Photo courtesy of Harry S

Date: Tuesday 14th January 2020
Essex Senior Cup Fourth Round

Tarbard 4'
Artmeladze 56'

Current form:
Attendance: 310
Venue: Chigwell Construction Stadium
Starters: Montel Joseph, Ricky Tarbard, Jordan Peart, Kevin Songolo, Daniel Flemming (C), Jack Hayes, Sam Owusu, Steven Sardinha, Michael Dixon, Sherri Artmeladze, Junior Dadson
Substitutes: Johnny Ashman, Dumebi GB-Dumaka, Joe Bruce, Max Bradford, Tyrone Kirunda
75' Bruce Sardinha
80' Bradford Peart
89' GB-Dumaka Dadson
Yellow cards: Tarbard, Dadson
Red cards: None


Tonight, was our first visit to Victoria Road since May 1991 when a scoreless draw was not enough to save us from our first ever relegation. However, for one damp and windy evening both senior footballing teams of Barking & Dagenham met in an Essex Senior Cup fourth round tie dubbed the “battle of the borough”.

In the end it took a 90th minute strike from Bagasan Graham to send the Dagenham contingent in a crowd of 310 home happy and the Barking supporters taking pride in how well their favourites played. In their match preview Dagenham identified Ricky Tarbard and Michael Dixon as players to watch and they certainly lived up to this billing but the other twelve players in a yellow shirt also contributed to an outstanding team performance against full-time opponents.

There were changes to the Barking line up: Abs Seymour and Giovanni Palmer were absent due to suspension and ineligibility respectively. Kevin Songolo our latest signing and formerly of Tilbury made an impressive debut and late in the game demonstrated some dazzling footwork to get out of trouble and Jordan Peart played 80 minutes for the first time since his injury in early December.  Dagenham made nine changes from Saturday's last gasp defeat to Notts County in the FA Trophy and no doubt their three changes at half time made things more difficult for the battlers from Barking. 

The first chance went with the Daggers on three minutes, a good move ended with a shot by Reece Grant blocked by the chest of Daniel Flemming. Just a minute later the visitors struck first as Ricky Tarbard freed Michael Dixon who was a tireless willing worker all night for the Blues and his determination to get to the line and cross was rewarded when the full back ended the move he started to put us a goal to the good  Barking tried to force home their advantage and a Dixon cross led to a corner which Kevin Songolo headed just wide.  Barking’s resolute defending continued and their efforts to deny the home side any space were successful apart from a Joe Quigley shot on 19 that cleared the bar and a minute later when attempting a save the ball squirmed from the grasp of Montel Joseph and Flemming was on hand to clear Quigley’s goal bound shot. Just before the half hour Tarbard forced a corner from which Songolo again just failed to make telling contact and when the ball was crossed again unfortunately nobody in a yellow shirt could make the telling contact. Dagenham’s equaliser came on 33 minutes when a cross into the box finds Reece Grant who had time to clinically slot home and give Joseph no chance. Barking took the setback in their stride and when Tarbard forced another corner, Steven Sardinha’s flag kick found Flemming but he fired wide. A minute of the half remained as a one-two down our right leads to Quigley haring towards goal but Flemming snuffs out the danger at the expense of a corner which Joseph punches away and at the break it’s one goal apiece.

As mentioned earlier Dagenham made all of their substitutions at the start of the second period with Manny Onariase, Luke Croll, and Chike Kandi entering the fray and Kandi particularly catching the eye and also the home formation seemed to change: the assumption being this was to deny Dixon the space he had been enjoying and nullify his threat. An excellent challenge by Songolo led to a Dagenham a corner from which Will Wood headed wide for the first real chance of the half. Barking struck first again on 56 when a bouncing ball breaks to Sherri Artmeladze who strides forward and unleashes a shot which takes a deflection to leave Daggers keeper Josh Strizovic stranded and we are in front for a second time. Our lead only lasts five minutes and Kandi with nothing really on somehow produces an excellent finish into the corner of the net to equalise. At the 75-minute mark Barking visibly began to tire as their continuous hard work takes it toil and Dagenham’s superior fitness starts to kick in. Eight minutes from time a cross by Kandi finds Grant but he fires wide and six minutes later Joseph cannot properly gather a shot but under pressure he is just able to recover. In the last minute of normal time a ball into the box is dispatched into the net by Bagasan Graham for another clinical finish and in doing so deny them a crack at penalties which for three quarters of the game their efforts deserved.

The Daggers progress to face Tilbury in the quarter finals while Barking return to the bread and butter of the league and the quest for a play-off place. A tough game on Saturday against Chalfont St Peter who will be looking for a league double after beating us in October.

Report source: Terry Gilbert/Barking FC

Please note that the opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to Barking Football Club.

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