Stepney Legends 2-1 Beaumont Masters
STEPNEY LEGENDS made it two wins from two in the Inner London Football League after coming from behind to defeat Rashid Ali’s Beaumont Masters at a rain soaked Mabley Green.
Tharik Hussain returned to the starting line up to partner Zaheer Saleh and Mufi Uddin in midfield as Jamil Ahmed and Ruhul Alam were named substitutes. Stepney dominated a goalless first half. It was a wonder how the boys in blue didn’t take the lead when a fine move saw Russell Choudhury release Muktadir Ali, who failed to spot the oncoming Saleh and saw his goal-bound effort blocked. Saleh also went close from the resulting corner.
With the injured Amin Chowdhury encouraging from the touchline, Stepney continued to dominate and produced another slick half chance soon after. A cross field pass from Saleh released the fleet footed Mufi, and his ball across had a bit too much weight as the energetic Saleh’s stretched effort came back off the post.
With Hussain dictating the pace the chance of the half fell to Sham Zaman – who missed the chance of the game as the goal went begging. A concise move saw the ball worked to Mufi who held the ball, waiting for support. Sham made a great run but failed to connect and give Stepney the lead.
Stepney were punished straight from the second half whistle and found themselves behind, against the run of play. A ball played into former player Spiro was held up superbly before the hitman fired an unstoppable low effort clean past Irfan Haji.
The second half introduction of old boy Sheikh Kashem alongside Ali and Choudhury was instrumental in steadying the back line. The pint sized full back made some crucial interceptions and sweeping cross field passes to keep the momentum in his team’s favour.
Stepney regrouped and got a deserved leveller with ten minutes to go. Saleh intercepted a wayward pass and released Mufi first time, who carried the ball some 20 yards before cutting inside and firing a missile low past the keeper.
With the pendulum swinging, Stepney went for the jugular. Mufi found space and played a wonderful through ball to Stepney legend Sham – and this time safe hands made no mistake with a clinical first time finish.
With five minutes left to play, Beaumont threw everything into the melting pot – and with Stepney fading after their cup heroics from the previous Sunday, bodies were thrown on the line to keep the lead intact.
Beaumont had a great opportunity to level, but Haji came to the rescue with what will prove to be one of the saves of the season. Again Spiro worked some space, and his low drive was heading straight into the bottom corner – but Haji at full stretch made an astonishing save to keep the lead intact.
Stepney player manager Emdad Rahman spoke after the game, “Beaumont are extremely well organised and Rashid Ali had his men on their toes. I was confident our composed approach would pay dividends. Losing a goal so early after the kick off was a sucker punch, but my team hit back with two superb goals.
“With the momentum swinging both ways and the boys tiring, I was confident that the steel within the players would pull us through – and I was reluctant to interrupt that by bringing in a sub. True to form, they saw us safely home.”
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