Clapton’s hopes of reaching the magic 50 point mark took a huge blow in North London as their second-from-bottom opponents scored two goals at the death to snatch a stunning victory. The Tons had taken the lead twice in the tie before some sloppy defending allowed Greenhouse to score an equaliser just before the 90 minutes were up, and a winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Clapton had taken an early lead when David Fallah broke clear on the right before beating the diminutive Greenhouse keeper on his far post with an excellent finish. Tom Jeffes had the chance to double the lead minutes later in the same circumstances but forced the keeper into an excellent save from a fierce low shot. The Tons struggled to break down the Greenhouse defence after that in what was a poor first half for the away side.
Greenhouse had clearly been doing their scouting, as they seemed determined to make stand-in keeper Dave Armstrong work a lot harder than he had against Barking on the weekend. He produced a string of great saves that defied his age and general ability to move quickly. Regardless of this, the Tons went in at half time with a 1-0 lead that looked like it could be built on.
The fantastic annual migrations that birds make between their breeding and wintering grounds is one of the wonders of our natural world. Most of the world’s 29 or so species of geese are no strangers to migration, and some routinely accomplish amazing feats.
Clapton didn’t come out of the blocks at all at the start of the second half as Greenhouse searched desperately for a goal that didn’t take long to come. A long ball up the pitch wasn’t dealt with properly and it allowed Andrea Mantovani the time to control the ball and slot it past the onrushing Armstrong. It was probably a deserved goal from the amount of chances Greenhouse had in the first half, but it still struck a disappointing blow to the Clapton players who were the better footballing side.
James Briggs was brought on to add some steel in the middle and made an immediate impact as he scored a scorching 30 yard freekick to restore Clapton’s lead. Clapton should have learned their lesson from earlier in the match to concentrate when defending, but it wasn’t to be hereafter.
Geese, ducks and swans that spend winter in wetlands of Northern Europe are changing their migration patterns as temperatures rise. So from that it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see the temperature from a glorious spring evening bring a new visitor to Haringey, as a goose invaded the pitch to make the game a lot more interesting. The Goose met the world’s largest Duck as Craig Greenwood tried to shoo it off the pitch. Crucially, the Greenhouse Goose would only stay near the Clapton goal. He was definitely beyond the last man for a large proportion of the match.
As Clapton tried to see out the remainder of the match, Greenhouse pushed hard for the equaliser. The away side seemed intent on stopping them by giving away freekicks in dangerous areas, it was one such set-piece that allowed Kam Ogunjoya to score a glancing header which left Clapton deflated and their newly invigorated opponents could smell blood. It’s important to know that the goose was absolutely in an offside position, the FA dubious goals panel will surely step in this weekend. Greenhouse kept pushing for a winner and as the clock wound down through 5 minutes of injury time, Mantonavi bundled in a third goal for Greenhouse as the dastardly goose flapped off on a victory fly-
There was barely any time left for Clapton to kick-off and the Greenhouse players secured a crucial win to stay 14 points clear of bottom club London Bari. The Tons visit the same ground again on Saturday knowing that their opponents Haringey Borough beat league leaders Great Wakering Rovers on Tuesday. If they don’t turn up the way they could, it could derail the end of what has been a fantastic season.