Exactly one year ago, the Tons took on Leyton Orient Reserves in the first round in the Capital Cup. The game was played at the Stray Dog, in front of an audience of 126 and the Tons lost 5-0.
A lot can change in a year.
The first round of the 2020/2021 edition of the Capital Cup was to be played against Leyton Orient Reserves. So far, so similar. But aside from the opposition, everything else was different. The game was played at the Mile End Stadium, and behind closed doors, and the Tons were not to be underestimated.
7 minutes into the game, the Tons stunned the opposition by opening the scoring. Emily Link received a ball down the right wing, paced forward and expertly placed a cross into the path of a charging Maria Mendonca. The O’s ‘keeper didn’t stand a chance.
The first half was dominated by the Tons, and besides a free kick just outside the box, Leyton were given few opportunities to test Polly Adams in goal.
At 38 minutes, Mendonca once again timed her run perfectly, when she was on the receiving end of a cross from Larissa Vieira. 2-0 to CCFC.
Just before the half-time break, Mendonca collided with Orient player Daphne De Leener who went down with a knee injury, and had to be rushed to the hospital (we have been told that at an initial check-up, the injury is hopefully not that bad).
The injury break added quite a few minutes to the first half, and at 55 minutes played, the referee blew the half-time whistle.
The second half started just like the first. There were no half-time substitutions, and the Tons continued to dominate play. As the second half went on Leyton upped the pressure to get back into the game. CCFC made three substitutions in quick succession, with Lucy Rolington coming on for Marta Boiro, Lenny Holmes coming on for Larissa Vieira and Alice May Williams taking the place of Mim Chadwick.
It wasn’t until the 76th minute of the game when Leyton Orient finally managed to punish CCFC, and it took a long ball sailing over the heads of the defenders and Adams to do it. With just around 15 minutes left on the clock and 2-1 to the Tons on the scoreboard, the Tons had to fight hard to keep Orient from equalising. Before she was subbed off for Larissa Vieira, Emily Link had one more chance in her, but her efforts were saved by O’s ‘keeper.
At just over 90 minutes played, Adams made a fantastic save to keep the Ton’s Cup dreams alive. This was supposed to be it, the game was supposed to be over by now. But the minutes ticked on (the game lasted for a total of 110 minutes). And the O’s were given one more chance to score, which they took.
Straight to penalties
As the final whistle blew, CCFC had to decide which initial 5 players would take a penalty. Once this had been decided as well as which goal was to be used, the Tons supporters standing outside the fence had to run to catch the first penalty.
Verity Phillips was the first to step up to the spot, and powered home the first shot. After the O’s first penalty it was also clear that Adams would have a tough job trying to keep any of their penalties out. Annie Lyons converted the Tons’ second penalty, as did the O. For the third round, O’s keeper Josie Burke saved Phoebe Parthews penalty, whereas Adams was unable to reach Leyton’s third. Fourth and fifth penalty takers Larissa Vieira and Lucy Spours both scored, but as Leyton scored 5 out of 5, a win wasn’t to be.
After what can only be described as one of the best games of Clapton CFC’s Women’s First Team has ever played, losing in a penalty shoot out can only be described as heartbreaking.
20 (outside the stadium)