Preview: Essex Senior League (Fri 18/Sat 19 Jan) [ESL 18.1.19]

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Hello & welcome to this week’s Essex Senior League preview with Non-League writers Peter Dudley & Scott W. Ten more fascinating ties await us this weekend, what do you think will go down? Thanks for reading. If you’d like to hear both our thoughts on this weekend’s action on GFS, along with guest Marc Farrell, click the link/add URL here:    (Fixtures section is from 2 hours 9 minutes in)

Essex Senior League

Friday 18th January 2019

Leyton Athletic  v Hullbridge Sports   | Wadham Lodge Stadium |

Pete: Hullbridge come into this one off the back of two straight defeats which has seen them fall to third and conceded ground to leaders Stansted, although their opponents Leyton haven’t won in fourteen now although two draws in their last two shows some fight at least.  I do fancy the visitors to get the win here though.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Scott: One of two Friday nighters sees Hullbridge travel to Wadham Lodge Stadium. Leyton were held at fellow strugglers Barkingside last weekend and arguably need to get points on the board. Hullbridge need points as well to further their title campaign after losses to Redbridge and Clapton this week. This is one tricky tie to predict though I can’t see the ‘Bridge boys losing three on-the-trot. Narrow away win though Ath will make it difficult.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Woodford Town   v   West Essex  | the Harlow Arena |

Pete: Potentially a cracker is in store for us at The Harlow Arena as two attacking teams come together, and the hosts will be trying to grab a win after none in their last four outings, whilst West are in the same boat having lost three of their last four.  Fancy the hosts to get the win here though.

Pete’s Prediction: 4 – 2

Scott: West are once again on the road, this time to Harlow to face the ever-dangerous Woodford. West held Manor at home last weekend before a heavy loss to Aveley Ressies in the Pete Butcher Trophy in midweek. They do play better away from home and if they bring their ‘A’-game, this will be a test for the Towners. The hosts denied Takeley all three points at Station Road last weekend and it may be the forward line & energy that seems them through here, despite the home side’s four-match winless run of late.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Saturday 19th January

Clapton  v  Southend Manor  | Old Spotted Dog |

Pete: You really cannot predict what your going to get from Clapton these days, their last three has seen all three results happen, including defeating Hullbridge at The Dog last time out.  For Manor it’s been a season of struggle and after they beat Clapton at home four games ago, they have failed to register another three points.  Think this one could end all-square though.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: The Tons welcome Manor to the OSD, on the back of a fine win over Hullbridge in midweek. Three wins in their last eight matches shows what a ‘mixed-bag’ they have had recently. Manor have also found wins fairly hard to come by of late and drew at West Essex last weekend. Narrow home win for me.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Enfield  v  Walthamstow   | the Harlow Arena |

Pete:This has the potential to be a decent game as hosts Enfield, with three wins from their last five, take on a Stow side who were five unbeaten with four of those wins until they came unstuck against Ilford last time out.  Got a feeling the visitors will want to put that right though so gonna go for a tight away win.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Scott: Enfield welcome ‘Stow to the Harlow Arena. The E’s have found some form with one loss in their last five matches after wins at Stanway and a draw at home to Sporting Bengal in the last week. Walthamstow lost at home to Ilford last weekend and need wins to rack up points to get back into the top five. My thought on this one is that it will a tough match and whilst Enfield could surprise, the visitors may well get the points here in a tough game.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Hoddesdon Town  v  Sporting Bengal Utd   |  Lowfield |

Pete: These two have had similar form over the last few outings, and both drew last time out after being two goals down, so it’s going to be a tight contest at Lowfield for sure.  And when these two met in the league match at Mile End that also, yep you guessed it, ended in a 1-1 draw.  Have a feeling that may happen again too.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: Hoddesdon welcome fellow top-ten side Bengal to Lowfield. Simon Riddle’s side lost to Saffron Walden last weekend though did produce a fine comeback to hold Redbridge at home in midweek. Bengal lost out at Sawbridgeworth last weekend and are having a mini-blip at present though another record-breaking season for them isn’t far off now. This match is another test in an ever-competitive division for Imrul Gazi’s side. Could be another draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Ilford   v   Redbridge   | Cricklefield |

Pete: It a derby at Cricklefield as Ilford and Redbridge do battle, The Foxes ending a winless run of six games by defeating Walthamstow last time out, whilst Redbridge are revitalised under the stewardship of Micky Wetherall and are unbeaten in their last two after five straight defeats prior to that.  Form normally means nothing in these games though, and they often end in draws too, so that’s my prediction for this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: What a time for the Motormen to have a local derby with the Foxes. A fine win at Hullbridge was followed by a good point at Hoddesdon this week. Ilford too had a good day out last weekend with a success at Walthamstow. Tough, tough match to call though Redbridge do have impetus at present and if they can better themselves in defence, they could get the points here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

St Margaretsbury    v   Saffron Walden Town  | The Recreation Ground

Pete: This could possibly be game of the day at The Recreation Ground as an in-form hosts, who have won their last four, take on Saffron Walden Town who have won their last two.  It really is a hard one to call this one, the hosts would like to grab a win over one of the title/promotion chasers, whilst Walden need to win to keep in touch with the top two.  Feel the visitors may just sneak this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 3

Scott: Saffron Walden continue their promotion charge as they visit Lowfield. Jason Maher’s side won at Hoddesdon last weekend to sit eight points adrift of leaders Stansted, with a game more to play. St Margs won at Tower Hamlets last weekend as they fortified their top-ten position, thanks to four straight victories. Another tough match for the Bloods, though I think they will prevail.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Stansted  v  Barkingside   | Hargrave Park

