Division One
Galleywood 1 – 0 Great Baddow
Galleywood ended Baddow’s long unbeaten run to go three points clear of bottom side Runwell Sports. Craig Skipper got the only goal of the game to leave Baddow top but vulnerable as Buckhurst Hill are two points behind though have four matches in hand.
Hutton 6 – 1 Old Southendian
Hutton moved ahead of their opponents here into 3rd after a crushing win. A double from Matt Price plus further strikes from Dan Carpenter, Keelan O’Donovan, Thomas Price and Chris Rowlatt ensure the win.
Runwell Sports 0 – 1 Sungate
Sungate edged to victory here despite ending the match a man light. Jake Clarke got the only goal for the mid-table side. Stephen Harding was the man dismissed though the visitors held on to stay 5th on goal difference, with matches in hand. Runwell remain bottom with only five matches to play.
Shenfield AFC 4 – 0 Old Chelmsfordians
Shenfield stay 6th after goals from Francis Wright (2), Will Marlowe and Luke Williamson ensured the win over Old Chelmsfordians, who stay 10th.
FC Hamlets 1 – 1 Newbury Forest
Harold Hill P – P Snaresbrook
EOFL – Senior Division Two
Benfleet 2 – 1 Ongar Town
Benfleet overcame Ongar Town at Park Lane thanjs to goals from Ben Foord and Sonny Hartman to go three points behind their opponents here, in 5th and 4th respectively.
A1 Sports 4 – 1 Rochford Town
Ryan (R) 2 – 3 Rayleigh Town Res.
Toby 2 – 2 Herongate Athletic
Upminster P – P Ramsden Scotia
EOFL – Senior Division Three
Leigh Town 6 – 3 Roydon
Manford Way Reserves 12 – 0 Leytonstone Utd
Old Chelmsfordians Res. 3 – 0 Debden Sports
Shoebury Town 3 – 2 Harold Wood Athletic Res.
White Ensign Res. 2 – 3 Beacon Hill Rovers
EOFL – Senior Division Four
Chingford Athletic 5 – 2 Toby Res.
Old Southendian Res. 7 – 2 Southend Sports
Sungate Res. P – P Epping
That’s all from this round-up though check out the slightly larger round-up on the Grassroot Football Show every week, usually read by Pete D. Goodbye for now & thanks for reading.
Basildon came through a tricky away fixture to continue their promotion challenge at Cricklefield. Marcus Bowers [44′] and Tommy Barton [87′] goals were enough to give the Bees their 4th win in their last six matches, remaining 4th, 5 points off the leaders. Barkingside’s first loss in five matches sees them drop to 15th, three points clear of the bottom four.
Clapton P – P Sporting Bengal Utd
| Venue: Old Spotted Dog |
This match was postponed due to an unfit pitch.
FC Romania 3 – 1 West Essex
| Venue: Theobalds Lane | Att: 12
FC Romania went top with this triumph over the Stags at Theobalds Lane. James Broomley gave the visitors a surprise lead five minutes before the break though that lead only stood for four minutes before Florin Pop levelled. The hosts rallied and took the lead through Sergiu Maximov before Vlad Sighiartau secured the points late on. FCR’s third win in their last six matches and go a point clear of GWR at the summit, though the chasing pack do have matches in hand. West Essex drop to 9th after their fourth loss in their last six matches.
Ilford produced arguably one of their best away-day showings this season to win at Southchurch Park. Goals from George Whitelock, Liam Burgess and an OG secured the Foxes’ first win in five matches which sees them remain 7th , three points clear of Tower Hamlets behind them. Manor’s indifferent form continues, they remain 12th with matches in hand though they are seven points clear of the bottom four.
Hamlets overcame Stansted at Mile End. Strike pair Luke With and Wale Odedoyin were on-target for AJ Ashinike’s side while Oliver Fortune had put the visitors ahead before the half-hour. Hamlets ended a five-match winless run here to go back into 8th place while the Airportmen’s 4th defeat in their last six sees them drop to 14th spot, four points clear of the bottom four.
Enfield continued their mini-revival with an excellent win at Kitchener Road. Ayo Odukoya gave Matt Hanning’s side the lead on the quarter-hour before Christian Owusu levelled for Forest six minutes before half-time. Dan Chambers [61′] got the winner for the E’s as they secured their fourth win in their last five outings and rise to 13th, five points clear of the relegation zone – a relative luxury compared to just a few weeks ago. Forest are still in bother themselves as their run without a win now sits at five matches, in 17th spot, two points above Hullbridge in 18th.
