Ridgeons League Premier Division preview
WITH no cup involvement, it is a full Saturday League programme for only the third time this season. Phil Griffiths runs the rule over this weekend’s fixtures
BRANTHAM ATHLETIC v DEREHAM TOWN
AN interesting clash here with the visitors going well at the top of the table but the hosts have won their last two games convincingly to move clear of the drop zone, if only by a point. Ollie Mann has hit five goals in their last three games so should be full of confidence. Dereham have the league’s leading scorer in their line-up and Danny Beaumont has also hit five in his last three league games. The Magpies may not be overly disappointed to have made a midweek exit from the league cup, leaving them free to concentrate on maintaining their top spot in the table.
CRC v GREAT YARMOUTH TOWN
CRC made the early running in the league, going their opening 12 games without defeat but they have now lost three of their last five to slip down to fourth place, although they did win at third-placed Kirkley & Pakefield last week. Their visitors won’t mind the travelling as they have won five and drawn two of their eight games on the road and will look forward to testing themselves as well as their hosts on the Abbey Stadium turf. The Bloaters also picked up a good mid-week win in the League Cup but were taken to extra time at The Wellesley so may be feeling some tired legs.
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ELY CITY v WIVENHOE TOWN
THE Robins have lost their last three and have also lost three at The Unwin Ground from their six games played so will be looking for a change of fortunes here. Visitors Wivenhoe lost in midweek by the seaside in the league cup with a less than full strength side but won last time on the road in a league game at Histon. Both sides’ form is erratic and this game could go either way but the win at Histon was The Dragons’ third win away from Broad lane so they will feel confident of taking something from this game.
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FC CLACTON v HISTON RES
THE Essex Seasiders’ record shows they have only won once at Rush Green this season but they have won three of their last five. They have only played once at the Bowl since mid-September so that record may well be improved here against a Histon side who have collected just one point from 21 on the road. It is now eight games without a win for the Stutes who have also had that away point deducted for fielding an ineligible player and they may well struggle to take anything from this match.
HAVERHILL ROVERS v DEBENHAM LC
IT IS now 11 unbeaten for the Rovers and they have failed to score just twice this season. After last season’s tribulations they are now a solid outfit who are clearly difficult to beat and this could be a long afternoon for their visitors. The Hornets sit bottom of the league without an away win having lost their last four, conceding 16 goals while scoring just once.
KIRKLEY & PAKEFIELD v WOODBRIDGE TOWN
THE home side should be looking forward to this match after hitting 16 goals in midweek against Leiston in the League Cup although their visitors were well below their Premier Division strength. The Royals have dropped some crucial points recently with just one win in their last seven that includes three defeats, with one of those last week at Walmer Road against CRC. Their visitors have picked up six points from their last two games against mid-table sides so will not travel lacking confidence but they face a tough task against a side that know they must start recording wins at home if they are to remain in the hunt at the top of the table.
MILDENHALL TOWN v FELIXSTOWE & WALTON UNITED
THE home side have lost their last two, both away from The Rec Way but their home record is good with just one defeat and that back in August. Their visitors slipped into the bottom three last week and are without a win in five but have a better record on the road than they have at home. The sides have met once this season when The Seasiders knocked The ‘Hall out of the FA Cup so the home side will be looking to gain some revenge for that result and three points could see them climb a couple of places dependent on other results.
NEWMARKET TOWN v NORWICH UNITED
JUST two points separate these sides at the start of the day although the visitors’ goal difference is much superior. The home side’s three-match winning run was halted with a goal-less draw at Wivenhoe but they haven’t lost in six so will be looking to extend that record. After going six games without a win The Planters have now won their last two so will be looking to improve that record here. They have been scoring at an average of two-a-game this season while The Jockeys have failed to score in seven of their 15 league games to date.
STANWAY ROVERS v LEISTON
AFTER a big cup week for the visitors it is back to the bread and butter of League football on the back of two defeats as they travel to The Hawthorns needing to collect league points if they are to chase the top four sides. They have the games in hand but winning them all will be a difficult task and their hosts will want to add to their challenge here. Stanway will be looking to collect all three points as they chase a top ten spot with a good plus goal difference. They face a side that know how to win but they could take something from the game if they can reproduce their best form.
WALSHAM-le-WILLOWS v HADLEIGH UNITED
THE home side are in a battle at the wrong end of the table and have just one win so far this season but did hold the current leaders to a draw a couple of weeks ago. They have drawn more than they have lost and if they could turn home draws into wins they could climb the table rapidly. Their visitors have only played four games away from The Millfield and have won two of them but are inconsistent with just one win in their last five. This is a match that could go either way but the visitors may be just too strong for the Willows.
WROXHAM v WISBECH TOWN
THIS has to be ‘Match of the Day’ with a win for the Yachtsmen possibly taking them to the top of the table. They have won six and drawn one of their last seven games and have lost just once at Trafford Park, that back in mid-August when they showing signs of inconsistency but they look a powerful outfit now. The Fenmen have lost just once in their last nine games so will feel capable of getting a result wherever they play and they are the only side to have lowered Dereham’s league colours so far. The prospect of the second-placed side’s scalp will see them travel the 60 or so miles across the Fens in good spirits on the back of a midweek League Cup win that saw them beat the top side for the second time in a month.