Pete: On paper you’d say this has easy home win written all over it seeing as it’s top versus bottom.  But football isn’t played on paper is it, and although the hosts are in fine form at the moment, four wins in a row and unbeaten in their last eight, Barkingside have improved over recent weeks and are unbeaten in four themselves with three of those clean sheets.  Despite all this though I expect the hosts to win, but it will be closer than a lot of people think.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Scott: Stansted entertain Barkingside at Hargrave Park. The Airportmen have the momentum at present after a James Peagram-inspired win over Clapton last weekend. Barkingside got a home draw with Leyton though they are now unbeaten in three matches which shows the added steel they have within the camp now. That said, this is one hell of a test for that grit in Alex Goldstone’s side. Hard to see anything but a home win given Stansted’s recent form.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Takeley    v  Sawbridgeworth Town   |  Station Road |

Pete: Another decent battle awaits us at Station Road as Takeley, who are trying to keep tabs with Stansted at the summit of the ESL, welcome an in-form Sawbridgeworth to their gaff, despite losing back to back before winning last time out.  The host aren’t in  bad form themselves and will be looking for the points after dropping two last time out, and I feel they will achieve just that in this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Scott: Takeley welcome an improving Sawbo side. Marc Das’ side were held late on by Woodford last weekend though are unbeaten in three while Sawbo have lost three of their last eight, after a good win over Sporting Bengal last weekend, which sees them in mid-table. Takeley could go joint-top with a win and with Charlie Cole and Bryn Thorpe returning to the club last weekend, that could happen here.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Tower Hamlets  v   Stanway Rovers    | Mile End |

Pete: There will be no love lost between these two following their fiery FA Cup tie earlier this season, and both come into this one in not the best of form, Hamlets have lost their last three whilst Rovers four of their last five. Stanway have won both meetings between the sides this season though and this could sway the result their way perhaps, but I feel this could end all square.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: Finally, Stanway travel to Mile End to face Hamlets. Both sides are in need of a win to avert a slide down the table. Hamlets lost to St Margaretsbury last weekend plus Rovers also lost at home, to Enfield last weekend. This could be a real scrap though arguably there is more onus on the home side here, and they may edge it.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1


Round-up: Essex Senior League (Sat 12 Jan) [ESL 14.1.19]

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the returning ESL round-up of this week’s action. All 20 clubs were in action as there was movement in the table thanks to this weekend’s results. Thanks for reading.

Essex Senior League

Saturday 12th January 2019

Barkingside  2 – 2  Leyton Athletic   | Cricklefield | Att: 56

‘Side made a good comeback after a poor start to claim a point in this basement battle. Rujorn Tuitt put Leyton ahead on 20 minutes before Abdul Bangura [34’] struck. Joe Oates pulled one back just before the break for ‘Side and Harry Matthews’ goal [64′] ensured the home side are unbeaten in three games though they are still three points off their opponents here. Ath haven’t won in their last nine matches and are six points adrift of Hamlets and Manor above them.

Hoddesdon Town  1 – 3  Saffron Walden Town   | Lowfield | Att: 123

Walden showed their muscle again with a second-half flourish at Lowfield. Kane Lowe had put Hoddy ahead on 13 minutes though Lewis Francis levelled things up eight minutes into the second half. A quick-fire double by Charlie Portway [65′] and Matt Frew [69′] broke the hosts’ resistance as the Bloods won their third match in their last five to strengthen their position in 4th. Hoddesdon stay 9th.

Hulllbridge Sports 1 – 2  Redbridge  | Lower Road | Att: 47

The ‘Bridge boys six-match winning run as a revitalised Redbridge won at Lower Road. Two goals in just four minutes from ex-May & Baker pair Dan Gilchrist [29′] and Connor Okus [33’] put Micky Wetherall’s side in command. Although Adebola Sotoyinbo’s penalty six minutes before the break gave the hosts hope, the Motormen held on to end their own five-match losing run to rise to 16th. Hullbridge drop to 3rd though have three matches in hand on leaders Stansted.

Sawbridgeworth Town  2 – 1  Sporting Bengal Utd | Crofters End | Att: 29

Sawbo maintained their good home record with this win over Sporting at Crofters. Joe Wright continued his fine form this season with the opener after only two minutes. Charles Gregory’s spot-kick [20′] levelled matters for Bengal though they couldn’t get to half-time that way as Wright struck again ten minutes before said interval. John Watters’ men kept on top for the duration to claim their third win in their last five and stay 10th. Sporting are in 8th place.

Stansted  4 – 2   Clapton    |  Hargrave Park | Att: 62

The Airportmen won an extraordinary match over Clapton, though the penalty spot was crucial here. The Tons suffered a poor first half and were three goals down….all three coming from James Peagram’s boot and you guessed it… all three were penalties [17′, 19′ & 45′]. Jon Fowell’s side staged a mini-revival after the break as Giovanni Palmer struck on the hour mark before James Falaise added a second for the Tons three minutes. Peagram wasn’t done though as he got his and his side’s fourth on 64 minutes to seal their fourth win on-the-bounce. Paul Pittuck’s side still lead by three points at the summit. Clapton drop to 13th.

Stanway Rovers  1 – 2  Enfield   | the Hawthorns | Att: 68

Enfield had a brace of Reece Barrett penalties to thank for this success at the Hawthorns. Barrett broke the deadlock from the spot two minutes into the second half before Jay Nash levelled for Rovers on 63 minutes. Barrett’s sevond successful spot-kick [66′] was enough to give the E’s their third win in their last four matches to rise to 14th, just above Rovers on goal difference.

