Thomas sticking to his principles

ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE Clapton 0 Witham Town 1 IT WAS a familiar story for Clapton chief Wilfred Thomas on Saturday as his young team s naivety led to errors at both ends of the pitch. Having been dealt a blow in the build-up to the game with the news that c

ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE

Clapton 0 Witham Town 1

IT WAS a familiar story for Clapton chief Wilfred Thomas on Saturday as his young team's naivety led to errors at both ends of the pitch.

Having been dealt a blow in the build-up to the game with the news that centre back Justin Maynard, one of the few physically imposing figures in the squad, had moved up a league to sign for Ilford.

Having experienced the situation on several occasions already this season, Thomas again shuffled the pack and, once again, his side played with a verve and panache, which belied the youngster's status in the often gritty Essex Senior League.

However, as is to be expected when fielding a large number of rookie players, a mistake from his 17-year-old left back proved the turning point.

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After a corner was whipped in to the near post, the young defender failed to attack the cross and watched in disappointment as the ball went past him, to the feet of the onrushing forward, who tapped home from close range.

Clapton's strikers were also guilty of missing key chances in the game, and while Thomas says he addressed the errors afterwards, he has no intention of switching his usual laid-back demeanour for a regimental, authoritarian approach.

"I spoke to him but he's only 17 and he's going to make mistakes," said the Tons boss.

"There's no point me having a go at him because he won't learn like that and it will only harm his confidence.

"I said to him, 'You know what to do, we've done it in training, just attack the ball rather than wait for it to come to you' and hopefully we'll learn from that."

Thomas also revealed how his side's approach continues to receive compliments from rival bosses, and drew comparisons with Premier League side Arsenal, where his son Jay Emmanuel-Thomas is a promising young professional.

"We're playing pretty well and I'm pleased with them," he said.

"We're like Arsenal in that we've got all the ball, but we just can't score goals."

Thomas added: "I don't think the results would come by changing our style.

"We haven't got the biggest of lads and so we keep it on the ground and pass it. If we started putting balls in the air then we'd be playing to our opponent's strengths.

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