The University of East London 2nds get a revenge victory over University of Essex as they won 2-0 at Memorial Park.
The title race will now go down to the wire and be decided in the next couple of weeks as UEL continue to put pressure on their league rivals Queens Mary’s University.
UEL were looking to turn around their first encounter with Essex after losing 5-1 away from home.
The home side got off to a good start taking control of possession and testing the opposition and were looking to break down the defence early on. UEL broke the deadlock ten minutes in after a great surging run by Stefan Neilson, squared a pass to Jason Ngandu to slot his shot into the bottom corner to give UEL a deserved lead.
Minutes later UEL nearly doubled their lead after great link up play from Ngandu and Neilson with his shot on the edge of the box saved at full stretch by the Essex keeper. Malachi Benjamin was the next to threaten the Essex goal with great work down left flank took on the defender and drilled a shot just wide.
The visitors got their first chance of the game as the Essex midfielder dinked a ball over the defence for the big powerhouse striker to run on to. Dan Robinson came off his line but the striker lifted the ball over Robinson, but wen narrowly wide.
As the half hour mark approached UEL’s link up play from midfielders through to the strikers was sublime and just missed the end product as William Semain’s shot was always climbing. With nine minutes remaining of the half a Benjamin corner fell to Dylan Feehily to get a free shot off but scuffed his initial shot and was cleared.
At the break all UEL were just missing a second goal to take control of the game, going into the second half UEL made an early substitution as Benjamin was taken off due to a slight injury for Henry Hayden.
UEL had an early scare as the ball was intercepted by a stray pass on the half way line and broke the home sides defence. Feehily pressured the Essex striker who only managed a tame shot which was smothered by Robinson.
On the hour mark UEL kicked on again and Neilson ball over the defence went into the path of Ngandu who was in on goal and his low shot was well saved to deny the hosts a second.
The warning signs were still there for UEL being only a goal up, after a first time cross was chested down and first time strike from the visitors was comfortable for Robinson. The away side almost equalised as a corner from the far left hand side went to the far post but was headed downwards and bounced just over the bar.
UEL finally got their killer goal with 13 minutes remaining after William Semain turned defence into attack with a great cross field ball to Neilson, who let the ball bounce then hit a volley in to the bottom corner, leaving the keeper bewildered.
The home side nearly extended their lead as a corner was met by Harry Matthews but came back off the post, which would have put the icing on the cake for UEL. Neilson almost grabbed a second from Substitute John Silva’s retrieved cross with a fierce shot excellently saved from close range.
UEL could not increase their lead but a well-deserved three points to keep them in contention at the top. A great team performance from all the team and will have to count on a Queen Mary’s to slip up if they are to take the league title. UEL finished with a 100% home league record and will travel to University College of London for their final game on the 19th of March.
Line-up: Robinson, Wright, Feehily, Harold-Egole, Hammond, Benjamin (Hayden 45), Matthews, Semain, Lelis (Silva 51), Ngandu, Neilson.