Date: Saturday 20th January 2024
Essex Senior League
Mile End Stadium
Attendance: 45
Starters: Max Spence, Brad Rowland, Kenedi Dariri, Jack Folan, George Forrest, Fahad Nyanja (C), Jack Dickinson, Sam Dowridge, Luke Hirst, Karl Kayembe, Shaye La-Rose
Substitutes: Anthony Martin, Warren Kayembe, Bleron Ademi, Troy Osei-Bobie, Larry Asare-Bediako
56′ Osei-Bobie for Dowridge
62′ Martin for La-Rose
62′ Asare-Bediako for Rowland
75′ Kayembe (W) for Forrest
75′ Ademi for Dickinson
Christian Adu-Gyamfi (Sporting Bengal) 47′ 0-1
Martin Penalty 79′ 1-1
Hirst 83′ 2-1
Yellow cards: Dariri
Red cards: None



Barking turned it round late on but deservedly ran out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Tony Martin and Luke Hirst on a cold day at the Mile End Stadium against Sporting Bengal United who currently sit second behind Tilbury in the table.

Joint managers Jonny Fowell and Michael Walther named an unchanged starting eleven, there was only one change on the bench with Warren Kayembe replacing Ross Elsom.

Barking went close early on as keeper Max Spence’s long free kick was latched onto by Brad Rowland who cut the ball back to the edge of the box where it found Jack Dickinson but his side footed effort clipped the edge of the bar on its way over. Sporting Bengal reminded the Yellow shirted Blues of their danger after 13 minutes as they countered Barking pressure but a bobbling effort while on the stretch went comfortably high and wide of the Barking goal. Dickinson went close again halfway through the first half but his header from Shaye La-Rose’s cross was comfortably at Bengal stopper Said Haidara. Haidara also comfortably collected a George Forrest header from a Jack Folan corner ten minutes later. Haidara was pushed into more difficult action just before half time as Folan saw his own powerful long range effort that seemed destined for the net well palmed away by an acrobatic Haidara.

Barking would have looked to keep pushing in the second half but were pegged back two minutes into the second half as a pinpoint cross was met by the head of Christian Adu-Gyamfi, who started the season at Barking, and he nodded the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. Barking did not lick their wounds for long, they attempted a response five minutes later but Karl Kayembe saw his volley from Sam Dowridge’s cross palmed away by Haidara. Bengal continued to threaten and nearly doubled their lead after 57 minutes but a free header from a corner was straight at Spence. Kayembe went close again after 66 minutes in similar circumstances to his first chance: Folan’s floated free kick was nodded into the air by substitute Tony Martin and fell to Karl at the far post – he sacrificed some power to get his volley accurately on the open goal but a defender managed to get across and clear the ball from near the line. Substitute Troy Osei-Bobie again put his stamp on the game and went close as the game entered its final 20 minutes, Troy set fellow substitute Larry Asare-Bediako away down the wing, who then crossed and found Osei-Bobie and- his deflected header looped in the air and dipped, but with Haidara flapping the ball landed on top of the crossbar and was then cleared. The Barking pressure finally told on the Bengal defence, the Yellows had had some free kicks around the edge of the box for silly fouls but managed to push the tiring Bengal defence into one inside the box on 79 as Troy Osei-Bobie was body-checked by Murat Kutateladze and the referee (who had a good game overall) had an easy penalty decision to give. Tony Martin stepped up and continued his good form off the bench as he sent Haidara the wrong way with the ball nestling in the bottom left corner of the net for a deserved Barking equaliser. The visitors got their second and the winner after 83 minutes – another foul and another set piece – this time Jack Folan’s lofted free kick was punched by Haidara back onto Martin’s head and it floated in the air to Luke Hirst who had the easiest of headers from two yards to nod home for his thirteenth of the season.

Barking stood firm as Bengal attempted to push forward with Spence only called into action to collect a few long balls forward as the Blues secured all three points and made it twelve league and cup games unbeaten. This latest win puts us up to fourth in the table with only three games played in the league today.

One of those teams around us who have games in hand are Great Wakering Rovers and that is who we have in our next game which is on Saturday at Burroughs Park with a earlier than usual kick off of 3pm.  

Report source: Trevor 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.