Bethnal Green United suffer shock Southend Manor defeat
East End side five points off leaders Stansted following 1-0 reverse in Essex.
Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner was left stunned after claiming his side played their best football since he became manager, but still lost 1-0 at mid-table Southend Manor on Saturday.
Unbeaten Greens headed into the match as hot favourites but returned to east London pointless after Anton Dwyer headed home a 33rd minute winner.
“It’s a major blow and it’s very frustrating because we were the better team and played the best football I have seen since coming here as manager,” Gardner said.
“I could say we didn’t take our chances and I could have made changes earlier, but you could say that Southend defended well and their goalkeeper pulled off some excellent saves.
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“It’s a tough place to go and I’m not upset with the team. I’ve told them in the past I can have no complaints if they go out there and give me a performance and they did that.”
Kadir Jama hit the bar and Greens had chances to level the match after Dwyer had given Manor the advantage.
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From a corner, captain Ainsley Gaspar lost Dwyer and the striker flicked on the cross into the net to give his side a 33rd minute lead they would not relinquish.
“Ainsley held his hands up and admitted he made a mistake and I think it’s the first time he’s made an error like that,” Gardner said.
“The result is a blow because we have to make up that result somehow. We have matches against Burnham Ramblers and Enfield, who are flying at the moment and we will have to win both.”
The defeat has left Greens five points adrift from leaders Stansted and with a tough matchup against Ramblers’ on Monday the pressure is on Bethnal Green.
“Leon Ryan will be back from suspension which a big plus for us,” Gardner said.
“Apart from that I can’t see me making too many changes because we payed well at the weekend and because of that I don’t even believe the team’s confidence has been effected too much.”
Gardner is on the hunt for a centre half and is yet to replace the departed Glenn Golby, while goalkeeper Ashley King will probably be out of action for another five weeks with fluid on his knee.
Danny Sabaroche is also likely to leave the club after United accepted a seven-day request from Essex Senior rivals Barkingside.
“He’s a big loss, because a fit Danny Sabaroche is a quality player, but unfortunately we can’t give him the games to get him match fit,” Gardner said.
“The door is always open for him if wants to come back.”