TRUE CLAPTON LEGEND ANDRE THOMAS LEAVES TO STEP UP TO BOSTIK LEAGUE

Andre Thomas pictured at Takeley last month

Coach Andre Thomas has left Clapton after landing the assistant manager’s job at Bostik North side Barking.

A hugely popular figure with  players and fans, Andre spent two silverware-laden years with Clapton as coach, assistant manager and also as caretaker manager.

However, he had recently been shunted from assistant manager to first team coach as Jonny Fowell brought in Colin Reid as head coach and Wayne Seal as assistant manager.

Barking have moved quickly to offer Andre a step up a division as well as being restored to assistant manager level.

The Blues announced the news on Saturday night – in the wake of Clapton’s fine home win against high-flying Great Wakering.

Their statement described Andre as “a passionate and dedicated football man who’s a student of the game. He’s willing to learn and progress by developing his skills and obtain new ones in the process.”

He will be number two to manager Justin Gardner, formerly of Aveley and Billericay Town .

More details to follow…

 

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ILFORD 1 CLAPTON 4: TONS BOUNCE BACK WITH DERBY DAY THRASHING – MATCH REPORT AND WATCH ALL THE GOALS

 

Clapton taking on Ilford under the floodlights at the Cricklefield Stadium

Hats off to Jeffrey Cobblah. That’s one way to start your story.

It’s not unusual for players to arrive at Clapton without much more than a coach’s hunch and a chain of tweets to give you any idea what kind of player they might be. There’s no shame in this. Step 5 football is off the radar. That’s part of the charm.

Take Johnny Ashman. Last season was his first in senior football. Google his name 12 months ago and you get nothing, or thereabouts. Now he’s scoring for Isthmian North club Cheshunt and has left behind a lot of fans, some half-decent songs and a pretty big hole in the Clapton line-up.

Into that gap – the same No11 shirt, in fact – has stepped Jeffrey Cobblah. “Skillful & pacey winger,” said the club’s official Twitter.

Google his name, though, and there’s not much to go on. In fact, already it’s dominated by links to local reports about this very performance. Maybe he’s already writing his story himself.

An emphatic hat-trick against local rivals who are, reportedly, spending big to clinch the title is a statement and a half.

And while the 4-1 result perhaps slightly flatters Clapton, Cobblah’s performance deserves all the plaudits.

As Dre Thomas (still deputising for the holidaying Jonny Fowell) told the Newham Recorder, there was a hint of Arjen Robben in the way the left-footed winger cut in off the right wing.

He had already clipped the bar with one from outside the box before his next pop, via a slight deflection, gave the Tons the lead at the break.

Cobblah’s first goal:

By that point the ex-Clapton striker (and Downs FC star) Khadean Campbell had struck the post when it was still 0-0, and Ilford would have taken the first half on points easily were it not for Cobblah’s effort.

However Clapton’s new winger put the hosts on the canvass with his other two.

First he capitalised on an airkick by a Foxes centre-back to dink it past the on-rushing ‘keeper.

Cobblah’s second goal

And then he wrapped up a lovely passing move, slamming home following Rafa Duyile’s backheel.

Game over.

Cobblah’s third goal

The ground for the win was laid by a Clapton performance completely unrecognisable from Saturday. Once again Jerry Jairette was pivotal, restored to midfield and dictating the tempo for the visitors alongside the industrious Kristian Haighton.

Eman Olajide was, if anything, busier in goal than against shot-shy Basildon, but was equal to everything, making one outrageous save at 2-0, going full length to deny James Peagram, making his home debut after switching from ESL champions Barking.

Olajide was denied the clean sheet his heroics deserved when Peagram converted a late penalty, before Ryan Reed got the Tons’ fourth from another spotkick – arguably just desserts for carrying the team on Saturday.

James Peagram’s penalty

Ryan Reed’s penalty

But Cobblah’s hattrick rightly got the attention – and in front of a watching Johnny Ashman, as it happens.

In fact, Ashman revealed to fans he is still available to play for Clapton thanks to his dual registration with Cheshunt.

For now, his shirt looks like it’s being well taken care of.

Cobblah got a nasty-looking cut to the side of his face for his troubles, but he is now joint top scorer in the ESL.

Essex football expert Dan Wilson was there and caught all the goals on camera, which you can see above.

The Newham Recorder’s Jacob Ranson was also there, noting in his match report that “electric winger Jeffrey Cobblah proved too much for the Ilford defence”.

And after the game he also grabbed an interview with assistant manager Andre Thomas, who compared Cobblah to wingers Robben or Duff while also picking out keeper Emmanuel Olajide for praise.

Jacob also interviewed opposition manager Allan Fenn, who was disappointed at a ‘lack of fight’ from his players as he looks for 2 or 3 more signings. But he also praised Tons keeper Olajide too for saving a couple of worldies.

Finally he also uploaded this YouTube video of the players celebrating with the visiting fans on the open terrace at Cricklefield.

Something that Dan Wilson also filmed and tweeted.

Football blogger Richard Brock was also at the game and posted a gallery of 62 pictures.

