Embed from Getty Images

Needham Market chairman Mark Morsley has praised the Clapton fans for their non-stop singing from outside the ground during the recent FA Cup clash.

Members of Real Clapton FC called for a boycott of games while chief executive Vince McBean tries to liquidate the club’s historic Old Spotted Dog in the high court. The Clapton Ultras fan group are respecting the decision, meaning games are being played in front of very sparse attendances.

But around 100 Tons supporters gathered outside to watch the game over the fence and sing in support of the team in their third FA Cup tie of the season.

Vastly experienced Morsley, who moved upstairs at the end of last season after a 19-year management career, admits he’d never seen anything like it before.

Speaking on the Mid Kent Mental Isthmian Show, Morsley said: “It was quite an experience, I have to say.

“Something happened that I’ve never seen before. Basically in previous games they’ve had a lot of supporters there. They’ve had a row with the owner now and all sorts.

“I was sitting in the stands and this guy who’s been watching them 30 years, really nice fella, tells us the story about these young people.

It’s a banana skin as well. Not the greatest pitch in the world.

“We’ve been playing for 15 minutes and all this noise breaks out. I’m thinking, is it a riot or something?

“At the far end, there’s this wall, with a big fence in front, and there must have been 100 supporters popping up, climbing up and all sorts.

“And they sing the whole game. I thought, fair play to them. The owner was walking by and he was getting a bit of grief.

“This guy in the stands says he thinks there is some skulduggery going on.

“Once we got the first goal it was fairly comfortable. To be fair, when our team went off, we
won 3-0… all these lads are cheering us, clapping us and saying well played.

“They played Clacton away in the FA Cup and they brought about 150. And they had the atmosphere, no trouble, just a right good craic.”



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.


Come on you planters #magicofthecup

A post shared by Alex PB (@alexbaynham) on

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.


Clapton fans viewing the game through the fence due to the boycott called by members of Real Clapton FC.

In the build-up to Saturday’s FA Cup preliminary round game at the Old Spotted Dog, manager Jonny Fowell was in the papers talking about his scouting mission to East Anglia to check out Saturday’s opponents, Norwich United, the week before.

One of the key differences between his team and Isthmian North opponents, he told the Newham Recorder, was on-field leadership.

By the end of the game, the manager will have been delighted with the return on his daytrip to Soham. Clapton won with an assurance that made you wonder if Fowell’s remarks were aimed precisely at getting a reaction from his side.

Till the weekend, Clapton’s standout performance this season had been the classy 4-1 win at Ilford. Like then, Saturday saw them go into the game as the outside bet. And like then, Clapton saw Jerry Jairette available again to run things in midfield.

The outcome of both games were uncannily similar, with the Tons absorbing long spells of first-half dominance from technically solid opponents before first stealing the lead and then shutting the game down.

And while captain’s shifts from Jairette were crucial in both matches, it is the energy and confidence that courses through the rest of the team in his presence that won both so stylishly.

This time Jerry was aided and abetted by Nathan Cook, making his first start of the season after some frustrating preseason niggles.

This and the speed and industry of fullbacks Lanre Vigo and Tayo Awoderu freed up Steven Sardinha and the livewire Ryan Reed to play their probing games.

But perhaps the biggest revelations were the huge performances by young centrebacks Zach Miller and man of the match, Quincy Egbejale.

Thanks to Fowell’s reconnaissance, Clapton knew to expect a physical game from Norwich focussing on their powerful attack pairing.

But Egbejale was equal to the lot with a commanding, competitive showing – probably his best in the red and white yet.

He might even have given the Tons the lead, hitting the side netting after a corner, but that honour went to Raphael Duyile, slamming home after a cheekily improvised free-kick routine on 42 minutes.

Clapton might have expected an onslaught from the visitors after the break. It never came. Rather the team continued to grow in stature.

And while it took a goalkeeping horrorshow to set up debutant Ikem Odeh for the clincher on 69 minutes, the second goal just confirmed the inevitable and notched another notable record in the club’s recent revival.

