Bethnal GreenUnited boss seven point target

Justin Gardner wants at least two wins and a drw from games against Southend Manor, Burnham Ramblers and Enfield

Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner has set his side a target of picking up seven points from their next three vital games.

The East End club are currently two points off the top of the Essex Senior League and take on Southend Manor, who took four points from their two meeting last season, before meeting championship rivals Burnham Ramblers and Enfield.

United host a Manor side who have yet to pick up a win this season and were beaten 7-1 by Barking earlier in the campaign, but Gardner will not take a win for granted.

“They played a lot of youngsters against Barking and I know if they play their strongest team it will be a tough match. They are a bit of a bogey team for us,” the boss said.

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“These upcoming matches are vital to how our season pans out. Of course we are aiming for nine points of nine, but I want at least seven.”

They will have to reach that target without goalkeeper Ashley King.

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The experienced stopper has liquid in his knee, which must be drained before he can play again.

“The doctors say he probably won’t play for another month. It’s a big blow,” Gardner said.

“Ashley is one of, if not the best in the league. Jack Potten has come in and done okay, but with these key matches coming up, Ashley’s experience would have been vital.”

The Greens will however have influential central midfielder Leon Ryan available again for suspension and his presence was certainly missed on Monday night as a makeshift United outfit were beaten 2-1 by rivals Eton Manor in the League Cup.

Wide player Kadir Jama was forced to play out of position in the centre of the park and was joined there by striker Michael Begg.

Plenty of first team players were rested for this Saturday’s key clash and United did not perform to their optimum.

“I rested too many players, while some wanted to save themselves for Saturday and we wasted too many chances,” Gardner said.

“Our finishing let us down badly. Daryl Wilson, Tyler Devlin and Isaac Aubynn all played up front and all had good chances to find the net.”

Manor took the lead just before the break and made it 60 minutes in. In stoppage time Ryan Kemp, a former Chelsea youth team player, who spent 10 years away from the game before this season chipped the goalkeeper from distance.

United were in better form last Saturday when they easily dispatched Sawbridgeworth 4-0 in the Second Round of the Gordon Brasted Trophy.

Anton Stephenson gave Bethnal Green the lead just before the break after turning smartly from the edge of the area before powering his shot past the goalkeeper.

It was two in the 58th minute when Michael Begg found the net before two Ainsley Gaspar penalties put a nice gloss on the score line.

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