Tower Hamlets make their point
PUBLISHED: 08:54 02 February 2016 | UPDATED: 08:54 02 February 2016
Essex Senior League: Tower Hamlets 1 Hullbridge Sports 1
Tower Hamlets maintained their turnaround in form with a point against Hullbridge Sports last night, having beaten Southend Manor on Saturday.
The clinical performance in their 3-1 win at the weekend gave Hamlets confidence heading into their home fixture, but 10th-placed Hullbridge were a tough test.
Tower Hamlets’ home record is questionable and the players knew a loss would push them two steps back after seeing the shoots of recovery on the weekend.
And it was Hullbridge who went closest first, as Aliu Ibrahim failed to control the ball, letting in striker Luke Hornsley whose shot forced a good save from returning goalkeeper, Andrei Stinca.
Hamlets failed to get going and were punished in the 21st minute when a free-kick was played into the box and flew over a crowd of bodies to Hullbridge centre-back Joseph Turpin, who had peeled off his marker and with so much time and space, lashed the ball into the net on the half volley.
The goal sparked Tower Hamlets into life and they began to show the fluid passing that typifies their play.
Mane Cheik-Sabidou should have buried his chance after some good link-up play down the left, but his shot hit the side netting.
That would prove to be the best chance of the half for the hosts, after a poor display, and the frustration caused manager Ade Abayomi to uncharacteristically rant at the referee going into the tunnel.
Sensing their manager’s passion and potential wrath if the score stayed the same, Tower Hamlets looked an inspired side in the second half.
The Rowe brothers, O’Neal and Omar, certainly helped ease their coaches’ blood pressure with a scintillating performance.
The siblings combined to create the equaliser in the 53rd minute, with Omar picking the pocket of a Hullbridge midfielder and sliding a delicate ball to his brother who had made a run inside.
O’Neal’s first shot was only half saved, allowing the attacker to pounce again and poke the rebound home.
Observers would have predicted a Hamlets’ winner at that point as they had the momentum, but Hullbridge fought back and should have regained the lead just moments later.
Harry Skinner had a clear shot at goal when a ball wasn’t cleared from a corner, but he blazed a gilt-edged chance wide from just yards out.
The visitors threatened again, but an outstanding last-ditch tackle by Ali Yaslem prevented Charlie Little’s pull back from finding Hornsley, who had a golden opportunity awaiting him.
With 20 minutes to go the tide shifted back to the more athletic Hamlets and it was they who looked like getting the winner.
Omar Rowe found himself with the ball in the box and while trying to wriggle away for some room to shoot was brought down in what looked like a blatant penalty, but the whistle never came.
Substitute Ade Alaga hit the crossbar moments later and the resulting rebound was fired just wide and that was to be the last chance of worth in the match as both sides settled for a point, a result which was a fair reflection of the game with both sides missing big chances to take the three points.
Abayomoi said: “It’s a fair result, I appreciate how we stood up to their aggression and dealt well with the windy conditions.
“I was mainly disappointed at half time about the referee not carding their players for dissent when it happens to us a lot. Overall this is a good result and one we can learn from in the future.”
Tower Hamlets have an 11-day break from action now until they meet Eton Manor on February 13.