United fail to take Trophy chance

Bethnal Green United crashed out of the Anagram Records Trophy at Hanworth Villa despite a dominant display against higher opposition

BETHNAL GREEN UNITED crashed out of the Anagram Records Trophy at Hanworth Villa on Saturday despite a dominant display against higher opposition.

The Middlesex County League side were handed a tough test with a trip to opponents from the Combined Counties League, but United belied their status as underdogs with a positive performance that deserved more than a narrow defeat.

Bethnal Green created enough chances to have won at a canter, but some wayward finishing proved costly as Hanworth broke the deadlock with an early effort that deflected twice on its way into the net and duly rode their luck to see out the victory.

United boss Justin Gardner could not hide his disappointment at the club's exit from the most prestigious cup competition of the season, but expressed his pride at a top-quality performance despite the absence of four key players.

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"I'm disappointed we didn't win because we absolutely battered them, but perhaps it's a good sign that we feel we upset that we failed to beat a team from a higher level," said Gardner.

"We dominated the play, dominated the possession and we must have had 15 shots to their three, but if you don't take your chances, that is what happens."

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The tone for a frustrating afternoon was set in the opening minutes, when Danny Sabroche raced clear and dinked the ball over Hanworth goalkeeper Terry Buss, only for a covering defender to clear in front of an empty net.

Hanworth took the lead with a twice-deflected effort from the edge of the area but United had a chance to level when Daniel Lodge hit a low shot towards the far corner, only to see his strike tipped behind for a corner.

Lodge was denied again after the restart when he drifted past a defender and struck a fearsome left-foot shot that produced a tremendous save from Buss, who also saved well from Marlon Boateng, making his first start for the club.

Hanworth struggled to create chances at the other end, with on-loan goalkeeper Phil Skelton enjoying a fine debut following last week's switch from Brentwood Town and Ainsley Gaspar in commanding form at the heart of defence.

Gaspar had a chance to draw United level 10 minutes from time when the ball fell to him inside the area, but opted to pass rather than shoot and the opportunity went begging, while Sabroche fired a late free-kick over the crossbar as Hanworth clung on.

Bethnal Green United visit Kodak Harrow on Saturday (2pm). For more details see www.bethnalgreenunitedfc.co.uk.

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