BARKINGSIDE VS WALTHAMSTOW RED STAR (5th vs 1st)
(Referee BILLY TAYLOR)
One thing is abundantly clear, current form just does not exist! From this point we are about to observe a competition fought to a close involving every team knowing they have a chance to lift the big one. But what a way to recommence proceedings than a visit by Walthamstow to Barkingside. The return fixture gave us fireworks and an astonishing nine goal thriller, finally settled in favour of todays visitors. Both teams are raring to go on the relaunch and very happy that the initial part of the season has not been forgotten. Barkingside lifted the 2019/20 delayed Premier Cup Final trophy last September and are keen to keep the cabinet door open whilst Red Star are seeing the fruits of their labours lifting them to the helm of the division and a realistic chance of going the whole way. Many will argue that it is best to have the points on the board rather than games in hand. As the talent pool is divested across every team in this most challenging of divisions, taking points off each other is what may keep the Walthamstow boys firmly in the picture.
BELFRY vs NEWBURY FOREST (2nd vs 7th)
(Referee JOE SACH)
Belfry were absolutely on fire prior to the third lockdown curtailing their run. A stunning 6-2 triumph over reigning champs Global made everyone sit up & take notice of what’s happening with Barry’s boys over at IG6. There’ll be many who will see these as the team to beat, especially as they perform much better under pressure and always seem ready to take it on the chin and never give up. Coaching & mentoring are key elements and they have that in abundance off the pitch and able to transfer those skills when it matters most. Today they face one of the youngest sides in the whole of the league but their journey is a world away from the usual scenario. Keeping the nucleus of the squad together over several seasons, progressing them from the junior ranks into open age, and at the highest levels, means they are cutting their teeth at the top table and gradually earning merit stripes on a regular basis. Always capable and a joy to be on the same field with, it’s only a matter of time before all the pieces fall together and the work starts to yield results. I, for one, love that ethic.
WEARE UNITED VS JK SILVERTOWN (6th vs 3rd)
(Referee LIAM GILES)
It is not a strange fact that this is a game between two unbeaten teams. Just let me point out that, last season, both games ended with similar score-lines and a win apiece. Another group of youngsters, coached by ex-pro Ross Weare, are showing just how much they have listened and transferred that winning mentality to the field since their first game in the Combination. Moving on leaps & bounds has seen them claim great results and this will be the requirement as the season resumes at Ashton Playing Fields. Hoping to have all their inspirational characters back on the sidelines will be the order of the day as they will face the inimitable force from the North Woolwich Road. JK Silvertown have built over the seasons and have grabbed some silverware along the way, keeping together a group of lads prepared to prove how competitive and successful you can be when everyone pulls together. Don’t get me wrong, there is a serious mix of talent, desire & the positive pack mentality has equally contributed to the progression this team has shown in their time since inception. Being driven on by their vociferous support they are very capable and certainly have every chance of being one of the frontrunners when the gold medals are being handed out.