Tower Hamlets topple Tons in derby

Tower Hamlets manager Ade Abayomi (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Tower Hamlets manager Ade Abayomi (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Essex Senior League: Tower Hamlets 1 Clapton 0

Tower Hamlets took a smash and grab victory against east London neighbours Clapton in an exciting game at the Mile End Stadium last night.

The result marked a change in fortunes for both sides, with Tower Hamlets seemingly out of their early relegation woes and Clapton under a little pressure after losing two matches on the bounce.

Both sides entered the derby match following defeats to Wadham Lodge, with Clapton faring the better of the two in a 2-1 defeat as their hopes of pushing for the top four hit a blow.

Yet the travelling fans gave Clapton no reason to feel disheartened, as the Ultras were out in full force, handing Tower Hamlets their record attendance at the Mile End Stadium of 382.

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Tower Hamlets started the brightest of the two sides, perhaps galvanised by their biggest ever crowd, as they began to find their passing rhythm that punctuates their play, almost unlocking the door early on.

The first chance fell to Clapton though, as Warren Mfula struck the post after a Nathan Cook strike was saved into his path on the 10-minute mark.

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Hamlets’ keeper Asary Traore came to the rescue for the home side as Shomari Barnwell began his first-half assault on the home sides defence, as an outstretched leg denied the number nine from a tight angle.

Barnwell was to be thwarted again, this time almost heading home, and Clapton had a disallowed goal for offside before Barnwell, Clapton’s top scorer with 10 from his 13 starts, saw Traore tip his drilled effort onto a post.

Tower Hamlets made chances themselves, but looked less and less in the contest as the first half drew to a close.

Therefore it came as a surprise to everyone that they entered the dressing room with the lead after scoring with the last kick of the half as Sunday Wasiu finished calmly following a beautifully weighted short pass from Nasser Bello, to leave Clapton dazed and confused.

The Ultras thought their luck had changed early in the second half as Francis Ebanks’ attempted cross skimmed the upright.

But it was not to be, as Traore topped off his man-of-the-match performance with his finest save of the night on the 70-minute mark.

Mfula was given acres of space to pick out a cross into the box and the ball bounced around in the area, before falling to Geoff Ocran just six yards out.

But Ocran’s lashed shot was blocked by Traore’s iron hands as he threw himself at the attempt to preserve the home side’s advantage.

Sam Edwards almost headed in an equaliser late on as Clapton dominated the possession stats throughout the second half, yet the elusive goal never came and Tower Hamlets took the spoils.

Boss Ade Abayomi was ecstatic to claim thepoints and said: “We knew this would be difficult and I am just happy that we came away with the three points.

“We have a very happy manager, a very happy dressing room and that hasn’t been the case for a little bit, but I knew this day would come.

“Traore was the difference today and I am very grateful to have him!”

Clapton manager Michael Walter added: “It is another disappointing result, in a game we should have won.

“We outclassed our opponents but couldn’t find that killer edge after a sucker punch. I think our game on Wednesday left us a little fatigued, but we will bounce back.”

Clapton take on Barking on Wednesday, before meeting FC Romania next weekend to cap off a gruelling run of fixtures, while Hamlets now have a week’s rest before entertaining Enfield next weekend.

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