Sunday 29th July 2018 – 1pm KO
Venue: London Marathon Community Ground, Stratford
2018 – 19 Season – Match 3
Scott W reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
On a drizzly & gusty afternoon in the near shadow of the massive Olympic stadium in East London, my latest pre-season friendly saw West Essex take on the newly-formed Clapton Community Football Club at the London Marathon Community Ground.
West Essex are limbering up for their third season in the Essex Senior League and the familar player ‘merry-go-round’ has seen them re-building somewhat after the loss of important players in the summer. Clapton CFC will start their journey in the Middlesex County League Division One, playing on the 3G pitch at the Wadham Lodge Complex in Kitchener Road – ironically re-tracing a similar path that their hosts here started before their rise up the footballing ladder.
Onto the match itself then and the frst thing you noticed was that the visitors were well-supported, as you might expect though transitions are a tricky thing to predict. That and the visitors arguably were the brighter starters here and Geoff Ocran’s side were awarded a penalty on five minutes after a lunging tackle in the area. Forward Tony Cookey stepped up though lofted his effort high above the woodwork.
The Stags gradually found their way into the game though their neat approach play wasn’t matched by clear-cut chances to get past goal-keeper Vlad Bendovsryy.
Clapton did have the ball in the net on 33 minutes through Tom Carding’s header from a corner though as the ball had swirled out of play on its way to the box, it was swiftly ruled out. West Essex took the lead two minutes later as midfielder Tom MacLeod made no mistake finishing off a decent move and Clapton Community ‘stopper Bendovsryy twice denied the hosts soon after.
Half-Time: West Essex 1 – 0 Clapton Community FC
After the break, the Stags seemed keen to add to their narrow lead and they did just that only three minutes in as MacLeod distracted the ‘keeper and the unfortunate Clapton defender put the ball into his own net.
Bendovsryy made up for the earllier error by pulling off a very good recovery save to deny the impressive MacLeod’s header just shy of the hour mark. Kwame Kwateng’s side did ‘go through the gears’ a bit going forward in the latter stages and in added-time, forward Emmanuel Obeng-Kouassi powered in a drive from MacLeod’s pass from a narrow angle to give the Stags their third goal of the afternoon.
All in all though, Clapton will feel heartened that they more than stayed in the game for long periods, partly through their work ethic and defending though they just didn’t quite have the final ball needed to undo the Stags defensive line on a regular basis.
Full-Time: West Essex 3 – 0 Clapton CFC
Best wishes to both sides for the forthcoming campaign.