At the final whistle the players made straight for the gates to celebrate with supporters, who once again had amassed outside to provide vocal support from over the fences.

The joy was palpable, and the celebration a reminder of why the effort it worth it.

Fans, players and staff alike can agree that it was a reward made all the sweeter by the and sacrifices made.

Further reading

As you’d expect for an FA Cup tie, there was more interest in the game than usual. So there was a match report in the Non-League Paper…

The two respective local papers, Newham Recorder, and Eastern Daily Press, both reported on the game.

The Clapton FC website also carried a match report, while there was a gallery of photos on its Facebook page.

Posted by Clapton FC on Saturday, August 19, 2017

Meanwhile the game was mentioned in round-ups by the Unofficial ESL website, the Your Thurrock and Pitchero,

Finally, professional photographer Gavin Ellis published a great gallery of pictures.

Attendance: Declared at 122, counted at maximum 78.

CFC News man-of-the-match: Quincy Egbejale


After beating Norwich United 2-0 on Saturday, Clapton have been drawn at home to Needham Market of the Isthmian League Premier Division in the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round, due to be played on Saturday 2nd September.

The Marketmen currently sit 11th in the Bostik Premier with 4 points from 3 games. Last season they finished 9th – just 3 points off the Play-Offs to be promoted to the National League South.

As we reported yesterday, it is the first time since the 2005/06 season The Tons have reached the First Qualifying Round. However, as members of Isthmian League Division 2 at the time, Clapton hadn’t had to play in the Extra Preliminary Qualifying Round as they do now. We succumbed 4-2 away to Cogenhoe United that season.

If Clapton beat Needham Market, it will be the first time The Tons have reached the 2nd Qualifying Round since the 1998/99 season when we lost 1-0 at home to Purfleet. Winning will mean £3,000 in prize money, on top of the £3,425 already awarded from the FA Prize Fund for winning in the Extra Preliminary and Preliminary Qualifying rounds.


Clapton take on QPR in 1957/8

Clapton’s current crop of players continue to make history, this time in the FA Cup, after winning through two rounds for the first time in 14 years against FC Clacton and Norwich United.

Two seasons ago, the Tons lifted their first silverware for 27 years with the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy win. Last season they won the runners-up shield with the best league finish in 34 years.

Now they’ve got the FA Cup in their sights. In fact this season the Tons have won as many FA Cup games as they have in the last decade in total – ‘away’ at London Bari last season and in a replay at Stanway Rovers in 2013.

That season was notable, however, for the BT Sports cameras being there for the original Stanway tie at the Old Spotted Dog, which finished 0-0. You can watch that here.

Clapton FC 0 Stanway Rovers 0. FA Cup Preliminary Round, Old Spotted Dog Ground, London E7

It was the most glamorous moment in Tons’ FA Cup history since facing Barnet, in 1990/1, the season the Bees won the Conference title and were promoted to the Football League for the first time.

The game was switched to Dagenham’s ground after Barnet chairman Stan Flashman complained that the Old Spotted Dog was unsuitable for a large crowd and the police and football authorities agreed.


The line-ups for Clapton v Barnet

So it kicked off at the Victoria Ground at noon on a Sunday and ended a creditable 2-0 to Barry Fry’s visitors, who featured several players who went on to decent league careers. You can read a longer report of that game on the Clapton history blog here.

In the quarter century since then, perhaps our most notable opponents have been two good Isthmian sides – Braintree Town, a 5-0 defeat away on their march up the leagues, and Hendon, which saw a 3-2 home defeat.

Clapton now find themselves in the First Qualifying Round after the 2-0 victory over Norwich United. The last time the Tons reached the Second Qualfying Round was nearly 20 years ago, when Purfleet (now renamed Thurrock) knocked them out.

If the Tons were to win their First Qualifying Round game, due to take place on September 2, it’d be only the third time in the club’s history to have won three FA Cup games.

