Preview: Essex Senior League – Sat 18th Aug [ESL 17.8.18]

Written by Scott W & Peter D

Hello & welcome to another of our ESL Preview pieces. Pete won last week’s FA Cup special ’round’ so see what you think of our thoughts for this weekend’s action. Thanks for reading.

Saturday 18th August

Barkingside  v   Enfield   | Venue: Cricklefield

Pete: Can Side break their non-scoring hoodoo at the weekend when they welcome Enfield to Cricklefield?  The hosts have not scored competitively this season, 360 minutes and counting, so they will be desperate to put that right no doubt.  Enfield themselves have not started brilliantly themselves so they will also want to put that right.  Thinking the hosts will find the net however, the game will end all-square.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: Barkingside welcome the E’s to Cricklefield after having the FA Cup dream dashed by Leyton Athletic in midweek. Enfield also tasted defeat in the FA Cup last week at St Margaretsbury so Matt Hanning’s side will want to push on from that experience. In my opinion, Enfield have the firepower to score a win here.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2

 

Hullbridge Sports  v  Stansted  | Venue: Lower Road

Pete: Both sides come into this one off the back of terrific FA Cup wins and will want to take that form into their league campaign too.  Sports have started the league season marginally better than their opponents although that won’t really prove to count for much i’d suspect.  Reckon this one could end all square too.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: Stansted travel to Lower Road to take on a Hullbridge side buoyed by their late FA Cup heroics last weekend. The Airportmen have started fair well and defeated battling nine-man Sawbo last weekend in the FA Cup. In my view, these are the types of matches that the hosts will need to win if they are to obtain the top-five finish that the Sports management team desire. I’ll have to go for a entertaining draw here.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

 

Leyton Athletic  v  Ilford  | Venue: Kitchener Road

Pete: Leyton come into this one off the back of a terrific FA Cup replay win over Barkingside and have now kept three clean sheets in a row since their opening night debacle at Woodford Town.  Ilford have had a mixed start to their new era but did win their last league outing at Clapton, and I have a feeling this one may end a draw too.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: Leyton welcome the new-look Foxes to Kitchener Road after arguably their biggest result for some time in the FA Cup in midweek. Consistency will be the thing that Jason Ngandu’s side are looking for now though they haven’t conceded a goal in their last two matches in league & cup so things may be on an upturn for them. That said, under the experienced boss that is Martin Haywood, Ilford may present a different challenge for the hosts here. The visitors here are also quite unpredictable having won their last league outing though they exited the FA Cup in a high-scoring game against Sporting Bengal last weekend. Though I have a feeling Ilf might pinch it by the odd-goal.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Saffron Walden Town  v  Sporting Bengal Utd   | Venue: Catons Lane

Pete: Saffron Walden are four games unbeaten in all competitions so far this season and will fancy their chances at home to Sporting Bengal, although the Mile End side will not be an easy opponent as they possess some dangerous weapons themselves.  Expecting a home win though.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Scott: SWT entertain Sporting Bengal at Catons Lane in what is a good test for both sides. Stuart Wardley’s side needed extra-time to overcome Thurlow Nunn Premier side Wroxham in their FA Cup replay in midweek so will that have left its mark? This is Bengal’s second league match of the season though they will be looking to build momentum after their FA Cup win last weekend. Think this will a hard-fought match though Saffron Walden at home is not an easy prospect for any side. Home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

 

Sawbridgeworth Town  v Woodford Town  | Venue: Crofters

Pete: The Robins have suffered two successive defeats since their opening day win at West Essex, and will still be smarting from their cup loss to Stansted too.  They welcome to Crofters Woodford Town who along with Takeley have the only 100% record left in the division, although this is the visitors first away game of the season.  But despite this I fancy the visitors to edge this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Scott: Sawbridgeworth welcome Woodford to Crofters in what is one of the games of the day in my opinion. Town are looking to bounce back from successive defeats in league & cup. Woodford present a threat with their pace going forward though the interesting thing is having played both league matches thus far on 3G ‘home turf’, will they be as effective playing on natural grass? I’m going to take a punt and go for an away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3

 

Southend Manor  v  Hoddesdon Town   | Venue: Southchurch Park

Pete: Manor found some welcome form in midweek when thrashing Halstead Town in the County Cup, but they will find Hoddesdon Town a much tougher assignment no doubt.  Hoddesdon won their FA Cup tie at Wodson Park at the weekend and remain unbeaten so far this season.  Tough battle expected here and I feel will result in a draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: Hoddesdon make the trip to Southend to take on a Manor side that got their best result for some while in the Essex Senior Cup at Halstead Town in midweek. Hoddesdon meanwhile won at Wodson Park last weekend so they are in good nick as well. This one really could go either way, though I’ll go for a draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

 

Stanway Rovers v Clapton   | Venue: Hawthorns

Pete: Rovers have begun life in the ESL in not the best of form, loosing both games and conceding nine goals in the process, so they will want to put that right against a Tons side who went out of the FA Cup on penalties in midweek, so they will no doubt be smarting from that.  Rovers showed they could compete when leading Tower Hamlets in their FA Cup match 3-1 before it was abandoned, however I fancy the visitors to win this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Scott: The Tons make the journey to one of the recent additions to the ESL in Stanway. The Hawthorns outfit haven’t defended too stoutly as yet in the league though showed more promise in terms of goals in their later-abandoned match v Tower Hamlets last weekend. Clapton have had a mixed week in the Cup as firstly they held Woodbridge away last weekend before exiting on penalties in the replay. Assistant boss Wayne Seal also left the club this week due to family & work commitments so it remains to be seen what impact (if any) that will have. Going to go away win though, regardless.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Takeley  v  Walthamstow   | Venue: Station Road