That’s all for this weekend from the ESL, check back soon for more articles. Bye for now.
Witham left it late to deny Heybridge victory as a crowd of over 400 braved the chilly weather at Spa Road. Harrison Chatting broke the deadlock four minutes into the second half to put the visitors ahead. Correy Davidson has had a good season for Town and he stepped up again right on the cusp of full-time to grab a point for the hosts. Heybridge boss Jody Brown was also dismissed for remonstrating for the officials. Witham’s winless run extends to five matches now, and are 17th after Saturday’s action. Heybridge’s four-match winning run ended here though sit 12th, 12 points off the play-offs.
Hornchurch were held by improving Tilbury on an emotional day at Bridge Avenue. The Urchins had manager Jimmy McFarlane foremost in their thoughts after he sadly suffered a stroke on Monday, I sincerely wish him a speedy recovery. On the pitch, the hosts led just before half-time through Christian Assombalonga’s goal though new signing Harry Norman, recruited from Canvey, levelled mid-way through the second half and a resolute showing from Joe Keith’s side extended their unbeaten run to four matches as they rise to 15th. Hornchurch’s recent run has seen them lose only once in their last six, as they remain top by 11 points.
Aveley’s early goal-blitz helped them on their way to an excellent win over strugglers Cheshunt at Parkside. New signing Tom Richardson opened the scoring after just four minutes, before Connor Witherspoon [7′] added a second. Richardson struck again on 20 minutes to give James Webster’s side a big lead at the break. Lewis Gard [53′] secured the points before Sam Alderson [61′] pulled one back for Craig Edwards’ side. Aveley are now unbeaten in their last seven matches, and stay 19th, ten points ahead of Brentwood just behind them. The Ambers remain 23rd, two points clear of Romford now.
Bowers & Pitsea 2 – 0 AFC Sudbury
| Venue: Len Salmon Stadium | Att: 87
Bowers secured another victory in their promotion charge, this time against Sudbury at the Len Salmon. Ben Sartain [34′] and David Knight [49′] goals were enough to seal Rob Small’s men their 7th win in their last eight matches and stay 2nd, though extend their lead to eight points over Canvey in 3rd. The Suds suffered their first loss in seven matches and drop to 10th spot.
Brentwood Town 1 – 1 Dereham Town
| Venue: Brentwood Arena | Att: 99
Brentwood struck late to deny play-off chasing Dereham the win at the Brentwood Arena. Rhys Logan put the visitors ahead on 23 minutes before Tony Stokes struck ten minutes from time to ensure Craig Shipman’s side left with a point. Brentwood’s indifferent form persists though with only one win in their last six matches and they are now only five points clear of the relegation spot. Dereham’s 5th draw in their last eight matches sees them drop to 7th because of their three-point deduction this week due to an ineligible player (I believe).
Bury Town were held by mid-table Abbey at Ram Meadow. Town’s inconsistent form continues with only two wins in their last seven outings, sitting in 9th place, 12 points adrift of the play-offs now. Abbey are also finding wins hard to come by with one win in their last ten though they look set for a mid-table finish as they are currently 14th.
Haringey Borough 2 – 0 Ware | Venue: Coles Park | Att: 123
Haringey continued their recent good run with victory over out-of-form Ware at Coles Park. A goal in each half from Coby Rowe [34′] and Anthony McDonald [59′] sealed the win, Boro’s 4th win in their last six matches and go two points ahead of Maldon and into 4th place, due to Potters Bar’s points deduction. Ware’s fourth defeat on-the-spin leaves them mired in the middle of the relegation dogfight in 22nd, four points off the foot of the table.
Mildenhall bested ten-man Maldon to come away with all three points at Park Drive. Joe Ellul struck again for the Jammers to give them the lead on 22 minutes, though Joshua Curry levelled a minute before the break for the Hall. Substitute Tom Debenham put the visitors ahead six minutes after the interval. Moments later, the hosts were a man light as Harvey Dailly was dismissed. Town held on to claim their fourth win in their last six matches and go into 13th place. Maldon’s second defeat in their last five sees them in 6th spot, in the play-offs by virtue of Dereham’s points deduction this week.