Takeley  2 – 2  Woodford Town   |  Station Road | Att: 74

Woodford denied Takeley the victory with a late leveller at Station Road. Ben Smith put the hoss ahead on 17 minutes though new signing Vlad Sighiartau restored parity for Town just past the hour mark. In a frenetic ending to the match, the returning hero Charlie Cole gave the hosts the lead with ten minutes left. Jayden Thompson-Brissett [88′] ensured Town left with a point though they haven’t won in four matches now. Takeley are unbeaten in three and sit 2nd, three points off leaders Stansted.

Tower Hamlets  1 – 2   St Margaretsbury    | Mile End Stadium | Att: 25

Hamlets fell to defeat at home once again as St Margaretsbury got their fourth straight win. Charncey Dash got on the scoresheet as well an OG that saw the visitors to the win. Ezekiel Kamara struck for Hamlets though they fell to their 3rd straight loss.

Walthamstow  1 – 2  Ilford    | Wadham Lodge | Att: 61

I attended this match, here’s my report:

West Essex 1 – 1  Southend Manor   | Mayesbrook Park | Att: 28

West recovered to claim a point here. Yasseir Nazor put Manor ahead on 18 minutes as they edged the first half though the hosts’ levelled thanks to the returning Michael Mignot who struck on 67 minutes. The Stags haven’t won in four league games now, they sit 12th while Manor are in 17th.

Match Report: Walthamstow 1 – 2 Ilford (Sat 12 Jan) [ESL 12.1.19]

Essex Senior League

Venue: Wadham Lodge Stadium

Attendance: 61

2018-19 Season – Match 41

Saturday 12th January 2019  – 3pm KO

Walthamstow: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

Ilford: Red and White Hooped Shirts,  Red Shorts, Red & White Socks




Ilford’s gritty display sees them to a five victory


Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

This weekend’s match saw me re-join ESL President Rob Errington and head to Wadham Lodge to see in-form Walthamstow face an Ilford side who have somewhat struggled for wins of late. The hosts have seen players come & go of late, with defender Bryn Thorpe heading back to Takeley, though new signing Correy Davidson was on the bench. Reece Conway skippered the side here including a very strong front three of Dwade James, Leon McKenzie and Marcus Bowers. Samrai Gebrai and Matt Brinklow were also on the bench. For the visitors, near ever-presents in goalkeeper Hugo Rossetti, full-back Luke Casey and captain Danny Haigh retained their places while Deji Adeniran and Seye Okunlola led the line.

The match didn’t exactly go according to the ‘script’ right from the get-go as after only three minutes, a foul on full-back Luke Casey on the right flank allowed a free-kick to be sent in by support forward Callum Maltese which home goalkeeper James Bransgrove punched away – only for the ball to find it way to Ilf winger Collins Atubrah who lashed home well from 20 yards out. Unsurprisingly, ‘Stow picked up after they conceded, and in the next portion of the game they had the vast majority of the play though didn’t have quite as many chances as their play warranted.

Attacking midfielder Christian Owusu blazed two efforts over the bar before experienced forward Leon McKenzie sent over a tellling cross from the right wing, which Foxes custodian Hugo Rossetti had to punch clear before fellow forward Dwade James could get a header in on goal. The pressure was clearly on the visiting defence at this point (just past the quarter-hour) though Ilford’s committed nature was summed up superbly by captain Danny Haigh’s great tackle on James in the area after he was well-found by rapid full-back Ryan Ramsey’s pass.

The visitors were looking decent on the odd occasion they had the chance to counter-attack though another ‘pinch point’ came on the half-hour as McKenzie’s fine goal-bound header was tipped over brilliantly by Rossetti. An increasingly frantic end to the half saw James uncharacteristically blaze over when one–on-one with Rosetti three minutes before the break while Bransgrove did well at the other end to deny Ilf forward Deji Adeniran from close range.

Half-Time: Walthamstow 0 – 1 Ilford


Straight into the second half and new boy Correy Davidson was thrust into proceedings for the hosts, who could have been level two minutes into the second half though somehow James didn’t make the most of a one-on-one chance, scuffing his shot wide of a post. To be fair, it wasn’t just down to the striker having an ‘off-day. Rossetti denied centre-back Craig Pope’s effort from close range, from a ‘Stow free-kick on 54 minutes as Martin Haywood’s side showed no lack of fighting spirit as they battled hard to keep their admittedly slender advantage.

Samrai Gebrai entered the fray with 20 minutes left for Ryan Maxwell’s men and quickly set about giving the tiring Ilford back-line another problem or two with his pace and crossing. Another good interception by Ilford midfielder Billy Golledge to deny a decent chance on goal showed that the Foxes were determined to hang on for the points and although their defending wasn’t pretty at times, in the face of big-time pressure from the home side who pretty much did everything but score, the Foxes stood firm.

And with ‘Stow pouring players foward, Ilford remarkably went two goals up as a good ball in found forward Okunlola at the back post and he made no mistake from close range with 13 minutes to play. Soon afterward, Ilf centre-back Steven Sylvester was dismissed for his second bookable offence and then to make matters really jittery for them, ‘Stow were given a penalty for a hand-ball in the are. James duly converted to atone for the earlier misses and it took another quality tackle from Haigh to deny him another opening in added-time.

