Sides from across four divisions (Premier Division to Division Three) are gearing up for the Second Round of the Essex & Suffolk Border League Knockout Cup as they look to progress to the Third Round. Gas Recreation currently sit at the highest ranked team in the competition while Wormingford Wanderers are the lowest based on their league positions before the season was cut short.
Some sides have already progressed to the Third Round of the competition as they await their opponents; Barnston, Dunmow Town, Colne Athletic and Harwich & Parkeston Reserves will have a keen eye on the matches. Here’s a preview of all-11 ties this weekend;
Flitch United vs Felsted Rovers – Saturday 17th April, 3pm
Premier Division Flitch United welcome Division Three side Felsted Rovers in the next round of the ESBL Knockout cup. The hosts were sat bottom on the top division when the season was curtailed after 8-games, with a record of drew 3 and lost 5, so will be hoping they can improve their form ahead of their return to action. They were awarded a BYE into the second round so the tie will be their first competitive game since the return of football. Although Felsted Rovers sit three divisions below, they have the match sharpness that Flitch would’ve love to have had. The visitors were 3rd in Division Three last season after 9-games, with a record of won 7 and lost two. Felsted have already beaten a side in a higher division, beating Division One side Stanway Rovers Reserves 3-1 in the opening round. Flitch United will certainly be the favourites based on league position but will find it tough against a match-fit squad.
White Notley vs Mersea Island – Saturday 17th April, 3pm
White Notely will face lower-opposition as they welcome Mersea Island to Oak Farm. White Notely found themselves ninth in the Premier Division after 9-games, having won 5, drew 1 and lost 3. The hosts were victorious in the opening round as they beat Belle Vue Social Club by three-goals to nil at Oak Farm. They face a Mersea Island side that play their trade in Division One. After 9-games, Mersea were 11th before the season was curtailed with a record of won 3, drew 1 and lost 5. Mersea Island were another side handed passage into Round 2 as they were given a BYE. The divisional difference will play a little to no roll in the outcome of the game as White Notley go into the game as outright favourites. Not only are they from the top-division, they also bring the match fitness into the game from a competitive fixture.
Hatfield Peverel vs Gosfield United – Saturday 17th April, 3.30pm
Hatfield Peverel face Gosfield United in the next round of the cup. Hatfield, of the Premier Division, sat 13th last season after 11-games. Of those 11-games, they had won 3, drew 1 and lost 7. The hosts eased into the Second Round as they beat New Field seven-nil at home. They face lower opposition in Gosfield United, from Division One. Gosfield sat 12th in Division One after 9-games, with a record of won 3, drew 1 and lost 5 but they narrowly made it through to the 2nd Round. After Extra-Time, Gosfield progressed against Dovercourt Rovers, winning 2-1 at home. Hatfield will be the favourites heading into the game, sitting in the higher division but also after their thrashing at home in the last round. Gosfield will hope they can squeeze through into the next round.
Silver End United vs West Bergholt – Saturday 17th April, 3pm
Silver End United return home for the Second Round as they face West Bergholt at the Silver End Village Hall. The hosts sat second in Division One, behind Belle Vue by a -6 goal-difference. After 10-games, they had won 8 and lost 2, but having played a game more than the league-leaders. They empathically made it to the 2nd round as they eased past Alresford Colne Rangers, beating the Rangers by five-goals to nil. West Bergholt were 8th in the Premier Division when the season was halted. After 11-games, the visitors had won 5, drew 2 and lost 4. Bergholt were awarded a home-walkover against Brantham Athletic Reserves in the opening round. Silver End will hope to make the most of home advantage and their match fitness, if they are going to eliminate the Premier Division side, but Bergholt will hope being the higher divisional side will see them through.
Tiptree Heath vs Dedham Old Boys – Saturday 17th April, 3pm
An all-Premier Division side will see Tiptree Heath welcome Dedham Old Boys to the Tolleshunt D’Arcy Village Hill. Tiptree were the highest of the two sides in the top-division after 10-games, sitting 6th. Of those 10-games, they had won 6 and lost 4. The hosts picked up a huge win in the previous round as they brushed Rowhedge aside with a huge seven-nil victory. Dedham Old Boys sat 4-places below Heath after the same amount of games with a record of won 4, drew 2 and lost 4. Although they sat 4-places apart, Tiptree Heath had only picked up 4-points more, making it a close tie on paper. Dedham Old Boys also won on the road as they beat Bradfield Rovers by four-goals with no response. Tiptree will hope to be in better form, like they were during the season, but both sides will hope they can used their wins to their advantage.
