Bethnal Green United edge out rivals Enfield
Mile End club claim vital three points over second-placed opponents
Anton Stephenson was the Bethnal Green United hero after his strike was enough to beat title rivals Enfield at Mile End Stadium last Saturday.
Last seasons top scorer rose highest from a Mark O’Toole corner to head home after 34 minutes to seal a precious three points for the East End club, who are now just three points behind with a game in hand on their second-placed opponents.
It was United’s second win a row after beating Burnham Ramblers 2-0 last week and boss Justin Gardner was understandably delighted with the outcome.
“It was a massive result, they are a good team, but we played good football and showed the grit and determination necessary to win the match,” he said.
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“Defensively we were superb and it laid the foundations for us. Stephen Wright was great in goal while Jason Fox, O’Toole and Ainsley Gaspar were all brilliant but special praise must go to AJ (Ajebola Olatobosun), who was outstanding and has been a rock for us all season.”
United controlled the majority of the game and handled the long ball tactics of their opponents well and Gardner was particularly pleased with the way his side survived a barrage of crosses in the last 10 minutes of the game.
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“They failed to create many chances and to keep out a top quality striker such as Sherwin Stanley is something to be quite proud of,” the boss said.
“He had no chances and credit to the defence for that. They kept pumping the ball forward, putting crosses and free kicks into the box, but we dealt with all of that and Isaac Aubynn could have made it two late on.”
The Greens did end the game with 10 men after striker Michael Begg was sent off after receiving two yellow cards, a decision which Gardner was not happy with.
“The first yellow card was fair enough for not retreating for a free kick, but I was not happy with the second one,” he said.
“Their winger turned Begg and he caught him. Fair enough it was free kick, but it was so harsh to book him. Every referee at this level knows Michael Begg and knows he’s not that sort of player. It’s the first time in his career he’s been sent off.”
The striker will be available for this weekends trip to struggling Basildon United, a game which on paper should be an easy game for the team in third.
“We lost at Basildon last season, it’s not an easy place to go,” Gardner said.
“It’s these type of games I worry about us. The ones where the players think it will be easy and only have to turn up to win. It’s my job to make sure the players keep their feet on the ground and I am confident I will be able to do that.”
Daryl Wilson, Remi Nelson, Marlon Boateng and Ashley King are all still missing through injury for the trip to Essex, while Isaac Aubynn will serve a one-match ban after collecting five yellow cards this season.