O-my Tower Hamlets!
PUBLISHED: 20:04 15 August 2015 | UPDATED: 20:04 15 August 2015
FA Cup: Wivenhoe Town 1 Tower Hamlets 5
Omar Rowe’s nine-minute hat-trick helped a hugely impressive Tower Hamlets slay the Dragons and ease into the preliminary round of the FA Cup on a magical day.
The visitors simply played Wivenhoe off the Maple Tree Cars Stadium pitch and were well worth their emphatic victory, which banked £1,500 in prize money and a trip to Cockfosters in two weeks time.
And on this display, the future looks extremely bright for Ade Abayomi’s young Essex Senior League outfit.
Karl Andrade had a first-minute drive saved by Sean Bazell, but the Hamlets keeper had a relatively quiet day in comparison to opposite number Liam Daniels.
Abayomi’s side settled quickly, continually urged to “relax, keep the ball” and showed an excellent touch while passing and moving, as well as disciplined positioning across the park.
Wivenhoe were feeding off scraps of possession in the opening 20 minutes, with striker Ray Turner bellowing: “We’ve got to do more, up it, more, all over.”
But the truth was, they couldn’t get close to Hamlets quick-footed ballers and the deadlock was broken on 28 minutes with a superb team goal.
Bazell played the ball out from the back to big centre-back Samuel Olanipekin, who carried it to halfway and then helped it on the outstanding O’Neal Rowe.
After a quick pass to Yusuf Ali, Rowe raced onto a slide-rule pass from Omar Rowe to get to the byline, then cut the ball back for his namesake to see his first shot blocked, before rifling home a right-footed effort.
The celebrations had barely subsided when Hamlets doubled their advantage with a superb solo effort from Rowe who, after putting pressure on a Wivenhoe defender to win possession, dribbled infield and then sent a low drive inside the far post.
The shellshocked hosts huddled together before the restart and the message was clear to hear. “More physical”.
But after Turner picked out Joe Heron for a left-footed drive that a diving Bazell beat away, Hamlets were back on the attack, with left-back Tyler Springer getting into the box onto Danio Brown’s pass to see a shot saved, before Rowe headed the looping ball just wide.
A third goal arrived on 37 minutes, though, as another great move through midfield sent Rowe into the box to clip the ball over Daniels and complete a memorable treble.
Rahmadama Bamba wriggled into the box from Ali’s pass to see his shot deflected behind, with O’Neal Rowe’s short corner picking out Omar Rowe, whose effort was also deflected.
Wivenhoe won a free-kick just before the break, which Heron sent into the box for Andy Schofield to glance a header into the hands of Bazell, before Hamlets countered and Brown had a shot deflected behind.
Brown was then denied by the legs of Daniels from the corner, but Hamlets headed to the dressing-room firmly in control and the tie virtually over as a contest.
Abayomi replaced hat-trick hero Rowe with Ali Ibrahim during the break and Wivenhoe made a bright start to the second half, with Heron firing over within a minute and Turner curling a shot just beyond the far upright.
But Hamlets soon rediscovered their form, with O’Neal Rowe and Ali combining on the right, before Bamba sent his effort wide of the near post under pressure from Tim Dennis.
A fourth goal arrived just before the hour when Brown sent a brilliant crossfield ball into the path of Ali, who skipped past his man and drilled a low shot inside the far post.
After that it was just a case of how many more Hamlets, oozing confidence and given licence to express themselves, might add to their tally.
Patrick Lukondo and captain Harry McLean continued to do the leg work in the middle of the park, as the full-backs and wingers looked to get forward at every opportunity.
Beleaguered Wivenhoe grabbed a consolation seven minutes from time in route one fashion as a long ball from keeper Daniels was flicked on by Turner for substitute Adam Hampson to send his shot off the legs of Bazell and looping under the crossbar.
The home side’s joy was very short lived, though, as Hamlets restored their four-goal cushion almost immediately with another stunning counter-attack that saw the muscular Olawale Ogundile tripped inside the box by Dennis for a blatant penalty.
Fellow substitute Inesh Sumitharan, only on the field for nine minutes, was given the responsibility to take the spot-kick and placed it into the bottom left hand corner of the net with little fuss.
There might have been more still, but Sumitharan and Springer saw shots saved by Daniels on 86 minutes.
Hamlets had done more than enough to book their place in the next round, though, and it will be very interesting to see how this young side develops over the coming months.
Wivenhoe: Daniels, B Lampon, Davies (Nydam 66), Schofield, Dennis, Connell, Andrade, Bryan (Hampson 46), Turner, Greenidge, Heron (Ayten 64). Unused subs: Keating, Ringe, Sidki, Austin.
Tower Hamlets: Bazell, O’Neal Rowe, Springer, Olanipekin, Mouhamed, Lukondo, Ali (Sumitharan 75), McLean, Brown, Bamba (Ogundile 55), Omar Rowe (Ibrahim 46). Unsued subs: Traore, Patterson, Kosoko.