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.

EX CLAPTON BOSS MOVES ON IN BIG ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE MANAGEMENT RESHUFFLE

Mike Walther is moving on again

Former Clapton manager Mike Walther has left Stansted after less than a season with the Essex Senior League club.

Walther, who was the Airportmen’s number two, has departed alongside manager Mark Ashford after guiding the club to eighth place last season.

Ashford has completed his UEFA ‘A’ badge and is set to be looking for a challenge higher up the pyramid.

It is understood Walther, who left the Tons in September, may have an offer from a club above the ESL for next season.

Stansted have moved to bring in Hannakins Farm management duo Paul Pittuck and assistant Mark Healy.

They had led the Essex Olympian League side to promotion and narrowly missed out on the title last season.

Also giving a deserved chance to promising coaches from the Essex Olympian League, which sits below the ESL in the pyramid, are Basildon United.

The Bees have poached manager Marc Harrison and assistant Liam Wallace from their crosstown rivals Basildon Town after they achieved the league and cup double.

Meanwhile Tony Ievoli, who left Ryman North side Brentwood Town late last season, is back in the Essex Senior League, taking over at basement club Haringey & Waltham.

Ievoli will be looking to replicate the success he enjoyed at Wadham Lodge, where he took the unfancied E17 club to sixth spot in their first ever Essex Senior League campaign.

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.