United set for historic cup bid

Bethnal Green United warmed up for their Alec Smith Premier Division Cup final with a clinical defeat of Willesden Constantine

Bethnal Green United warmed up for this weekend's Alec Smith Premier Division Cup final clash against rivals Hayes United with a clinical defeat of Willesden Constantine on Saturday.

Goals from Jamie Barry, Kadir Jama, Nathan Mulgrave and Shane Joseph secured a deserved win for the Middlesex County League club, who now require just three points to guarantee promotion.

Yet Bethnal Green's pursuit of a place in the Essex Senior League will be placed on hold this weekend as the East End club bid to become the first team in the history of the competition to retain the Alec Smith Cup.

United, who won the trophy with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Sutton Common Rovers last year, must defeat title rivals Hayes for the first time this season to secure the unprecedented triumph.

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Bethnal Green boss Justin Gardner said: "If we play like we did in the second half at Willesden, we'll cause them problems. Hayes are a good side but they were lucky to beat us [in February] and there's no doubt in my mind we can win it."

United's prospects of lifting the cup will receive a significant boost if Marlon Boateng can replicate his stunning performance against Willesden.

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The midfielder was sent-off for dissent after 60 minutes, yet his contribution during the previous hour had already turned the game United's way.

Boateng routinely caused panic in the Willesden defence, winning the penalty from which United took the lead when he was brought down following a dazzling run and low shot.

Barry converted to give his side a half-time lead and Jama doubled the advantage 10 minutes after the restart with a stunning strike, touching James Hoskyn's long ball forward past his defender and slotting home in one fluid movement.

Substitutes Mulgrave and Joseph added gloss to the scoreline with two goals late on.

Bethnal Green United meet Hayes United in the Alec Smith Premier Cup final at The Warren, Yeading FC on Saturday (7.45pm).

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