Tower Hamlets happy to beat Burnham

Tower Hamlets defenders crowd out a Takeley rival at Mile End Stadium (pic Tim Edwards)

Tower Hamlets defenders crowd out a Takeley rival at Mile End Stadium (pic Tim Edwards) - Credit: Archant

Tower Hamlets 4 Burnham Ramblers 1

Tower Hamlets were victorious in their must-win game against Burnham Ramblers after a feisty encounter saw three red cards and a horrific injury suffered by Bradley Morgan.

The Burnham striker was left in the middle of the pitch covered in blankets for around half an hour after a hefty challenge from behind in the 85th minute and was taken to hospital in an ambulance with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

The incident spoilt what was set to be an enthralling finish to the big battle for Essex Senior League survival, as Ramblers were forced to play the last 10 minutes with just eight men, following two dismissals and substitutions, and the hosts 2-1 up.

Ade Abayomi’s Hamlets were just five points ahead and two places above their bottom-placed rivals at the start of play, but had played two more games and knew they could be caught, especially with an upturn in fortunes for the Ramblers in recent weeks.

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The match felt like a six-pointer for both sides and it began in a cagey fashion as each knew the high stakes.

Hamlets captain Jairo Pedro had a free header from a corner that he should have buried, but that was to be the biggest chance in the first 20 minutes.

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The first of three red cards was shown on 24 minutes when Rahim Adama Bamba managed to break away from the visiting defenders and was through on goal with just the keeper ahead.

But Burnham’s Luke Malone, in his attempts to track back, tripped the forward and the referee showed a straight red, with the Ramblers players and management feeling their other centre-back would have got back in time.

Four minutes later, a crunching tackle by a Hamlets player caused a scuffle as tensions reached fever pitch between the two teams.

But with the extra man the hosts looked the most threatening and finally opened the scoring in the 42nd minute when centre-back Edward Lang fired home with the outside of his foot after a corner wasn’t cleared.

It seemed Tower Hamlets just needed to preserve their lead and one man advantage to cruise to victory, but they managed to squander both in the next half an hour of action.

On the 62nd minute a rejuvenated Ramblers grabbed an equaliser when Morgan beat his man and fired into the bottom corner to give his 10-man team an equaliser.

It looked like a tragedy was about to unfold for the hosts on 73 minutes as Hamlets forward Lamar Earle was sent off for striking a player after another fight broke out between the teams.

But as Earle slowly trudged around the pitch and towards the dressing room, substitute Samuel Olanipekun lifted his spirits as he lobbed the visiting keeper to resotre Hamlets’ lead, whilst also producing the celebration of the season with three front flips.

Almost straight after the restart a third red card was shown, this time to Burnham’s Ryan Stillwell for a second bookable offence much to the displeasure of the visiting support.

Now playing with just nine men, Ramblers were dealt another blow and possibly for the rest of the season as goalscorer Morgan let out an horrific scream following a sliding tackle.

Play was held up for a lengthy time and the players went into the dressing room as the paramedics arrived, evoking memories of Clapton’s Bradley Joseph who also had to leave the Mile End Stadium by ambulance.

When play resumed, Ramblers had just seven outfield players and Hamlets took full advantage as Zee Sheymz found space in the box and fired home in the 87th minute and Adama-Bamba hit a fierce shot from outside the box to put the gloss on a big win.

The two teams are due to face up again in the reverse of this fixture at Leslie Field tomorrow (Tuesday), with Hamlets now three places above in the league having gone past Sporting Bengal with the win.

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