Gardner hails Takeley triumph
Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner reckons his team have sent out a message to the Essex Senior League after beating title favourites Takeley
BETHNAL GREEN UTD 2 - 0 TAKELEY
Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner reckons his team have sent out a message to the rest of the Essex Senior League after inflicting a first defeat of the season on title favourites Takeley.
The Greens maintained their perfect start to the new season with a deserved victory in their opening home match on Tuesday night as goals in each half from Ainsley Gaspar and substitute Shane Joseph proved decisive.
The outcome means it is more than a year since Bethnal Green last suffered a defeat at Mile End Stadium - a sequence that includes just one draw and nine successive wins.
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But Gardner insists none of those results compare with the victory over Takeley, who began the season as championship favourites after spending heavily to improve on last season's second-place finish.
"We've sent out a message to the rest of the league with this result - now they know we're no pushovers," Gardner said.
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"I would've taken a draw before the game but we were out of this world."
Gardner handed debuts to a pair of new signings as centre-half Steve Willis and midfielder Troy Hewitt-Jarrett were included in the starting line-up and the latter was instrumental in Bethnal Green's opening goal.
Hewitt-Jarrett's pass into the area found Alfred Kamara, who was bundled over after turning his marker, and Gaspar fired his penalty low to the goalkeeper's right to give United the lead.
Takeley fought back after the interval and Greens keeper Ashley King produced a magnificent save to deny Ryan Lee in the 56th minute.
But a double substitution by Gardner proved crucial as Joseph and Kadir Jama came off the bench with 20 minutes to go and combined to double the lead.
Playmaker Jama outfoxed a Takeley defender on the left wing and his curling cross was headed powerfully into the top corner by Joseph.
Takeley hit the post in the final 10 minutes, but Bethnal Green held on to record a deserved win.