Full-Time: Walthamstow  1 – 2  Ilford


All in all, this gutsy display from the Foxes was enough to claim a priceless three points for them, considering their recent form. Goalkeeper Hugo Rossetti and centre-back Danny Haigh shone for them today. Walthamstow will undoubtedly have better days than today, indeed it may well fire them up to go on another decent run. They are certainly able to win games well with the goal-power they have, that has not changed. Ryan Ramsey and tenacious midfielder Reece Conway stood out in my view for them today. Also, I’d like to thank ‘Stow for their hospitality as well today.


Walthamstow   | Player-Manager: Ryan Maxwell

James Bransgrove (GK), Vinny Murphy, Ryan Ramsey, Reece Conway (Capt), Craig Pope, Gus Douglas, Jack Folan, Christian Owusu (Correy Davidson 46′), Dwade James, Leon McKenzie, Marcus Bowers (Samrai Gebrai 70′)

Goal-scorer: Dwade James [pen 83′]

Booked: Conway, Ramsey, Murphy | Subs Not Used: R Pope, Brinklow, Seoane-Barker


Ilford      | Manager: Martin Haywood

Hugo Rossetti (GK), Luke Casey (Jamal Djotsi 59′), Simon Dahl (Festus Lori 72′), Steven Sylvester, Danny Haigh (Capt), Billy Golledge, Collins Atubrah, Lamarr Douglas, Deji Adeniran, Callum Maltese, Seye Okunlola

Goal-scorers: Collins Atubrah [3′], Deji Adeniran [77′]

Booked: Douglas | Sent Off: Sylvester (2 bookings)  | Subs Not Used: Flavin, Docaj

Preview: Essex Senior League (Sat 12 Jan) [ESL 11.1.19]

Written by Scott W

Hello and welcome to another of our Preview pieces looking at the action in the Essex Senior League this weekend, written by Non-League blogger & GFS stalwart Scott W. Peter’s predictions may follow before KO tomorrow or via his blog. How do you think this weekend’s ties will go?

Essex Senior League

Saturday 12th January 2019

Barkingside  v  Leyton Athletic   | Cricklefield

Scott: The bottom two sides have a tussle at Cricklefield. Both sides upset their opponents to varying degrees last weekend. ‘Side beat Hamlets well at home while Leyton forced a draw at Clapton. The hosts are looking for their third straight win while Ath haven’t won in a while. Very difficult to call. One thing we do know, if there is a victor here then they will draw other sides further into the relegation scrap…

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1


Hoddesdon Town  v  Saffron Walden Town   | Lowfield

Scott: Hoddy welcome the Bloods to Lowfield. Simon Riddle’s side lost out late on to Enfield last weekend though have had a more than creditable first half of the campaign. Walden recovered from defeat at rivals Walthamstow by defeating out-of-form Redbridge in midweek. Jason Maher’s side will be aware of the need to not concede more ground to the sides above them. The home defence will ‘be in for a game’ with the likes of Portway and Trendall to contend with. Away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Hulllbridge Sports  v  Redbridge  | Lower Road

Scott: Sports battle new-look Redbridge at Lower Road. Hullbridge produced a outstanding second-half display to defeat Sawbridgeworth to complete six straight league wins. Redbridge are undoubtedly in transition though with five defeats on-the-bounce, following losses at home to Takeley and at Saffron Walden in midweek, new boss Micky Wetherall will need some points as soon as possible. They may not fancy this trip though their hosts will no doubt be seeking more goals here.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1


Sawbridgeworth Town  v  Sporting Bengal Utd    | Crofters End

Scott: Sporting travel to Sawbridgeworth, on the back of a important win over West Essex last weekend to regenerate their bid for a top-half finish at the least. Sawbo ended up fading in the latter stages in their heavy loss at Hullbridge last weekend though did show earlier in the match that they can pose opposition problems. John Watters’ side are a stronger side at home and that could be what sees them to a positive result here. Draw for me.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Stansted   v   Clapton    |  Hargrave Park

Scott: The Tons are the latest visitors to Hargrave Park to face leaders Stansted. The Airportmen did well to win at Stanway Rovers last weekend and are now six matches unbeaten. Clapton were held at home by Leyton Athletic last weekend and are still rather unpredictable, to be fair, with two wins in their last six league outings. Home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 0

Stanway Rovers  v  Enfield   | the Hawthorns

Scott:  Stanway entertain Enfield at the Hawthorns. Rovers lost out late on to Stansted last weekendand are not in the best of form with five losses in their last seven matches. Enfield had a rather ‘mixed bag’ with two matches at home in the last week. A narrow win over Hoddesdon last weekend was followed in midweek with a narrow defeat to St Margaretsbury. To take a positive out of those matches, The E’s are finding the net a bit more though Rovers are still a good at home. Tough one to call this, you guessed it – I’m going for a draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Takeley   v  Woodford Town   |  Station Road

Scott: This could end up being a shout for ‘Game of the Day’ at Station Road. Takeley continued their promotion tilt with a narrow win over Redbridge last weekend and a battling win over Southend Manor at home in midweek. Woodford were held by Ilford last weekend at home though as they’ve shown this season, their pace in attack will catch teams out. As much as this may get me some heat, in my view this game is a big test of Takeley’s credentials this season. Think Town have enough to get a draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Tower Hamlets   v   St Margaretsbury    | Mile End Stadium
Scott: Hamlets take on St Margs at Mile End. It’s not been a great week for Hamlets as they lost at Barkingside last weekend before losing out on spot-kicks to West Essex in Errington Cup on Monday night. St Margs will be rather happier though with their exploits as they won at Southend Manor and Enfield in the last week as they’ve won four of their last six. Think the visitors may sneak this one.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Walthamstow    v  Ilford    | Wadham Lodge

