FA Vase opponents used to play Saints

By Post  
Saturday 24th October 2020 1:00 pm
Matt Petts' penalty save from Farnham Town's Richard Ossai clinched Petersfield Town's trip to Clapton in the first round of the FA Vase

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THE first round proper of the FA Vase sees Petersfield Town take on a club who once had Premier League giants Southampton on their league fixture list.

East London club Clapton – formed in 1877 – were a founder member of the Southern League in 1894 when it was considered the third-strongest league in the country behind the two divisions of the Football League.

Clapton also took on Reading, Luton, Millwall and Swindon in the league’s First Division during that inaugural season, while New Brompton – who would later change their name to Gillingham – played in the Second Division.

But after two seasons the costs of competing at that level proved too much, with several of the clubs turning professional, and Clapton resigned.

They then became a force in the FA Amateur Cup, winning it five times between 1907 and 1925, and were founder members of the Isthmian League in 1905, winning it in 1911 and 1923.

In 1926 they reached the third round of the FA Cup, losing 3-2 against Swindon in front of 27,000 people at West Ham’s old Upton Park ground.

They were still competing at the fifth tier of English football until 1976, when they finished bottom of the Isthmian League Division One and began a slow descent to the ninth tier, where they crossed swords with Petersfield United in the Isthmian League Division Three during 1991-92 and 1992-93.

Petersfield won 2-1 and lost 4-0 at Clapton’s Old Spotted Dog Ground, which they were forced to leave last year, and won 2-0 and drew 1-1 at Love Lane.

The FA Vase tie against Clapton, now members of the Essex Senior League and playing at the Terence McMillan Stadium in Plaistow, will take place on October 31 at 3pm.

Petersfield manager Mark Summerhill said: “It’ll be amazing if we can get through to the second round because that’s the furthest the club’s ever been.”