The FA Vase competition returns to Rowley Lane this weekend, with Lions getting one of the more interesting draws on offer – and hoping to see a club record home crowd.
Clapton FC have a famous travelling army of fans called the Clapton Ultras, who have rejected professional football to form an allegiance with Clapton.
They have been known to travel numbering 500 or more, and even a fraction of that number would dwarf our previous Rowley Lane record of 163 in the last round. It may also prove to be a colourful affair, as the self-styled ‘anti fascists’ usually bring a swathe of flags and banners.
The Buildbase FA Vase is one of the major non-league trophies in football, and has over 500 entrants nationwide from teams competing below Step 4 of the non-league pyramid, with a final at Wembley up for grabs. This weekend sees us in the first round proper only for the second time.
Coach Darren Yarlett said: ‘We want to go as far as we can but we know the further you go, the higher the standard of opposition.
‘Clapton are famous for the crowd, in their last game almost 800 people went so it could be a new experience for some of our younger lads and I am sure it will be in good spirits and a unique day at Rowley Lane’.
Clapton were formed in 1878 and play at the wonderfully named Old Spotted Dog Ground. Their current owners have fallen out with the Ultras over plans for the ground so the supporters tend to follow only away games in protest.
Clapton play in the Essex Senior League, which is one step higher than Lions and have been on some good form of late, winning 5 out of the last 6 games.
We have met The Tons once before in the FA Cup in August 2012 at Hemel Hempstead Town (our then home) as we famously won our first ever game in the competition 4-0. Our goals 5 years ago came from Daniel Stanton, Ben Ellis, Aron Barnes and Sam Sloma.
Yarlett was not looking at that result as a guide however: ‘We know we will be in for a tough game as they are doing well in a good league’.
London Lions in the FA Vase
This season is Lions fifth season in the competition to date, with our best performance coming in 2012/13 when we made it through to the 2nd Round Proper, ultimately losing to now Bostik League team Brightlingsea Regent. A win on Saturday would see that progress matched.
|2011/12||1st Qual.||London APSA||H||Lost||1-2||D Soutar|
|2012/13||1st Qual.||Welwyn Garden City||A||Won||3-0||D Soutar, B Ellis, TJ Keterman|
|2nd Qual.||St. Margaretsbury||A||Won||3-0||S Sloma, D Bern, TJ Keterman|
|1st Round||Codicote||H||Won||2-1||A Bolle, D Stanton|
|2nd Round||Brightlingsea Reg.||H||Lost||2-3||A Bolle, B Elliis|
|2013/14||1st Qual.||FC Romania||H||Won||3-2||D Soutar, B Ellis, M Sacks|
|2016/17||1st Qual.||Burnham Ramblers||A||Lost||1-2||Au. Lipman|
|2017/18||1st Qual.||Wootton Blue Cross||A||Won||3-2*||A Burchell 2, C Kasler|
|2nd Qual.||Malmesbury Vic.||H||Won||3-1||S Hamerton, OG, Au. Lipman|
|1st Round||Clapton||H||Won||3-2||A Burchell 2, C Kasler|
|2nd Round||Leighton Town||A||Lost||0-1|