Gardner ‘buzzing’ as Bethnal Green book place in FA Vase fourth round
Greens beat local rivals Sporting Bengal 5-2
Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner admitted he was ‘buzzing’ after a whirlwind week that saw his side beat Sporting Bengal once in the league and once in the FA Vase third round.
The Greens met the team they share their Mile End Stadium home with last Wednesday in the Essex Senior League, running out 2-1 winners, thanks to Michael Begg’s deciding goal.
However, on Saturday, Gardner’s men topped that result as they cruised to a 5-2 victory.
“They were two, massive wins for us,” said Gardner.
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“I’m absolutely buzzing, it’s the thing of dreams.
“Someone had to pinch me when we were 4-0 up at half time to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming.
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“The lads were terrific and they believe that we can get to the final and play at Wembley.”
On Saturday, there were only five minutes on the clock when Kingsley Francis-Reynolds put the ‘home’ side in front.
Paul Burnett then doubled Bethnal Green’s advantage, before Begg grabbed his first.
The striker then scored again, before Sporting had a man sent off for a professional foul.
After the break, the rout continued as Begg completed his hat-trick, before Greens captain Ainsley Gaspar was harshly penalised for a foul in the box.
Sporting scored the subsequent penalty and then scored once more, for a final score of 5-2.
“Michael Begg really impressed me and took his hat-trick well,” said Gardner.
“He will go home with the headlines, but the star for me was Paul Burnett.
“He has played well all season, but I told him that I wanted to see more goals and assists from him.
“He had a hand in all of our goals on Saturday, so he has definitely proved a point to me.”
Gardner went on to dedicate the win to Greens chairman Mohammed Nural Hoque, before expressing his delight at a ‘kind’ fourth-round draw for the club.
“I would like to dedicate the whole weekend to our chairman,” said Gardner.
“He was one of the starting members of Sporting Bengal before breaking away to form Bethnal Green United in 2000.
“He has been dreaming of the day when the two sides would finally meet at a high level and we have come out on top twice.
“If we had lost, I would have been keeping out of his way for a little while!
“The draw has been kind to us and we face Old Woodstock Town away, so it will be a nice day out in Oxfordshire.
“I also saw that you can now bet on us to win the Vase, at 40-1.
“That is when it really hit home for me.
“We are in the last 32 of the competition and just four games away from playing at Wembley.
“The players believe we can do it, and so do I.”
The Greens face bottom of the league Basildon United this Saturday in league action.