Norwich Utd P – P Hertford Town
| Venue: Plantation Park | Att:
This match was postponed due to an frozen pitch.
Potters Bar Town 1 – 1 Canvey Island
| Venue: Pakex Stadium | Att: 173
These two play-off chasing sides duked it out at the Pakex Stadium before ending all-square. James Walker opened the scoring for the visitors with 21 minutes gone. The Scholars were down to ten men 12 minutes later as Billy Adcock was dismissed. Despite this, George Nicohlas restored parity for the hosts five minutes after the break to maintain their good run of only one loss in their last eight matches, in 5th spot after they were deducted three points this week for an ineligible player (I believe). Canvey are 3rd, having drawn three of their last four matches now.
Romford put a disheartening midweek result behind them to claim a hugely important three points at Ship Lane. Craig Jeakins [29′] put Paul Martin’s side ahead before Greg Akpele’s spot-kick a minute before half-time doubled their lead. Izzy Bademosi got an injury-time consolation for Justin Gardner’s side though Boro finally ended an eight-match losing run here to close the gap to Cheshunt to two points at the bottom. Barking’s first defeat in five sees them stay 8th though they are eight points off the play-off positions.
Soham Town Rangers 0 – 0 Grays Athletic
| Venue: Julius Martin Lane | Att: 155
Soham were held by Ath at Julius Martin Lane. Soham stay 18th after a run of three wins in their last seven matches while Jamie Stuart’s men justified their growing reputation of being tough to beat, as they’ve only lost once in their last nine though have drawn five of those matches, they go into 11th spot.
Bostik Division South R’s – Sat 24th Feb
Ashford Utd 2 – 1 Cray Wanderers | Att: 198
Carshalton Athletic 2 – 1 Thamesmead Town | Att: 371
Hullbridge Sports: Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks
Wadham Lodge: Red Shirts, Red Shorts & White Socks
Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
With photos by Neil Hunwicks (Twitter: @ABridgeTooFar16)
On a freezing cold day at Lower Road, Hullbridge welcomed Wadham Lodge for a crunch match at the bottom of the table. Hullbridge were missing the likes of Jimmy Cox and Russell Harley though still could name Luke Hornsley (captain for the day as well), Callum Ibe, Michael Salako and Rob Hodgson in their starting XI. Wadham’s attack was led by evergreen striker Sherwin Stanley, with Paul Oshin and on-loan goalkeeper Louie Chapman also in the starting XI, with Abdoulie Njai and Abiola Tanimowo options on the bench for Jason Ngandu’s side.
The hosts began the match the stronger with several forays forward, though efforts on goal from forward Luke Hornsley and full-back Charlie Buffin couldn’t get past visiting goalkeeper Louie Chapman. Wadham did also have a glimmer at goal in the early stages with forward Sherwin Stanley being well-tackled by home defender Dan Okah before having an effort from distance.
Although the hosts had more of the chances in the first half, they didn’t really have the urgency or tempo that they needed and Hornsley was a little isolated up top at times. That said, in the latter stages of the half, forward Callum Ibe’s free-kick was parried away well by Chapman. Moments later, Wadham midfielder Jerome Mtumba’s shot needed the intervention of home custodian Jamie Merralls.
Half-Time: Hullbridge Sports 0 – 0 Wadham Lodge
After the first-half stalemate, this match needed to liven up a bit and it certainly did though not in the way the hosts would’ve liked. Five minutes into the second period, indecision by Merralls gave winger Danny Francis enough room to lob the ball over him into an empty net after breezing past the home defence. Not one for the back five to savour that. Still, the hosts were behind for only four minutes before Callum Ibe rounded opposition defenders before blasting home past Chapman to level things up.
It got better for Darren Manning’s side on 62 minutes as full-back Matt Rose ghosted into the area, and found himself one-on-one with Chapman before slotting home well, after being picked out by Hornsley. This lead was wafer-thin though and Wadham were passing the ball around well and restored parity nine minutes later when substitute Abdoulie Njai blasted an effort into the far corner from around 15 yards. The visitors were in the midst of a good spell at this point, with Njai blasting over the bar minutes later and if they had found a better final ball, they had chances to pinch it.
