The two cup ties against Bowers has given Clapton supporters (such as myself) a chance to have a look at the 'new team' and to assess how we will fare this season.
Following 'Carnos Day at Haringey' and the narrow win against a poor Sporting Bengal team, it was not unreasonable to expect that Bowers would provide useful opposition.
The game at the Dog was fairly even but Bowers could not have complained if Clapton would have won the day had Ike's Nzurba's first half shot dropped under the crossbar inside of bouncing off the woodwork to safety. Also despite being hit early, the team recovered well and I am surprised that no credit was given for what was a superb equalising goal by Leon Lewis.. Instead of running at the defence of having a shy at the goal from 20 yards, Ike showed a lot of awareness in delivering a lovely 'dinked' cross which was met with a Leon's excellent controlled volley.
At the reply, I couldn't recall such an excellent presence of Clapton supporters in deepest Essex. Again the 'oiks' went over and above the call of duty in spurring the team on, much to the delight and admiration of the hosts.
The Clapton team responded well and, without wishing to give a blow by blow a match report, one has to mention a sublime individual goal by Martelli. Marvellous stuff, I nearly dropped my pork pie.
However, old timers like me might have been a bit confused by the referee's interpretation of the rules as regards the penalties, in particular the second one. The passage of play leading up tot he cross, which the Clapton player was adjudged to have handled, included a agricultural two footed tackle of which Ron 'Chopper' Harris would have been proud in the 1970s. We are led to believe that these are no longer permitted in the modern game, but play was allowed to continue in which the cross hit the Clapton player on the arm. Although the deliberate act is still mentioned in Law 12 of the FIFA rules, there is a modern interpretation that allows a referee to consider whether the player intended to block the ball. It refers to unnatural position of the arm. I considered that we were pretty unfortunate to have that award given against us, particularly after a dive of Tom Daley/dying swan proportions brought about the first penalty.
It's a old maxim that there will always be at least one manager, 11 players and loads of fans who will insist they have been hard done by and next time, it could be the opposition who raise this issue when we are the beneficiaries.
The penalty shoot out is a lottery and in my day there would have been a second replay. Sp I am recording this as a creditable 3-3 draw and looking forward to the lads going one better when we play Bowers later in the season.
Anyway, congratulations to Bowers and Pitsea FC, great hosts and nice people. I very much hope they continue to play the banner for the Essex Senior league in their match with Colney Heath in the next round.
Onto a more local venue on Saturday. Hopefully the lads can bounce back and grab three points. The fans, supporters and 'oiks' will undoubtedly be there and supporting the team but, as is the new mantra, 'Not The Regime'.
20th August 2014
email Lew Listz