United warm to task in rout
Bethnal Green United overcame a disastrous first-half display to thump Middlesex County League whipping boys Deportivo Galicia
Bethnal Green United overcame a disastrous first-half display to thump Middlesex County League whipping boys Deportivo Galicia and close the gap on Premier Division title rivals Hayes United.
Goals from Shane Joseph, Shane Baptiste and a hat-trick from Marlon Campbell eventually sealed a deserved win for United, who are now just four points behind leaders Hayes with four matches remaining.
The outcome keeps Bethnal Green in the hunt for an unprecedented treble, but boss Justin Gardner admitted that the final scoreline masked an uncomfortable opening 40 minutes at Mile End Stadium, in which his side were outplayed by bottom club Deportivo.
"We were absolutely shocking in the first half and it was probably the poorest performance I've ever been involved with," said Gardner. "We started to show what we can do after half-time, but the spectators must have thought they were watching a different team."
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Despite producing a stellar display a week earlier, Bethnal Green struggled against stubborn Deportivo and goalkeeper Phil Skelton was the lone United player to emerge with real credit from the opening 45 minutes.
The former Brentwood stopper produced a remarkable reaction save minutes before half-time to ensure United went into the break with a slender lead, courtesy of Campbell's 40th-minute header.
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The home side finally started to gel after the restart and Shane Joseph doubled the lead within five minutes, firing home from Marlon Boateng's pass.
Campbell slid in to convert Kadir Jama's cross after an hour and Baptiste headed in 10 minutes later, before Campbell netted his 11th goal in nine games to seal his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
Bethnal Green, who visit Bedfont Sports in the semi-final of the Middlesex League Senior Cup on Saturday (3pm), will play Hayes United in the final of the Alec Smith Premier Division Cup at Yeading FC's The Warren ground on Saturday April 18. For details of coach travel, see www.bethnalgreenunitedfc.co.uk.