Pete: This proves to be game of the weekend as 100% second placed Takeley take on third placed and unbeaten Walthamstow at Station Road with both sides looking to put down a early marker.  Both sides won their FA Cup games as well so their isn’t much to seperate either side in this one, so naturally a draw is what I’ll predict.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: Takeley welcome the ‘Stow to Station Road after both sides were successful in their FA Cup exploits last weekend. Marc Das’ side also are two forwards light due to injuries. The visitors will be looking to lay down a marker here if they are to ‘keep up with the big boys’ at the top of the table. Got a funny feeling that ‘Stow might just cause a surprise here in a really tight affair.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Tower Hamlets   v   Redbridge   | Venue: Mile End Stadium

Pete: Neither side have managed to pick up a win so far this season, and with both having disappointing weekends they will be looking to put this right at Mile End.  Hamlets are yet to score in the league this season as well so a first league goal would certainly be a welcome sight for the hosts, whereas The Motormen have two score draws to their name in the league so far, and that is how I see this one panning out.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: The Motormen travel to Mile End to take on Hamlets. I believe that although Hamlets are putting a good side together, it may take time for them to gel. Ricky Eaton & Joey May’s side will want to move on from their FA Cup exit at home to Long Melford last weekend and the hosts will have to be tight defensively to get anything out of this match.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3

 

That’s all for this week, see you next week.

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Preview – The FA Cup 2018-19 Extra Prelim Round (FAC EPR 9.8.18)

Written by Scott W & Peter D

Hello and welcome to a bumper edition of our Predictions pieces, this time focusing on the FA Cup Extra Prelim Round. Peter and Scott go head-to-head, offering their thoughts on the various ties involving Essex Senior League snd Eastern Senior League South sides as the FA Cup gets underway for another season.

The winners of these matches each earn £2,250 while the losers will get £750.

After a drawn ‘match’ predictions-wise last week, who will make the most of a bigger points total this week? Thanks for reading.

The FA Cup Extra Prelim Round –  Saturday 11th August

Barkingside  v  Leyton Athletic | Venue: Cricklefield

Pete: This all-ESL tie sees the hosts come into this one off the back of two goalless draws in the league, whilst the visitors also managed a goalless draw last time out after a thrashing on the opening day of the season. Expecting the hosts to win this one.

Pete’s Prediction:  2 – 0

Scott: ‘Side welcome Athletic to Cricklefield. The hosts here have drawn their opening two outings, without scoring while the visitors conceded four in their opening game at Woodford before recovering to hold Tower Hamlets to a goalless draw at home in midweek. If ‘Side can retain their early defensive steel then I reckon they will ‘get the job done’ here.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Burnham Ramblers  v  West Essex  | Venue: Leslie Field

Pete:  Eastern Senior League South Ramblers host Essex Senior League West Essex at Leslie Field, and both will want to put their poor league starts behind them with a win here.  Ramblers struggled to draw against nine men on Saturday before losing in midweek, whilst the visitors have lost both their games in the league so far.  But I feel the visitors will win this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 3

Scott: Eastern Senior League South side Burnham welcome ESL side West Essex to Leslie Field. Both sides are still looking for their first win of the new season. Burnham lost 3 – 0 at White Ensign in midweek while Walthamstow beat the Stags 5 – 1 in midweek.

I saw these two sides face each other in the ESL last term and the visitors won on that occasion and if they can find a ‘goalscorer’ then my gut feeling is Kwame Kwateng’s side will prevail here.

Scott’ Prediction: 1 – 2

Eastbourne Utd AFC   v   Hackney Wick   | Venue: The Oval

Pete: Eastern Senior League South side Hackney Wick face a long trip to the South Coast to take on Southern Combination Premier side Eastbourne United AFC off the back of a decent point at Hashtag United in midweek.  The hosts have won one and lost one so far and will be an unknown factor to the visitors no doubt, and I feel the hosts may edge this one too.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Scott: The Wickers make the long trip south to take on Eastbourne Utd from the Southern Combination League Premier. The hosts have yet to win in their league and have shipped five goals whilst Wick started their campaign with a creditable draw at Hashtag Utd in midweek. The visitors could do with ‘a tonic’ to help get their campaign going and they may just prevail here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Hullbridge Sports v Gorleston   | Venue: Lower Road

Pete: Sports face a tough assignment as they welcome Thurlow Nunn Premier side Gorleston to their Lower Road ground.  The Norfolk side come into this one unbeaten in two league games so far including a 4-2 home win over Norwich United in midweek, however Sports will take confidence from their win at Southend Manor in midweek themselves, and their home cup form is normally good, and I feel they may sneak this one.

Pete’s Prediction:  1 – 0

Scott:  Hullbridge welcome Thurlow Nunn Premier side Gorleston to Lower Road, on the back of a good win at Southend Manor in midweek though in my opinion, ‘Bridge’s home form in very important, both in the League and the various Cup competitions. I feel they will need to be near their best here as Gorleston defeated ECL newcomers Norwich Utd in midweek. I’m sure boss Darren Manning will give me some stick for this though the head says away win, though we will see.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 3

Norwich Utd  v  Takeley  | Venue: Plantation Park

Pete:  Takeley travel to Norfolk to take on Thurlow Nunn Premier Norwich United in full flow after two wins from two in the league so far.  And the hosts come into this off the back of a defeat at Gorleston too so not ideal preparation for the home team, and I feel Takeley can do the business here.

