Scorers: Raphael Duyile (42) and Ikem Odeh (69)
The Tons started the match nervously, as Norwich United FC, the Ryman League side, executed all of its actions quite quickly, and it took us a while to settle down. We then started to pass and move the ball, and Clapton gained more of a foothold into the game.
Having gone to watch Norwich play prior to this Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round, the Tons Manager, Jon Fowell dedicated the Thursday training session to the way United play their game, focussing on how to combat their style of play and the system they use.
Early on, United got a certain of joy in our midfield. However, after a little tweak by the Management, that was dealt with. The team, with the engine room of Jerry Jairette, Nathan Cook and Steven Sardinha, started to control more of the mid field and spray the ball about, resulting in United’s two wingers getting less joy (even Ryan Reed, who is known for his attacking flair, and not so much his defence, did a heavy shift in defence, with his left back partner Tayo Awoderu).
Clapton is renowed for being very nice to their opponents. This was the case again until a few people got a flea in their ear as Norwich was attacking quite heavily at times. Quincy Egbejale, our centre back, who had a very good training session on Thursday about what he should do, almost scored, but from 4 yards out hit the side net. Surprisingly, he then got booked for a challenge on United’s goal keeper and was sent off.
The game settled down to a cat and mouse affair, with United getting a one on one chance, which they spurred wide, as our goalkeeper spread his large frame to reduce the angle. In around the 30th minute, Clapton started to have a very strong spell in the game, as they passed and moved, with Ryan, Nathan and the new substitute Raphael Duylie (Jeffrey Cobblah, who was one of the Tons main threats going forward, having been taken out by a United player in the first 15 minutes) started to cause problems and was well assisted with centre forward, Ikem Odeh.
The team was pressing United all over the ground and was given a free kick just outside the 18 yard box, in which Ryan flicked the ball over the wall into the path of a Ton’s boot, centering the ball, but resulted in a deflection and a corner to Clapton. From the ensuing corner, the ball came out and was delivered back into the danger zone. A fair few attempts were made to get across the goal line, but Norwich had bodies on the line. The ball then fell to Raphael, who slammed it into the roof of the net in the 42nd minute, and the celebrations started!
At the end of the first half, United tried to get back into match and upped their game even more, but there was now a steel in Clapton’s stride and the referee blew the whistle for the end of the first half.
In the second half, United came out immediately on the front foot and Clapton, with their well drilled shape and their bank of players, held their advance and started to break out of defence. Although the goalkeeper wasn’t needed much, it was good to see Clapton so well disciplined. However, there was a lapse at which Norwich could have scored around the 60th minute, but the goalkeeper pulled out a fantastic save, which stopped the ball going into the top left hand corner.
In the 69th minute, Ryan, again with his skills, sent the ball down the line and the Tons striker, Ikem Odeh, was able to run down the ball and slide it into the net. Clapton was now 2-0 ahead with 20 minutes remaining of the match. The management was still shouting instructions from the line and the spine of the team was firm and strong, especially the pairing of Zac and Quincy Egbejale, the two centre halfs, as United sent in many long balls into our area.
The game then started to peter out from those heights and both teams held their ground, but could have added more – the Tons kept the ball, not looking to penetrate. At the final whistle the scored remained at 2-0.
This match was founded on good scouting, a hard training session to prepare for the game and good execution by the players, resulting in Clapton advancing to the next round. We await to see who we are drawn against next. Well done the Tons.