Essex Senior League: It’s the Johnny Ashman show as Clapton thump Sawbridgeworth Town

PUBLISHED: 10:30 01 March 2017

Johnny Ashman (left) in action for Clapton earlier in the season (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Johnny Ashman (left) in action for Clapton earlier in the season (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Essex Senior League: Clapton 4 (Knight 6, Ashman 41, 77, Reed 50) Sawbridgeworth Town 0

A Johnny Ashman inspired Clapton ran out 4-0 winners in their Tuesday night clash against Sawbridgeworth Town in the Essex Senior League.

The Ultras, who made their long awaited return to the scaffold after their boycott ended, were thoroughly entertained as Clapton put on a scintillating display.

The Tons were looking to bounce back after a crushing 5-2 loss against Barkingside on Friday night which saw them slip to third place.

Their opponents Sawbridgeworth lay in seventh and were unbeaten in their last nine matches. A tough night seemed to be in store for the Tons.

With the Ultras’ voice taking a while to warm up, the two teams struggled to find their rhythm too.

The first of many moments of brilliance from Ashman sparked the game into life, as his flick around the defender drew a foul.

From the resulting free kick, Clapton would take the lead. A great cross from captain Jerry Jairette was guided into the corner with a glancing header from in-form striker Jay Knight in the sixth minute.

Sawbridgeworth should have given themselves a way back in, but were denied by an amazing reflex stop from new Clapton keeper Emmanuel Olajibe.

In the 41st minute a poor clearance from the Sawbridgeworth number one flew to Ashman 25 yards out in front of goal, and the Tons forward chested the ball down and volleyed into the unguarded net to double the lead going into half time.

After the break, Ashman continued to cause problems alongside right back Lanre Vigo in what must be one of the best partnerships Clapton has seen in recent years.

In the 50th minute, Ashman produced a wonderful piece of skill to ghost past the defender and produced a cross to match, which Ryan Reed headed home to make it three to the Tons.

Whilst the other players struggled with the turf, Ashman looked as if he was playing on velvet carpet as he glided past players throughout the game.

His perfect performance was duly rewarded with another goal on the 77th minute.

Following a hefty challenge, Ashman was on the floor, but soon sprung to life when he saw Reed had got in behind the defence. Reed returned the favour as he picked Ashman who never looked like missing.

The night is one Ashman won’t forget in a hurry after having a hand in all four goals and looking a class apart throughout.

Speaking after the game the Tons attacker said, “It was a great win from the lads. It was good to bounce back after that terrible loss to Barkingside. The gaffer (Jon Fowell) has been telling me to get more goals and I was happy to do that today.”

The victory for the Tons was made even sweeter as champions-elect Barking lost at home to FC Romania.

Speaking on Clapton’s title credentials after being informed of the Barking result, Ashman said, “Anything can happen in non-league football, we are just going to keep trying to get as many points and finish as high as possible.”

Up next for Clapton is a home match against Hullbridge Sports on Saturday.

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