Getting the job part-way into a campaign and right at the start of Clapton’s window for an annual autumn wobble was always going to be difficult for a newly appointed manager. Jonny Fowell ‘s team has so far at times looked dazzling and woeful, determined and lacklustre, but without anything consistent to form an early impression, we’re left looking to the stats and tea leaves to judge what the coming weeks and months hold for the Tons.
At their starkest, the stats read as: Played 8, Won 4, Lost 4 for the new boss, including a defeat away to Hertford Town in the FA Vase. With four wins in seven and none drawn in the league, this gives Fowell a points average of 1.7 per match. Mike Walther managed to accumulate a mean of 2.3 at the same stage last season, in the middle of an unbeaten run that lasted from the second game of the season to mid-November.
JF’s chances of finding his feet have not been helped by the fact that during his first eight games in charge Clapton have played at home just twice. He also recently stated on twitter that he has only taken two training sessions with his players since arriving at The Old Spotted Dog. Fowell has given debuts to six new players since taking charge including two different goalkeepers, although Richie Robins seems to have now claimed that position since his first start.
While Clapton seem to have reached a more settled back line, key to any upturn in points must be finding a regular striker – since Jonny’s arrival, just one goal has been scored from a forward position, netted by the suddenly absent Roddy Lemba. Each of the other 9 goals scored by Clapton in the last month have come from midfield or defence. Centre back, Jamie Lyndon is currently top scorer during Fowell’s time in charge with 2 finishes.
Looking forward to the next eight matches, Clapton are at home just once, and only three times before Christmas. Currently sitting at a very familiar 7th in the table, The Tons are now 9 points off first place Barking, having played one game more. A continued run of a 50% return on points could see Jonny Fowell’s team marooned in mid table, with eight teams below Clapton in the league having games in hand. The result at second placed Hullbridge this afternoon could prove pivotal.
***EDIT – Following defeat to Hullbridge, Jonny Fowell marked his one month anniversary with Clapton with a 5th defeat in 9 leaving him with a points-to-game average of 1.5. The Tons slipping down to the lower reaches of the form table, the team have a five point cushion before losing their place in the top half of the league table.