Essex Senior League
FC Romania’s midweek win over leaders Great Wakering Rovers has blown the Essex Senior League wide open as up to four teams are going into the final week with both the top two promotion positions available to any team able to keep its nerve with the finish line closing in.
Great Wakering despite their midweek setback remain top, although that lead has been cut to two points with FC Romania and Basildon United, lying 2nd and 3rd respectively both snapping at their heels. Rovers entertain a West Essex side that currently sit 6th. It’s a game Iain O’Connell’s men have to win, which would guarantee promotion, and if they then follow that up with a win next Saturday at Takeley then they would also be going up as Essex Senior League Champions. A potential double is also still on if they can beat the very same Basildon United that are also in the hunt for the League Title in their Errington Challenge Cup Semi-Final tie on Tuesday.
FC Romania finish their season at Southend Manor and need a win to bring their promotion hopes to fruition. They sit 2nd on goal difference over Basildon United, who have two games left to play. The Wolves are not in total control of their destiny as they do need results to go their way in the games involving the other promotion chasers. They do have some control over events that happen in their visit at Southend Manor. The hosts are in a bit of topsy-turvy form to say the least as they have won one, lost one, drawn a few suggesting that on their day they can give as good as they get. If the Southend Manor side that came from behind to beat Sawbridgeworth Town 4-3 turn up then FC Romania could have their promotion train knocked off the rails. The hosts lost to Redbridge in midweek and also lost to Basildon United recently – FC Romania have to hope that they can also add Southend Manor’s name against their wins column as anything less could lead to disappoint when the final League table is published.
Basildon United sit 3rd on goal difference and they travel to Sporting Bengal United on Saturday. Imrul Gazi the Sporting Bengal manager was having sleepless nights a few weeks ago when his team went on a run that saw them plummet dangerously close to the relegation zone. Sporting Bengal beat their previous best ESL points tally last weekend when they dented Redbridge’s promotion wagon. That 2-1 win over Redbridge takes their end of season winning run to four and they will be going into their game against the Bee’s in buoyant mood. It’s a game Basildon also need to win as any points lost hereon in will be ultimately costly. The Bees need to come away from Mile End Stadium with a win, which still might not guarantee promotion if the other teams in the mix achieve the same. Basildon’s destiny is in their hands though as they then finish their campaign on Wednesday at home to Redbridge – a game that could end up being a winner takes all promotion decider!
Redbridge a little further pegged back in 4th; quite unbelievable to think that the team that has lead the table at various stages in the season after going on two lengthy winning runs need to win both their final two games and then hope results go their way elsewhere. Having slipped up last weekend against Sporting Bengal United they then picked themselves up and beat Southend Manor 2-0 in midweek. They have perhaps the easiest game of all the promotion pack as they host bottom-placed and already relegated Hackney Wick. The Wickers have nothing to play for but pride and that could also make them dangerous. Redbridge certainly have to ensure they win this one as anything less could cause irreparable damage as their Wednesday night trip to Basildon United would no longer offer the Motormen a promotion prize if they end up getting the right result.
Down at the bottom and Hackney Wick and Burnham Ramblers have both been confirmed as being in the bottom two. Wadham Lodge occupy the other relegation place and they travel to Sawbridgeworth Town. Lodge played twice in midweek and picked up a win and a draw which has seen them edge closer to the teams above them. Waltham Forest sit a point above them, but Stansted are two points further but have no more games to play. It means Wadham Lodge can save their skins if they come away from Crofters with a win. A draw would mean they would have to win their home game against Barkingside on Wednesday to secure their safety.
Waltham Forest end their campaign at home to a free-falling Ilford side that have lost seven on the spin going in to this one. Waltham Forest have endured a difficult season that has seen them lose their inspiration chairmen Turget Esgandal who sadly passed away in October; then off the pitch the club had financial woes whilst results on the pitch has seen the club remain in or close to the drop zone for the entire length of the season. Ryan Maxwell stepped in to take on managerial duties and his side have picked up enough points, which has included a 3-0 away win at Basildon United and an amazing turnaround to get a 4-4 draw at Redbridge. Safety is in Waltham Forest’s hands and they do have the added bonus of taking on an Ilford side that seems out of sorts at the moment.
Saturday 28th April
Essex Senior League
Barkingside v Takeley
Burnham Ramblers v Tower Hamlets
Clapton v Hullbridge Sports
Great Wakering Rovers v West Essex
Redbridge v Hackney Wick
Sawbridgeworth Town v Wadham Lodge
Southend Manor v FC Romania
Sporting Bengal United v Basildon United
Waltham Forest v Ilford
Woodford Town 2017 v Enfield 1893