Stansted close in on Essex Senior League trophy
Stansted 4 Bethnal Green Utd 1 STANSTED FC have one hand on the Essex Senior League trophy after a comfortable victory against fellow high-flyers Bethnal Green on Tuesday night. A victory for Terry Spillane s side against Bowers & Pitsea at Harg
Bethnal Green Utd 1
STANSTED FC have one hand on the Essex Senior League trophy after a comfortable victory against fellow high-flyers Bethnal Green on Tuesday night.
A victory for Terry Spillane's side against Bowers & Pitsea at Hargrave Park on Saturday will give them the title after 39 years of trying.
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The Airportmen looked in control for most of the game against a physical team who could feel lucky that they only had one red card to show for their efforts.
Spillane was delighted with his side. He said: "We played very well and it was a good win. We were under pressure, but I cant speak highly enough of the players.
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"There were some big performances and I couldn't decide who was man-of-the-match for the first time this season. We made one of the best sides in the league look ordinary."
The home side started strongly and it took only five minutes for them to open the scoring when Andy Oxby sent a curling shot from the edge of the area in off the post with Green keeper Ashley King well beaten.
John Bricknell went close when King was caught in no-man's land, while Vinnie Durrant hooked his shot just wide after he intercepted a poor back pass.
The visitors levelled against the run of play in the 29th minute when Leon Ryan - who was lucky to still be on pitch after an off-the-ball elbow on Oxby - went down under Ryan Olivia's challenge, and although Sam Tanner guessed right, Ryan's spot kick beat him to finish in the bottom left hand corner.
It took less than a minute for Stansted to regain the lead when Dan Cornwell's off-balance shot deflected off a defender and looped over the stranded King.
Tanner and Aaron Best joined Green's Marlon Boateng in referee Stephen Moore's notebook after a the game boiled over following Boeteng's challenge on Billy Sendall, but it was Stansted who had the final say in the half.
With the half in injury time, Oxby's long-range effort took a wicked bounce and flew past King to put his side 3-1 up.
Green were reduced to 10 men nine minutes into the second half when the league's top scorer Anton Stephenson collected a second, unnecessary, yellow card, and the home side never looked in danger after the break.
They sealed the win in the 67th minute when Gayle latched on to a poor clearance, and his half-volley from the edge of the box again left King motionless.
King and Alfred Kamara both joined the growing band of United players in the referee's notebook in the final minutes, the latter guilty of a late challenge on Bricknell which looks likely to keep him out of Saturday's game, but Stansted comfortably completed the win to move tantalisingly close to a first league title in senior football.