Scott: In-form Walthamstow entertain Ilford at Wadham Lodge. Ryan Maxwell’s side defeated Saffron Walden last weekend to extend their unbeaten run to five matches. Ilford ended a five-match losing run with a late leveller at Woodford last Friday night though will undoubtedly find this one a tough encounter. Home win I suspect.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

West Essex   v   Southend Manor   | Mayesbrook Park

Scott: West welcome Manor to Mayesbrook. Kwame Kwateng’s side have had a decent week, with a win & a loss at Mile End, losing to Sporting Bengal in the league at the weekend and defeating Tower Hamlets in the Errington Cup on penalties, following a 3 – 3 draw. Manor by contrast have had two losses, narrowly at home to St Margaretsbury and at Takeley in midweek, both in the league. Both sides have similar records in terms of recent form so I can see this one ending in a draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Match Report: Hullbridge Sports 6 – 1 Sawbridgeworth Town (Sat 5 Jan) [ESL 5.1.19]

Essex Senior League

Venue: Lower Road

Attendance: 59

2018-19 Season – Match 40

Saturday 5th January 2019  – 3pm KO

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

Sawbridgeworth: Red and Black Hooped Shirts,  Black Shorts, Red Socks


Report by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) with Photos by Neil Hunwicks (Twitter: @ABridgeTooFar16) & Scott

Players pre-match in the fading light (Image: Scott W)

2019 and the second half of the ESL season began in earnest for Hullbridge and Sawbridgeworth with what turned out to be a cracker at Lower Road. You’ve heard the phrase ‘Game of two halves’ a lot, this match was almost two matches in one. Hullbridge, looking to reduce the gap to leaders Stansted, had to make a late change as gooalkeeper Lorcan Morrissey (himself due to replace stand-out stopper George Marsh due to injury) suffered an ankle injury in the warm-up so in came Alfie Cross between the sticks. The ‘usual suspects’ of Luke Hornsley, Adebola Sotoyinbo and Nathan Scarborough made up a formidable front three for the hosts, with Matt Rose skippering the side and recent signing Courtney Homans at right-back.

Sawbridgeworth named promising goalkeeper James Askew in their starting XI, with Joe Wright and Ollie Fortune leading the line and Lewis Deamer captaining the side. Julien Lloyd was among those unavailable due to being banned. What interested me is would an improving Sawbo side pose Hullbridge problems after their Errington Cup exit last weekend to Hoddesdon. We soon got an answer…..

To be fair, the pitch was rather soft in places with added sand in both goal-mouths. Anyway, we had an enterprising start to this match as in the first minute, ‘Bridge midfield dynamo Emmanuel Okunja rifled an effort past James Askew’s left-side post.  Mere minutes later, forward Nathan Scarborough unleashed a powerful drive which Askew had to parry away while skipper Matt Rose also scuffed a shot wide. Fellow forward Luke Hornsley was also ‘in the mood’ as after bypassing two Town defenders, he also fired wide.

The hosts could have been ahead though Sawbo also looked a threat on the counter-attack with winger Daryl Doolan and the front two of Wright and Fortune looking to stretch the home back-line. Indeed, the visitors struck first in this game as on 12 minutes, Doolan powered down the left flank and whipped in a peach of a cross which found forward Joe Wright and he fired home confidently.

John Watters’ side arguably had their best patch of the half just after the goal as just past the 20-minute mark, captain Lewis Deamer struck wide from a corner before minutes later, attempting to catch stand-in ‘keeper Alfie Cross off his goal-line, Wright sent a 40-yard lob wide of the ‘onion bag’. The tackles were starting to getting slightly crunchy as well at times, though Sawbridgeworth’s defence were frustrating the hosts to some degree and ‘keeper Askew also was commanding his area well and made decent saves as well.

On the half-hour, the hosts sensed they needed to find another gear and forward Adebola Sotoyinbo powered in an effort which Askew superbly tipped onto the woodwork. Two minutes later, Doolan had another half-chance, fizzing an effort over the bar.

On the cusp of half-time, the hosts got their leveller as from Rose’s cross, Sotoyinbo reacted first to grab a tap-in. It was the sort of game that could’ve been 2 – 2 at the break, it was that open though on chances alone, the hosts should have been level, even if the timing of the leveller felt like a ‘sucker-punch’ for the visitors.

Half-Time:  Hullbridge 1 – 1 Sawbridgeworth


After the break, club stalwart Sam Taylor entered the action for the hosts, coming in at centre-back while Jamal Allen filled in the anchor midfield slot. Taylor immediately had an impact as he denied Wright a clear sight at goal for the visitors. With 54 minutes on the watch, Okunja composed himself in the area going round his marker though was again well-denied by the impressive Askew. The hosts were finding their rhythm by this stage as Sotoyinbo had a low shot cleared off the goal-line before Hornsley fired wide after being well-found by Scarborough.

What followed that was a devastating spell of five goals in 14 minutes, to which Sawbo simply had no answer. First, from Sam Taylor’s sweet corner, substitute Michael Salako’s neat header found the far corner of the net on 69 minutes. Only five minutes later, the hosts were two goals ahead as Scarborough was in the right place to poke home after Hornsley had been denied. Unfortunately for the tiring visitors, it didn’t end there as the hosts were right in the ascendancy.


