Saturday 17th September 2016
Essex Senior League
Kick off: 3pm
Venue: Cricklefields Stadium
Current Form:D L W W W D
Liam Burgess 63'
Ben O'Brien (C) 82'
Joe Staunton 85'
John Bricknell 63'
Matheus Santos 82'
Barking and fellow title hopefuls Ilford played out a hard-fought if not filled with quality Saturday afternoon match with both sides taking a point thanks to the goalless score line at Cricklefields. Barking are now in cup action this Tuesday against Wivenhoe at Mayesbrook Park in the Essex Senior Cup.
It took over ten minutes for the first half chance on goal as it fell to Ilford who counterattacked from Barking possession – a feature of the match – but the resultant shot was easily collected by Jason Willis. Willis was a part of a slightly makeshift defence with player-manager Glen Golby being partnered by centre midfielder Ben O’Brien after the late withdrawal pre-game of Steve Willis. Barking had their first shot after 17 minutes as Petrit Elbi dinked the ball into the box from the left wing where it found Joe Pearman but he shot across goal and out of danger from a narrow angle. At the halfway mark of the first half Ilford came the closest of either team throughout the entire match, again from a counterattack as former Blue Sipho Mtyanda found himself on the left corner of the box and after putting the ball onto his left smacked the crossbar with his sidefooted curling effort. Ilford continued to go close as Chris Stevens saw turned on the edge of the box and shot but it cleared the crossbar. Barking worked their way back into the match and came close after 35 minutes as Joe Staunton crossed from the left wing after cutting in and found O’Brien at the far post but his stretching toe poke was wide of the post. Ilford continued to look dangerous and it was down to Timi Abiola to bravely head a long throw off the line. Half time loomed and Barking were finally able to manufacture a good chance as Elbi, did well to stop the ball going over the line for goal kick before dragging it back to Pearman who from eight yards out could not bend the ball into the top left corner.
Joe Pearman had another chance early in the second half but his looping volley was just over the bar. The pressure from the Blues (in yellow) continued and had another good chance after five minutes as Elbi’s cross was met by Staunton his turn and shot was over the bar. Ilford nearly took the lead with a lucky chance after 55 minutes as Willis punched down a high free kick onto the head of an Ilford attacker luckily the ball bounced wide. Both sides struggled to make chances as the last quarter of the game loomed but Ilford nearly had the lead with 19 minutes to go as a corner was half cleared to the left wing where it was crossed to the far post but the close range header was just wide. Barking had their crossed chance minutes later as Timi Abiola swung the ball into the box but O’Brien was unable to keep his header down. Late Ilford substitutions saw another former Gordon Brasted Trophy winning player enter the fray as Joe Killingback was introduced and he was nearly the difference with ten minutes remaining as he found space from 20 yards out but he could only drag his shot wide.
There was one last chance in injury time for Barking but Elbi saw his deflected wide with the resultant corner coming to nothing. The final whistle moments signified the end of a game that lacked in quality but both sides will most likely take a point – especially with Barking missing five defenders. Barking will hope to keep their defensive tightness going into matches’ v Wivenhoe and Clapton.
Report source: Trevor Gilbert/Barking FC
Any opinions expressed in this report are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Barking Football Club.