Matt Rose puts Hullbridge 2-1 up, slotting past Chapman (Image: Neil H)
Rose being congratulated by his team-mates (Image: Neil H)
Perry Hirst’s effort went over the bar late on for Hullbridge though Wadham held firm to take a share of the spoils here. Hullbridge did have more than enough chances to win this encounter though quite a few passes also went astray on a frustrating afternoon for the hosts. Wadham may be the happier side to take a point though it doesn’t really benefit either team given both sides’ current predicament in the bottom four.
Full-Time: Hullbridge Sports 2 – 2 Wadham Lodge
Jamie Merralls (GK), Charlie Buffin, Matt Rose, Eamon Payne, Dan Okah, Rob Hodgson, Perry Hirst, Matt Tapley (Harry Watkins 74′) Luke Hornsley (Capt), Callum Ibe, Michael Salako
Louie Chapman (GK), Ashley Banks, Deniz Alici (Abdoulie Njai 46′), Paul Oshin, Mario Hoxa (Chris Gormley 68′), Terry Foxe, Nathan Joseph, Jerome Mtumba, Sherwin Stanley (Capt) (Abiola Tanimowo 63′), Brian Simpson, Danny Francis
Goal-scorers: Danny Francis [50′], Abdoulie Njai [71′]
Booked: Ntumba | Subs Not Used: Akanbi, Tuitt
Referee: Steve Marr
Assistants: Jeremy Mott & Jack Morris
Hello & welcome to this week’s piece looking at the weekend’s Essex Senior League following a midweek where Wakering went joint-top with Redbridge. Peter also returns so below are his and Scott’s thoughts on all the fixtures set for this weekend (Weather-permitting):
Friday 23rd February
Woodford Town P – P Takeley | Venue: Goffs Lane
This match has been postponed due to floodlight failure, Town announced on Friday lunch-time.
Saturday 24th February
Barkingside v Basildon Utd | Venue: Cricklefield
Peter: The hosts welcome the Bees to Cricklefield having stretched their unbeaten run to four games after a draw in midweek, although they were two goals up in that one so felt disappointed to only get a point. The Bees, who have lost only once in their last ten, will be looking to grab the three points to keep the pressure on the top two and put in a good performance at FC Romania in the week, however I expect this one to finish all square.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-1
Scott: The Saturday action kicks off with ‘Side host Basildon at Cricklefield. Michael Walther’s side have drawn their last three matches, including a home draw against Southend Manor last weekend followed by holding Waltham Forest in midweek. Basildon battled to a goalless stalemate at FC Romania in midweek, and have only lost one of their last ten matches now, sitting in 4th place. This could be another battle and the Bees need the points to keep tabs on the top-three.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
Clapton v Sporting Bengal Utd | Venue: Old Spotted Dog
Peter: The Tons saw their four-game winning run ended by Takeley last weekend, but they welcome a struggling Sporting Bengal side to The Old Spotted Dog who have lost all but one of their last eight games, although that one was a thumping home win over Waltham Forest, however Clapton are playing some decent stuff at the moment so will take the win here I feel.
Pete’s Prediction: 3-1
Scott: The Tons welcome Sporting Bengal to the OSD. Jon Fowell & Wayne Seal’s side narrowly lost out to Takeley last weekend in what was their first loss in five matches. Sporting have had two weeks off and are in 15th place, two points above the bottom four. One win in their last five outings means they need points to avert falling into the bottom four. Home win for me.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 0
FC Romania v West Essex | Venue: Theobalds Lane
Peter: The Romanian’s long unbeaten record is still ongoing after they drew at home to Basildon United in midweek, although they had ‘keeper Darabant to thank for that, and they welcome a free-flowing attacking West Essex to Theobalds Lane who ended their four-game winless streak with victory at the start of the month, however they have been out of action for three weeks now so there may be some rustiness, and I feel the hosts may take advantage of this to pick up the points.
