Mile End derby draw 'a fair result'
PUBLISHED: 17:30 04 October 2016
Gazi and Abayomi reflect on stalemate and season so far
Sporting Bengal manager Imrul Gazi is relishing his “24/7” job and believes his side have the makings to surprise the top teams in the Essex Senior League, despite a tough start.
Gazi replaced former West Ham defender Anwar Uddin, who was at the helm of the club for a year and guided the previous whipping boys of the league to 12th place last season, at the helm during the summer and saw them battle to a goalless draw with Mile End Stadium co-tenants Tower Hamlets last night.
He said: “I like Tower Hamlets, they play in the right way and are a young team which is very similar to us.
“I don’t think there was very much in the game, we kept the ball better in the first half, but in attack we looked stronger in the second and created the better chances.
“No-one had any outstanding chances and I think a draw is a fair result.”
As for their progress so far this season, where they have enjoyed success in knockout competitions but are playing catch-up in the league, Gazi added: “It’s still early days and I am telling people to assess us after 10 games, we are in need of a win, but I feel the cup run has kind of shifted focus away from the league as a lot of thoughts are on the FA Vase match on the 22nd.
“We have three league games between now and then, Basildon and Clapton are both going for the league so that should be a test, and we go in as underdogs, so that is going to be tough, but I am confident as our team is getting there now and I’m beginning to know what my best eleven is.
“A win is definitely coming.”
The crucial thing for Sporting Bengal and their manager is the fact they are enjoying their football and showing plenty of passion.
And it is clear to see that Gazi is thrilled with his time so far at the helm, adding: “I’m loving it, its a 24/7 job and I can’t sleep because I’m constantly thinking about it.
“It’s hard being a small club and trying to get the same 11 out each week, but its a rewarding challenge and it couldn’t be done without the brilliant coaching staff and they deserve a lot of credit as well.”
Gazi’s opposite number at Tower Hamlets, Ade Abayomi, praised Sporting’s “determined defending” and felt “neither team deserved the three points” from their derby encounter.
But when asked how he felt at this stage of the season, he was markedly subdued, feeling problems from last year hadn’t been resolved yet.
“The first quarter has been very difficult,” said Abayomi.
“We have tried to blend experience with youth, but often the older heads have working commitments and it has been hard to find a consistent 11.
“But as the youth gain experience, I believe they have the ability to turn things round.
“The defensive problems are still there from last year, although we aren’t losing by big margins, we still give teams too many goals when they haven’t had to work for them.
“We were didn’t lose focus and kept a clean sheet. I’m confident the younger guys are learning and we’ll be much stronger in the last quarter of the year.”
Up next for Sporting Bengal is a home match against Basildon United on Saturday, while Tower Hamlets make the short trip to the Old Spotted Dog to take on London Bari on Tuesday.