Hackney Wick 1 Clapton 2

785 at the Old Spotted Dog as the Tons win 2-1 ‘away’ at Hackney Wick

Goals from Jeffrey Cobblah and Hassan Nablani sealed three hard-won points for Clapton against Hackney Wick on Saturday.

And the result crowned an emotional day for the massed Clapton Ultras who, joined by Wick fans and a good number of Non League Day visitors, made up the second-highest Step 5 attendance on the day.

With Clapton fans’ boycott of home games ongoing, this was a rare opportunity for the Tons to get out of the alley and back on the Scaffold safe in the knowledge that their club’s current proprietor would not receive any gate receipts from this game.

The weekend also marked the fifth anniversary of the Clapton Ultras who, joined by friends and allies from all across Europe and closer to home, celebrated in characteristic style.

And it was the jubilant scenes and full-throated support that the Ultras and their guests from all around Europe created which saw the Essex Senior League clash make the news, with top-billing in Non League Day round-ups by the BBC and the Guardian to name just two.

The game itself was a well-contested derby despite both sides showing wholesale changes from their last fixtures.

Clapton had two more debutants in young striker Nead Clarke, and the commanding centre-half Gary Simmonds.

Cobblah gave the ‘visitors’ the lead around the half-hour, converting after a wicked bounce deceived Wick ‘keeper Steven French, before Nalbani doubled the advantage from the spot on the hour.

In between the Tons wasted a series of chances, but were clinging on by the end after Jamie Hardwick’s well-taken effort.

Yet it was the crowd that made the headlines, especially in the context of the Ultras’ unwavering boycott.

The official gate of 785 was the largest the Ultras have ever been part of, home or away, and ten times more than the next best ESL attendance that day.

Remarkably it was alsp more than double the total number of people who have attended all six of Clapton’s league games so far this season.

Happily, half of the gate receipts – a whopping £1575 – is being donated by Hackney Wick to Scope. A great and generous gesture.

The result lifts Clapton back into the top 10 ahead of the visit of title-favourites Great Wakering.

The Ultras will have to make the memory last, at least until the trip to Mile End stadium to face Sporting Bengal on 18 October.

Match reports

The match was given prominence on the BBC’s round-up of Non-League Day, giving a quick background on the court battle over the liquidation of the Old Spotted Dog and subsequent boycott.

On the fans, it added: “The Ultras returned… Their presence seemed to galvanise their idols.”

The Guardian also reported on the game, both on their minute-by-minute live match coverage and also in their league and non-league round-up.

The Newham Recorder also gave the game a short write-up and also had 13 top quality match photos.

Blogger Gareth Platt wrote up his experience, admitttjng the ‘standard of football wasn’t as bad as he feared’ and the match experience was ‘brilliant.’

Video and photos

Lots of views of the penalty

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But none of the other goals yet. Here’s a bit of footage of the teams arriving though…

And there were loads of pictures taken from the stands…


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Amateur linesman, professional stance #claptonfc

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Jerry Jairette and Lanre Vigo posted their thoughts after the game.

CFC News man of the match: Gary Simmonds.

Attendance: 785.



Linesman is held back by Takeley players after a flashpoint with the Clapton bench

Three red cards, two goals and one linesman being restrained – Clapton’s defeat at unbeaten Takeley was certainly packed with incident.

There were debuts for Wilkinson Boateng – our fifth different goalkeeper already this season – and experienced midfielder Lee Flavin as well as a first league start for midfielder Andy Greenslade.

Greenslade and Boateng, along with fellow new recruit Hassan Nalbani, are all former Hackney Wick players seemingly brought to the club by their former manager Chris Davis, who has recently joined Clapton’s ever-expanding coaching set-up.

The most eye-catching team news, however, was that last season’s player of the year, Johnny Ashman, was making his first appearance of the season. Johnny is dual registered between Cheshunt and Clapton but this was the first time he wasn’t needed for the Step 4 side.

A promising first half saw the Tons matching Takeley and Ashman making things tick, slotting back in as if he’d never been away.

Then with virtually the last move of the half, Takeley slung a free-kick to the back post and huge striker Stuart Zanone was lurking unmarked to head home.

As the players trudged off on the whistle, manager Jonny Fowell collared the officials, insisting that the free-kick should never have been awarded in the first.

The goal itself was captured on video below:

In the second half, Fowell was forced to watch from the main stand rather than the dugout apparently after being shown a red card for dissent at some stage.

Takeley sat back and protected their lead in the second half, allowing Clapton to press. Early on a glorious header was pushed just over the bar as the visiting Tons sensed an equaliser.

However, within minutes Takeley swept up the other end on a counter-attack, and a good ball threaded through to Mitchell Das was finished from close range.

Game over, essentially, though it became increasingly tetchy, with Takeley getting five yellow cards of their own. And then it boiled up into the extraordinary moment when a linesman had to be dragged away from an altercation.

In the last minutes Clapton centre-half Dylan Ebengo was sent off after a second yellow card. Our understanding is that subbed-off Aundre Spencer threw a water bottle against the dugout in frustration. Here some people claim the water squirted out and went on to or near to the linesman. Others claim the bottle itself bounced in his direction.

