Clapton CFC vs Southend Manor preview: Fifth last home game of season for men’s first team

Clapton Community FC vs Southend Manor takes place on Saturday, January 27 2024 with a 3pm kick off at the Old Spotted Dog Ground, Forest Gate, East London.

We’re ticking off the games and it’s now just 11 games left for the Clapton CFC men’s first team in the battle for a promotion or play-off place.

After this, there’s only four men’s first team home games and three women’s first team home games to go, so make the most of football at the Old Spotted Dog Ground while you can.

Geoff Ocran’s team are battling through a spate of injuries and suspensions and grabbed a hard-fought win last Saturday against 10-man Newbury Forest. That kept us top of the table, although other teams have as many as eight games in hand.

All the team can do is keep on battling and seeing where we end up at the end of the season.

The opposition

Formed in 1955 by East Londoners Doris and Gil Medcalf formerly of Eton Manor, they have played at Southchurch Park Arena since 1985, when they joined the Essex Senior League. They stayed in the ESL till relegation last season, winning the title in 1991. Their best run in the FA Cup was the fourth qualifying round in 2011, bowing out to Kettering Town. New owner Jerry Omango – another East Londoner – took over in 2019 and has improved the ground facilities no end and built up the youth section to a whopping 17 teams.

Form guide

Southend Manor are bang in mid-table, still with a chance of the play-offs, albeit slim. They’ve had big wins away at Benfleet and Dunmow Town so they know how to beat the high-flyers on the road.

Previous meetings

Our first meeting took place in November, a 2-0 win at Southchurch Park Arena thanks to two goals from Charlie Fagan. It was a tough game in Manor new manager Nick Wibrow’s first game in charge.

Players to watch

George Hart is top scorer with 9 in 17 games and is dual-signed with higher division Little Oakley FC.


No tickets are needed, just turn up and pay. Spectator entry is via the Disraeli Road turnstile from 2pm.

Standard admission is now £4 (we are not allowed to charge less), 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 be open from 2pm until 7pm. 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 reusable cups now.

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 also have hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, Bovril) and water and squash at the bar, please help yourself. There is no charge but feel free to put some change in the donation box.

We have crisps, nuts, and Hackney Gelato on sale in the clubhouse. Outside, Fusion Foods will be selling hot and cold food – meat, veggie and vegan options.

Hygiene bank collection

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

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


You can buy a shirt, beanie, scarf, badges and tea towels on the merch stall. The stall is open before the game, at half-time, and afterwards, only.

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


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.

With the recent frost and snow, this is even more important.

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 too please.

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