Match Of The Marsh: Clapton continue march towards promotion

Clapton Rangers boss Mark Whyte has set his team the target of winning their last three matches if they are to win promotion to the Premier Division.

Rangers, who are in their first season in the league, are flying in Division One and Sunday’s 3-1 win meant the east Londoners leapfrogged opponents Zeppelin into second.

The Hackney club are five points above their rivals, in the final promotion spot, but with their opponents having four games in hand, Whyte knows his side must claim maximum points for the rest of the campaign.

“I think that in-order to secure promotion next season we will have to win our next three games in order to be in-charge of our own destiny. A loss could see us leapfrogged in this tightly contested league,” the boss said.

“It’s very important to the clubs supporters, members and youth teams to know that the club is moving in the right direction. We need a minor miracle to win the league. Stratford Juniors lead the league they are a very talented team, I can’t see them losing this season, which is what we need.”

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Sunday’s win does leave Rangers behind the leaders and Whyte was in no mood to underplay the achievement against Zeppelin.

“This result is the highlight of our season so far. Since the New Year we have won seven out of the eight games and this latest result has seen us achieve our highest league position this season,” he said.

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Clapton were given the perfect start, when after five minutes Stefan Gyamfi opened the scoring.

Zeppelin had the better of the possession for the remainder of the 1st half and the Rangers hung on their 1-0 lead until half-time.

The second half saw Zeppelin adopt a long ball strategy and were level after 60 minutes when a rare mistake in the defence saw Zeppelin level.

The introduction of substitute Daniel Senghore changed the game. The 70th minute saw him burst down the left wing and drill the ball into the area for captain Nathan Carr to convert.

Zepplin pushed the Rangers hard for an equalizer but left space at the back which Senghore exploited by leading the counter attack. His cross was met with a deft strike by Gyamfi, which rattled the crossbar, the rebound fell to Kalel who slotted from six yards.

“We made some changes to the squad just before Christmas, since then the boys knew what they had to do. It was a case of making sure everyone was totally committed. They showed that today and played like a team that have been together for years,” Whyte added.

Reid(6), Hayden-Forde(6), Browne(7), Carr(8), Tuggy(8), M.Senghore(6), Gracey(7), Erkan(8), Gyamfi(8), Kalel(6), Ace(6), D.Senghore(7), Hughes(6)

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