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Clapton 1 Basildon United 0
Essex Senior League, Tuesday 11th March 2014
I was back at the old spotted dog ground for the second time in four days as this time landlords Clapton hosted Basildon United in a mid-table clash. The game was only 3 minutes old when the hosts took the lead when after Basildon failed to clear their lines the ball fell to Tons centre back Jamie Lyndon and he smashed into the top corner past Steve Brown to give Clapton a 1-0 lead. They nearly doubled their lead soon after when more hesitant defending in the box allowed Raphael Duyille to poke the ball just wide. Basildon looked a threat down the left hand side with Greg Akpele causing problems with his pace but the away side rarely troubled the Clapton goal, struggling to get any meaningful shots away. Clapton were dogged and determined and the game was fast becoming a brutal battle with heavy tackles flying in and Basildon felt hard done by on numerous occasions when decisions didn’t go their way. They almost shot themselves in the foot before half time when Bees centre back John Sinnott inexplicably hit the ball towards his own goal from 20 yards out or so and it looked to be heading over Steve Brown but he managed to get back and chest the ball down brilliantly and clear away before any more danger came from it. Into the second half and much the same really, Clapton digging in and making life difficult for the away side. Chances were becoming few and far between and apart from a couple of long range efforts well palmed away by Clapton stopper Pape Diagne the game was becoming scrappy on a hard a bobbly pitch. Basildon had one final chance towards the end when after a scramble in the six yard box the ball was cleared off the line by a gaggle of Clapton defenders, using the motto ‘thy shall not pass’ which has seen them become very hard to beat this season. After six minutes of injury time the final whistle sounded and Clapton had earned this 1-0 victory indeed. Both teams remain together in the table and both will no doubt finish in top ten positions come the end of the season, a big improvement from past seasons for both clubs.