Essex Senior League: Clapton manager Jon Fowell fully aware of Barkingside’s threat

Clapton go close against Southend Manor (pic Tim Edwards)

Clapton go close against Southend Manor (pic Tim Edwards) - Credit: Archant

Old Spotted Dog boss discusses his preparation for matches and why Tons have played so many times away from home recently

Clapton manager Jon Fowell will have told his players exactly what to expect from Barkingside by the time the local rivals do battle in the Essex Senior League on Saturday.

The Tons go into the home fixture off the back of three successive victories, while Side haven’t won since October 15 – a run of five matches.

Siao Blackwood scored the only goal of the game for Clapton at Basildon United last weekend as they continued their excellent recent away form.

“I don’t know much about Barkingside, but I know Gus Gulfer, their manager, and have somebody who scouts the opposition,” said Fowell.

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“They watch them and give us the strengths and weaknesses and we give all that information to the players.

“With Basildon we knew they had some clumsy defenders and a lad up front who had a very good left foot.

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“But we managed to prevent him getting into good spaces and restricted him to long-range efforts, which Ritchie Robins could easily handle.”

Saturday’s fixture is Clapton’s first at the Old Spotted Dog since October 8 when Southend Manor claimed a 1-0 win.

Clapton have fared very well on the road, however, with 10 points from a possible 18 despite facing strong opposition in Basildon, Ilford, Takeley and Hullbridge Sports.

When asked why the east Londoners had been on the road so much, Fowell added: “A lot of teams in the division groundshare so that makes it difficult for the league.

“Ilford and Barkingside are together at Cricklefield, Tower Hamlets and Sporting Bengal are at Mile End and there is more, so you’ve got a lot of clubs playing at the same venue.

“All we can do is get on with it and this Saturday we’re back home and we’ll go again. I’d love us to get another 1-0 win and be boring, boring Clapton.”

Fowell’s team earned a 2-0 success at Ilford last Wednesday after Ajani Domingo-Carrington and Ryan Reed netted.

The Tons boss admitted it was difficult when he took over because there were a huge number of fringe players that he didn’t think were good enough.

After trial matches with Soccer School Workshop and Non League Chance, Clapton have managed to build a competitive squad.

“The reality was when I took over we had 40 players and some of them had never even played for the club,” said Fowell.

“Everyone looks good in training, but you’ve got to judge them in a game situation and that’s what we did.

“We have released 25 players and brought in six like Raphael Duyile, Ajani Domingo-Carrington, Dylan Ebengo, Louis Rene, Stefan Nielsen and James Steet.

“They are all quality players and all young so in hindsight arranging those trial matches was definitely worth doing.”

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