Whichever version is correct, it led to the young lino dashing over and standing eyeball-to-eyeball to Spencer. Several Takeley players stepped in to pull him away.

Spencer was shown the red card, the linesman calmed down and the last few moments ticked down without incident.

Match reports

Just a short report in the Newham Recorder for this one.


Clapton FC News spoke to assistant manager Andre Thomas and midfielder Johnny Ashman straight after the game

Manager Jonny Fowell gave his reaction to Jacob Ranson of the Newham Recorder later.

Meanwhile captain Lanre Vigo – stepping in for the injured Jerry Jairette – spoke of his pride.

CFC News man of the match: Johnny Ashman.

Attendance: 145.


Wadham Lodge 0 Clapton 4

The Tons sauntered to a routine 4-0 away win against a new-look Wadham Lodge in the Errington Cup in torrential conditions up in Walthamstow.

Two first-half goals for Aundre Spencer were followed up with strikes from Hassan Nalbani and Jeffrey Cobblah after the interval.

Debutant Andy Greenslade in midfield caught the eye. Relished the flat, zippy pitch and had a Nathan Cook-style presence

It was the first game the Clapton Ultras had attended (inside the ground at least) for over a month after a run of five straight home games. So it made the fans even noisier and the celebrations even sweeter.

The Tons will play Basildon United at home in the next round. Date to be announced.

Match reports

The brilliant non-league blogger known as ‘the Cold End’ was there and wrote that “Wadham had a decent spell during the second half playing some good football but never really created any clear cut goal scoring opportunities.”

On the bond between Clapton players and Ultras, he added: “it really is something that just can’t be replicated further up the football pyramid. ”

Groundhopper Louis Maughan also wrote of his experience at the game, singling out one player for special praise: “Powerful number 9, Hassan Nalbani, in particular was a constant threat.”

Video and photos

The Cold End also uploaded a highlights package of the game – though only managed to catch two of the four goals due to the distraction of rain and the Ultras.








After the game, we caught up with ex-Tons coach Ray Bartlett, who had just left Clapton and straight away been offered as job as assistant at Wadham Lodge.

He hadn’t started working with them yet but saw some grounds for optimism. He also went into more detail on his departure from Clapton.

Several other players tweeted their reaction after the game..


CFC News man of the match: Andrew Greenslade.

Attendance: 133.



Another quiet night at the Old Spotted Dog as Clapton slip to defeat

Battling Clapton were edged out in an end-to-end game but in truth impressive visitors West Essex deserved the 4-3 win that puts them top of the league.

Missing Nathan Cook, out for six weeks after breaking his collarbone, and Ryan Reed, who has twisted a knee in training, the Tons looked lighter up top.

However, winger Jeffrey Cobblah, Clapton’s top scorer this season after an Ilford hat-trick, returned to the line-up after recovering from injury of his own.

With first-choice goalkeeper Emmanuel Olajide also still out, summer signing Ignas Budvytis made his debut in goal.

While Clapton have started the season sluggishly, West Essex have improved massively since a decent debut Essex Senior season last year, and also boast the league’s highest scorer in Michael Mignot.

It was that man Mignot who scored a brilliant hat-trick to take his tally to 10, but Clapton stayed in the game with two Steven Sardinha penalties and a Jeffrey Cobblah goal straight from the restart.

1-1 – First Sardinha penalty

2-3 to West Essex

3-3 – Second Sardinha penalty

3-4 to West Essex

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📹 | @midgemigs makes it 4-3!

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No one can fault the effort of the patched-up Tons side right now, but they’re not looking like repeating last season’s second place finish.

That’s understandable as several key players from last season’s runners-up side have moved on to paid football, while the uncertainty over the future of the historic Old Spotted Dog ground and the absence of fans at home games hasn’t helped.

For West Essex, it was a historic night and an ’emotional’ Dan Reading told CFC News: “When we first decided to apply for promotion back in 14/15, I started watching a lot of ESL games and was something of a regular at the OSD.

“I’ve always loved the ground and its extraordinary history. The extra dimension the Ultras have added in recent years has turned it into one of the best non-league days out around.

“Playing in front of a crowd of that size is such a buzz for players and fans alike. Like a cup final without a trophy if you will.

“Winning there last night was a special moment, but doing so when only being able to see the tops of the majority of the supporters heads made it feel perhaps a little hollow.

“Anyone that was present inside or outside the ground would surely agree that it was a magnificent advert for grassroots football and the ESL.”

Match reports

Here’s what the Newham Recorder and the Unofficial ESL website made of the game.

CFC News man of the match: Steven Sardinha.

Attendance: Declared at 47, head count and these pics show 22. Seems that the official figure is routinely doubled now.


The Clapton players receive the applause after hanging on for a 1-0 win against Burnham Ramblers

Ten-man Clapton had to dig deep for a 1-0 win at home to Burnham Ramblers on Saturday courtesy of a first-half goal, some dogged defending and a debut penalty save.

