New-look Clapton put Tiptree in a jam

ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE Tiptree United 1 Clapton 2 A TACTICAL masterstroke reaped rewards for Clapton boss Wilfred Thomas on Saturday as his side picked up only their fourth league win of the season at Tiptree United. The Tons had lost eight of their previous

ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE

Tiptree United 1 Clapton 2

A TACTICAL masterstroke reaped rewards for Clapton boss Wilfred Thomas on Saturday as his side picked up only their fourth league win of the season at Tiptree United.

The Tons had lost eight of their previous nine league games before the trip to Colchester, but the record was not reflective on their often encouraging and progressive style of play.


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Thomas has also suffered with the loss of several first team players to clubs higher in the footballing pyramid in that time, which forced him to shuffle the deck on Saturday.

Experimenting with a bold 4-3-3 formation away from home, as opposed to his normal preference for 4-4-2, the switch liberated Clapton's instinctively attack-minded side with goalscorer Stefan Lawrence proving a revelation in a more advanced role.

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"I've just got to play to my strengths and the players I have on the day," said Thomas.

"I used to have quick wingers like Joseph Chege so I could play a 4-4-2, but nowadays I have to change things about."

Thomas added: "Jerry Jarred did well in the middle and Robert Olienka, my centre half, played well. He's only 23 but he's been captain for a while and is doing really well lately.

"Also Stefan Lawrence has good, quick feet, but in a 4-4-2 he sometimes plays too deep and doesn't get the chance to take people on.

"On Saturday though, he played lower down the pitch and I always say once you get the ball in the box, and force the defender to do something, then anything can happen."

Lawrence was influential in both of Clapton's goals by winning the free kicks that led to each, before getting on the end of the second one himself in the 60th minute.

Papa Starr was on the spot after 17 minutes to open the scoring and Thomas was pleased that his young side's good work had finally been rewarded.

"This has been coming," he said. "I can't even make too much noise about the things we did wrong because there wasn't many. They played really well."

Clapton, who played Burnham Ramblers on Tuesday evening, are in action at The Old Spotted Dog on Saturday when they welcome Enfield 1893.

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