Clapton outclassed by FC Romania
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
Essex Senior League: Clapton 0 FC Romania 4
Clapton, unbeaten in the league until a fortnight ago, suffered a third consecutive loss as they were mauled by a buoyant FC Romania.
The Tons had been softened up by a midweek thrashing at the hands of Barking, a result to give their usually optimistic supporters pause for thought.
And FC Romania came to the Old Spotted Dog on a five-match winning streak which had taken them up to sixth spot with a game in hand on Michael Walter’s men.
The visitors settled into the game first, racking up five corners in the opening 10 minutes as they peppered the Clapton defence.
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Bogdan Ungureanu, was brought down in the box early on, sparking penalty cries from the travelling fans, yet there was no whistle.
FC Romania look destined to score moments later when Isif Vasile found himself one on one at close range, but Clapton keeper Alex Henderson came out well to snuff out the opportunity.
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However, on the 15-minute mark FC Romania bagged their first, with man of the match Liviu Florin Pop scoring a brilliant individual goal.
Picking up the ball on the left wing, Pop ran across the Clapton defence and struck an exquisite shot into the top corner.
The visitors struck again five minutes later, with Sergiu Pitaru lobbing Henderson from outside the area after a beautifully weighted pass from Ungureanu flew agonisingly over centre-back Jake Evans.
The double left Clapton were stunned, but they almost had a way in when FC Romania keeper George Siruf spilled a cross.
It proved the home side’s biggest chance of the half and it was really game over after 36 minutes as Pop turned provider with a sublime assist.
Buzzing around like Arjen Robben in his pomp, Pop produced a stunning piece of skill to pass the Clapton right-back and showed great balance to go past another defender, before firing in a low cross which Ungureanu tapped home.
The beginning of the second half was much like the whole of the first – one-way traffic, as FC Romania showed their dominance.
And even the eternally optimistic Clapton Ultras would have felt deflated, when in the 55th minute FC Romania added their fourth.
A fluid counter attack saw Vasile coming in on the overlap as Ungreanu played the crucial pass to notch up his second assist of the game.
Vasile hit a sweet strike into the top corner before running over to kiss his girlfriend on the touchline in celebration.
There was not much love in the air for Clapton, though, as FC Romania continued to have chances and Pop almost doubled his tally for the afternoon just minutes later, but for once the finishing was missing.
Clapton would have been longing for the final whistle and when it finally came the FC Romania players were applauded by the all the fans who had turned up as they had put on a scintillating performance.
Clapton’s Ultras like to sing about being “the best supporters in the Essex Senior League” and with an average attendance of over 300 – the official attendance for this game was 378 – they might expect more from the team.
Assistant manager Peter Harrington said: “We showed great desire to not give up. I can understand the disappointment felt, but every club has these blips and we just need to get through this.
“The players and management feel so blessed for the support and I know we can turn this around!”
Clapton get the chance to end their losing run when they visit Stansted next weekend.
*London Bari battled to a point at Wadham Lodge after a goalless draw.
The home side, who moved up to second place, had the majority of play, but Bari always looked a threat on the counter-attack.
Bari are set to return to the Old Spotted Dog ground on Tuesday to host Basildon.