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Clapton FC 2 – 2 Stansted
Clapton squandered a two-goal half-time lead in their final Essex Senior League game of the season against Stansted at the Old Spotted Dog.
And Tons boss Michael Walther is counting on his team to learn from previous experiences in cup finals when they meet the Airportmen again next weekend in the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy at Burnham’s Leslie Field.
He said: “We lost in finals twice last year (to Barking abd Bowers). Hopefully being involved in them, the players will have the experience to now win.
“I haven’t beaten them (Stansted) yet, so hopefully the cup final will be the first win.”
Clapton were the superior side in every conceivable way in the first 45 minutes, which felt as if they won virtually every second ball.
And the home side should have given Stansted nightmares before the cup final, but wasted the chances which presented themselves.
Instead Stansted produced a second-half comeback, which Walther maintains does not give them a psychological edge for next week.
He added: “No, we have got four players who played today who are cup-tied and they’ve got players who played today for them who are cup-tied.
“So the teams will be different. I would say it probably would be a similar sort of affair and could go either way really.”
Goals from Warren Mfula and Paul Oshin had earned Tons a 2-1 win at Waltham Forest on Thursday night.
And further goals from Tony Cookey and Mfula gave them a first-half cushion in front of their own fans, as Cookey sent the visiting keeper Reece Paine the wrong way from the penalty spot after Mfula had been fouled by Jack Hayes.
Then came a moment of individual brilliance form Mfula who, with his back to goal, nutmegged a Stansted defender and turned, drove into the box and finished superbly with the outside of his foot.
Clapton had many more chances to put Stansted to the sword, the best of them falling to Mfula just after half time.
Put through on goal he managed to poke the ball under Paine and had an open goal at his mercy to make it 3-0, but somehow managed to pick out the solitary Stansted defender on the line.
The visitors pulled one back just four minutes after that miss when a corner from Jack Isherwood found Matt Gill unmarked in the box to head home.
And more chances came and went for Clapton until Stansted substitute Mark Doach scored in the 86th minute to complete his side’s comeback.
A high ball into the box was punched down by Clapton keeper Pape Diagne, but it found Doach and he hit his shot through the crowded box where it found the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Clapton: Diagne, Ryan, Jairette (Morris 50), Oshin, Taylor-Reid, Barry, Cookey (Stanley 67), Gomez, Mfula (Ocran 67), Cook, Moore. Unused subs: Haighton, Waldron.
— Tysk (@tsktyskie) April 23, 2016