Gardner happy with Sunday service following Greens’ Barkingside draw

Bethnal Green boss excited ahead of top-of-the-table clash with Southend Manor

Bethnal Green United boss Justin Gardner admitted that he was not too disappointed following his side’s 1-1 Essex Senior League draw at Barkingside on Sunday.

In a closely contested game, both teams showed resilience in defence to frustrate each other’s attack and the score remained goalless at half time.

In the second half, the game started to open up more, but it wasn’t until the 75th minute that Gardner’s men took the lead through Marlon Campbell, who had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds.

However, the Greens failed to successfully protect their lead and eight minutes from time, Barkingside equalised for a share of the points.

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“I am a little disappointed, but we had some players missing,” explained Gardner.

“Due to Barkingside sharing a ground with Redbridge, they asked if we would mind either playing the game on a Sunday or in a month’s time.

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“I didn’t want to leave too big a gap between our league games so I decided to play it on a Sunday.

“Unfortunately some of our players work on Sundays, so they were unavailable and we weren’t at full strength.”

“But Marlon came on and did very well to score after being on the pitch for a short amount of time.

“Once we got the goal I thought we would see the game out, but our left back made a mistake and tried to run the ball out of play.

“Barkingside’s striker hooked his foot around the ball, kept it in play and fed their midfielder who scored through a crowd of bodies, eight minutes from the final whistle.”

Gardner admitted that his side didn’t play to the best of their ability in the game and that a draw was probably a fair result.

“Sunday was a day for defenders,” he said. “Both defences were very strong and both keepers had very little to do.

“Our strikers were starved of service, which didn’t help and for the first time in a long time we failed to create chances, which just isn’t like Bethnal Green at all.

“Both defences didn’t deserve to lose, but we were in control and had around 70 per cent of possession.

“A draw was probably fair, but it is a better result for them than it is for us.” This weekend, Bethnal Green host Southend Manor in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash at Mile End Stadium.

And with Gardner’s men at home, the Greens boss knows the pressure is on his side to perform.

“All credit to Southend Manor, they are on a great run of form at the moment and close to the first round of the FA Cup,” added Gardner.

“Last season we played them off the park, but they nicked a goal and won 1-0.

“We will be playing our usual game and going all out in attack.

“This Saturday will show me whether my players are up for this title challenge.”

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