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A bumper crowd of 468 attended the East London derby at Mile End Stadium between Tower Hamlets and Clapton on Friday evening.  Both teams needed a win to kick-start their campaigns but ended up having to share a point after a goalless draw

The hosts had an early chance when Kane Wilson turned and shot over the bar. Hamlets certainly made an attacking start, although there approach play often fizzled out before they could carve anything too threatening in the Tons box.

Clapton’s first chance came from a free kick in the 19th minute that was well defended by the Hamlets defence, with a counter-attack soon being launched by the hosts that ended with Wilson again putting a shot narrowly wide. Akintunde Akinola went closer still when his rasping drive required Tons keeper Emmanuel Olajide to pull off an impressive save to palm the shot round the post.

Clapton were not causing too much threat but did win a couple of corners midway through the half. The second one saw Mustafa Kazue pick up a short corner and then try a cheeky little goal-bound dink that Lee McKnight punched clear.

Luke With looked to have set-up Frankie Sinclair after his header opened up the Tons defence, but Sinclair wasn’t able to fully make use of the chance as Olajide rushed off his line and charged smothered the ball. And towards the end of the half Hamlets again tried to break the deadlock; this time Declan Nche bursting through the midfield before drilling a shot over.

Both teams started the second half bringing on fresh legs. The game was certainly entertaining as neither team gave an inch, resulting in individual battles for possession all over the pitch. But Hamlets did start the half intending to attack their well-backed opponents, who despite the constant vocal backing of their supports, seemed rather flat at times. Hamlets had more of the possession but just like the first half couldn’t carve out too many real chances. Olajide was required to palm away a John Watson free kick on the hour mark and soon afterwards McKnight was having to pull off a reflex save to keep out Zachary Miller’s snap shot.

There was a little bit more action as the clocked ticked down. Olajide perhaps being the busier of the two keepers as he was tested by Tola Odedoyinand Curtis Pond although Akin Obamakin did unleash a ferocious drive in the 84th minute that was perhaps the shot of the game, with McKnight’s superb save certainly being the save of the night.

Clapton ended the game winning a succession of corners but didn’t really threaten and in the end both teams will have to console themselves with a solitary point from a tight derby game

Tower Hamlets: Lee McKnight, Lamar Earle, John Watson, Ali Ibrahim, Jerome Anthony, Tola Odedoyin, Akintunde Akinola (Toke Best 60’), Frankie Sinclair, Luke With (Curtis Pond 65’), Declan Nche (Kayode Tobun 46’), Kane Wilson.

Clapton: Emmanuel Olajide, Lanre Virgo, Yusuf Bello, Zachary Miller, Quincey Egbejale, Mustafa Kazue (Anton Stephenson 77’), Jerry Jairette (Kristian Haighton 46’), Nathan Cook, Aundre Spencer, Ikem Odeh (Akin Obamakin 77’), Raphael Duyile.

Report by Scott Lanza