Thursday, December 24, 2015
On Saturday our only option was to go down to Ely City Reserves. The game was decent enough with Ely having most of the play, and taking the lead a few minutes before the interval. However despite their dominance the visitors pulled 2 goals back to win the game.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
I know that after ages of pestering from London based friends I have only recently become a convert to Clapton FC, but I have already got a real fondness for the boys in East London. After years of dross being served up in the Premier League and local league teams taking the piss with ticket prices most of my football has been non league based. I enjoy going to the local teams, but the sense of comeraderie and welcome have been diminishing at the Unwin for a few seasons and there hasn't been an atmosphere for years. Therefore Clapton offer everything that I have been looking for in football for a while.
Unfortunately, something seems to be wrong at the Old Spotted Dog. There is the obvious friction between the chairman, who seems to be intent on bleeding the club dry and the ultras, but there also seems to be a few more deep rooted problems. Since the defeat at the weekend to Stansted there has been a bit of a player exodus and a defeat of 4-1 to Basildon last night has seen the Tons let in 4 goals in a row. I also hear some game show turned up last night, which obviously miffed the fans who are already concerned about their support being turned into a carnival.
The situation although not bleak is concerning. You have players who want to want to play for the club, but due to the financial restrictions can't / won't and a fan club that is becoming slightly fractious. I hear that there was some bitterness last night aimed at not only Basildon but also at other supporters and that the Brigata Italiana were criticised for not paying attention. I am hoping it really is just a storm in a tea cup or that what I am hearing us exaggerated as the Tons have made me look forward to football again.
Another week and another 4 goals let in by the Tons. The game could have been so different with the visitors taking a 3-0 lead into the break. And although it is not his fault you have to wonder what is wrong with the club when they start with a winger in goals.
Anyway, the game got off to a brilliant start with Clapton looking like they thought attack was the best form of defence. They were justly awarded just after 4 minutes when Barnwell put the East Londoners in the lead.
This started a frantic period where Stansted also came close and the Tons had a shot cleared off the line. We didn't have to wait long for the next goal though, as Barnwell doubled his tally and the Tons lead on 12 minutes with a goal that was as good as you will see anywhere. It's a shame nobody filmed it.
The Tons weren't finished though and the wind started to help them a bit and a long clearance aided by the aforementioned wind aided Cook to score and make it 3-0 to Clapton with 9 minutes remaining of the half.
It really was to be a game of two halves though as Clapton fell to pieces in the second half. On 65 minutes Lakin scored for Stansted; Halamby got their second on 68 and things got a little nervy. Clapton created chances, but were clearly rattled and looked to hope to hang on. They didn't though. The wind was now in Stansted's favour and on 80 minutes Ashwell looked to cross it in for the home team, but it somehow ended up in the goal to give them an equaliser. In the last minute the turnaround was complete when a mistake by the Tons winger keeper allowed Ratcliffe in to make it 4-3.
I enjoyed myself so much at the Old Spotted Dog on Saturday that when I saw the Tons were playing at the nearest Essex Senior League team to us there was only one place to go on Saturday.
Stansted Mountfitchett with it's Norman castle and thatched cottages was a market contrast to Clapton's East London home, but the locals were friendly and Clapton fans showed up in numbers to help swell the crowd and the bar takings.
The Stansted Ground was all open apart from a stand on one side which strangely for non league football saw us being segregated to the right of the referee's tunnel. The rest of the ground was open with a social club behind one goal which you had to exit the ground to get to.
The Clapton fans were in good voice and we had a brilliant time, but the result was another disappointment for the Tons (see the match report).
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Despite a decent start to the season Clapton came into the game after 2 losses and it was clear from the start that they were going to struggle against a strong Romania team. In the first 10 minutes the visitors had 5 corners, a penalty claim and Isife Vasile came close to beating Henderson in goals for The Tons.
Inevitably on 15 minutes Romania took the lead with Liviu Florin Pop scoring from a great individual effort. 5 minutes later Sergiu Pitaru lobbed Henderson from outside the box to double the score and make it 2-0 to the visitors. Clapton had a couple of half chances before the half was up, but it was Romania who added to their lead when Ungereanu tapped on in.
Unfortunately, things didn't get better for The Tons in the second half and Vasile scored on 55 minutes to make it 4-0. They stifled Clapton for the rest of the half, so despite it being a great daily out the match ended in disappointment.
On Saturday I met up with Dean in London. He's regularly been going to Clapton FC. A team who play in the Essex Senior League. They are famous for their left wing ultras and a great time was had, unfortunately Clapton were outplayed by FC Romania and lost 4-0. I'll be posting a match report after a few photos and videos.