Clapton CFC vs Little Oakley preview: Men’s first team make BBC Essex Senior Cup debut

Clapton Community FC vs Little Oakley takes place on Tuesday, October 3 2023 with a 7.45pm kick off at the Old Spotted Dog Ground, Forest Gate, East London.

The men’s first team make their debut in the BBC Essex Senior Cup on Tuesday night at the Old Spotted Dog Ground against higher-division opposition of the Essex Senior League.

Previously we competed in the BBC Essex Premier Cup but with promotion came an upgrade to this competition, which also includes the likes of Southend United, Dagenham & Redbridge and Colchester United.

If we were to win, Little Oakley would be the highest placed opponents the men’s first team have beaten in a competitve game, although we’ve defeated teams at this level in friendlies.

Clapton CFC have always taken cup competitions seriously, but we’re expecting some changes to the line-up as we head into a hectic October.

Extra-time is not played in Essex Senior Cup fixtures so if it’s level at 90 minutes we’ll go straight to penalties. The winners travel to either Hutton or Basildon Town, with the tie taking place before the end of October. 

The opposition

Little Oakley, based in a village on the outskirts of Harwich, were founded in 1947 as Little Oakley War Memorial and changed their name in 1974. 

The Acorns were promoted as champions of the Essex and Suffolk Border League in 2017, joining the Eastern Counties League. In 2021 they were promoted again to the Essex Senior League based on their results in the abandoned 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons. 

They’ve finished a very creditable sixth and twelfth in their two seasons in the ESL so far. In 2021/22 they reached the second qualifying round of the FA Cup with three wins, losing to National League South side Chelmsford City 2-1. 

Form guide

Little Oakley are in mid-table this season so far, having drawn against unbeaten league leaders Woodford Town and losing 2-1 against second-placed West Essex in the last week. Clapton CFC meanwhile have drawn four in a row but are on the back of a great performance in the 1-1 draw against title challengers Cannons Wood.

Previous meetings

This will be our first ever meeting with Little Oakley.

Players to watch

It’s hard to tell given both teams are likely to rotate their squads. 20-goal-a-season striker Harry Mann is in his usual form with 9 goals from 14 games already.


No tickets are needed, just turn up and pay at the turnstile.

This is not a league game and therefore the FA minimum pricing does not apply. Therefore it’s donate what you want for everyone who attends, with a suggested £4 for waged adults.

Spectator entry will be via the Disraeli Road turnstile and gates from 6.45pm. Cash and cards are accepted everywhere.

Food and drink

The Clubhouse bar will open at 2pm and close at 7pm. As well as a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on sale, we also have hot drinks and water at the bar which are free.

We have crisps, nuts, scampi fries and Hackney Gelato on sale in the clubhouse but there’s no hot food for this one.


We will have an four-page matchday programme available, pick one up for free, donations welcome to cover the printing costs. As it stands, the merch stall may not open for this one.


There is an accessible toilet with baby-changing facilities next to the Clubhouse. The Clubhouse main entrance is also step-free.

Pitch access

The Grounds committee need to request all spectators keep off the pitch before games and at half-time. They need to carry out safety pitch inspections before play begins, which are voided if people have gone on the pitch.

Children welcome

Prams and pushchairs are always very welcome in the OSD, but please avoid blocking walkways. Make sure all children are behind the perimeter fencing during games please.

Kids can play on the pitch (weather permitting) after games but not before or at half-time.

Dogs welcome

Spectators are welcome, in fact encouraged, to bring dogs to the OSD, but please keep on leads.

Bikes welcome

There’s space to leave your bikes inside the Old Spotted Dog Ground, to the right of the outdoor toilets. You can lock them to the fencing. It’s best to arrive early so you don’t have to push your bike through crowds. Please don’t leave them locked to the pitch perimeter as it blocks the walkway.

We are currently working on plans for a better bike parking and locking system – watch this space.

Any questions?

If you have any further questions, look for anyone wearing a pink hi-viz vest or the bar staff who will be happy to answer.


The Old Spotted Dog Ground is at 212 Upton Lane in Forest Gate, London E7 9NP.

Forest Gate station (Elizabeth Line) and Wanstead Park (Overground) are 15 minutes’ walk away, Plaistow (District / Hammersmith & City) is 20 minutes’ walk, and Stratford (National Rail/Overground/Elizabeth/Jubilee/Central/DLR) is 25 minutes’ walk.

If you’ve not been to the OSD yet, here are some even more detailed directions.

Parking is free on the streets to the north and west of the ground (e.g. Disraeli Rd) on Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturdays, parking is restricted on streets to the east and south of the ground (e.g. St George’s Rd and Upton Lane), but there are no restrictions on Sundays. Always check local signage for any changes. And if possible come by public transport, bike or walk

Map of the Old Spotted Dog Ground