United handed trophy test

PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 05 October 2010

BETHNAL GREEN UNITED were handed a tough draw in the Cherry Red Records Trophy after cruising into round two with a comfortable win over Mill End Sports on Saturday. United face a trip to Combined Counties Division One outfit Hanworth Villa next month af

BETHNAL GREEN UNITED were handed a tough draw in the Cherry Red Records Trophy after cruising into round two with a comfortable win over Mill End Sports on Saturday.

United face a trip to Combined Counties Division One outfit Hanworth Villa next month after goals from Nathan Mulgrave, Leon Ryan and Ainsley Gaspar accounted for Mill End.

But Bethnal Green boss Justin Gardner believes his side are capable of springing a surprise by overcoming Hanworth, who play one level above the Middlesex County League club.

He said: "Hanworth are a good side but I honestly believe that if we play to our best, we can beat teams in the Ryman League.

"We'll be the underdogs, I think we can win."

United showed flashes of their best form as they overcame Mill End on Saturday, but despite dominating possession they were forced to wait until Gaspar's goal five minutes from time to seal the outcome.

The Bethnal Green forward, who should have had a hat-trick but spurned two glorious chances to add to his tally, controlled Shane Drew's precise pass and fired home to send his side safely into the second round.

United had appeared set for a smooth passage when a flowing move involving five players culminated in Mulgrave smashing home Danny Sabroche's low cross to give the hosts a 10th-minute lead.

But Mill End levelled against the run of play when a corner created mayhem inside the United penalty area and a fierce shot deflected off Shane Baptise and flew into the net.

Alfred Kamara, who had earlier sprung the offside trap only for his touch to elude him when clean through, contrived to miss an even simpler opportunity minutes after the restart when he shot against the bar from three yards.

But the introduction of Kadir Jama changed the game as the United playmaker terrorised the Mill End defence, who duly buckled, allowing Leon Ryan to restore the lead by scoring his first goal for the club following a pass from Tony Field.

"Kadir was fantastic and their defenders couldn't get near him," said Gardner, who added that Jamie Barry had played a captain's role in the triumph.

"Jamie was outstanding and produced his best game for ages. We've got a lot of competition for places but we need that if we want to challenge on all fronts."

Bethnal Green United visit Marsh Ranges on Saturday (3pm).

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