Bethnal Green United win two in a week
Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner believes his side are back in the title race after two wins in a week pushed his side up to third in the Essex Senior League table
Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner believes his side are back in the title race after two wins in a week pushed his side up to third in the Essex Senior League table.
Star striker Anton Stephenson grabbed a double, while Marlon Boateng grabbed a last-gasp winner as United beat Tipree 3-2 last Wednesday.
While Kadir Jama, skipper Ainsley Gasper and Marlon Campbell found the target in Saturday's 3-0 win over Mauritius, which leaves the East End club just three
points behind current leaders Burnham Ramblers.
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"It's been a great week, I'm over the moon that we have picked up two wins in seven days," Gardner said enthusiastically.
"Those wins have put us back in the title hunt and if we can go on a run like we did last year, then we are in with a great shout of maybe winning the league.
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"We won 18 games on the bounce to win the league last year and if we can string five or six wins together, it would put us in great shape."
And if United show anything like the kind of form this past week in the foreseeable future, then Gardner's target is a real possibility.
"We should have won both games by more, but on both occasions each opposition goalkeeper played out of their skin and were superb.
"I won't be too harsh on my players, we picked up the wins and that is the most important thing," he said.
"We should have beaten Mauritius 10-0, that would have been a fair result.
"Their best player was the one on loan from us, Chris Theodore. Mauritius could have got one back if they finished properly.
"But I have to hand it to their goalkeeper for putting in such a good performance.
"Kadir Jama and Leon Ryan were superb."
Despite the stoppers excellent display, he could not prevent Jama's stinging shot from the edge of the area from heading into the net to give Bethnal Green the lead.
Nor could he keep out Gasper's well-struck spot-kick after Jama was tripped up in the area.
Green made the game safe when new-signing Remi Nelson burst free and had his powerful shot saved and then bundled home by Campbell.
Those chances were created against a poor Mauritius side leaking goals by the bucketload.
And Gardner feels, his United outfit may have to up their game come Saturday, when they travel to Oakside for an interesting league clash.
"Barkingside will be I think, the toughest game of the season so far," he warned.
"They are always there or thereabouts come the end of the season and almost won it a couple of years ago, so we have to respect them.
"If they have their Aveley players playing then it will be very tough, but if they don't have those players I believe we will beat them easily."
They will be travelling without Alfred Kamara who recently joined Enfield 1893, after the north London side put in a seven-day approach for the midfielder.
"Alfred Kamara was a big player for us and I wish him all the best for the future," Gardner said.
"He was a key player for us in our promotion season and I hope he does well at Enfield.