With 14 minutes remaining, Hornsley was fouled in the area and Sotoyinbo stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and duly converted. The quick and tricky forward then got the goal of the game three minutes later with a superb 25-yard chip which sailed into the corner past a helpless Askew to also complete a fine hat-trick. Sawbo had a half-chance at the other end as after a lung-busting run, full-back Louis Monk blasted over the woodwork with nine minutes left. Soon after, the scoring was rounded off as from Scarborough’s cross, Salako powered home another header to secure a big win for Darren Manning’s side and quite a comeback.

Full-Time: Hullbridge 6 – 1 Sawbridgeworth


You had to feel somewhat sorry for the visitors as they didn’t deserve a hammering today, especially after their contribution to the game in the first-half. That being said, they faded quite heavily after the break – which boss Watters will be disappointed about. For Hullbridge though, their goal-power showed again and with that, they did no harm to their goal difference either. It’s not often you see goals pouring as they did here in the second-half and that ruthlessness will undoubtedly leave boss Manning and his coaching staff happy, as well as the home fans.

As ever, thank you to Hullbridge for their hospitality and also best wishes to Sawbo for the rest of their season.

Hullbridge Sports   | Manager: Darren Manning

Alfie Cross (GK), Courtney Homans, Matt Rose (Capt), Jamal Allen, Perry Dunn, Joe Skeels (Sam Taylor 46′), Joe Pattison (Michael Salako 65′), Emmanuel Okunja, Adebola Sotoyinbo, Luke Hornsley (Jonus Fuadianitu 79′), Nathan Scarborough

Goal-scorers: Adebola Sotoyinbo [45′, 76′ & 79′], Michael Salako [69′ & 82′], Nathan Scarborough [74′]

Booked: Skeels     | Subs Not Used: Tapley


Sawbridgeworth Town  | Manager: John Watters

James Askew (GK), John Clarke, Louis Monk, Lewis Deamer (Capt), Jo Cunning, Tom Jelliman, Daryl Doolan (Taylor Williamson 84′),James Baughurst, Joe Wright, Ollie Fortune (Isaac Amoah 68′), Danny Palmer (George Froosham 77′)

Goal-scorer: Joe Wright [12′]

Booked: Wright, Fortune    | Subs Not Used: Garrett

Preview: Essex Senior League (Fri 4/Sat 5 Dec) [ESL 3.1.19]

Written by Peter D & Scott W

Hello & welcome to another of our Preview pieces with Non-League writers Peter Dudley & Scott W, looking at this weekend’s action in the Essex Senior League. What do you reckon to our thoughts on these ties? Thanks for reading and Happy New Year to all our readers.


Friday 4th January

Barkingside  v  Tower Hamlets   |  Cricklefield

Pete: ‘Side come into this one having won their last two in all competitions, and have also kept clean sheets in both, as their season finally gave them some cheer after what has been an awful one to now.  They take on a Hamlets side who have been resurgent lately, and two league wins from their last three suggests form is heading in the right direction.  They also thrashed Grays Reserves last time out in the Peter Butcher Memorial Trophy so confidence is high, and I do feel they may sneak this one.

Pete’s Predicition: 1 – 2


Scott: The weekend’s action starts at Cricklefield, where the crucial matches for ‘Side continue with this battle against neighbours Tower Hamlets. The home side are on a mini-upturn with two wins recently in league and cup over Leyton Ath and Sporting Bengal, both 1 – 0. The interesting thing will be how long can they maintain a miserly defence, given they are still five point adrift f nearest rivals Leyton and 12 points off two other clubs at the bottom.

Their opponents here are the inconsistent Hamlets, who I saw overcome Grays Athletic Reserves in the Peter Butcher Trophy last weekend. AJ Ashinike’s side can play decent football and three wins in their last six league matches makes up half of their league wins all season. ‘Side haven’t enjoyed good home form and Hamlets’ superior goal-power means I’m electing to go for an away win in a hard-fought affair.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Woodford Town  v  Ilford  | The Harlow Arena

Pete: The hosts recent unbeaten run has been ended with back-to-back defeats in the league so they will want to put that right against the league’s most out-of-form side in the shape of Ilford who have lost five straight in the division, although they did beat Clapton in the Peter Butcher Memorial Trophy last time out to at least give them some festive cheer.  Despite this though and the hosts recent defeats, I think the home side will prevail in this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Scott: The other match set for Friday night is this intriguing battle between two sides who having ‘blips’ at present. Woodford have been impressive thsus far this term, sitting in 5th spot though have lost their last two league matches – at Hullbridge and St Margaretsbury respectively. What is most interesting about Dee Safer’s side is that they are the league’s third-highest scorers with 54 goals. Ilford’s ‘blip’ is somewhat more severe though with five straight league losses as they look to start 2019 on a strong footing, though they did secure passage in the Peter Butcher Trophy with a win over Clapton. Last month, the Foxes were leaky in defence and it’s no easy talk to ‘shut up shop’ against the likes of the Towners. Even though Ilf’s form is better away from home, I have to plump for a home triumph here.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Saturday 5th January

Clapton  v  Leyton Athletic | Old Spotted Dog

Pete: The Tons come into this one having lost at Ilford in the Peter Butcher Memorial Trophy last time out, although they did win there in the league prior to Christmas, and two wins from their last three in the ESL suggests an upturn in form.  They welcome second-bottom Leyton Athletic to The Old Spotted Dog with the visitors having lost three of their last four matches, and with only thirteen goals scored between both these sides in their last six, goals maybe hard to come by here.  Going for a score draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1


