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Jarad Bassingthwaighte scored twice in the first half to earn Bishop's Stortford II a 2-0 home victory over their Shefford & Sandy counterparts in East Men's League, Division 4SW

Jarad Bassingthwaighte scored twice in the first half to earn Bishop's Stortford II a 2-0 home victory over their Shefford & Sandy counterparts in East Men's League, Division 4SW.

The early pacesetters, who are top on goal difference with a 100% record, drew last season's corresponding fixture as their promotion challenge stuttered.

But, full of confidence, the hosts soon pinned their opponents back and Bassingthwaighte rounded off a flowing move with a smart finish.

The young striker quickly doubled the advantage when, finding himself in a goal-line melee, he seized a half-chance.

Stortford's experienced centre-backs George Hindle and Kier Ansell dealt well with some piercing aerials from the visitors while goalkeeper Jim Hickman made some excellent saves during a series of short corners.

Mark Taylor would have added a third Stortford goal after the interval had it not been for a last-ditch stick save on the line.

They saw out the rest of the game as the team worked hard off the ball while Jimmy Marsom owned the centre of the park.

In Division One, the first team are also still unbeaten following a 6-2 triumph away to Shefford & Sandy.

There was a feeling of two points dropped rather than one gained when the ladies' first team drew 1-1 at home to St Albans II in the East Women's League, Premier Division.

Stortford, who had won their opening two matches, had to defend resolutely in the opening stages before slowly working their way into the contest.

Louisa Davies and Sally Powell had good chances to score before, against the run of play, a St Albans forward punished a wayward pass out of defence by giving goalkeeper Lizzy Tupman no chance for a 23rd-minute opening goal.

Stortford responded well and Hattie Sharman levelled matters with her third goal of the season from a short corner, before the goalkeeper kept out Powell's spectacular volley.

A tactical adjustment meant Stortford dominated territory and possession after the break while St Albans remained a threat on the counter. More chances came and went, with the hosts' final ball often found wanting.

Player of the match Katie Richards and Imi Basavaraj had strong games while captain Charlie Leonard led the forward line well, but the side will be looking to be more clinical in future contests.

There was also a Premier Division debut for Pearl Mason Smith and the 14-year-old, who was one of five under-18s in the squad, showed her undoubted potential with an assured display.

"It shows how far this team has come in the two-and-a-half years I have been with them that we come away from this game disappointed that we have only picked up one point from the match in our debut season in the East Prem," said coach Nick Prowse.

"The team have really stepped up to the challenge so far and to sit third in the league and undefeated is testament to the hard work and effort that they have all put in over lockdown and during pre-season."

The seconds also maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Waltham Forest in Division 2SW.

Julia Westnedge and Emma Hynds got the goals while Jo Ward was named player of the match.

New signing Ayla Heslop-Moore was voted the fourths' star performer as they saw off Saffron Walden II 1-0 in 4SW thanks to Hollie Mathieson's strike.

The unbeaten fifths beat Saffron Walden IV 2-0 in 6SW, the Acolytes drew 3-3 with Potters Bar II in a thrilling 7SW fixture and Nia Powell was player of the match when the sevenths had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Welwyn Garden City IV in 8SW after dominating the game.

Meanwhile, Paula Frenzel netted and goalkeeper Esha Singh was player of the match when the thirds acquitted themselves admirably in a 5-1 friendly defeat against higher-level opponents Harpenden.

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