Pete’s Prediction:  0 – 2

Scott: This fascinating tie pits recently-relegated Norwich Utd up against early joint ESL pace-setters Takeley at Plantation Park. The Planters may take some time to re-settle therefore the Blue Army may well fancy their chances to progress here. Utd will have to deal with the likes of Josh Sykes and Stuart Zanone while Marc Das’ side face the wily forward Danny Crow & co. My view is that Takeley will take some stopping so will go for an away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Redbridge  v  Long Melford      | Venue: Oakside

Pete:   The Motormen have begun the season with two draws, with the second one of those being a late fightback from two goals down, so they have character for sure.  They welcome Thurlow Nunn side Long Melford to Oakside and the Suffolk side haven’t managed to win in their first two outings in the league so far, with their last one a narrow defeat at Histon.  Fancy Redbridge at home though.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Scott: Redbridge take on fellow Step 5 side Long Melford at Oakside. The visitors are scoring goals though have yet to win in the Thurlow Nunn Premier thus far, while the Motormen recovered well late on to grab a point at Enfield on Monday night. Like a lot of ESL sides, Ricky Eaton & Joey May could have ‘their eyes on the prize” money which even at this stage, is quite significant (over £2,000 for the winner) though also the co-managers will look to ‘lay down a marker’ for the league as well. This will be a close match too, though my gut says home win.

Scott’ Prediction: 2 – 1

Southend Manor  v   FC Romania  | Venue: Southchurch Park

Pete: Manor welcome Bostik South Central side FC Romania to Southchurch Park hoping to put the disappointment of their midweek defeat against Hullbridge behind them, but FCR will no doubt cause issues although this is the visitors’ first competitive fixture of the season as their league season is yet to begin.  Still feel the visitors will win this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Scott: FC Romania make a quick return to Southchurch Park following their late promotion to the Bostik League. They take on a Manor side who have already had two competitive matches in the ESL while FCR start their season in Bostik South Cetral next weekend. That earlier start for Adam Peek’s side may be a ‘good leveller’ in this tie and therefore it adds to the difficulty of predicting it. I suspect this tie may need a replay.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Sporting Bengal Utd  v  Ilford  | Venue: Mile End Stadium

Pete: The all-ESL Premier tie sees Sporting come into this one after drawing their opening game at Barkingside 0-0, whilst Ilford managed to bounce back from their home loss to Stansted by beating Clapton in midweek.  Think this one may end a draw and a replay next week.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: Bengal welcome Ilford in what is the first match to be held at Mile End this season due to the Athletics. Bengal shut out Barkingside on Monday night and it seems that forward Steven Carvell has returned to the club. Ilford recovered from their home loss to Stansted last weekend with a decent win at Clapton in midweek so they will be looking to build their consistency here. Another hard one to predict though the Foxes may edge it.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Stanway Rovers   v   Tower Hamlets  | Venue: Hawthorns

Pete: Another all-ESL Premier tie at The Hawthorns brings together newboys Stanway Rovers and Mile End’s Tower Hamlets.  The hosts have had an awful start to life in their new league, losing both games, whereas Hamlets lost narrowly at the weekend before getting a goalless draw at Leyton Athletic in midweek.  Gonna say Hamlets to edge this by the odd goal.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Scott: This tie sees Stanway welcome Hamlets to the Hawthorns. Both sides have yet to win this term in the league though Rovers have conceded nine goals in two league matches though they were against Takeley and Saffron Walden Town respectively. For me, Hamlets need to consistently create chances as the likes of Nelson and Mtyanda do have a decent goal-scoring record at this level. If AJ Ashinike’s side can do that, then they may add to the pain for Lee Fisher’s team here.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Walthamstow   v   Walsham-le-Willows  | Venue: Kitchener Road

Pete: Walthamstow welcome Thurlow Nunn Premier side Walsham-le-Willows to their Kitchener Road ground and the hosts have started the season fairly well, and thrashed West Essex last time out to boot, whilst the visitors have won their only league game so far 2-0 at Woodbridge so also come into this one with some confidence.  I do fancy the hosts though in this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 0

Scott: ‘Stow entertain Thurlow Nunn Premier side Walsham-le-Willows at Kitchener Road, on the back of a powerful display in their big win at West Essex in midweek. The visitors got their campaign going in midweek with a decent win at Woodbridge Town though may find this contest an altogether tougher challenge. If Ryan Maxwell’s team are ‘charged up’ for this tie, then they may well progress.

Scott’ Prediction: 3 – 1

Wivenhoe Town  v  Brantham Athletic   | Venue: Broad Lane

Pete:  This is a very tough tie for hosts Wivenhoe Town as they welcome Thurlow Nunn Premier side Brantham Athletic to their own backyard.  The visitors have won both their league games so far whilst Wivenhoe have failed to win either of their opening two games, losing at Braintree Reserves last time out.  Can’t see anything other than an away win here.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 3

Scott: Eastern Senior League South side Wivenhoe welcome Thurlow Nunn Premier side Brantham to Broad Lane. The hosts are yet to win in two league outings while the visitors have two wins from two thus far and defeated Hadleigh Utd well at home in midweek. It would be a surprise to see the higher division side fail to progress here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3

Wodson Park   v   Hoddesdon Town   | Venue: Wadesmill Road

Pete: A local derby of sorts as Wodson Park host Hoddesdon Town, with the Spartan South Midlands One hosts coming into this one having won their only league game of the season so far in midweek.  Hoddesdon have begun life in the ESL Premier fairly well having picked up a decent point at Walthamstow before brushing Sawbridgeworth aside in midweek, and they will be confident of victory here too.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Scott: ESL newcomers Hoddesdon travel to the Spartan South MIds Division One side Wodson Park. The hosts here got their league season started with a narrow win in midweek while Town defeated Sawbridgeworth, also in midweek and are unbeaten in the ESL thus far. Away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Woodbridge Town  v   Clapton  | Venue: Notcutts Park

Pete:  The Tons travel to Thurlow Nunn Premier side Woodbridge Town off the back of a disappointing home defeat to local rivals Ilford.  However they did win their opening game courtesy of a last minute winner against Tower Hamlets and the hosts have lost their only league game to date, a home defeat to Walsham Le Willows.  I feel though that the hosts will regroup and being at home hand the Tons a narrow defeat.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 0

