Wet Wednesday night at Wadham Lodge
I made the short trip, still slightly jet lagged, to Wadham Lodge in Walthamstown for a wet, mid-week cup tie. Essex Senior League sides, Wadham Lodge FC and Clapton FC faced off in the second round of the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy.
Unlike other clubs that have played at the ground over the years Wadham Lodge FC have a fairly short and uneventful history. When Waltham Forest FC, temporarily, moved away from Wadham Lodge in 2008 the new club was formed to keep football at the ground. In the nine years since formation the Essex Senior League is the highest level the club have played at.
The Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy is effectively a League Cup competition for Essex Senior League teams and has been in existence since 2001/02. Clapton won the competition in 2016 and many of the competition’s winners have gone on to win promotion to the Isthmian League.
Refreshments: £5.40 (burger, coke and coffee)
Star player: Hassan Nalbani
Getting to Wadham Lodge
Wadham Lodge is hidden away in the back streets of E17 but is easily reached from the North Circular. Simply, take the A112 from the Crocked Billet roundabout and got left onto Brookscroft Road. Wadham Lodge is on Kitchener Road which is on the left at the end of Brookscroft.
The ground has several 5-a-side pitches on site as well as a clubhouse, and there is plenty of parking available. The ground is also about a mile and a half from Walthamstow Central station which is on the Victoria Line and London Overground.
Entry was £8 for adults and £4 for concessions. Just to your left as you go in there is a distinctive food stand that looks like it’s been fashioned out of a shipping crate. It had a good selection of well-priced burgers, hot dogs, snacks and drinks.
Wadham Lodge on a Wednesday night
I’ve already seen a Clapton away fixture this season, at Tower Hamlets, and was expecting a good sized crowd. They didn’t bring as many fans as they had for the Friday evening at the Mile End Stadium. A good smattering of Ultras, however, took up residence at the end closest to the refreshment stand.
The home side also attracted a few fans that were largely based in the main seated section. The remaining crowd soon joined them under cover when the torrential rain began, shortly after kick off. The seated members of the crowd quickly established some agreeable banter with the players closest to them, while the visiting fans provided the evening with a bouncy soundtrack.
The home side have been struggling in the league and looked a little disorganised on the pitch. It was, however, good to see a few people come out on a Champions League night to see them.
Clapton started well from the outset and scored early on through Aundre Spencer. The Tons seemed to have gained a few new players since the 0-0 draw I’d seen again Tower Hamlets. Powerful number 9, Hassan Nalbani, in particular was a constant threat and set-up the first goal.
He was also involved in the second but it was Spencer, again, who applied the finishing touch. Wadham Lodge showed some glimpses of promise but looked like a group of players that hadn’t played a lot together.
Clapton began to dominate in the second half and Nalbani’s performance was rewarded with a goal. He karate kicked the ball home from 12 yards after the keeper failed to hold a previous attempt. Clapton made it four with around 10 minutes to go, but in reality it could have been more.
The visitors progress into the third round of the Cup they won in 2016.