Clapton didn’t play ‘to full potential’

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 December 2016

Clapton have enjoyed big crowds at the Old Spotted Dog in recent years, but supporters are currently boycotting home matches (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Clapton have enjoyed big crowds at the Old Spotted Dog in recent years, but supporters are currently boycotting home matches (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 8450 946026

Goalscorer Duyile reflects on draw with Takeley

Clapton travel to FC Romania for their final Essex Senior League match of 2016 tonight (Wednesday), but Raphael Duyile feels they didn’t play to their “full potential” in a 1-1 draw with third-placed Takeley on Saturday.

A goal from Takeley’s Charlie Cole on the half-hour mark looked like being the winner until Duyile equalised on 78 minutes to salvage a point for the Tons.

But the hosts failed to get going and were fortunate not to concede a penalty when the ball hit Nathan Cook’s hand in the box in injury time.

Duyile said: “They only had one chance in the first half and we didn’t play to our potential. We are chasing Barking for the league, they lost so it would have been nice to get three points to close the gap.

“In the first half I felt we was overplaying, but in the second half we got into the game more and started to play the football that we usually do and created more chances.”

At the final whistle, the Clapton players headed over to a group of boycotting fans who had stationed themselves at the gate next to the ground in order to catch a glimpse of their team in action.

Supporters are protesting against a recent increase in ticket prices and the way the club is being run and Duyile added: “It was just to let them know that we appreciate what they are doing and that they are still supporting us even with all the stuff that is going off behind the scenes.

“Them showing support really means a lot to us. We are just the players, so we try not get involved with what is going on between the board and the fans.

“The players are supportive of what is best for the club to go forward.”

Chief executive Vince McBean had released a lengthy statement on the club website during the week that said: “There is no club in England that is allowed to let off pyros, fireworks, flares or anything of a similar nature. The club’s recent increased presence of SIA badged personnel is as a direct result of supporter behaviour.”

McBean explained how the club had been called to a meeting at Scotland Yard, but adding: “Since that time, having worked hard with members of the core supporter groups and the governing bodies, we recently had moved to a point where we felt more relaxed about the general supporter behaviour.”

He went on to reiterate manager Johnny Fowell’s claim that the ticket increase was for the players and that this idea had been discussed with previous boss Mike Walther, claiming it costs “in the region of £800 to host an Essex Senior League match”.

The offer of half-season tickets of 10 matches for the price of eight (£56) were also mentioned and the statement addressed the lack of youth teams and reserves at the club, also mentioned by the Ultras as a reason to boycott, and said the two under-15 teams, under-18s and reserves had to be scrapped due to a lack of resources, with it costing upwards of £6,000 to run each team.

McBean closed by saying: “The relaxed approach we have had at Clapton will have to change as the club moves forward.

“We see both the sponsors of the club and the supporters as an integral part of the plan, but we need to be unified in the approach.”

The team certainly appears to be missing the backing of Ultras, as a dip in form has seen them exit three cup competitions in quick succession and slip to fifth place in table.

Duyile said: “We are really missing them because they are our 12th man. They really do spur us on, especially when you see how many late goals we have scored.

“It’s them cheering us that gets us going, but at the end of the day it’s up to us to sort it out.”

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