Clapton CFC vs Benfleet preview: Men’s first team in top of the table clash

Clapton Community FC vs Benfleet takes place on Saturday, November 18 2023 with a 3pm kick off at the Old Spotted Dog Ground, Forest Gate, East London.

The Clapton CFC men’s first team are top of the table! An incredible run of 14 league games unbeaten has seen us rise from eleventh position in early September to the summit in early November.

The top of the table is crazily compact, with just three points separating the top six teams. CCFC have played more games than the rest of the pack, so may well drop to sixth when the other teams catch up on their games in hand.

If sixth-placed Benfleet win, they would overtake us and possibly go top themselves, and they have five games in hand anyway.

Regardless, our great run of form has put us right in contention for the top five and a play-off spot, which is an amazing position to be in for our first season at this level.

So this game should be a classic clash featuring two of the most in-form, high-scoring teams.

The opposition

Benfleet FC was founded in 1922 and started in the Southend & District League the joined Essex Olympian League in 1972. In 2018 due to an FA restructure they were promoted to the new Division One South of the Eastern Counties League, a three-division jump, moving to Canvey Island FC’s ground in the process. In 2022 they finished third but lost in extra time in the play-offs to Halstead Town. Last season they were agonisingly pipped to a play-off spot on the last day of the season. They have plans for a redevelopment of their historic Woodside Park ground so they can move back to Benfleet.

Previous meetings

This is our first meeting.

Players to watch

Max Jobson leads the way so far with six goals, with last season’s top scorers Ben Foord and Grant Frances just behind. Manager Lee Scott – who took over from Alec Salmon who moved to Enfield in September – also still plays in midfield.

Form guide

Benfleet have the best points to games ratio in the division. They have won 6 of their last 7 games, three of them by 6-0 scorelines. They have also kept clean sheets in five of those games. 


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

Spectator entry will be via the Disraeli Road turnstile from 2pm.

Standard admission is now £4 (we are not allowed to charge less by the FA at this level), concessions can pay what they want, and under 13s are free. A full list of concessions is available here

Cash and cards are accepted everywhere in the ground – cash is quicker at the turnstile to help prevent queues but card quicker elsewhere.

Food and drink

The Clubhouse bar will open at 2pm and close at 7pm.

Please help the club by purchasing drinks from the bar. The premises are licensed so we ask you not to bring your own alcohol into the OSD. The profits from the bar are invested in maintaining the grounds.

We have a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on sale. Two beers are on tap – Pretty Decent Lager and Old Scaffold Daze, our own IPA.

We also have hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, Bovril) and water and squash at the bar which are free, please help yourself.

We have crisps, nuts, and Hackney Gelato on sale in the clubhouse. No Fusion Foods so feel free to bring your own from local takeaways.

Hygiene bank collection

The hygiene bank collection is back at all home games. Our charity partners Magpie Project support mums and young children in temporary accommodation. They need:

● Toothpaste ● Toothbrush ● Shower gel ● Shampoo ● Deodorant ● Sanitary towel

At the moment they’re also appealing for canvas/tote bags so please do donate if you have spares.

The collection box will be at the main entrance.


We will have an 8-page matchday programme available, pick one up for free, donations welcome to cover the printing costs.

There are limited numbers of shirts, scarves, pin badges and keyrings on the merch stall. The stall is open before the game, at half-time, and afterwards, only.


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 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 at 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.

If/when Clapton CFC wins a game, children are invited to join the players in their post-match celebration on the pitch.

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, next to the main stand. You can lock them to the fencing. 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