New opposition, new venue, new rules (off-side now coming into play), but Clapham under-11’s were straight back into their stride in the first competitive game of the season with a stylish, if sometimes nerve-wracking victory over Dover House FC. After an opening third, camped firmly in the opposition’s half, trialist Derron landed a well struck shot in the back of the Dover House net to open Clapham’s account. Sadly, our response to the early break through was to take our foot off the pressure pedal, which allowed 2 Dover House goals in quick succession. Their speed, particularly on the wing, took us somewhat by surprise – but Clapham quickly regained their composure in mid-field, and Flynn was able to equalize from the back of the box. There was more potential drama just before half time when Dover House looked to have gone one up, but the off-side rule came to our rescue. After half time, Clapham used their size and strength to good effect, resulting in three goals in quick succession from Derron, Tristan and Flynn. Time for another well-deserved nap for the Clapham boys, and after 6 minutes Dover House were back to within 1. Now it was Clapham’s turn to be denied a goal courtesy of a brilliantly organized off-side trap, and before we knew it, Dover House had equalized. But Clapham managed to keep their cool as tempers on the pitch started to fray, which lead to a penalty opportunity which Derron put away with no fuss. An impressive hat-trick on debut, made possible by a strong team performance all round.
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