Match of the Marsh: Hackney Downs beat Stoke Newington in five-goal thriller
East London Sunday League: Hackney Downs 3 Stoke Newington 2
Hackney Downs coach Dave McDonald was delighted after his side beat Stoke Newington to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season in a five-goal thriller on Sunday.
The result moves Hackney Downs up to second place in the Premier Division, but McDonald is only focusing on the next game and refuses to get carried away.
“It’s a long and hard season,” he said.
“It is still early days, but obviously I am delighted with the win.
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“We deserved to win against what was a good Stoke Newington team, so I am very pleased.”
McDonald saw his side go behind after 20 minutes, when Stoke Newington took the lead.
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However, just before half time, Dane Blair equalised for Hackney Downs.
“At the break I just told the lads to keep working hard and playing well and that it was just a matter of time before we scored the next goal,” said McDonald.
“And then just 10 minutes after the break, we scored our second through Suleman Nada.”
Having taken the lead, Hackney Downs then allowed Stoke Newington back into the game as they equalised to make it 2-2.
However, with just seven minutes remaining on the clock, Hackney Downs clinched the winner.
“I think that we more than deserved to win on the balance of the game,” said McDonald.
“We showed great character not once, but twice in the game, when Stoke Newington scored their two goals.
“But we kept the faith, dug in and went on to score more goals.
“As a coach, you can’t really ask for much more.”
Having missed out on the Premier Division title by just one point last season, McDonald’s men are hoping to go one better this year.
Although the coach is under no illusions that it will be easy.
“As a team we are always confident,” he said.
“That comes from the coach and it is up to me to instill that confidence into the players.
“We had a good season last year and if a couple more decisions had gone our way we could well have won the league, which would have been a fantastic achievement for the club.
“However, we finished second, although we did win the cup which was a great feeling.
“This season we would love to go on better, but this is a very, very tough league and the teams just keep getting better.
“We are going to give it our best shot.”
This Sunday, McDonald’s men face St Lucia, who are also unbeaten so far this campaign.
And McDonald is expecting another tough 90 minutes.
“St Lucia are a team that we know quite well,” he said.
“They train where we train and at the same time, so it is a bit of local derby and there is some real rivalry between the two sides.
“But we will go into the game respecting them.
“If we play to our best, then I have every confidence that we will be able to maintain our little winning streak.”