Sporting keep up the pressure at the top

East End side Sporting Hackney continued their excellent form with a 4-3 win over St Johns Deaf to stay second in the Middlesex County League Division One.

East End side Sporting Hackney continued their excellent form with a 4-3 win over St Johns Deaf to stay second in the Middlesex County League Division One.

There was a bumper crowd of 125 at Haggerston Park on Saturday, on the FA-backed ground-hoppers day.

The crowd saw Hackney dominate the first 45 minutes, which included a 25-minute hat-trick for striker, Al McQuade, who took his opener within 30 seconds.

St Johns had managed a bundled goal towards the end of the first half that gave the north London side hope.


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That hope was turned into a second goal and Hackney started to loose concentration.

The east Londoners passing went awry and St Johns confidence increased as they bossed the midfield.

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The visitors looked more likely to score but the superb Hackney back four, with skipper Sturdy and Harry Murphy were not making things easy for the assertive St Johns.

Sporting Manager Ben Watson responded with a controversial triple substitution, a move which had the Hackney old guard talking on the line.

Jeff Badu, a surprising omission from the starting lineup, after his best form in front of goal this season, along with midfield general O'Flaherty and wide-man Jones, replaced a failing midfield, with the tiring Caban moving up front to play off McQuade.

But Badu did nothing to show Watson what he was missing as the his main contribution was to upend a St Johns player in the box.

The visitors converted to level the scores at 3-3.

Hackney had a goal disalowed for offside prior to the penalty but this did nothing to overshadow a poor second half display.

Badu went missing for the last frantic 15 minutes as both sides looked for the winner.

And soon after Marlon Sharpe, was sent off after an elbow off the ball, St Johns pushed forward sensing a memorable turn around in their fortunes.

The game turned into an end-to-end thriller, with chances at both ends as a shot smashed against the bar from O'Flaherty.

Sion Jones had been quiet out on the right wing, mainly because his teamates forgot to notice his arrival.

But the Welshman never stopped running and was rewarded with the stoppage-time winner.

Hackney were looking the more likely to score and after a series of corners from the right they finally found the net, after a scramble of sorts saw Jones the more alive to react to a loose ball and poke home for the three points.

This weekend Sporting Hackney take on Indian Gymkana in the Open Cup at Haggerston Park, with kick-off at 3pm.

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