Champagne left on ice as Stansted await Essex Senior League decision

PUBLISHED: 09:56 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 07:37 30 May 2010

Andy Oxby fires Stansted into the lead on Tuesday night against Bethnal Green.

Andy Oxby fires Stansted into the lead on Tuesday night against Bethnal Green.

STANSTED FC should have been celebrating winning the Essex Senior League title for the first time in their history on Tuesday night following their victory over Bethnal Green United. However, the champagne is on ice as Basildon United cancelled Saturday s

STANSTED FC should have been celebrating winning the Essex Senior League title for the first time in their history on Tuesday night following their victory over Bethnal Green United.

However, the champagne is on ice as Basildon United cancelled Saturday's fixture on the morning of the game claiming they couldn't field a side, and the league have yet to award the Airportmen all three points.

With Southend Manor having been expelled from the league's Gordon Brasted Trophy competition after failing to raise a team to play Bethnal Green United, Stansted initially expected to be awarded the points which meant Tuesday's win would have put them seven clear of title rivals Witham who have just two games left to play.

However, the league committee were due to hold a meeting last night (Wednesday) where it is now believed they will order Stansted to replay the game next Thursday.

The whole incident threatens to take the gloss off one of the best seasons in the history of the Hargrave Park club and it has infuriated chairman Terry Shoebridge.

"I can't understand the mentality of our league. I think they will open a whole can of worms by doing this," he said.

"I can understand now why clubs want to get out of this league. They are scared to make a big decision.

"If they don't do something about it, it gives any club that has a bit of money and can't field their best team the chance to say we will pay a £250 fine and call the game off.

"I have been on to the FA to find out what we can do but they say it's down to league rules which state the non offending club may get the points, but that's not guaranteed.

"They don't want to be seen to be giving us the league, but it would be one game. We have played a whole season and deserve to be where we are."

Shoebridge continued: "At the end of the day Southend Manor got kicked out of the cup when they couldn't raise a side and the game was given to Bethnal Green. That is no different to what Basildon have done so the points should be given to us.

"Basildon are totally out of order as they were going nowhere and just didn't want to play us with a weak side. We would have won the league last night (Tuesday) as I guarantee we would have beaten Basildon on Saturday.

"Unfortunately we have got six players away next week and if we need to win that game on Thursday to win the league then it's totally unfair.

"We can't afford to cancel a game and pay £250, but I might do it if they make us play Thursday. We will find the money from somewhere. I won't play ball."

However, Stansted can make sure the title is theirs regardless of the final decision by beating Bowers & Pitsea at Hargrave Park on Saturday.

Manager Terry Spillane said: "We have had a great season so far, but we have a job to do on Saturday and hopefully the boys can do the business.

"We are at the finish line - we just have to break the tape now.

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