BASILDON UNITED 2 CLAPTON 0: TONS FALTER IN SEASON OPENER

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Steven Sardinha reflects on a disappointing start to the season

Last season’s success saw star players such as Jonny Ashman, Dylan Ebengo and Jay Knight depart for clubs further up the pyramid.

That along with summer holidays for some senior squad members like Jerry Jairette and Nathan Cook (not to mention manager Jonny Fowell) meant deputies Andre Thomas and Ray Bartlett fielded a youthful starting line-up featuring five new faces.

If anything the hosts had more debutants than the Tons. However, the core of the home team had made the move with new managerial duo Marc Harrison and Liam Wallace from neighbouring Basildon Town following their Essex Olympian League Division One title last season.

And the Bees’ better understanding and cohesion made the step up seem easy as they dominated for pretty much the whole game.

Goals either side of half-time from Tommy Barton and Marcus Bowers were just reward for the 90 minutes of pressing that never allowed Clapton to find their stride.

New Tons’ striker Craig Heskey and Jeffrey Cobbiah, who’s been impressive in pre-season, barely got a sniff as the hosts bossed the midfield.

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Ryan Reed posing a rare Clapton threat at Basildon United

The only hint of a Clapton threat came from Ryan Reed, whose excellent cut back on 70 minutes was met well by Cobbiah, only to see his effort cleared off the line.

A goal would have masked the gulf between the teams on the day, though, and Clapton will be looking to put it down to early season adjustments as they head to Ilford, who themselves won 5-0 at Woodford Town in their opener.

After the game, full-back Lanre Vigo and assistant manager Andre Thomas tweeted their disappointment at starting the season so slowly.

The game also featured on the front page of the Non-League Paper.

The photographer at the game for the paper, ESA Photos, also uploaded 82 match photos to their website..

The Basildon local paper, the Echo, also published a match report with quotes from the jubliant victorious manager Marc Harrison.

Meanwhile the Newham Recorder gave Clapton’s defeat a quick mention in the Essex Senior League round-up.

Local blogger Andy Wilkins was also there and wrote up a lengthy match report.

And ground hopper John Lawton also took some match photos.

ATTENDANCE: 281.

CFC NEWS MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: RYAN REED.

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