Thursday 24 November 2011


Count the crowd competition??

And the players....Clapton start with just nine men
An official attendance of just twelve people was recorded on Tuesday night for the Essex Senior League game between Eton Manor and Clapton at Capershotts.

At kick off a quick headcount (it didn’t take long!!) by the cold end saw 18 people at Waltham Abbey for the big East London Derby between the two historic clubs.

For those not in the know, Eton Manor were formed in 1901 by the rich and influential  families of the likes of Barings, Villiers and Lord Chelsea for the benefit of bringing sport to the poor and underprivileged youth of the East End of London.  Manor played at various locations but eventually in the 1930’s settled on the sports-ground known as ‘The Wilderness’ on the Hackney Marshes . ‘The Wilderness’ stadium is now long gone but was located just off of Quarter Mile Lane which is just a stone’s throw from the new London 2012 Olympic Stadium. Maybe Eton Manor can lay claim to the being tenants?? Eton Manor have been members of the Essex Senior League since the mid 1970’s hopping between various grounds around East London and the Home Counties.  Enfield Town fans reading this will have some good memories of playing Manor at Wadham Lodge and Chadfields during our time in the Essex Senior League.  They have also played at Burnham Rambler’s Leslie Fields and Barking FC’s Mayesbrook Park of late but this season have been sharing at the home of Waltham Abbey.

This was the second Clapton FC game the cold end has seen this year – I was at the Old Spotted Dog in October to see an eventful game against Sawbridgeworth Town which ended 3-6.

This game had lots of talking points but didn’t contain as many goals as the Sawbo game.

Due to the amount of people in attendance it was a case of as the game started there were more players on the pitch than in the stands and on the sidelines. This was only just as The Tons started with only nine men and no substitutes.  Some of their players were delayed for an unknown reason to the cold end.

So the first half an hour or so was the eight outfield players and goalkeeper of Clapton defending and when they didn’t Manor’s poor finishing and the woodwork helped them out on one occasion. Manor deservedly made it 1-0 via a scrappy own-goal put into the net at the near post from a corner kick. Clapton, when with nine men, broke up field and troubled the Manor (who made a good save) keeper only once. As the half went on the Clapton bench became more and more animated as you’ll see from the video highlights. Eton Manor manager Kevin Durrant seemed a little frustrated that his 11 men were only 1-0 up against the 9 men and he had the shout of the night (possibly the season) which was 'we've got no time to go continental' when his side were passing the ball along their back line.

With about 5 minutes of the half left Clapton’s extra players turned up and came on to make up the numbers and they made it 1-1 just prior to the break much to the pleasure of their management and the small group of player’s friends who were now gathered in the stand by the tunnel.

The second half started with Manor scored a hotly disputed winning goal with a great strike from outside of the box.  The ball squeezed between a few players in the box including a Manor one who Clapton appealed was offside and interfering with play. After a swift consultation with his assistant the referee gave the goal.

The game finished with a somewhat bad tempered feel to it as both sides saw a man dismissed after firstly some pushing and shoving followed by a coming together of two players which the referee had to break-up.  Thankfully when the referee blew up for the end of the match it was handshakes all round.

The question is will Eton Manor get a lower crowd this season??  They have already recorded 10 for their game with Haringey and Waltham Development in October which is the equal lowest crowd in the ESL this season. The same figure saw the Southend Manor v Clapton game on the 6th August.  

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