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United produce debut to forget at their new home

PUBLISHED: 11:11 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:33 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG BETHNAL Green United endured a nightmare start to life at their new home as they were thrashed by Bedfont Sports at Mile End Stadium on Saturday. Playing their first Middlesex County League match of the season at the new ground following

By JONATHAN CLEGG

BETHNAL Green United endured a nightmare start to life at their new home as they were thrashed by Bedfont Sports at Mile End Stadium on Saturday.

Playing their first Middlesex County League match of the season at the new ground following a summer move from Meath Gardens, United conspired to throw away a two-goal half-time lead as they finished the game with just nine men.

Goals from Alfred Kamara and Ricky Field had put the Bethnal Green side in a commanding position at the interval but Bedfont pulled a goal back within minutes of the re-start and United goalkeeper Ashley King was then sent off for handling a shot outside the penalty area.

Bedfont's Scott Sheridian equalised with the ensuing free-kick and United proceeded to collapse as makeshift keeper Phabian Baker conceded three times in the final half hour.

The disastrous display was compounded 15 minutes from time when Tony Field was dismissed for squaring up to Bedfont's Kenrick Harriet, who also saw red.

For Justin Gardner, the United boss, the only consolation is that things can scarcely get worse during the remainder of the season.

"If I'm perfectly honest, it was the worst possible day," said Gardner. "Even the first-half performance wasn't good, but we just fell to pieces after half-time.

"It was a nightmare - losing when you're 2-0 up at half-time, having two players sent off, conceding five goals in 45 minutes - you might expect these things over the course of a season, but not all in one afternoon

"You could tell we were the better team in terms of quality but as soon as the goalkeeper was sent off, our heads dropped. Without the two red cards, it would've been different. That's the only reason I'm not absolutely fuming."

It had all started so well for United, who overcame a tentative start to take the lead midway through the first half when Kadir Jama opened up the Bedfont defence and found Shane Martin, who laid the ball off for Alfred Kamara to smash home.

Playmaker Jama was also instrumental in United's second goal, beating two defenders and slipping a pass into the path of Ricky Field, who fired in.

But it was a different story in the second half as Bedfont's Neville Barrett crossed for Harriet to shoot home within minutes of the resumption.

Two minutes later, United keeper King saw red for handling Matt Clarke's shot outside the area and Sheridian curled the free-kick into the net.

"I thought it was harsh to send the goalkeeper off," Gardner said of the crucial decision.

"There were three or four bodies between him and the goal and I know that it was the correct decision by the letter of the law, but I would have liked to see some common sense applied."

Baker replaced Kamara between the sticks as United chased the game but Bedfont stretched their lead through Barrett and Alan Barlow's double before Harriet and Tony Field were dismissed late on.

Bethnal Green United travel to Hayes Gate on Saturday.

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