Tunde is Sporting's hat-trick hero
PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 March 2016
Essex Senior League: Sporting Bengal 3 Southend Manor 1
Tunde Adewunmi bagged a hat-trick as 10-man Sporting Bengal beat Southend Manor in a fiery Essex Senior League game at Mile End Stadium.
Antoine Roberts was given his marching orders in the first half with the score at 1-0 after a late two-footed challenge on Southend midfielder Callum Jex, with the referee producing a straight red card.
But the hosts defied their numerical inferiority to claim the points, thanks to Adewunmi’s treble.
Sporting were looking to bounce back after a 6-1 trouncing at the hands of Clapton and looked more reassured at the back from the start as Manor seized the early initiative.
The visitors had also suffered defeat last weekend, but looked the sharper in the opening five minutes as the game began at a high octane pace, but with a competitive ugliness which lasted throughout the 90 minutes.
The dazzling start had a say in Sporting’s opener with Southend still applying pressure high up the pitch when they were caught cold and out of position.
Sporting broke down the left and Jeff Noubissie produced an inch perfect cross for Adewunmi to head home his first goal of the afternoon in the 10th minute.
Clear-cut chances were slim for Southend with Sporting’s centre-back Teo Borozan winning his tug of war with striker Micheal Hopkins.
The visitors favoured a direct route, but it was met by a human-sized wall of Borozan, who won nearly everything in the air.
Then came Southend’s best chance of the half, shortly after the sending off, with the wind swirling around Mile End Stadium.
Bengal found it difficult to clear the ball in the tricky conditions and it was crossed back into the box, evading all and falling to Hopkins who had finally found himself free of Borozan only to blaze over from five yards out.
Southend were now making their extra man count and on the stroke of half time another cross was not cleared, making it is way through a number of bodies to find winger Rhys Fatt at the far post, but his effort was well blocked.
The ball was picked up by Sporting’s keeper Lewis Lockyear just as it was going out for a corner and he was penalised for a back pass, with an indirect free kick given just five yards from the home goal.
But Lockyear instantly redeemed himself as Robbie Norris drilled the free-kick low into the box and it fell to Frankie O’Shea, who was denied by a great point-blank save.
The second half began as the first had ended with Lockyear rushing out of his goal and making another save, this time from Fatt.
Sporting were now very much stationed in their own half and struggling for an outlet, sitting far too deep, and the equaliser came in stunning fashion.
A long throw-in into the box was only cleared to the edge of the 18-yard area and was met with a thunderous volley by Sam Short which gave Lockyer no chance.
It was game on now and Southend were looking the most likely to go on get the three points, until a self-imposed implosion.
Despite being down to 10 men and with tiring legs, Sporting were gifted two goals in a crazy 10-minute spell.
A free-kick was lofted into Southend’s box, where two defenders challenged for the same ball and only succeeded in heading it backwards towards their own goal where Adewunmi bundled it over the line.
The final goal came from the penalty spot after a counter-attack from Bengal and a tackle on Adewunmi deflected the ball bouncing towards Southend’s goal.
The keeper rushed out to try and punch the ball clear, only to completely miss it and bring down Prince William and concede the spot-kick.
Adewunmi stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to complete his hat-trick and give Sporting a two-goal cushion.
The visiting keeper was at it again late on, rushing out and being left stranded as William knocked the ball around him, only to slot it wide from a tight angle.
But it made little difference by that stage as chances for Southend were rare and their heads dropped after gifting the win to Sporting, who return to action next weekend with another home match against London Bari.
Sporting Bengal: Lockyer, Williams, Ngulube, Borozan, Adeyemi, Kahie, William, Singh, Adewunmi, Noubissie, Roberts. Subs: Rahman, Crane, Mohamed.