But the first home league victory of the season was overshadowed by the news that playmaker Nathan Cook could be set for a lengthy lay-off after sustaining a broken collarbone.

Cook scored twice against Burnham in last season’s final-day 7-0 win against the Ramblers, and not unusually the midfielder had been Clapton’s greatest threat prior to his injury.

It’s ironic, then, that it was his replacement, striker Ikem Odeh, who struck the only goal of the game with virtually his first touch on 41 minutes.

And while Odeh seemed to pick up the baton in leading Clapton’s forward forays, the hosts never looked like repeating last season’s closing day demolition job.

And in the end, they were grateful to debutant goalkeeper Mark Kavanagh’s strong left hand as he repelled a Burnham penalty caught on video below:

From that point the red card shown to centreback Quincy Egbejale following the penalty incident gave the visitors a foothold they had barely merited up to that point.

And in the end the points were ground out thanks to Kavanagh’s heroics and a defence led by Dylan Ebengo on his first showing of the season following his dual registration with Cheshunt.

Yet as welcome as the points are, Cook’s injury took the shine of the day.

The severity of Cook’s injury was obvious as coach Ray Bartlett assisted a clearly uncomfortable Cook from the pitch.

Bartlett told Clapton FC News: “He got sandwiched between two guys, Nick [Loblack, another Clapton new boy] and one of their players, landed on his shoulder awkward and fractured it.

“I could tell it was broken when I ran on and looked. He said he didn’t have much feeling in his arm.

“I couldn’t take his top off so used it as a sling and pinned it up, till he got to hospital.”

Cook is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks and his injury seems likely to impact on his ability to do his job as a teacher for a while – a reminder of the risks players at this level of football face just for the joy of playing.

We wish Nathan a speedy recovery.

Match reports

With another tiny attendance, and bigger games elsewhere particularly in the FA Cup, there wasn’t much written about the game elsewhere.

Blogger John Fist visited but chose to watch the game outside with the Clapton fans. While he thought the game was “appalling”, he added that “the footballing experience was as much fun as John Fist has had in a long time.” Read his report here.

The Newham Recorder also wrote a short report which you can read here,


Players and coaches

Assistant manager Andre Thomas spoke to George Sessions of the Newham Recorder, admitting: “It was not one of the prettiest games for the fans who were watching through the gates or anyone else inside the ground and not for the players on both sides either, but it was all about the result.”

Debutant Mark Kavanagh was understandably delighted with his clean sheet and penalty save.

Aundre Spencer was also happy with his assist and the battling win.

CFC News man of the match: Ikem Odeh.

Attendance: Head count at 35, officially declared at 67.


Clapton fans are boycotting games and watching outside – this is the view when trying to view from outside the Spotted Dog gates

Needham Market were given a fright by the Tons, who edged it for the first hour before the visitors who play two leagues higher finally broke through.

As an FA Cup tie, it was well covered, as you can see below.

Match reports

The Newham Recorder’s Jacob Ranson was at the Old Spotted Dog to report on the match, noting that the “Tons dominated possession in the first-half.”

Visiting Needham Market fan Mark Valladares wrote a great blog about the game and his visit to the Old Spotted Dog, saying that “Clapton were enthusiastic, if a bit erratic… it looked for all the world as though they would take the lead.”

And the Needham Market FC website also carried a good match report by Mark Easlea. who also praised the home team for the first half showing but noted “Clapton… continue to have greater problems off the field than on it.”

The Non-League Paper also carried a short match report by David Ballheimer:


Getty Images sent a photographer, Alex Pantling, to take photos of the game. Here they are in batches of five – click left/right to scroll through:

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

A couple of visiting football fans also posted some photos and video clips.


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Players and coaches

We spoke to captain Jerry Jariette after the game on Facebook Live about the positive performance and disappointing result. Watch the video below.

Manager Jon Fowell, interviewed by Jacob Ranson of the Newham Recorder, said: “I thought we were the much better team for seventy minutes. We could have been two or three up before they even scored.”

And Ryan Reed was happy with the performance.

CFC News man of the match: Ryan Reed.

Attendance: Declared by Clapton at 143, head count at around half that.


A stirring second half comeback for the Tons grabbed a point

Clapton battled back from 2-0 down at half-time to grab a point thanks to a wonder long-range strike from Steven Sardinha and a neat finish from returning winger Aundre Spencer.

In front of a very sparse crowd as the fans continue to boycott – no more than 30 inside the Old Spotted Dog – the Sardinha goal was the main talking point with the distance estimated between 35 and 50 yards,

Here’s what we found on the game:

Match reports

In his match report, Jacob Ranson of the Newham Recorder judged the Sardinha worldie as 50 yards out.

The Waltham Forest FC website reprinted the report from Harry Gray of the Waltham Forest Guardian, also put the Sardinha goal at 50 yards.

The Clapton FC website published a rare match report, which noted a change in formation at half-time had led to a fightback and admitted it was “a fair result for both teams” and a “quiet night.”

Photos and videos

Players and coaches

CFC News man of the match: Steven Sardinha,

Attendance: Nothing declared yet, head count at about 25 to 30,