Scott: Leyton make the trip to Forest Gate to take on a Tons side still looking for consistency. The hosts won last their last league match at Ilford though the Foxes did turn them over in the Peter Butcher Trophy last weekend. Leyton are winless in their last eight matches in league and cup though have had a mini-break from action recently which boss Eli Benoit will hope can assist them to a good start to the new year. Given that the Tons have found their goal-scoring touch more recently, I have to head for a home win in what could be a goal-laden match.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Enfield  v  Hoddesdon | The Harlow Arena

Pete: Both sides come into this one off the back of victories, the home side ending a run of three straight defeats in the process whilst Hoddy have won their last two now.  Both teams do struggle for goals though, with only 17 between them in six games, but the visitors are much better in defence though having conceded half of what Enfield have done in last six.  Despite this though I feel this may end a draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: Enfield welcome Hoddesdon to the Harlow Arena. The E’s won their last league match at St Margaretsbury to end a mini-losing run though Hoddy’s form has also picked up with league wins at Leyton and at home to Sawbridgeworth recently before a fine performance sent Hullbridge packing out of the Errington Cup last weekend in their switched tie at Lowfield. Hoddesdon’s form away from home has been impressive with only two losses thus far and that could be a difference-maker here. Away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 3

Hullbridge Sports  v  Sawbridgeworth Town  | Lower Road

Pete: Sports are the best team over the last six games in form having won their last five in a row in the league, although they were thrashed 5-1 at Hoddesdon Town in the Errington Challenge Cup just before the new year, so they will want to get that out of their system.  They welcome a Sawbridgeworth side to Lower Road who have won two of their last three outings so will be a tough one to crack for sure, but I feel the hosts will bounce back from that Lowfield disappointment to start 2019 off on the right foot.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Scott: Hullbridge welcome Sawbridgeworth to Lower Road. Darren Manning’s side had a rare ‘off-day’ in their loss at Hoddesdon in the Errington Cup last weekend though league-wise they have won their last five on-the-spin. The Bridge boys have had issues with postponements as well recently so that could impede their desire to find their rhythm to stay among the pace-setters.

Sawbo’s form has improved a touch recently with two losses in their last seven outings. Even so, John Watters’ tenth-placed side do need to improve their away form and this could give Hullbridge a little more impetus as they look to use their matches in hand to close the gap on leaders Stansted, which sits at four points presently.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Redbridge   v   Takeley  | Oakside

Pete: The Motormen have lost their last three in the league and were beaten heavily at Walthamstow last time out in the Errington Challenge Cup, so their form isn’t brilliant.  They do now welcome new boss Micky Wetherall to the club and this will be his first match in charge along with his new signings, most of whom have come in from his old club May & Baker.  How they adapt to new life in a division one step higher remains to be seen, but they couldn’t have picked a tougher side in Takeley to test that out, the visitors are one of the in-form sides in the division right now and will prove a very tough test for Wetherall and co.  Expecting an away win here.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2


Scott: Change is underway at Redbridge with new boss Micky Wetherall taking sole charge for the first time as they welcome Takeley to Oakside. The Motormen’s form continues to stutter as they’ve lost their last four in all competitions. A heavy loss at Walthamstow in midweek once again shows the job Wetherall has got to do, though he’s wasted no time in bringing in players from former club May & Baker to arrest his new side’s worrying league position. I saw them last month in their loss to Sporting Bengal and to be fair, there is courage and spirit in the team though their leaky defence has to be dealt with.

Takeley’s long unbeaten stretch ended at Stansted last time out though they are stronger away from home this season and I would suspect they will have enough to claim the points here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Southend Manor  v  St Margaretsbury  | Southchurch Park

Pete: With three league wins in their last four, Manor look in good shape going into the new year.  But they remain in trouble down at the bottom and lost 5-1 to Barkingside’s Reserve side last time out in the Peter Butcher Memorial Trophy in what was an alarming result for the Southchurch Park side.  St Margaretsbury have also won three of their last four but are in much better shape in the standings compared to their opponents, so you would say the visitors come into this in better frame of mind.  Reckon Dash and Co will get the points here.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Scott: Manor welcome St Margs to Southchurch Park. Adam Peek’s side has picked up league-wise with three wins in the their last four matches, the last of those being a home win over Clapton. The ‘fly in the ointment’ though was a bad loss at Barkingside Reserves in the Peter Butcher Trophy last weekend. St Margs have only lost twice in their last eight games and crowned their recent run off with a good home win over Woodford last time out. Neither side has many draws to their name this term and I’ll plump for a narrow away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Sporting Bengal Utd  v  West Essex      | Mile End Stadium

Pete: The hosts’ form has dropped off recently after an incredible unbeaten run that lasted for two months, but the possible return of Knight and Carvell will certainly help their cause, and they come up against a West Essex outfit who come into this off the back of two straight defeats, just like the hosts.  I do feel this one may end all-square though.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: This fascinating tie sees West Essex travel to Mile End for the first of two matches in three days to face Sporting Bengal, who are in the middle of a blip with one win in their last five outings in the league. Imrul Gazi’s side did recover to win well at Harlow Town Reserves in the Peter Butcher Trophy last weekend. West have won two of their last five league matches though they are one of the teams that have been much stronger away from home. They did test Walthamstow last time out before succumbing to a narrow loss. This one could be tight as well though Bengal need to find their goal-touch on a more consistent basis. If they do that, they should get the win here.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

 Stanway Rovers  v  Stansted     | Hawthorns

Pete: Terry Spillane welcome an ex-side to his Hawthorns ground as Stansted, the side he won the ESL with several years ago, take on his current squad Stanway Rovers.  The hosts’ form has been rather mixed of late, although they did taste victory in their last league outing, so will draw some confidence from that.  But Stansted are unbeaten in five having won three of those and currently lead the division, so this proves a tough one for the home side.  Stansted win for me.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 4

