Clapton bow out as fans protest
PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 December 2016
Clapton 0 Hullbridge Sports 1
Clapton bowed out of the Essex Senior League Cup after a slender loss at the Old Spotted Dog last night.
But the main talking point happened off the pitch, as supporters boycotted the match in protest at a recent increase in ticket prices.
Having beaten Waltham Forest 2-1 in the league at the weekend, the Tons found themselves playing in front of an official crowd of just 21, well down on their average home attendance and their lowest for at least four years.
A group of around 70 disgruntled supporters stood outside the ground instead to show their feelings at the £1 rise in admission to £7 and the two sides observed a minutes silence in memory of Margaret Errington, the late wife of league president Robert, before kick-off.
Last-ditch tackles at either end of the pitch frustrated both sides in the opening 10 minutes, before Tons sent a shot just past the post.
The visitors had a let-off just before the interval when keeper Jamie Merralls played a back pass straight to a Clapton player, who was unable to capitalise.
The deadlock was broken a minute after the restart, when Hullbridge’s Harry Hart produced a calm finish beyond Richie Robins.
And it proved enough for Hullbridge to ensure their progress to the next round and a trip to Tower Hamlets, as Clapton put a far post header wide and saw another effort from long-range well held by Merralls midway through the second half.
Hullbridge had Joe Turpin sent off in stoppage time, but Tons could not make their extra man count in the few minutes remaining and they now face a free weekend, before returning to action with a London Senior Cup tie against Ryman South outfir Greenwich Borough next Tuesday.
Clapton: Robins; Vigo, Ashman, Awoderu, Blackwood, Cook, Domingo-Carrington, Ebengo, Lyndon, Nielsen (Duyile), Sardinha (Reed). Unused subs: Egbejale, Jairette, Rene.
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