The last time that happened was also the last occasion Clapton reached the First Round, in 1957. Division 3 South side Queens Park Rangers needed a replay before winning 3-1, despite featuring England goalkeeper Ron Springett.

The furthest the club has ever gone in the cup is the Third Round, once, in 1926/7, which also featured a major giant killing. The Tons started in the First Round, knocking out Norwich City of Division 3 South 3-1 at the OSD in front of 4000 fans, despite playing most of the game with ten men. Here’s a longer read on that.



The line-ups for Clapton v Norwich City

They then despatched local rivals Ilford, before losing 3-2 to Swindon Town of Division 3 South in a game switched to West Ham’s Upton Park which attracted an astonishing 27.100 fans.

The most famous FA Cup moment involving the Tons, however, came in 1891. Clapton’s 14-0 (FOURTEEN) hammering at Dog against Nottingham Forest is still the heaviest home defeat in FA Cup history.


Clapton narrowly won the FA Cup phonetic derby at Clacton thanks to a first goal for the club by Anton Stephenson.

The former Aveley assistant manager and Bethnal Green United boss is concentrating on playing this season and scored on his first start for the Tons early in the second half.

The Tons players arrived at the Essex seaside early to enjoy the beano – including a hilariously mistimed punch  – and the local public also took a shine to them asking for pics.



The Tons face higher league opposition in the next round as Norwich United – who finished 9th in the Isthmian North last season – visit the Old Spotted Dog on August 19.

A victory would see Clapton reach the first qualifying round for the first time since 2005/6 and there is £1,925 prize money up for grabs.


The FC Clacton club website featured a good write-up, which said: “Despite putting in a performance which deserved greater rewards, the first team bowed out of the FA Cup at the Bowl on Saturday afternoon, a single, first-half goal the difference between the two sides as Clapton progressed to a Preliminary Round tie with Norwich United in a fortnight’s time.

“So not quite the result which we were looking for, but we’d nonetheless like to thank everybody who attended the match.

“We were delighted to meet a number of new fans and first time visitors to the Bowl before, during and after the game, and we hope that you all enjoyed your time with us and we look forward to hopefully seeing you again in the future.

“We’d also like to thank the Clapton Ultras for their support of their club on the afternoon and for adding to the occasion. We wish you and your club the very best both in the next round and for the rest of the season.”


The Newham Recorder featured a short report on the game, noting: “Anton Stephenson’s goal ensured a happy day beside the seaside for Clapton as they booked a place in the preliminary round of the FA Cup.”

It added: “Emmanuel Olajide made a brave save at the feet of the FC Clacton striker when clean through on goal… and the visitors had Olajide to thank for two more impressive saves in the second half.”

The Clacton & Frinton Gazette also mentioned the game in their weekend round-up.

The day’s captain, Kristian Haighton, and other players had their say afterwards.




The FA Vase draw was announced today but Clapton are already through to the first round proper

Clapton have been drawn away at FC Clacton in the FA Cup extra preliminary round.

The trip to the Essex seaside to face the Eastern Counties League club, who play at the same level as Clapton, will be on August 5th, the week after the Essex Senior League campaign begins.

If the Tons get through that, they’ll earn £1,500, then face Norwich United at home in the preliminary round two weeks later, August 19th.

Get past the Isthmian League North side and there’s just another 12 wins before we see Jerry Jairette lift the FA Cup trophy at Wembley.

Meanwhile Clapton did not feature in the FA Vase draw after being handed a bye to the first round proper for finishing in the top 4 in the Essex Senior League. They will make their debut on October 21st.

The Tons are also in the FA Youth Cup, and will travel away to Thurrock or Aveley during the week of September 18th.

Last season the team was withdrawn days before their tie due to lack of players, following the axing of the club’s youth system, but New Revolution Sports have stepped in to relaunch it now.

All three draws were made today behind closed doors at the FA HQ and published online this lunchtime.