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United fall to reigning champs

PUBLISHED: 11:39 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:35 05 October 2010

BETHNAL Green United were handed an early blow to their title ambitions on Saturday as they slipped to defeat against reigning champions Indian Gymkhana at Mile End Stadium. United were looking to steal an early march in the race for the title by overcom

BETHNAL Green United were handed an early blow to their title ambitions on Saturday as they slipped to defeat against reigning champions Indian Gymkhana at Mile End Stadium.

United were looking to steal an early march in the race for the title by overcoming Gymkhana.

But last season's division winners proved resolute opponents and prevailed in a close encounter as Dennison's first-half goal proved the difference.

Despite dominating possession, United failed to make the most of a series of chances but Bethnal Green boss Justin Gardner refused to criticise his players.

He said: "It was a close game and the difference was that they had one chance and took it.

"It was a disappointing result but I wasn't too disappointed with the performance.

"The first half was fairly scrappy but I switched things around at half-time and we dominated the rest of the game.

"We should have scored a couple of times and on the balance of play, we deserved something from the game."

Gymkhana set out to disrupt Bethnal Green's passing game by flooding the midfield.

The tactic worked during a poor first half as the visitors took the lead in the opening 20 minutes when Dennison turned inside the area and his low shot crept inside the far post.

United should have had an opportunity to equalise when in-form Danny Sabaroche was tripped inside the penalty area but the referee failed to spot the infringement and Gymkhana held their lead until half-time.

Gardner changed tactics in the second half and the switch almost paid dividends when the ball fell to Jake Davey inside the area but his shot struck a post.

Substitute Kadir Jama nearly picked out Sabaroche for an equaliser and Giovanni Mattera pressed his claims for a starting spot with an energetic cameo but United failed to make the most of their possession as Gymkhana held on.

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