Title double for East London
- Credit: Archant
Men’s teams secure top spot
East London clinched the East Division Three South East title with a 4-2 win over Upminster seconds, in front of a jubilant home crowd at Mile End Stadium.
And not to be outdone, the high-flying fifth team claimed the Division Eight crown with a 5-3 win over second-placed Southend while the women’s third and fourth string sides also sealed promotion.
Adam Willoughby’s unbeaten first team went head-to-head against Upminster knowing they would have to bounce back from a disappointing draw and raise their game to secure first place.
They netted the only goal of a tight first half and doubled their lead soon after the break, but Upminster hit back and missed a gilt-edged chance to level.
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The scare shook East London back into action and before long they had the game back under control, running out 4-2 winners thanks to goals from James Cook, Phil Rae, Dan Collis and Henry Emery to spark wild celebrations both on and off the pitch.
James Eaton’s fifth team secured back-to-back titles with a hard-fought win over hosts Southend, courtesy of goals from Tom Latchem (2), John Baker, Jeff Courtney and Justyn Hardcastle.
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With both sides already promoted, East London knew a win would give them the title, but Southend were in no mood to make it easy.
A 3-0 score line at half time flattered the visitors who were clinical up front but too often scrambling to contain the opposition’s attacks.
After conceding in unfortunate fashion East London’s ruthless strikeforce stretched their lead again, but Southend would not roll over and fought back to ensure a tight finish.
The final scoreline reflected well on both sides, who will renew their rivalry next season.
The men’s fourth team fired seven past Maldon seconds to keep up their push for promotion, while the third team took a point against their Maldon rivals to bolster their hopes of staving off relegation.
The second team slipped to a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Waltham Forest but the sixth team rounded off the day’s results in style with a 3-0 win at Upminster.
The women’s first team fell to a second straight defeat with a disappointing 2-1 loss at Hertford, but results elsewhere brightened the mood with every other team registering wins.
Hertford opened the scoring and although Alice Taylor put East London on level terms just before half time, the visitors struggled to find their shape and conceded too much possession in midfield.
An uncharacteristic lack of fight was soon reflected in the score when Hertford took advantage of a yellow card to defender Liz Cope and tucked away what proved to be the eventual winner.
It was a different story for the second team who, buoyant after securing the title last week, ran roughshod over Oakway to score 18 goals.
Michelle Meyers led the scoring with five goals, while Carlotta Zeitelhack and Caroline Hibberd grabbed four apiece.
The third team clinched second place in Division Four after a convincing 3-0 win over Redbridge & Ilford, thanks to two goals from top scorer Meenal Patel and one from Vicki Lim.
A two-goal victory for Emma Buchan’s fourth team wasn’t enough to overhaul Southend & Benfleet’s superior goal difference at the top of Division Five, but does mean the side are promoted in their first competitive season.
The fifth team registered only their third win of the campaign, beating Phoenix 2-1.