By Scott W, author of a blog that covers both the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South and Essex Senior League [survivor16b.wordpress.com] and contributor to the Grassroots Football Show on East London Radio. His Twitter tag is @ScottMHC14.
The new Non-League season continued with our first midweek venture with regards to competitive action, which saw me travel to Cricklefield to see Barkingside’s first match in Step 6, in which they took on local rivals Newbury Forest. There were a few familiar names in the home starting eleven from last season, with centre-back Elliott Scott skippering the side. Dan Jones and Joe Oates were among the front three, alongside Olijide Yusuff. Forest fielded former Tower Hamlets goalkeeper Jordan Stansbury between the sticks, with ex-White Ensign pair Dean Nevill and Lubona Wyatt at centre-back and on the left flank respectively.
The home side started the brighter in terms of possession, though failed to create any telling final balls to the forwards. Four minutes in, a moment of nerves cropped up as custodian Charlie Howson’s hasty clearance cannoned off opposition forward Reece Okugbeni and flew wide of a post at pace. The visitors’ chief threat in those early stages came from wingers Lubona Wyatt and Tyrell Holder, who both exhibited trickery and pace. The half was fairly quiet in terms of chances as both sides laboured to ‘click into gear’. Eight minutes before the break, it was Forest’s turn to have anxious moments as forward Joe Oates was twice foiled by ‘keeper Stansbury.
Not making the most of chances somewhat blighted Barkingside’s campaign last term so at this point you’d be forgiven for thinking the same might happen here.
Half-Time: Barkingside 0 – 0 Newbury Forest
After the break, the ‘Side defence had to stay alert to deny Okugbeni an opportunity from Holder’s delivery though the tide shifted on 51 minutes when Joe Oates found himself in on goal with a prized chance, and his drive beat Stansbury, although the stopper did get a hand on it he could not keep it out. Barkingside had a much sought after advantage. The visitors still posed a threat at this stage as Wyatt’s cross was blocked by ‘Side defender Nathan Saunders, who showed decent positioning. It was to be the hosts’ day though as just after the hour, after Stansbury had fumbled Oates’ initial drive, forward partner Dan Jones helped himself to the rebound to double the lead for Steven Le Sage’s team.
Forest had blazed a half-chance over the woodwork minutes later and with 21 minutes left, Oates got his second with a close-range finish with only the ‘keeper to beat. Five minutes after that, the hosts wrapped up a very promising second-half showing as substitute Muyiwa Osenie’s cool low finish fizzed into the left corner. Newbury were still looking to banish the hopes of a clean sheet and substitute Matt Connolly forced a decent save from Howson in the latter stages, while fellow substitute Antony McDonald’s effort just evaded the crossbar as well.
Full-Time: Barkingside 4 – 0 Newbury Forest
All in all, a good showing from ‘Side here with defenders Elliott Scott and Nathan Saunders doing well in defence, with forward Joe Oates proving the difference in attack. Forest fell away in the last half-hour or so which will be a slight concern, with wingers Lubona Wyatt and Tyrell Holder catching the eye in this match for them. I’d like to close by mentioning a ‘thank you’ to Barkingside FC, it may not be often that I’ll see them this term though it was good to be there following a tough time for the club.