Hackney Wick 1 Clapton 2
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.
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 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
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…
#NonLeagueDay2017 with a 💥 #HackneyWickFC v #ClaptonFC in the big #EastLondon derby in the #EssexSeniorLeague – MONSTA crowd in force and the #ClaptonUltras turned out to swell the ranks in a 785 Att: This game was a bit of a no brainier and stood out from the other #NonLeague #Football games taking place in #London and #England today. #NonLeagueFootball #TheChickenBaltiChronicles #CaderFootball #ForestGate #E7 #OldSpottedDogGround – This is the oldest senior football #Stadium in London.
Jerry Jairette and Lanre Vigo posted their thoughts after the game.
CFC News man of the match: Gary Simmonds.