Scott: The Tons travel to Notcutts Park to face Thurlow Nunn Premier side Woodbridge. Town lost on their league bow in midweek while Clapton have one win & a draw in the ESL thus far. This is another hard one to call though am going to plump for a narrow away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Wroxham   v    Saffron Walden Town  | Venue: Trafford Park

Pete:  Saffron Walden travel to Norfolk to take on a Wroxham side who have started the season rather poorly, having sufferied a five-goal thrashing at Godmanchester Rovers, before grabbing a home draw in midweek. This will give the ESL Premier side heart after they have started the season well with a draw at Redbridge and then a thumping win over Stanway in midweek, however Wroxham will still pose a threat, and this could end all-square and a replay at Catons Lane.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: Thurlow Nunn Premier side Wroxham entertain Saffron Walden at Trafford Park. The hosts here haven’t started their season that well as they are yet to win though after an opening-day hammering at Godmanchester Rovers, they got a draw in midweek. Saffron Walden powered past Stanway in midweek and if they can keep a settled side, they could really inflict some damage here. Away win.

Scott’ Prediction: 0 – 3

Sunday 12th August

Stansted  v  Sawbridgeworth Town | Venue:  Dunmow Road (Bishop’s Stortford FC)

Pete: A big local derby at Dunmow Road sees Stansted, who have one won and lost one so far in the league, take on Sawbridgeworth Town who have also won one and lost one. Both managers are good friends too so this proves to be a tough, no-nonsense battle.  Feel The Airportmen may just edge this one though.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Scott: Stansted take on Sawbridgeworth at Bishop’s Stortford, because their Hargrave Park home is still hosting the rigours of club cricket. Both teams have won one and lost one thus far this term, with Stansted suffering a loss at Takeley and Sawbridgeworth losing at home to Hoddesdon, both in midweek. This being a derby and the management at both clubs will sorely want to get one over on the other, it is tough to call. This tie might just need a replay.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

St Margaretsbury  v   Enfield  | Venue: The Recreation Ground

Pete:  Hosts St Margaretsbury began life in the ESL Premier with a 5-0 loss against Woodford Town, whilst Enfield started off with defeat at Southend Manor before throwing a two-goal lead away against Redbridge to end up with just a point.  I do fancy Enfield to get the job done here though.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Scott: Finally, the ‘Bury welcome Enfield to The Rec. John Barker’s side lost their ESL opener heavily at Woodford in midweek while Enfield are yet to record a league victory after a draw at home to Redbridge on Monday night. If the E’s play near their best then they have goals in them so I reckon they may edge it.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

That’s all 16 ties for you and we look forward to the action over the weekend and Pete will have a round-up of all the action soon. Check out his blog at https://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/unofficialesl  for further round-up’s & Match Reports etc on the Essex Senior League.

Stay tuned to my blog over the weekend for round-up’s on the Bostik League divisions & more.

Essex Senior League 2018-19: Preview (3.8.18) (ESL 3.8.18)

Written by Scott W & Peter D

Hello and welcome to the new season of our Essex Senior League Predictions, as Peter and Scott once again go head-to-head, offering their thoughts on the various fixtures the ESL throws up every week.

In case you haven’t heard, there are four new sides joining the league this season and they are Hoddesdon Town, Saffron Walden Town, St Margaretsbury and Stanway Rovers. Also, two sides from last season’s ESL have changed their name – as Wadham Lodge have now become Leyton Athletic and Waltham Forest FC is now known as Walthamstow FC.

Have a peek at the lads’ thoughts on the opening weekend’s action of the 2018-19 campaign.

Friday 3rd August

Woodford Town  v   Leyton Athletic     | Venue: The Harlow Arena

Pete: Woodford begin their latest season at another home on the 3G of the Harlow Arena, and they welcome a side who are also entering a new era after the previously-known Wadham Lodge changed their name to Leyton Athletic.  Quite what that means in terms of how this game will go is anyone’s guess, however if Woodford can continue the form they showed last season, I expect them to edge this one, but it really is hard to tell with it being the first game of the season.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Scott: Woodford entertain Leyton Athletic in the season opener at their new temporary home of the Harlow Arena. Both sides are starting the 2018-19 season with changes to their respective squads though Leyton will want to start well, given their repreive by the FA last month, which averted the drop to the Eastern Senior League Southern division. That said, I reckon the hosts may fancy this one and therefore may grab the points.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Saturday 4th August

Clapton    v     Tower Hamlets    | Venue: Old Spotted Dog

Pete: The Tons begin their new season at home and most likely with no protests going on outside the ground after the ‘Ultras’ moved on to create their own community club, and the club have also brought in a new chairman too, although Vince remains behind the scenes there.  However, forgetting all the politics, the team on-the-field will look to start the season well, however they come up against a Hamlets side under the guidance of AJ and co, and with some decent signings under their belts too.  Again another hard one to call but gonna go for a draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 1

Scott: This intriguing tie brings together two teams who will want to start the season well and both enter new eras. Clapton have appointed ex-United London FC man Mark North as their new Chairman while Hamlets move on after changes off-the-pitch and also manager AJ Ashinike enters his first full season in charge as player-manager.

Clapton have brought back Jeff Cobblah and Ryan Reed to the squad while Hamlets have managed to entice the likes of Sipho Mtyanda, Luke Thomas and Eden Nelson through their managers’ connections. Another hard one to call though the changes in forward options for Hamlets may affect them heavily early-doors. Narrow home win.

