Tower Hamlets, Clapton share spoils
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Tower Hamlets 1 Clapton 1
Tower Hamlets and Clapton played out an intriguing draw under the lights at the Mile End Stadium last night.
Hamlets took the lead via a penalty from Ali Ibrahim, before youngster Ajani Carrington equalised for Tons, in a derby that was littered with individual errors and squandered opportunities.
The two teams had contrasting fortunes heading into the game, with the hosts unbeaten in their last three league matches, whereas Clapton had suffered three straight defeats.
The Tons had been afforded nine days respite, though, allowing for some valuable time on the training pitch, a rarity with such a congested fixture list.
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It did seem that Clapton were the fresher of the two sides in the opening exchanges, as Jerry Jairette forced a smart save from the Hamlets keeper, drawing gasps from the 308 fans in attendance.
It would be the hosts, though, who had the first clear-cut chance of the game as a low cross found O’Neal Rowe in the box and he helped the ball onto Joel Ramos, who had space and time to shoot, but he scuffed his effort.
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There was another glorious opportunity for Ade Abayomi’s men to take the lead on 21 minutes when Clapton’s stand-in centre-back Andrew Lastic slipped when passing back to the keeper, allowing Rowe in one on one.
The striker, who had scored four in the last five games, looked certain to finish as he rounded the keeper, but Jamie Lyndon made a heroic block on the line.
Moments later another Lastic gaffe allowed Rowe in and this time he shot first time, forcing an acrobatic save from Richie Robins.
Hamlets looked destined not to find the net on the half-hour mark when a free-kick, aimed as a cross, cannoned off the crossbar and bounced back to Ramos who, with the goal at his mercy, saw his header also crash onto the of the top bar, to the delight of the travelling Clapton Ultras.
The home side should have been at least two goals to the good heading into the break, having blown numerous opportunities, as Clapton flattered to deceive, with sparks of brilliance in attack juxtaposed by jitters at the back.
The second half produced yet more questionable defending from both sides, each with devastating consequences.
The build-up to the home side’s penalty saw a litany of errors as Clapton midfielder Kristian Haighton decided to pass back to Robins, at the byline, instead of clearing the ball for a throw in.
Robins then scuffed his kick straight to Rowe and Lyndon, looking to come to the rescue again, bundled over the forward and saw the referee point to the spot.
Ibrahim stepped up and converted the spot-kick to give his side a deserved lead on 70 minutes, but Hamlets could only hold on for seven minutes, as Lukman Akunda’s poor touch at centre-back allowed striker Carrington through on goal.
It seemed like a carbon copy of the chances that were gifted to his counterpart, but importantly the 17-year-old managed to find the back of the net and claim his first goal for the club.
Having secured the equaliser and with a galvanised travelling support cheering them on, it appeared a winner was in sight for the Tons.
With just two minutes to go, a well-worked free-kick and fine delivery into the six-yard box found Carrington, who was unmarked, but his header went wide and the opportunity to steal three points was gone.
Ninth-placed Clapton visit Takeley this weekend, while lowly Tower Hamlets are back at home to host Waltham Forest.