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Premier Division

Clapton 0 Basildon United 1

Tuesday 21st November

With Redbridge opening up a five point lead after Monday evening’s five goal demolition at Tower Hamlets meant that Basildon United needed to win their game at the Old Spotted Dog to keep the pressure on. The Bees certainly took the ball by the horns by attacking Clapton straight from the off. However it took until the 71st minute before victory was assured with Darren Phillips heading home the all-important goal.

Two offside decisions had halted two early Basildon forays but on 11 minutes Marcus Bowers had a shot blocked. Soon afterwards Clapton keeper Richard Robins was cutting out a Luke Hornsley header. The Tons were not able to create any chances themselves in the opening 15 minutes, however Aundre Spencer was then able to battle his way to gaining possession of the ball by the right byline and centred to Jay Knight who lashed the chance wide. It had been the best chance of the game thus far and it was a golden opportunity that was wasted.

Moments later Bowers cannoned a free kick the dipped slightly but was nonetheless well saved by Robins. Clapton had a free kick of their own not long afterwards that was cut out by Connor Wheatley. The Basildon custodian then quickly kicked the ball to his forwards which launched a counter-attack which ended with Bowers unleashing a shot that was superbly tipped away by Robins.

The Tons saw out the half by creating a number of chances. The first came via a Spencer free kick from the right which darted across the Basildon goal needing only a touch but sadly for the Tons there was no one able to provide it. Then a great run on the left wing by Jay Morris, who had to override a solid challenge by Darren Phillips, before passing to Khadeen Campbell whose own run took him past two defenders before drilling a shot that Wheatley blocked. Then right on the stroke of half-time Knight went down from a challenge in the box that had his team mates calling for a penalty but the referee waved the claims away.

Basildon opened the second half on the attack and Sam March drilled an early effort wide. The early stages of the half saw the Bees having the upper hand but they were not able to penetrate the Clapton defence. Clapton’s opening attacked came soon afterwards when they won a corner which ended being narrowly headed over by Johnson Santos.

Robins got down low to tip away a Bowers shot in the 65th minute. It was a superb save but Robins was replaced in the 67th minute by Ignas Budvytis. The replacement keeper fortunately wasn’t having to face a Basildon penalty as Hornsley, who had worked his way into the Clapton box, went down from a challenge and once again the referee turned away the appeals and allowed play to rightly continue.

Budvytis was soon called into action though when Phillips got a header off from Kris Newby’s free kick that he had to tip away for a corner. The resulting corner was weakly punched away by Budvytis, going only as far as Phillips who headed the ball powerfully into the net.

It had taken the Bees 71 minutes before opening the scoring and they nearly doubled their lead five minutes later when Bowers bustled his way past his marker, unleashing a powerful shot that the sub Tons keeper equalled with a top class diving save.

With the clock ticking the Tons then had the ball in the Basildon box with a through ball reaching Knight who turned quickly, rounded one defender before taking a tumble when challenged by a Bees defender. The referee again saw no foul play and for a moment Basildon were able to breathe a bit more easily. They might have been able to relax a bit more easily had Hornsley made better use of a ball that was fedto  him inside the Clapton box,  but he lost his footing allowing Budvytis to lay claim to the ball.  Basildon were still not home and dry and right at the death had another heart-in-mouth moment when Jeffrey Cobblah chiselled a shot that Wheatley was able to save.

Basildon certainly had to work to get the win here but in doing so remain two points behind Redbridge and keeping it very tight at the top end of the table.

Clapton: Richard Robins (Ignas Budvytis 67’), Lanre Vigo, Yousef Bello, Khadeen Campbell (Jeff Cobblah 69’), Greg Akepele, Jay Knight, Jay Morris, Johnson Santos, Ohi Longe, Dylan Ebengo (Capt), Aundre Spencer.

Basildon United: Connor Wheatley, Jamie Selby-Knight, Joe Burgess, Oliver Spooner (John Burgess 78’), George Whitby, Darren Phillips, Charlie Kendall, Tommy Barton (Capt), Marcus Bowers (Jack Adlington 78’), Luke Hornsley, Sam Marsh (Kris Newby 58’).

Scorer – Darren Phillips (71’)

Report by Scott Lanza / Photo by Sherry Cumming

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