Scott’ Prediction: 2 – 1

Hullbridge Sports  v   Barkingside   | Venue: Lower Road

Pete: Sports began their competitive action in midweek and needed penalties to squeeze past Essex and Suffolk Border League Premier side Great Bentley in what was at times an abject display.  However, Sports have assembled a decent squad and are quietly confident of a decent showing this season, but the same can be said of Barkingside who under the stewardship of Michael Walther will no doubt make a much better fist of it this season. Have a sneaky feeling the Cricklefield-based side may edge this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Scott: Hullbridge kick off their league campaign after they needed penalties to overcome Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier side Great Bentley in the Tolleshunt D’Arcy Memorial Trophy in midweek. They face Michael Walther’s Barkingside in an interesting opener. Darren Manning’s side are gunning for a much better season this time around and although they have amassed a very decent-looking squad, the points they get will ultimately tell the story.  Barkingside have brought in ex-Clapton & Hamlets midfielder Jerry Jairette this week to assist their young squad.

You sense that Hullbridge are building something good at their upgraded ground and they will certainly be keen to make it a fortress on-the-pitch as well. Will be tough to grab all three points though am suspecting ‘Bridge will pinch it.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

Ilford   v   Stansted   | Venue: Cricklefield

Pete: Ilford begin a new era with a tough home game against Stansted although the fact that quite a few of the new squad played together at Waltham Abbey Reserves may help their cause.  The Airportmen have strengthed well in the summer and will no doubt pose a bigger threat than last season and will surely finish much higher up the table.  Got a feeling this could also be a narrow away win.

Pete’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Scott: Another two teams who have had squad overhauls meet at Cricklefield. Ilford waved goodbye to former co-managers Billy Cove and Allan Fenn in May before an exodus from Waltham Abbey Reserves (both playing staff and behind-the-scenes staff too) rocked up, with Martin Haywood once again in charge. The big question for the new Foxes squad is “will they make the step up to Senior football?”

Stansted meanwhile have added a few recruits such as defender Liam Thomas and forward Carl Mullings though the most important news of the summer could be the amount of players the Airportmen have managed to keep hold of. Granted, they lost Pappa Asamoah to Basildon Utd though on the whole, they will look for a better season than last term. I”m going plump for a away win here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Redbridge   v    Saffron Walden Town   | Venue: Oakside

Pete: This for me is ‘game of the day’ as The Motormen hosts ESL new boys Saffron Walden Town and with both sides expected to do well this season, this could set the benchmark for either side.  Redbridge have lost a few key players from last season but still boast a strong enough squad, whilst Walden also have a good squad capable of challenging at the right end of the table, so this one is a hard one to call.  Score draw I’d say.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: Saffron Walden return to the Essex Senior League fold with a trip to Oakside. Redbridge have seen the likes of Moses, Mtyanda, Worrell and Sykes depart during the close-season and it will be interesting how Ricky Eaton & Joey May’s side recover in the early stages of the new campaign.

Saffron Walden may well fancy their chances of being among the ‘big-hitters’ near the summit come April, though this fascinating encounter may provoke some interested glances from rival teams as well. Very tough to gauge this one, will plump for a narrow away win.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 1

Southend Manor   v  Enfield 1893   | Venue: Southchurch Park

Pete: This game was switched from a Enfield home game in Harlow to an away game on the Essex Riviera, due to Harlow having a home pre-season contest on the same day.  Whether this makes any difference to the outcome remains to be seen, although the game will be played on a dry, dusty pitch no doubt rather than a lovely 3G surface, so this may suit the hosts more.  No doubt it will be a battle out there but some fancy Enfield to do well this season, and I feel they may start with a win here.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Scott: This fixture was originally set for the Harlow Arena though due to a fixture clash, it’s been ‘reversed’ to take place at Southchurch Park. Manor have retained most of their young squad from last season and will want to get off to a good start though the same can also be said of the E’s as well although their brillant late-season charge saw them end up in the top-half last term.

That counts for nowt though now, and I feel the visitors may edge a hard-fought encounter here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

Stanway Rovers   v   Takeley    | Venue: Hawthorns

Pete: Stanway begin life in the ESL with a much-changed squad from their previous season after mananger Kem Izzet left, and quite a few players have come in from Braintree Town Reserves, who were Step Six last season, so can they adapt to the new level.  They certainly couldn’t have picked a more difficult opponent to start off against in the shape of Takeley, who again are expected to be one of the front runners, and with the returning Charlie Cole and the addition of Josh Sykes, scoring goals won’t be a problem.  Away win here I feel.

Pete’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Scott: Another fascinating tie takes place at the Hawthorns. Stanway make their return to the ESL under new boss Lee Fisher who replaced Kem Izzet in the summer. They entertain a Takeley side that is looked at as one of the front-runners for promotion, especially given they have managed to convince forward Charlie Cole to return after a season on Billericay’s books (although the majority of that was on loan at Hertford Town in Bostik North).

Marc Das’ side has also retained the core of their squad from last season and it would be a surprise if they didn’t pick up the three points here.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2

Walthamstow   v   Hoddesdon Town    | Venue: Kitchener Road

Pete: Walthamstow begin competitive life under their new name with a visit from ESL newboys Hoddesdon Town at the Matchday Centre.  Stow have signed some good players over the summer and are many peoples’ dark horses for a crack at the summit of the table, whilst Hoddesdon are somewhat of an unknown to many in this league, although do boast a decent record in the Spartan South Midlands league, which is a tough league, so no doubt they can provide a challenge to most.  However, I reckon the hosts will prevail here.

Pete’s Prediction: 3 – 1

Scott: Walthamstow entertain newcomers Hoddesdon at Kitchener Road. The hosts will be hoping for a much brighter season given their noticable transfer activity in the off-season. Town will have to deal with the likes of Christian Owusu and James Peagram to get anything out of this match I feel and if the ‘Waltham Rabble’ get behind ‘Stow early-doors, Ryan Maxwell’s side could well be up there in the ‘title picture’ later in the season. For now though, they will have to start ‘building blocks’ and this tie against a Hoddesdon side that may experience ‘growing pains’ in the early stages of the season may be a good one to have. Home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 0

West Essex   v   Sawbridgeworth Town   | Venue: Mayesbrook Park

Pete: The hosts begin life without Michael Mignot with a visit from Sawbridgeworth Town in their opening game of the new season.  The Robins have already played some competitive action in midweek and lost narrowly to London Colney in the Herts Charity Shield but would have taken plenty from that game no doubt.  The hosts have had to adapt to the loss of Mignot but feel confident of another decent showing after last season’s superb 7th finish, and they still have plenty of decent players to help achieve this for them.  Have this one down as a score draw though.