Scott: Stansted look to keep their revival going at the Hawthorns. Stanway’s recent record on four losses in their last six isn’t super though Terry Spillane’s side are a different beast at home with six wins in their ten matches at the Hawthorns thus far. The Airportmen have beaten Saffron Walden and Takeley of late so will pose potent opposition here. There could be goals in this one too and I reckon Paul Pittuck & Marc Benterman’s side will find it a real battle here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2


Walthamstow  v  Saffron Walden Town      | Wadham Lodge Stadium

Pete: Big game at Kitchener Road as Walthamstow take on Saffron Walden, both have won two of their last three, and the hosts also had a thumping home win over Redbridge in midweek too. ‘Stow are unbeaten in their last four league games though, but Walden will prove a tough assignment.  This is a hard one to call for me, but I have a feeling Walden might sneak this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Scott: It’s a case of ‘last but hardly least’ with this fascinating match at Wadham Lodge which sees ‘Stow face another goal-hungry side in Saffron Walden. The hosts are unbeaten in five in league and cup, following a big win over Redbridge in midweek in their Errington Cup tie. The Bloods lost a cracker last time out at home to Stansted though are still unbeaten away from Catons Lane. That record will come under threat here in a match ‘Stow perhaps need to win slightly more to push themselves further into the promotion reckoning. Walden are a tough side to beat as well, with only three losses in 21 league matches. Could be goals in this one too as both sides have similar defensive records. Going to go for a entertaining draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

You can follow both writers on Twitter, which includes match-day tweets and links to articles. Follow Peter – @ped1980 and Scott – @ScottMHC14

Round-up: Essex Senior League (Sat 15 Dec) [ESL 16.12.18]

Written by Scott W  (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello and welcome to another of round-up articles, looking at this weekend’s weather-affected action in the Essex Senior League on Saturday 15th December.

Friday 14th December

Barkingside  P – P Walthamstow  (due to a frozen pitch)

Woodford Town  P – P  Southend Manor   (due to problems associated with the Harlow Arena)


Saturday 15th December

Clapton  P – P  Hullbridge Sports  (due to a unplayable surface)


Leyton Athletic   0 – 2  Hoddesdon Town | Kitchener Road  | Att: 12

Hoddy emerged with the points from this battle at Kichener Road. Jack Lee gave the visitors the lead after just five minutes and that lead doubled on 28 minutes as Oliver Gnandi struck to consign Ath to another defeat which keeps them second-bottom. Hoddesdon stay in 8th place.


Redbridge  1 – 2  Sporting Bengal Utd  | Oakside  |  Att: 32

I attended this match, and you can find my report here:


Saffron Walden Town  3 – 5  Stansted  | Catons Lane  | Att: 251

Stansted won a pulsating encounter at Catons Lane. The Airportmen hit the ground running quickly as early goals from Callum Ibe [8′] and the returning Connor Hammond [17′] put them in a decent position. The Bloods are known for their own goal-scoring talents and club stalwart Spike Bell pulled a goal back on 20 minutes before an OG on 35 minutes brought the scores level. Ibe got his second of the afternoon two minutes into the second half though that lead barely lasted ten minutes before Lewis Francis smashed home a penalty on 58 minutes. Paul Pittuck & Marc Benterman’s team had the final say though as strikes by Jack Mitchell [65′] and debutant James Peagram [86′] saw the visitors back to the ESL summit.

For more on this match, check out my Non-League colleague Pete Dudley’s report here:


Sawbridgeworth Town  2 – 0  Stanway Rovers  | Crofters | Att: 41

Sawbo struck early in each half to claim the points over a out-of-form Stanway outfit. Recent signing Julien Lloyd broke the deadlock on six minutes before Lewis Deamer [49′]  made it two on his return from a long injury lay-off. John Watters’ side kept going to continue their upturn in form which sees them up to ninth spot now. Stanway’s woes away from home continue as they stay 14th.


St Margaretsbury  1 – 2  Enfield  | The Recreation Ground  | Att: 27

Enfield produced a fine second-half comeback to overcome St Margs at the Rec. Charncey Dash got his name on the score-sheet again on eight minutes and you may have thought this would be another grey day for the E’s. Not so as bang on the hour mark, Dan Chambers levelled things before a rare strike by Matt Thoma with three minutes left sealed all three points and end their three-match winless run and rise three places to 15th. St Margs drop to 10th spot.


Tower Hamlets  A – A llford  | Mile End

The remorseless rain had an impact on this match as it was called off at half-time, with a new date to be determined.


West Essex  2 – 5  Takeley  |  Mayesbrook Park  | Att: 18

Finally for this weekend, Takeley powered past the Stags to win their 9th match in their last ten. The hosts initially took the lead as Izzy Ogedu-Uzokwe struck on ten minutes. This stirred the visitors up and they were level eight minutes later through Mosope Oguntuga and ended the half well ahead thanks to a brace from Jason Todd [25′ & 40′[ with a strike by Alex Martin sandwiched in between with 35 on the watch. Cameron Gray made it 2 – 4 with seven minutes remaining though Todd completed his hat-trick from the spot with two minutes left. Marc Das’ side are now only a point behind leaders Stansted in 3rd, behind Hullbridge on goal difference. West drop to 11th.

For more on this match, you can catch fellow Non-League writer Scott Lanza’s report here:

That’s all from me, for more on all things ESL, check out