Gardner rages at rough justice

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:04 05 October 2010

Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner has launched a stinging attack on referee David Hookway after his side s nine-match winning streak was ended by title rivals Hayes United

Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner launched a stinging attack on referee David Hookway after his side's nine-match winning streak was ended by title rivals Hayes United.

In a potentially fatal blow to the club's Middlesex County League championship ambitions, Bethnal Green fell to a dramatic defeat on Saturday as Hayes opened a six-point gap at the top of the Premier Division.

The East End side hit the woodwork three times in the club's first defeat in five months.

Yet Gardner pointed an accusing finger at referee Hookway, who awarded home side Hayes two penalties and disallowed an apparently legitimate Bethnal Green effort.

"The referee was absolutely shocking. In terms of what the boys gave me, I couldn't have asked for anything more - we were superb," Gardner said.

"We lost because the referee killed us. He was in the middle of the park for all the crucial decisions and you can't referee a match from the centre circle."

Hayes had taken an early lead through league top-scorer Saman Kanani and could have gone further ahead when they were awarded a controversial penalty, but Phil Skelton produced a magnificent save to deny Kanani.

Yet Bethnal Green gradually took control of the contest and Alfred Kamara and Leon Ryan both hit the crossbar before a dramatic finale produced four goals in the final 15 minutes.

With Bethnal Green pushing forward in search of an equaliser, Andre Costa doubled Hayes' lead, but Marlon Campbell produced an immediate response by turning home Boateng's cross.

Bethnal Green should have drawn level when Nathan Mulgrave's free-kick hit the underside of the crossbar, while Danny Sabroche also spurned a glorious chance.

Yet Hayes struck a critical blow when Deon Grant successfully converted a second dubious penalty and despite Campbell converting Boateng's cross to reduce the deficit for a second time, Bethnal Green could find no way back.

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