Pete’s Prediction: 4-2
Scott: The tricky matches keep coming for the Wolves as West Essex are the visitors to Theobalds Lane here. The hosts were held by Basildon in midweek, while West Essex’s tie at home to Redbridge was postponed. FCR have drawn three of their last five matches and West Essex can definitely pose a threat those postponements have hampered the Stags recently. Still reckon the hosts should prevail here.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Hullbridge Sports v Wadham Lodge | Venue: Lower Road
Peter: This is what you call a ‘six-pointer’ down at the foot of the table. Sports are unbeaten in four outings and grabbed an important win last time out against Tower Hamlets, whilst Lodge ended a six-game winless run with victory over their Walthamstow rivals Forest last time out. Both need the points to take them closer to getting out the bottom four, however I feel this may end all-square.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-2
Scott: Hullbridge welcome Wadham in what is a massive ‘six-pointer’ at the bottom. The hosts had midweek off due to the inclement weather and may need to improve on last weekend’s performance in their narrow win over Tower Hamlets. Wadham overcame Forest in the ‘Walthamstow Derby’ last weekend to avert a winless league run. This could well be a scrappy battle with goals in it.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2
Sawbridgeworth Town v Great Wakering Rovers | Venue: Crofters End
Peter: This proves to be a pretty decent game at Crofters, as The Robins, who have certainly picked up in 2018, host league leaders GWR who themselves are unbeaten in eight games having won seven of those in the process. And with the Robins having won at Burroughs Park earlier in the campaign, this shows they have what it takes to get the better of the visitors. However, I can see the league leaders grabbing the points.
Pete’s Prediction: 0-2
Scott: In-form Wakering head to Crofters to take on Sawbridgeworth. Iain O’Connell’s side went joint-top following their narrow win at Ilford in midweek. Sawbo were held by the Foxes last weekend before grabbing a late win at Burnham in midweek. John Watters’ side are looking at breaking into the top ten after a run of two defeats in their last seven and this will be another test of GWR’s mettle.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1
Southend Manor v Ilford | Venue: Southchurch Park
Peter: This proves to be a battle on the Essex Coast as Manor host The Foxes with both sides in similar form of late. Manor are unbeaten in their last two whilst Ilford are winless in four, although all those games were very tight indeed. Expecting another tight one here and another draw I feel.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-1
Scott: Manor welcome Ilford to Southchurch after a harrowing midweek which saw their match at Hackney Wick abandoned just minutes in due to serious injury to a Manor forward. Our best wishes go to Ellis in his recovery. The hosts have been affected by injuries of late and arguably still need a few points to avoid getting dragged into the relegation slug-fest. The Foxes are also finding wins hard to sustain though they may get the job done here.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Tower Hamlets v Stansted | Venue: Mile End Stadium
Peter: Hamlets form in 2018 has been mixed to say the least, and they are winless in five coming into this one. Stansted have hit a small ‘sticky patch’ after beginning 2018 brilliantly, although they ended a two-game losing run with a point in midweek, although it was a late leveller that denied them all three. Will be a tight one this I feel but one I believe the visitors may just edge.
Pete’s Prediction: 1-2
Scott: This fascinating encounter sees Hamlets entertain Stansted at Mile End. There were definitely positives to take for the hosts in their loss at Hullbridge last weekend and I feel the Airportmen will need to defend well here. The visitors fell to defeat at Enfield last Saturday before holding Woodford at Goffs Lane in midweek. Hamlets are winless in their last five matches with Stansted winless in their last three so this could be another battle. Hard one to call, going for a entertaining draw.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Waltham Forest v Enfield 1893 | Venue: Kitchener Road
Peter: Another huge six-pointer down at the foot of the table sees Forest host Enfield at Kitchener Road. Forest are winless in their last four although fought back to draw in midweek after trailing by two at the break, whilst Enfield have won two in a row to see them spring out of the bottom four and go above their opponents on goal difference in this one. The winner of this game could put five points between them and the bottom four, whilst the loser could find themselves back in it, so very important. Reckon this could end all square though.
Pete’s Prediction: 2-2
Scott: Lastly on Saturday, Enfield make the trip to Kitchener Road to take on Forest. The hosts’ four-match winless run has come at a bad time with Ryan Maxwell’s side hovering just above the bottom four. Enfield went above Forest last weekend thanks to a good home win over Stansted, their third win in their last five matches. With this being Forest’s third match in 8 days, will this affect their performance levels? Time will tell.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2
Check our respective blogs on Sunday for our round-up’s of ESL action. You can follow Peter on Twitter: @ped1980 and Scott: @ScottMHC14.
