Clapton want league focus as Storm Katie delays final

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 March 2016

Clapton players celebrate (pic; George Phillipou/TGSPHOTO)

Clapton players celebrate (pic; George Phillipou/TGSPHOTO)

©TGS Photo +44 8450 946026

Assistant manager keen for squad to see off Tower Hamlets this weekend and bounce back after Barking reverse

Clapton’s Andre Thomas is pleased he can concentrate on the Essex Senior League for the time being after Monday’s Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy final was rained off and rescheduled for April 30.

The Tons and their passionate supporters were looking forward to facing Stansted at Burnham Ramblers’ Leslie Field Stadium.

But Storm Katie had other ideas with the weather forcing the clash to be postponed and it will now be the last match of the campaign.

It means the Old Spotted Dog outfit can focus on ending the league season strongly, with local rivals Tower Hamlets set to visit on Saturday.

“The final has been put back to April 30 now. We hope the team we selected is still okay and available for the day,” said Thomas.

“But it also gives other players the chance to try and break into the cup final squad.

“We know that the cup will be decided at the end of the season so we can fully focus on our league objectives. We have Hamlets this weekend, it is a London derby and one we would like to win.”

Clapton are currently eighth in the table on 53 points with seven more league matches remaining.

Their target was to finish the campaign with 60 points and Thomas believes they can take a big stride towards that by winning at home on Saturday.

He did, however, praise the work being done by Hamlets manager Ade Abayomi this season after seeing Randell Williams join Crystal Palace from the Mile End Stadium club in January.

Several other young players are getting a chance this year and Thomas added: “We’re seven points away from our target with seven games to go so gaining a win at home to Hamlets would go a big way to helping us achieve that total.

“I must applaud Ade, who is working with a young team. He is helping them gain valuable experience. His selection this season proves the point that if they’re good enough, they’re old enough.”

Clapton, who were beaten by Barking in last year’s Gordon Brasted final, lost to them in the league on Saturday. They travelled to Mayesbrook Park looking to continue their good form, but made a shocking start.

James Peagram scored twice for the Blues, while John Bricknell added another inside the first 27 minutes.

It left Tons with a huge uphill task, but they battled on and Tony Cookey managed to pull one back in front of a 151 crowd.

That would be as good as things would get for Clapton, though, but they will hope to put it right this weekend when Hamlets visit and get back to winning ways.

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