Tower Hamlets hopes go Pop!
PUBLISHED: 09:42 14 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:42 14 March 2016
Essex Senior League: Tower Hamlets 1 FC Romania 4
Tower Hamlets fell to a sixth successive defeat as they succumbed to Essex Senior League leaders FC Romania at the Mile End Stadium, after a Liviu Florin Pop hat-trick.
The sides couldn’t have been more unevenly matched, as Hamlets had lost their derby match the previous weekend against fellow tenants Sporting Bengal, in a clash they had dominated in previous seasons, and they suffered an embarrassing 8-0 loss at Barking in midweek.
FC Romania, on the other hand, had only lost just the once in 2016 and are course for the title.
Fans barely had time to take their first sip of tea before Pop had opened the scoring for the visitors within the opening minute.
The left winger made the first of several diagonal runs inside and, after the ball through found its way to him, Pop was left one-on-one and finished calmly.
Before the 15-minute mark Pop had really burst Tower Hamlet’s bubble as he grabbed his second goal, a virtual carbon copy of the first.
Once again the Hamlets defence failed to spot the run inside and another fantastic ball was played into the league’s second top scorer with 29 goals and he stroked the ball home.
Another thrashing looked on the cards for the home side, but just moments after the restart Edison Teberen scored the goal of the game to give Hamlets hope.
FC Romania were playing a high line and a ball over the top left the home striker in acres of space.
The visiting keeper decided to come out, but then retreated, and seeing this Teberen hit an audacious lob from 25 yards that nestled in the back of the net.
Any chances of a Hamlets fight back were quashed in the 23rd minute, though, as Ilie Vasile’s ball inside the channels found Sergiu Pitaru one-on-one, with the right winger following the lead of his team-mate on the other side of the pitch as he struck home the third goal.
Pop must have had a sense of déjà vu in the 48th minute as, just like in the first half, his runs inside were not picked up and once again keeper Lloyd Prezmecky-White had to pick the ball out of his net as the winger completed his well-deserved hat-trick.
It was an outstanding performance from Pop, which at times looked like he was playing on a school playground; it really was men against boys.
It was little surprise that the final third of the game was somewhat lacklustre, considering the first hour of play had heralded five goals.
FC Romania were playing some stylish football and toying with Tower Hamlets, appearing to have so much more time and space in a clinical performance.
But in fairness to the home side, FC Romania are formidable opponents and a well-oiled side who seem to like travelling eastwards.
For Hamlets and their manager Ade Abayomi it is back to the drawing board as they have picked up just four points from the 11 games they have played in 2016.
He said: “The defeats hurt us, but we are a young team and I have always said that this season is about setting a platform for the future.
“They were clearly the better side and I hope their performance inspires my boys to see that a passing game can mean results in this league.”
Hamlets are back in action tonight (Monday) as Burnham visit Mile End Stadium, before a trip to Greenhouse on Wednesday.
They visit fellow strugglers Newham in a must-win game next weekend.
Tower Hamlets: Prezmecky-White, Abalo (Sumithran 65), Cedras, Alaga, Lazoio, Olanipekun, Earle, Traore, Miller (Patterson 56), Teberen (Ogunoile 70), Baffour. Unused subs: Ikenwe, Samuels.