Barkingside boss Le Sage dubs White Ensign as one of the strongest sides in the cup
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Barkingside manager Steven Le Sage has dubbed league rivals White Ensign as one of the strongest teams in the Len Cordell Memorial Cup knockout stages.
Side finished third in Group B behind Redbridge and Clapton but ahead of Woodford Town after picking up one victory and suffering two defeats.
They have now been drawn against their Thurlow Nunn League First Division South rivals who finished top of Group E after going unbeaten.
“It’s a very tough draw we’ve been handed. We know White Ensign pretty well and I’d say they’re definitely one of the strongest teams in the competition and have a great chance of winning the cup," said Le Sage.
“It’s another great challenge for us and I’m sure the boys will be keen to continue in the competition, so hopefully we can put in an improved performance from the last two games and get a result.”
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Second-half goals from Melos Ajuazi and Bayemore Ndiaye helped Clapton to all three points against Barkingside in the final match of the group stages.
“We were disappointed with our performance. We felt we never took the handbrake off until we were 2-0 down," added Le Sage.
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“I think Clapton deserve a lot of credit too. I felt their midfield rotation in their build up play was very good - maybe the best we’ve faced.
"There were some positives. We created a lot of great chances and I felt some of the players are getting back to their best, like Duncan Smith who made some phenomenal saves, and David Echeri.”
Le Sage believes the group stages have been brilliant for his players to get back playing the sport they love, adding: “I’ve really enjoyed the tournament. It has been a great opportunity to test ourselves against teams from Step 5 and as a result I think we’ve learned a lot as a team and as individuals.
“Ultimately we entered the tournament as we just wanted to get the boys playing again after five months without any football, so it’s been great just to get everyone back together and to have the camaraderie, which I think has helped everyone’s mental health.”