Pete’s Prediction: 2 – 2

Scott: West Essex welcome Sawbridgeworth to Mayesbrook Park in their season debut. The Stags saw talismanic forward Mignot depart for Grays Athletic along with popular, long-serving assistant boss Gary Lefley in the summer. George Karsa returns to assist boss Kwame Kwateng. In my view, matching last season’s superb 7th-placed finish will be very tough unless they ‘spread out’ the goal-scorers somewhat.

This match is another interesting battle as Sawbridgeworth have also added signings in what is manager John Watters’ first season in sole charge. The challenge for Sawbo is to match or better their 8th-placed finish from last term in another highly-competitive division. I can well see this one being an entertaining draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

That’s all for this week, next week we return with an FA Cup Extra Prelim Round special!

2018-19 Season Preview: Essex Olympian League part 2 – Senior One-Three (EOFL 30.6.18)

Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello and welcome to a little preview of  the Essex Olympian League for the 2018-19 season – with this second part looking at Senior Division One, Senior Division Two and Senior Division Three.


EOFL Senior Division One

2018-19 season Constitution

Basildon Town, FC Hamlets, Frenford Res., Galleywood, Harold Hill, Herongate Athletic, May & Baker Res, Old Chelmsfordians, Ongar Town, Ramsden Scotia, Rayleigh Town Res., Shenfield AFC, Snaresbrook.


This 13-team line-up has also seen a number of changes to counter the loss of Benfleet and Newbury Forest who competed in this division last season though have now gone up to the Eastern Senior League South division, as well as the five sides promoted to the Premier Division. As a result, only one side was relegated to EOFL Senior Two (see below) while Basildon Town return after a ill-fated one-season stay in the Premier Division.

The division also sees a number of sides promoted including Senior Two champions May & Baker reserves, runners-up Herongate Athletic, Frenford Reserves, Ongar Town, Ramsden Scotia and Rayleigh Town Reserves. Last term’s strugglers Harold Hill return after being spared a drop down a division.


EOFL Senior Division Two

2018-19 season Constitution

Beacon Hill Rovers, Chingford Athletic, Harold Wood Athletic Res., Lakeside, Manford Way Res., May & Baker A, Newham Utd, Rochford Town, Runwell Sports, Ryan, Shoebury Town, Toby, Upminster

Senior Two also has 13 teams contesting the division, including relegated Runwell Sports who will look to bounce-back after a trying season last time out. May & Baker also bring in a new ‘A’ side to the division, in some ways it replaces the Under-21 side which has been withdrawn from the Olympian Lge’s U21 division this term.

Former Essex Alliance Lge side Chingford Athletic also rise two divisions after topping the table in Senior Four last term. The other promoted sides are from he top four sides from Senior Three, runners-up Shoebury Town plus Harold Wood Ath Reserves and Beacon Hill Rovers. Champions Manford Way Reserves have since withdrawn from the Olympian League (Updated: 12th July 2018)

The divisional changes also prevented the bottom two outfits from last term, Rochford Town and Ryan from going down to Senior Three. Finally, the name Lakeside returns after competing as ‘A1 Sports’ last term.

 

EOFL Senior Division Three

2018-19 season Constitution

Academy Soccer, Heybridge Swifts Dev., Hutton Res., Laindon Orient, Leigh Town, Old Chelmsfordians Res., Old Southendian Res., Roydon, Wakering Sports, Westhamians, White Ensign Res.

** United London have withdrawn from the league (as of July 4, 2018)**

Finally for this article, Senior Three welcomes two new sides in Heybridge Swifts Development and Laindon Orient while four further teams are promoted, two from Senior Four in Old Southendian Reserves and Wakering Sports (who were known as Southend Sports last term)  and two more sideys jumping up from Senior Five in Academy Soccer and Westhamians, who coincidentally were the top two sides in that division last term.

Debden Sports have withdrawn from the league after struggling in the latter half of last season.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this preview, the Olympian League round-up’s will return on this blog this coming season, with the possible addition of Senior Division Three. For now, it’s goodbye.



2018-19 Season Preview: Essex Olympian League part 1: Premier Division (EOFL 28.6.18)

Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello and welcome to a little preview of  the Essex Olympian League for the 2018-19 season – with this first part looking at the top tier of the EOFL which is a division that has seen quite a degree of change.

Look out for further articles looking at Senior Division One, Senior Division Two and Senior Division Three in the near future.

EOFL Premier Division

(Constitution)

Bishop’s Stortford Swifts, Buckhurst Hill, Canning Town, Catholic Utd, Great Baddow, Harold Wood Athletic, Hutton, Kelvedon Hatch, Leigh Ramblers, Manford Way, Old Southendian, Rayleigh Town, Springfield, Sungate

This season there will be 14 clubs contesting what could be a promotion place (subject to ground grading) into the Eastern Senior League in a 26-match season.
Firstly, with the recognised names of Frenford, May & Baker and White Ensign moving up to the Eastern Senior League Division South, the League have reacted by promoting five clubs (Senior One Champions Buckhurst Hill, Great Baddow, Hutton plus Old Southendian and Sungate).

Last season’s champions Catholic Utd start a new era as not only will they have a new management team – they also have a new home ground as they have agreed to ground-share at Bowers & Pitsea on their new 3G surface.

Elsewhere, Manford Way have appointed former Brentwood Town and Wadham boss Tony Ievoli as their new manager as they will undoubtedly look to improve on last season’s 10th place finish.

