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Lethargic Tons falter at the final hurdle

PUBLISHED: 12:21 23 September 2010

BOSS: Wilfred Thomas.

BOSS: Wilfred Thomas.

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FA Vase Second

Qualifying Round

Newport Pagnell Town 4 Clapton 0

DESPITE an improved performance, Clapton’s FA Vase run came to an end with a four-goal loss at undefeated United Counties side Newport Pagnell Town on Saturday.

It was always going to be tough for Wilfred Thomas’ side, but the Tons’ kept the game goalless for most of the match, only for his tired defence to collapse and concede four goals in the last ten minutes, with a hat-trick for the hosts’ substitute Darren Lynch.

Despite the home side’s unbeaten start to the league season they were unable to find an early goal to settle the nerves, as Jordan Spruce forced a good save from the Clapton keeper with a close range effort after five minutes.

However, it was the visitors who came the closest to scoring when they curled a shot from the edge of the area and hit the post.

Newport replied with some pressure and at times pushed Clapton back, but could not find the final ball as various chances went wide from Vinnie Shrieves, Daren Dykes and Rob McDonald.

This included a one-on-one with the keeper when Shrieves beat the offside trap, but the keeper was equal to it and made a good save.

Newport were beginning to assert themselves on the game with constant pressure on the visitors back line which resulted in Clapton having to clear the ball off the line from a Rob McDonald cross.

The more time went on the more the Tons grew in confidence and they had a couple of chances themselves.

The Swans started the second half more sharply than in the first half with Shrieves again going close but he scuffed his shot wide.

It looked as though it may well be the visitors day as the Swans then hit the woodwork with a header.

The home side were in even more trouble when Shan McBride received a second yellow card for a foul and was dismissed, bringing Newport down to 10 men.

Then, in the last 10 minutes, the floodgates opened in a tired Clapton defence.

Sub Lynch scored the first of his three goals with a well- placed header, before he added a second when he beat the offside trap and blasted the ball past the Clapton keeper.

Two minutes later Shrieves pounced on a Lynch header and toe-poked the ball over the line to put the tie out of Clapton’s reach.

Lynch added a fourth and completed a quick-fire hat-trick to wrap things up to set up a tie with Reading Town in the first round proper.

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