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Sporting Bengal United 3 Clapton 2
Essex Senior League, Wednesday 27th November 2013
I travelled to the Mile End stadium to watch an East London Derby between Sporting Bengal United and Clapton in the Essex Senior League. The ‘Clapton Ultras’ were there in force as per usual creating a good atmosphere as always. The home side almost took the lead inside three minutes but were denied a goal by a point blank save. Thereafter Clapton took control of the contest and duly took the lead on 22 minutes when there Captain Ben Lowes arrived into the box unmarked to turn a near post cross past keeper Jason Hartless from about 15 yards out to give ‘The Tons’ a 1-0 lead. This became 2-0 on 36 minutes when a through ball found Jerome Martelli and he lobbed the onrushing Hartless to put Clapton in a commanding position. This was strengthened even more two minutes before the break when Sporting went down to ten men after an off the ball incident and at half time Clapton were in complete control, 2-0 up and a man up on their hosts. Game over you would say. Well as it turned out far from it!!! Sporting came out second half and took the game to their opponents and were soon back in the contest on 53 minutes when Sarfraz Pivano cut inside onto his right foot before bending the ball past the keeper from the edge of the box for 2-1. Sporting continued to press Clapton back and it was hard to see who had the extra man. Clapton did look dangerous on the counter attack though so Sporting’s defence had to remain vigilant throughout. With ten minutes of the 90 left it was 2-2. After the keeper had made a save he parried the ball into the path of Carlos Luis Ospina who tapped into the roof of the net for a deserved leveller it has to be said. Both teams then went on the attack in search of a winner and Clapton almost found one but for a brilliant double save by Jason Hartless to keep it at 2-2. Sporting also hit the bar from a free kick and as the game entered stoppage time it was anyone’s game. Due to the amount of stoppages in the second half the referee added on 13 minutes of injury time. Ten minutes into added time Sporting scored their winning goal. Sarfraz Pivano, who had caused Clapton no end of problems all second half, was sent clear and with the keeper coming out to close the angle he composed himself and slotted past into the goal to send the Sporting players and bench delirious with delight. It was some comeback considering where they had found themselves at half time. Clapton tried in vain to snatch a draw by getting the ball into the Sporting area any way possible but it was all in vain as the referee brought an end to a cracking East London derby and a victory for the home side of 3-2. A superb game of football which had just about everything a fan could ask for. Well played both sides.