In my opinion, this is once again an open division though the likes of former champions Springfield, Harold Wood Athletic and Catholic Utd will look to push on from good campaigns last time out while the top three in Senior One last season which was Buckhurst Hill, Great Baddow and Hutton may surprise one or two despite the step up.

Interestingly, following a trial in other Step 7 divisions last season, the ‘Sin Bin’ (for dissent) system will come into the EOFL starting from the 2018-19 season.

For more info on that via the EOFL website: http://eofl.co.uk/historic-cup/sin-bin-procedure/   

Essex Olympian League Fixtures (EOFL 5.5.18)

Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

 

Hello & welcome to a one-off look at this weekend’s fixtures in the top three divisions of the Essex Olympian League this weekend.

 

Saturday 5th May

Essex Olympian Premier Division

Basildon Town (R) v White Ensign

Bishop’s Stortford Swifts v Kelvedon Hatch

Harold Wood Athletic v Springfield

 

Anagram Records Trophy Final

Catholic Utd v Broadfields

 

Essex Olympian League Senior Division One

Buckhurst Hill  v  FC Hamlets

Harold Hill v Great Baddow

Hutton  v  Snaresbrook

Old Southendian  v  Galleywood

Sungate  v  Shenfield AFC

 

Essex Olympian League Senior Division Two

A1 Sports  v  May & Baker E.C Reserves

Newham Utd  v Benfleet

Rayleigh Town Reserves  v  Upminster

 

My semi-regular round-up will return next week.

 

 

 

Essex Senior League Preview (27.4.18)

Written by Scott W & Peter D

Hello & welcome to this our preview of the weekend’s Essex Senior League action, which is ‘D-Day’ for some sides at both ends of the table, given that some teams play their last match of the campaign this weekend.

Saturday 28th April

Barkingside  v  Takeley  | Venue: Cricklefield

Peter: A win for the hosts would guarantee their safety whereas the visitors are now just playing for pride after their slim hopes of promotion vanished over the last week or so.  The hosts had a good win at Cricklefield rivals Ilford last time out whilst Takeley defeated West Essex on Thursday.  Think this one may end a draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-1

Scott: Takeley make the trip to Cricklefield to take on Barkingside, who still could do with one more victory to retain their ESL status next term. Marc Das’ side have had another hard-wearing week with this being their fourth match in eight days. Victories over Enfield 1893 (last Saturday) and West Essex (Thursday night) were tempered slightly by a narrow home loss to Wadham on Tuesday though five wins in their last eight matches endorses the fact they will provide a stubborn test for Michael Walther’s side, who have won three of their last five following victory over Ilford last weekend. This may well be a close game, going to go for a narrow home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

 

Burnham Ramblers  v Tower Hamlets  | Venue: Leslie Field

Peter: With neither side having anything to play for, this could well be a non-event.  However, with this being each sides’ last game of the season I reckon both will want to go out in style.  Ramblers saw their bottom-three finish confirmed in midweek with defeat at Sawbridgeworth, whilst Hamlets threw away the lead twice at Wadham Lodge on Thursday to only take a point.  Think this one may also end all-square.

Pete’s Prediction:  2-2

Scott: Burnham entertain Tower Hamlets at Leslie Field as both sides end their seasons here. Burnham will be looking to end their season ‘on a high’ after a run of six defeats in their last eight matches, the last of those being a midweek loss at Sawbridgeworth. Hamlets may be jaded themselves after a draw at Wadham Lodge on Thursday night, thought that point did end a run of eight straight league defeats.

I also will mention that this is the last match for out-going Hamlets secretary, Adam “50 Jokes” Richardson after nine years at the club, we wish him well in his next role. Back to the match itself, I reckon Burnham will edge it here.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

 

Clapton  v   Hullbridge Sports  | Venue: Old Spotted Dog  |

Peter: The Tons end their season at The Dog on Saturday knowing only a win will do to have any chance of a top-six finish, whilst for Hullbridge, who confirmed their safety in midweek, will be looking to banish memories of their visit last weekend when Hackney Wick beat them.  Feel Clapton may edge this one though.

Pete’s Prediction: 2-1

Scott: Clapton welcome Hullbridge to the Old Spotted Dog in what is the Tons’ last match of the campaign. The Tons will look to regroup in the summer after a recent run of six defeats in their last eight games after a narrow loss at Great Wakering last weekend and need a win here to try to wrestle 6th-place back off of West Essex. Hullbridge boss Darren Manning has challenged his players to finish the season well as they look set for a close season of re-building ahead of what they hope is a brighter season next term. They got a big win over Ilford in midweek and have won five of their last nine outings now. Going for a draw here.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1

 

Great Wakering Rovers  v  West Essex   | Venue: Burroughs Park

Peter: If results go their way, GWR could win the title with victory in this one as well as promotion, however they come up against a West Essex side who are looking to cement a top-six finish, which would be an excellent return for only their second season as a senior side.  Both sides do come into this one off the back of defeats though but I feel the hosts will do what is required and take the three points.

Pete’s Prediction: 3-1

Scott: This is a fascinating encounter at Burroughs Park as both sides are rather attack-minded, to say the least. Wakering’s long unbeaten stretch was broken by FC Romania in midweek though are still two points ahead of FCR and Basildon going into this weekend. West Essex play their fourth match in eight days here and after victories over Wadham and Hackney Wick, their three-match winning run was halted by Takeley on Thursday night. If GWR are ‘not on their mettle’ then the Stags are capable of ‘upsetting the apple cart’ so Rovers boss Iain O’Connell will be wary here. That said, I still reckon they will take the points and that could see them being promoted back to Bostik North this weekend.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

 

Redbridge  v  Hackney Wick  | Venue: Oakside

Peter: The equation is simple, Redbridge have to win this one and hope others slip up for them to get back into the promotion picture. They currently trail FC Romania and Basildon United by three points with two games remaining, but with a heavily inferior goal difference.  And Wick are sure not to just lie down and let their opponents walk over them so this will be a tough game for the hosts with all the added pressure too.  However I feel the hosts will grab victory here.