Meanwhile over on the Unofficial ESL website, Pete Dudley wrote of Clapton’s “thumping win” in his round-up of midweek action.

Many of the players also had their say afterwards.

 

ATTENDANCE: Unknown

CFC NEWS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jeffrey Cobblah

 

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.

CLAPTON FANS’ END OF SEASON AWARDS – THE RESULTS

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Pape Diagne received a special King Pape crown

 

After Clapton soundly beat Burnham 7-0 in their last game of the 2016/2017 season, fans joined the team on the pitch to see the Tons receive the Essex Senior League runners-up shield.

While there are still a few remaining fixtures to be played in the league, Clapton secured the second place spot with 92 points, 7 more than third place FC Romania who have one remaining fixture to play.

After the league award, the Ultras handed out their player awards for the season. 208 people voted across four categories: Most Improved Player, Goal of the Year, Best Player of the Year and Ultras Favourite Player of the Year.

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Geoff Ocran with his special award

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Andre Thomas collecting his special award

As the Clapton team had a lot of new faces this season, it was not surprising that almost all of the winners were collecting their Ultras awards for the first time.

 

 

 

 

Injured Clapton goalkeeper Pape Diagne, departing captain Geoff Ocran and assistant manager Andre Thomas were also recognised with special awards.

Each winner received a variety of prizes, including a one of a kind t-shirt designed by a Footy Ultra, depicting Steven Sardinha’s Wadham Lodge goal.

Most Improved Player

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For the Most Improved Player award, centre-back Quincy Egbejale came in third and midfielder Steven Sardinha came in second.

The winner was midfielder Ryan Reed, who started 22 games, had 33 appearances and scored 7 goals this season.

Reed was pivotal in creating chances and towards the end of the season, the combination of Reed and Ashman, with Jay Knight up front, was one of the most promising attacking presences we’ve ever seen at Clapton.

First place: Ryan Reed – 17%
Second place: Steven Sardinha – 16%
Third place: Quincy Egbejale – 12%

Goal of the Year

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Clapton scored 95 goals this season, so it was difficult to pick a favourite for Goal of the Year.

In third place, Nathan Cook’s recent Barca-esque goal against Enfield at home (6-2) in the 62nd minute on April 8th came in third.

Johnny Ashman’s last minute game deciding belter at Stansted (2-3) on January 7th in the 95th minute came in second.

In first place was a goal so lovely that it inspired a Footy Ultra, Clapton Ultras junior division, to draw a re-enactment.

The winner was of course, Steven Sardinha’s 48th minute goal at Wadham Lodge (0-2) on October 5th last year.

Sardinha beat 3 players from the edge of the box and then smashed it into the top corner of the goal, much to the delight of the Ultras who had gone behind the attacking goal that half.

First place: Wadham Lodge v Clapton (0-2) Steven Sardinha 48’ – 05/10/16 – 51%
Second place: Stansted v Clapton (2-3) Johnny Ashman 90+5’ – 07/01/17 – 22%
Third place: Clapton v Enfield (6-2) Nathan Cook 62’ – 08/04/17 – 15%

Best Player of the Year

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For Best Player of the Year, all three winners put on the Clapton shirt for the first time this season.

Second place was a tie between Ryan Reed and Steven Sardinha.

As winger Johnny Ashman quickly became a fan favourite this season, and already has two different songs that are sung about him, it was no surprise that he won the best player accolade.

Johnny had more appearances than anyone else on the team with 46 and started all but two games.

He scored ten goals, and is generally seen racing down the wing, beating players and creating chance after chance for the Tons.
First place: Johnny Ashman – 43%
Second place: (tie) Ryan Reed and Steven Sardinha – 12%

Ultras Favourite Player of the Year

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The Clapton Ultras Fan Favourite award is given to the Ton who best represents the spirit and passion of Clapton.

Third place went to the increasingly popular Steven Sardinha and second place went to last year’s winner and constant fan favourite, Nathan Cook.

First place was an easy one for people to select this year, our captain Jerry Jairette.

Not only has Jerry put in ten years service as a Ton, he’s one of those rare players that can play almost any position, and often had to this year as we went through a rotation of goalkeepers.

When he’s not on the pitch, Jerry also makes an effort to reach out to the fans.

Even during the mid-season boycott, he would make a point to come out and talk to supporters.

First place: Jerry Jairette – 45%
Second place: Nathan Cook – 12%
Third place: Steven Sardinha – 10%

FA VASE REPLAY DEBUT FOR NEW BOSS – AND LEAGUE GAME POSTPONEMENT

Clapton’s fixture against Basildon United this week has been postponed due to our FA Vase replay.

The Tons will be facing Hertford Town this Tuesday (September 13th) instead after Saturday’s 0-0 AET draw at Hertingfordbury Park.

The cup game is due to be new manager Jonny Fowell’s first game in charge following Andre Thomas’ five game stint as caretaker manager.

Thomas said after the game: “Proud to say I was the manager of Clapton FC.

“5 Games I learnt from, enjoyed, and hopefully made an impact. #Tons”

The Bas game, which was scheduled for Tuesday, has yet to be rearranged.