Long Sutton [M1s] 1 v 2 Upminster [M1s]

Luke Alexandrou’s first goal for Upminster’s first team proved decisive in their East Division One clash at Long Sutton.

Upminster went into the longest away trip of the year knowing a point would see them safe from relegation with a game to spare, but despite rallying calls from coach Matt Malby and captain Jack Coleman, they started slowly.

The visitors had to withstand some early pressure in a nervous opening, as the hosts won a series of short corners.

And Long Sutton opened the scoring when a mistake by Sam Langston led to a 3-on-1 break and the home side beat in-form Upminster keeper Phil Dixon.

The goal acted as as a wake-up call for Upminster who gradually grew into the game and some good play from Lyndon Ford and Alexandrou meant they were finally creating some chances of their own.

The second half began the same way as the first with Long Sutton having the bulk of the chances, but some resolute defending kept them at bay, including a goalline clearance from Coleman to keep the scoreline at 1-0.

The let-off seemed to spur the team into action with Dave Hadsley beating three opponents in quick succession before picking out Mike Scrivener at the back post to slot into an empty goal for the equaliser.

Upminster pushed for a second goal in the closing stages and were rewarded with only a few minutes remaining as their forwards pressured the Long Sutton defence into giving the ball up cheaply.

Scrivener then found Alexandrou in space and he showed good composure to round the keeper and claim his maiden goal for the team.

Victory saw Upminster leapfrog their rivals into sixth place, six points clear of the drop zone, with one match to play and they will be pleased with their first season back in the division, looking for more consistency to challenge higher up the table next season.