Stanway Pegasus vs Cressing United – Saturday 17th April, 3pm
Stanway Pegasus will welcome lower-opposition to Stanway School as they face Cressing United. Pegasus were fighting for the Premier Division title before the season was halted, finding themselves 6-points off the leaders but with two-games in-hand. After 10-games, they had won 7, drew 1 and lost 2. Stanway Pegasus received a home-walkover against University of Essex in the opening round. Cressing United were 10th in Division One after 8-games, with a record of won 3, drew 1 and lost 4. Although Cressing were mid table, they had a couple of games in-hand which could have seen them closer to the top. The visitors came through against Premier Division in Little Oakley Reserves, winning 4-1 at home. Stanway Pegasus will want to make the most of home-advantage but will be wary against a Cressing side who have already knocked out a strong Premier side.
Gas Recreation vs Lawford Lads – Saturday 17th April, 3pm
Another all-Premier Division tie will see Gas Recreation welcome Lawford Lads to the Gas Rec Playing Field. Gas Recreation were leading the race for promotion into Step-6 of the National League System as they led the Premier Division by 4-points with a game in-hand. After 12-games, they had won 9, drew 1 and lost 2. The hosts faced a Division One side in the last round, beating FC Clacton Reserves by 2-goals to nil. Lawford Lads sat towards the bottom end of the table, finding themselves 15th-places below their opponents. After 10-games, they had won once, drew 3 and lost 6, putting them 3-points off the drop-zone. Lawford Lads were given a BYE to the Second Round, meaning they are yet to play their first competitive game. Gas Rec will be the favourites to progress to the Third Round but Lawford Lads will hope they can cause an upset against the odds.
Sudbury Sports vs Wormingford Wanderers Saturday – Saturday 17th April, 2.30pm
Sudbury Sports will hope to avoid an upset as they face lower-division opposition in Wormingford Wanderers. Sudbury were 7th in the Premier Division after 9-games. Of those 9-games, they had won 5, drew 2 and lost 2, putting them 9-points off the leaders with 3-games in-hand. Sudbury eased into the Second Round with a massive win over Division One side Hedinghams United, beating them 8-0. Wormingford Wanderers remain the lowest ranked side still in the knockout cup. After 9-games, the Wanderers sat 6th with a record of won 6 and lost 3. Before the return of football, Wormingford were handed an away-walkover against St Osyth, setting up a tie with higher opposition. Sudbury will be overwhelming favourites coming into the game but Wormingford will hope to pull off the biggest upset of the cup this round.
Cavendish vs Kelvedon Social – Saturday 17th April, 3pm
Cavendish will welcome Kelvedon Social to the Cavendish Sports Club this weekend. Cavendish were competing for promotion as they sat third in Division Two, after 9-games. Of those 9-games, they had won 8 and lost just one, putting them level on points with second and 7-points off the lead with 3-games in-hand. The hosts reached the next round with a huge win over Abbey Fields, scoring six with no reply. Kelvedon Social were also hoping for promotion but from Division Three as they sat fifth after 7-games. Their record of won 6, drew 3 and lost 2 put them 6-points off the leaders with 3-games in hand. Cavendish will hope to avoid an upset against the lower-divisional side but Kelvedon will see this as a great opportunity to reach the Third Round.
Thorpe Athletic vs Great Bentley – Saturday 17th April, 3pm
Thorpe Athletic will face a tough test as they welcome Great Bentley to the Kirby Playing Field. Thorpe Athletic sat top of Division Three, holding a three-point lead over Barnston Reserves. After 10-games, Thorpe had won 8, drew 1 and lost 1. The hosts navigated through the 1st Round, beating Tollesbury 3-1 at home last weekend. Great Bentley sat towards the top-end of the Premier Division after 10-games. Their record of won 6, drew 2 and lost 2 put them fourth and 8-points off the top with two-games in-hand. The visitors narrowly squeezed into the Second Round as they beat Wethersfield by a single goal, winning 1-nil. Great Bentley will be the favourites based on the divisional-difference but Thorpe Athletic they can pull off an upset as they try to use their home-advantage.
Tiptree Jobserve vs Earls Colne – Saturday 17th April, 3pm
Tiptree Jobserve will welcome Earls Colne to Colchester United’s Florence Park Training Ground as both sides look to reach the next round. Jobserve were very much in the fight for promotion to the Premier Division, sitting fourth after 8-games. Their record of won 7 and drew one, put them 2-points behind the league-leaders with a game in-hand. Tiptree Jobserve reached the Second Round with a shootout win as they beat Harwich Rangers away from home. After 90-minutes and Extra-Time, the scores stood level at 1-1 before the Jobserve won 6-5 on penalties. Earls Colne sat towards the bottom-end of the table, finding themselves 14th after 9-games. Their record of won 1, drew 6 and lost 2 put them 6-points off the bottom, having played a game more than the bottom side. Earls Colne also progressed to the 2nd Round with a shootout win. The visitors were level after Extra-Time with Coggeshall United Reserves before they went onto win 4-3 from the spot. Earls Colne will be favourites going into the game but with both sides squeezing into the next round, Tiptree will hope it’s closer than what it says on paper.