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Battling Tons Grab First Away Victory
However, Chris Wood’s team defied the odds by taking all three points.
The Tons made their intentions clear in the early exchanges when Mullings’ cross was drilled dangerously across the home penalty area just evading Chris Thomas and the onrushing Chris Armstrong.
Bethnal Green pressed for an immediate response but the the Clapton defence held firm. When they did break through, they found Tons keeper Paul Daley in fine form and his great save, at full stretch, from a fierce free kick further frustrated the home team.
However, just before half time, Daley was beaten when he could only parry another goal bound effort into the path of a home forward who shot home from close range.
Clapton came out fighting in the second half and had the majority of the play. However it was Bethnal Green who went ahead when they spring they sprung the Clapton offside trap and their forward coolly slotted the ball home.
Clapton continued to press and were denied claims for a penalty when Mullings appeared to be pushed to the ground.
The Tons continued to press for an equaliser, introducing substitutes Martins. Jarriette was becoming a nuisance for Bethnal Green with some great surging runs and a change of tactics, including the introduction of Josh Lawbridge out wide,caused more problems for the home side.
This change paid dividends when, with 15 minutes remaining, Martin’s effort was parried onto the post and Carlos Mullings pounced to bundle the ball home.
Clapton continued to press for a winner, adopting an aggressive 3-3-4 formation with centre half Hussain Jaffa causing problems up top.
Last minute drama ensued when a direct free kick from some 25 yards out was drilled into the area by Neil Matthews and evaded everyone in the crowded goalmouth before nestling in the home net. However, the linesman had spotted a forward in an offside position and flagged for the perceived infringement. In a tense finale, the referee overruled his assistant as the ball had gone in untouched.
Clapton manager Chris Woods reflected “This win lifts us off the bottom of the league. It was long overdue and the lads are now upbeat and looking to build on this.”