King reigns supreme in United win
PUBLISHED: 10:44 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:41 05 October 2010
BETHNAL GREEN UNITED marched to their third successive victory in the Middlesex County League on Sunday with a crucial win over championship rivals Bedfont Sports that vaulted them back into contention for the Premier Division title. United atoned for an
BETHNAL GREEN UNITED marched to their third successive victory in the Middlesex County League on Sunday with a crucial win over championship rivals Bedfont Sports that vaulted them back into contention for the Premier Division title.
United atoned for an opening day meltdown against Bedfont, who won 5-2 at Mile End Stadium in the first league match of the season, as Danny Sabroche scored the only goal and the club secured a record third clean sheet in a row.
Manager Justin Gardner hailed the victory as the best result of his tenure at the club, outstripping even last season's Premier Division Cup Final win.
"Everyone was fantastic for us - all 16 players were out of this world," said Gardner, whose side are now two points behind league leaders Park View.
"I told the players it was crucial because if we had lost, we would've been playing catch-up for the rest of the season, but now the title is back in our hands."
The triumph was built on a commanding defensive performance and a inspirational display from goalkeeper Ashley King, who has excelled since replacing Ragan Bailey last month.
"He was outstanding and the things he does you only really expect from professional goalkeepers," said Gardner.
"It's hard on Ragan, who has been fantastic, but he'll be back in the team soon because the way Ashley's playing, we won't be able to keep him for long."
King and the Bethnal Green defence weathered an early storm but United midfielders Alfred Kamara and Leon Ryan gradually took control.
The East End club should have gone ahead midway through the first half when Kamara was brought down inside the area, but Sabroche saw his penalty saved by Bedfont keeper Barry Macwilliam down to his right.
Shane Joseph was twice denied by Macwilliam either side of half-time and Sabroche dragged a shot wide following a long pass from Ainsley Gaspar, who produced a towering display at right-back.
But the United forward finally settled the match 20 minutes from time when he raced on to a pass from Kamara and fired home.
Bethnal Green United face Willesden Constantine at Mile End Stadium on Saturday (3pm).