Back in the sunny days of September, before the world’s media at the height of away shirt mania, Clapton CFC took to the pitch for our first ever competitive match against Ealing Town FC.
In a hard-fought encounter in Acton, the Tons came back from a goal down to secure a win on the opening day of the Middlesex County Football League season.
This Saturday we will face the Eagles once again, this time on home turf at the Stray Dog, for our final match of 2019.
Ealing have had a frustrating few months in which they lost from a winning position on four occasions. Had they held on for wins, they would be sitting pretty at the top of the table. Instead they are currently one space above Clapton in 6th place.
We caught up with Ealing Town’s Mansor Omar to find out how things have been going both on and off the pitch since September.
Omar said: “It’s been hard to take knowing that we’ve been leading all our games bar 1. But without saying too much, we are working on building stubbornness throughout the team and a stronger mentality.
“I think November was a good month for us as we won 6-0 (against Hereford Palace) and 6-1 (against Sporting Club of London) back to back.
“The football on display was really impressive and hopefully we can pick up our form again after our blip against NW London and FC Star London.”
The club is also keeping itself busy off the pitch where it is involved in a mentoring programme with its parent organisation Live Right.
“We work with young people in the community to: let them voice social issues through our vidcasts, provide them with opportunities for voluntary work and ultimately help build a better future for our young people.” Omar told us.
Clapton will be looking to build momentum after their late, late 2-1 victory over The Curve last Saturday. Player-manager Geoff Ocran was impressed with the team’s performance in trying circumstances.
Ocran said: “It was a well deserved win in what weren’t the best conditions to play. I thought we started on the front foot and were able to get the first goal which has been vitally important.”
Coming into this weekend’s fixture, the gaffer is aware of the challenge that faces them from a strong opposition.
“Ealing are a good side who have good technical players so we will need to start fast again if we want a positive result to take into the Christmas break.”
For their part, Ealing have also been considering how they can avoid a repeat of their last encounter against the Tons.
“We’re working on a few things in training to help us prepare for the game on Saturday,” Mansor told us. “We know what to expect from Clapton as they are a well organised side that can play on the ground and also be direct and we will try to combat that, so the game on Saturday will be very entertaining for the supporters to watch.”
Wrap up warm and bring some mulled wine to start your Christmas period off with a bang.
Our temporary home, The Stray Dog, is about 20 minutes walk from Walthamstow Central station, going past at least 5 pubs along the way.
Turn onto Hoe Street and follow the road all the way along (past the junction with The Bell pub) until Chingford Lane. Continue past Sir George Monoux 6th Form College and take the first right onto Brookscroft Road then left onto Kitchener Road.
You can catch a bus along that route too. The 357, 34, 97, 215 will all take you to the top of Brookscroft Road from Walthamstow Central (approx 12 minutes).
There’s also plenty of car parking space available at the ground. Postcode for your satnav is E17 4LL.
Entry to the game is completely free (but we welcome donations, suggested £3 for waged adults),
We’re on the pitch just left as you enter the Wadham Lodge car park. Look out for the Stray Dog sign!
There’s a pitchside bar selling cans of lager and cider. The toilets and full bar – selling a fuller range of draft beers and more – are in the main building in the car park.
We’ll also have our brilliant programme for sale at £2. This one is edited by women only with the cover by Carmen Domingo.
There is a food bank collection for this game on behalf of Walthamstow-based charity Eat or Heat. Please check the list of what they need.
There is also a bucket collection of cash for the Stansted 15,
Clapton CFC vs Ealing Town FC is on Saturday, December 15th at 2pm, at ‘The Stray Dog’, Wadham Lodge Sports Ground, Kitchener Road, Walthamstow, E17 4JP. You can join the Facebook event here.