UEL defeated bottom of the table Imperial College 2-0 on Wednesday afternoon to return to winning ways in their chase for promotion.
In a tense game, goals from Ellis Brittan and and Nathan Linton saw UEL climb to first, albeit with Reading University having a game in hand.
The East Londoners started the game off slow and very poorly as they were very nearly caught by the visitors twice in the opening 11 minutes.
Imperial started the game with intense pressure and a lot of purpose as they got on the front foot early on and sliced through UEL’s defence with ease, as a throw on from the right-hand side was headed on to the Imperial striker, who shot narrowly wide, when one-on-one with keeper Aldi Resulaj.
A response from UEL wasn’t forthcoming and they managed a lucky escape just past the 10 minute mark when the visitor’s striker hit the post after some neat build-up play.
UEL eventually grew into the game, as they saw their first shot on target just past the 20 minute mark. A lung-bursting run from Brittan was followed up by a tame shot from the edge of the area, easily saved by the Imperial keeper.
UEL started to grab a foot hold in the game as they continued to heap on the pressure, but without creating many chances.
However, their break finally came in the 29th minute when Brittan was fouled in the box after being played through one-on-one with the keeper.
The UEL frontman made no mistake in slotting the penalty away in the bottom left corner to give UEL the lead.
The second half started off in a more sombre mood than the first, with both sides rarely threatening the others goal in a tame opening.
With UEL on top and dominating proceedings, the side in blue won another penalty three-quarters of the way through the half. Substitute midfielder Cemal Agdelan stepped up, only to see his tame effort easily saved by the Imperial keeper.
However, UEL shortly put the game to bed three minutes later when Daryan Suaza pulled the ball back for striker Michelangelo, who’s poor control saw the ball land at the feet of Linton, who eventually toe-poked home to give UEL a two goal lead.
Focus On Promotion
After the match first goalscorer, Ellis Brittan, claimed that the playing surface contributed to the tough game:
“I think overall, it was bound to be a tough game purely because of the pitch. It wasn’t the greatest, so it made it hard to play the football we like to. So in the end it came down to hard work and determination, which saw myself and the boy through for the in.”
Amongst the easy win, was some poor finishing for UEL, however, Brittan was keen to focus on the positives after a hard-fought win.
“I wouldn’t say disappointed, obviously we could have taken more opportunities and scored a few more goals. But I think we created very well and we can only get better in terms of our end product as the season goes on.”
With UEL now sitting top of division 1A South Eastern, Brittan claimed that promotion is focus of the squad:
“It’s all that’s on our minds. We’re very motivated to accomplish promotion at the end of the season. It is the overall goal of the team.”
With two home games amongst the three UEL have left, the boys will be hoping to end this season with promotion back to the top flight of BUCS Football.