Pete’s Prediction: 3-0

Scott: Redbridge take on bottom side Hackney Wick at Oakside, knowing they have to go ‘all-out’ for victory and hope for favours elsewhere. The Motormen’s promotion-charge has suffered somewhat after only one win in their last five, which was in midweek over Southend Manor. Wick have shown some spirit of late with three wins in seven matches though Redbridge’s attack at full-pelt will take some stopping. Talisman Brian Moses is also chasing the ESL ‘Golden Boot’ as well so it’s a home win for me.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

 

Sawbridgeworth Town  v  Wadham Lodge | Venue: Crofters End

Peter: Another big game for Lodge sees them needing three points to give their chances of getting out of the bottom-three a boost.  And if results go their way they could jump up two places to 17th although The Robins are a tough nut to crack at Crofters and they are looking to finish their season with a win.  Robins to grab the points I feel.

Pete’s Prediction: 3-2

Scott: Sawbridgeworth welcome Wadham to Crofters End. The hosts will be looking to build on their midweek home win over Burnham though have had the hallmarks of an inconsistent side through much of the campaign, with five wins and four losses in their last nine outings recently showing as much. Wadham have had a mixed week, with defeat at West Essex last weekend followed by a very good win at Takeley and a home draw with Tower Hamlets in midweek. That means that with only one match after this one, they really could do with a win ahead of a battle with Barkingside to come in midweek.

Sawbo’s forward line may also fancy the task of scoring here, so am going to go for a home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1

 

Southend Manor  v   FC Romania  | Venue: Southchurch Park

Peter: If this one is anything like Manor’s last home game then the people in attendance will be in for a treat, however this is unlikely against a FCR side going for the title/promotion.  A win for the visitors and a slip up from GWR down the road would see the Theobalds Lane side take top spot in their final game. However, Manor will make it very difficult for the visitors no doubt and last weekend’s extraordinary comeback will have given them heart.  But just feel the visitors will win this one.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-3

Scott: This intriguing tie at Southchurch Park has more riding on it for the visitors. Manor have really ‘rolled their sleeves up’ in recent weeks, particularly at home as they showed in their comeback win over Sawbridgeworth last weekend. Adam Peek’s side did suffer a setback with defeat at Redbridge in midweek. FCR know they need to win this one to still be in the promotion race going into the last week of the campaign and wins over Tower Hamlets and Great Wakering of late were very important in assisting them to that goal. I have a gut feeling that the visitors will “get the job done”, even if it isn’t pretty.

Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2

 

Sporting Bengal Utd  v  Basildon Utd  | Venue: Hargrave Park

Peter: The Bees know a win and slip ups from GWR and FCR could see them into top spot with a game to go, however they come up against an in-form Sporting side who are playing this home game at Stansted due to the unavailbility of Mile End. I feel that the Bees will grind this one out though and come away with the points.

Pete’s Prediction: 1-2

Scott: This match was moved to Stansted’s Hargrave Park as Mile End Stadium is still ‘out of commission’ for Football until next season. Bengal surprised a few by triumphing over Redbridge last weekend and have won their last four on-the-spin to sit 10th before this weekend’s action.

Basildon have had a good week with comfortable wins over Woodford Town and Stansted this week and know that a win here would keep their promotion destiny “in their own hands” given their huge home fixture with Redbridge to come next week. Imrul Gazi’s side will not be an easy proposition to face though the Bees have now won their last six in-a-row. Away win for me.

Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 2

 

Waltham Forest  v  Ilford  | Venue: Kitchener Road

Peter: Forest go into their last game of the season a point above the bottom three and knowing a win for them and defeat for Lodge will mean they will finish outside the bottom three, so it’s a huge incentive for the hosts.  And they welcome an Ilford side who have been woefully off-form of late so they will fancy a win here for sure, and I believe the hosts will grab a big three points too.

Pete’s Prediction: 2-0

Scott: Out-of-form Ilford travel to Kitchener Road to face a Waltham Forest side who know what they have to do: win. The hosts here edged a huge six-pointer last weekend against Stansted and are unbeaten in their last four matches. Ilford are ‘limping home’ somewhat towards this season’s ‘finish line’ and seven consequtive losses shows this. For me, it depends on which players Interim boss Billy Cove has available to him. If the Foxes can name a strong side then they can get a result. Forest have all the pressure on their shoulders in a sense and though that could help or hinder them, I’m going to go for a home win.

Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1

 

Woodford Town (2017)  v  Enfield 1893 | Venue: Goffs Lane

Peter: Both sides could guarantee a top-ten finish with a win here in their last games of the season, which would be a decent return for both.  Woodford’s good young side, boosted by the news they would be returning to the borough of Redbridge next season, have dazzled and entertained at times this season, whilst Enfield went from pretty much bottom to eighth at one stage after an incredible run of form.  Both will look to finish the season in style but I feel this may end a draw.

Pete’s Prediction: 2-2

Scott: Finally on Saturday, Woodford welcome Enfield in what could be their final match at Goffs Lane as Resbridge Council announced this week they would be moving back into the borough in time for next season. Town have had a steady season and there are ‘building blocks’ in place, ahead of next term. Dee Safer’s side are winless in their last three though and will want to ‘end on a high’. The same applies though for Matt Hanning’s E’s whose unbeaten run was ended by Takeley last weekend. A win here would secure a top-ten finish for them, which looked unlikely a few months back. I suspect this will be a competitive draw.

Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 2

That’s all for this week, and the ‘regular’ Essex Senior League season. Thank you for reading these this term, and for a few good comments too 🙂