The University of East London lost away to Queen Mary’s University in a top of the table clash 4-2 and now fall one point behind the lead with two games remaining.
UEL only needed a point to keep Queen Mary’s at bay to stay on top spot but could not hold off the home side.
Queen Mary’s hit the ground running and got an early lead in the second minute as an early one-two between the two QM strikers on the half way line, with Gemill breaking through the defence and took a shot on the edge of the box which went in of the far post leaving Sam Pashley no chance.
QM nearly doubled their lead on the 19th minute as a controversial handball on the far side was not given. So QM broke with a two on one and the QM winger lifted the ball over the stranded Dylan Feehily to the QM’s striker to strike straight at Pashley to deny a second. UEL gained a bit more control in last 20 minutes of the half and nearly scored a superb equaliser. Marley Spindel ran down the channel and whipped in a superb ball for Harry Tew-Robinson who shaped himself for an overhead kick and connected with the cross but the shot went just wide.
The warning signs were still their for UEL as QM had another shot on goal but this time rebounded off the post. UEL almost got their well earned equaliser just before half-time as Johan Caney-Brown burst in to the box and clipped a ball across goal which fell to Maliki who took a touch and shot which was grasped by the QM keeper.
In the second half UEL started much brighter as the away side increased the tempo of the game and again so nearly got the leveller as Richard Johnson took a curling shot on the edge of the box. Which looked comfortable for the keeper but he spilled the ball and then reclaimed it before it went over the line.
UEL were rewarded for their hard work with 25 minutes to go as Spindel’s ball over the top of the defence forced the goalkeeper to come out. The keeper then collided with Tew-Robinson forcing the referee to point to the spot, Johnson stepped up and smashed the ball into the top left hand corner to level up the game.
All that hard work was undone nine minutes later as a ball back to Pashley was cleared straight to the QM striker and he tucked in the interception to regain QM’s lead.
UEL responded straight from the restart and got a free-kick on the edge of the 16 yard box. Johnson stepped up and curled his shot into the bottom right hand corner to once again equalise the game with just less than 15 minutes to play. The resulting free-kick injured the keeper’s finger from the set piece meaning play had to stop for him to get treatment. The keeper was replaced by QM’s centre back as they had used their only substitute.
With five minutes to play it was heart-ache for UEL as QM’s midfielder played a ball which cut through the defence leaving a foot race between Brandon Manoka and their right wing substitute. The winger got the better of Manoka and slid the ball home to go 3-2 in front. The injured keeper returned and came back on to the pitch as an outfield player after treatment. Then it got worse for the away side as the winger again broke down the right hand side away from the defence and put the ball across goal. Pashley looked to have smothering it but spilled it due to a sliding challenge from their centre forward and was smashed in to an empty net by their left midfielder.
Despite the extended injury time of seven minute UEL could not get back into the game and lost their place at the top of the league.
UEL will now face the University of Essex 3rd next week in their final home game of the season but will now have to hope for a slip up by Queen Mary’s if they are to win the league.
Lineup: Pashley, Spindel, Feehily, Egole-Harold, Darren (Manoka 63) , Baloye (Mirza 63), Johnson, Hayden, Maliki (Jason 45), Tew-Robinson, Caney-Brown