Bethnal Green boss taking things one game at a time
Greens win season opener but Gardner not getting carried away
Greens boss Justin Gardner was delighted with his side’s 3-0 win at Bowers & Pitsea in their Essex Senior League opener, but insists that his team will not get carried away.
Gardner’s men sailed to second place with their victory thanks to goals from Danny Gabriel, Darryl Wilson and Jay Leader – and all three were headers.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better start,” said Gardner.
“It was a great team performance and everything seemed to click on the day.
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“Our pre-season form wasn’t great as we lost four games and drew one, but the boys really stepped up on Saturday.
“It was a faultless performance and the lads played how I wanted them to and we kept a clean sheet which I am over the moon about.”
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The Greens took the lead after 20 minutes from a well-worked corner when Gabriel found the room to nod home the opener from six yards.
Gardner’s men then doubled their lead ten minutes before half-time, in the move of the game.
After a spell of passing between the Bethnal Green players in midfield, Anton Stevenson was put through one-on-one with the Bowers keeper.
Stevenson’s shot was well saved, but Wilson followed up to score with a header from close range.
With the Greens leading 2-0 at half-time, dramatic events in the tunnel, changed Gardner’s team talk at the interval.
“For some reason, one of the Bowers players was arguing with the referee,” he said.
“Then suddenly the referee sent him off.
“For some reason 10 men tend to play better than 11, so I knew I had to warn my side not to get complacent and to just keep going and push for that third goal.”
And the Greens responded on the hour mark, when Leader headed home a Wilson corner to take the three points back to east London.
However, Gardner revealed that his side’s star performer wasn’t one of the scorers on the day.
“For me, Stevenson was unplayable,” he said.
“He gave the Bowers defenders the run around for 90 minutes and both of them had to be replaced.
“One because of injury and the other because he was knackered.
“Anton was the stand-out player on the day.”
This weekend, Bethnal Green play their first home game of the season against Burnham Ramblers and Gardner believes his side will be in for another tough test.
“Burnham will be a completely different kettle of fish compared to Bowers,” he said.
“They will be a very tough side to beat, but at home we should be favourites.
“Our home form will be crucial for us this season and we have to try to remain unbeaten.
“They say that if you can win your home games and draw away then you will win the league.
“We want to win all of our games, but we are taking things one match at a time.”