Tulips? Clogs? Goldmember? I’m sure these are all images that are conjured whenever Holland is mentioned, but for me the first thing that comes to mind is football. As an advocate (or should that be Advocaat?) of the beautiful game, the Eredivisie seemed the logical choice for my latest ground-hop. Way back in September I decided on Feyenoord and with the news that Robin Van Persie had returned to his hometown team around a fortnight before my trip, I was glad I plumped for the Rotterdam club over their Amsterdam rivals Ajax. Why Feyenoord? Two words: ‘’De Kuip’’.
Old-school stadiums have always been a favourite of mine and by all accounts, I’d been reliably informed that ‘’The Tub’’, as it’s known in English, was the grandest of all in Europe. By the time of my first glimpse of the ground from the Erasmus bridge, I found it hard to disagree. With its red and blue seats and magnificent oval roof, I imagine that this is as close as I could get to the Old Wembley. Inside the arena, a novel feature was the use of ‘’Muntens’’ or little coins bearing the club crest used to purchase food and drink. 12 Euros afforded me 5 of the local currency which stretched to 2 pints of Heineken, a snack of two croquettes in a bread roll and a coffee ; which I deemed to be a fair exchange rate. With around 20 minutes to kick-off and suitably refreshed, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the homecoming hero Van Persie was in line for his first start since his return.
In a patient game which bared very little resemblance to the high-pressing style I’ve grown accustomed to in England of late, Feyenoords’ classic 4-3-3 formation saw RVP take the number 10 role. Despite the Rotterdammers’ careful and considered approach, they were hardly in the game during a first half in which Left Winger Jean-Paul Boëtius, expected to provide a creative spark, repeatedly came unstuck against his full-back. Indeed, despite all the home sides’ possession, it was Heracles who created the better of the chances during the opening 45 minutes; Breukers failed to hit the target, whilst Kuwas looked to be through but for a late offside flag. Vermeij also had an opportunity to test Brad Jones but the Australian was equal to his effort.
The second half started in a similar fashion with an attempt from distance by Kristoffer Peterson hitting the underside of the bar but it was Van Persie who demonstrated his feather touch and clinical finishing, breaking the deadlock around the hour mark. After receiving a pass just outside the box from Vilhena, RVP cushioned the ball with his wand of a left foot before placing it past Castro with a passed finish. Despite the lack of anything that got the Feyenoorders off their seats during the previous 59 minutes, as the ball hit the back of the net, the entire ground appeared to shake.
This moment aside, there was little else to get excited about, until Paul Gladon fired wide during the closing stages, when he looked set to equalise for the visitors from Almelo. Come full time, I was already analysing the match that had just gone and couldn’t help but feel as though I’d just witnessed an almost alien version of the game I watch every week back home.
Firstly, the full backs would barely touch the ball in their own half, their job more reminiscent of a deep lying midfielder in build-up, underlapping simply to recycle. The time and space afforded to them in the final third saw plenty of overlapping runs, but despite the not inconsiderate aerial threat of Jorgensen, the pullback was almost always favoured. Secondly and much more strikingly different, was the time and space afforded to almost every player on the pitch. Both teams played as if there was an unwritten rule, allowing your opposite number to settle and find his pass. Defenders appeared to be much more concerned with defending space and territory, blocking passing lanes and forcing the ball wide, with little desire to press and apply pressure to the ball. While this would appear to gift the opposition the opportunity to either thread a through-ball or strike from distance, this also seemed to be governed by a form of gentlemanly conduct, restricting the player in possession to recycling the ball around the edge of the box, looking to bring the full-backs into the game.
One can’t help but be impressed by the overall technical ability of every one of the 22 on the pitch, with lots of first-time passes out of defence and excellent takes from supporting players, but the lack of direct play developed from being frustrating to almost farcical. As pleasing on the eye as the Dutch game is, you’d feel that based on the patterns of play in this fixture, a direct player with an eye for goal would dominate the league. Overall, I enjoyed my visit to the Kuip, and feel as though there is plenty both the Dutch, with their emphasis on technique and the English, with their high-tempo, aggressive style of play could learn from each other.
Will Randle follows both Everton and Lowestoft Town FC and is a lover of all things football. Will is a keen fan of continental football, as well as an FA Level 2 qualified coach.
You can follow Will on Twitter: @WillRandle92
My thanks to Will for giving his permission to use this article. It’s certainly an interesting diversion from EPL and Non-League Football. Cheers Will!