Barkingside battle to point
PUBLISHED: 16:04 25 March 2016 | UPDATED: 13:17 30 March 2016
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Ryman North: Thamesmead 1 Barkingside 1
Brave Barkingside battled to a Good Friday point against play-off chasing Thamesmead at Bayliss Avenue.
Gursel Gulfer’s side had to survive without Jimmy Shepherd, who was sent off for two bookable offences, and earned some reward, but remain seven points adrift of safety and have now played one game more than their relegation rivals.
The home side went close to taking an early lead when a shot from a corner was blocked on the line and another set-piece was blocked at the near post by an alert Barkingside defender.
But Barkingside went close themselves after winning a free-kick just outside the Thamesmead box as the returning Tyrone Scarlett curled his attempt just wide of the post.
And the visitors then started to look the brighter of the two sides, with Darren Foxley firing a shot straight at Andy Walker from just outside the box.
But Barkingside had a let-off at a corner when young keeper Tyler McCarthy came for the ball and misjudged it, before a home player headed over.
And there was another escape when a deep cross hit the inside of a post, then hit a defender on the line and went out for another corner.
Walker was called into action again, though, towards the end of the first half when Jonathan Adebayo let fly and pushed the ball around a post.
But Barkingside needed Michael Spencer to head behind his own goal when under pressure from two Thamesmead players and then saw the hosts head the resulting corner just wide as the first half ended goalless.
George Lataaya almost profitted from a poor back header by a Thamesmead defender after the restart, then Latayaa’s pass found Michael Ademiliyu, but a poor first touch denied him the chance.
McCarthy then made a good save, before the home side broke the deadlock just before the hour mark when a cross from the right found Theo Fairweather Johnson unmarked to pick his spot and find the net.
But Barkingside bounced straight back a minute later to level through Michael Ademiluyi, who beat Walker at the second attempt, and they almost took the lead when Scarlett found space on the left side of the box and fired a shot off the inside of a post.
A Thamesmead player sent a header from a free-kick straight at McCarthy and another lost his footing after a strong run into the box.
But then Barkingside were reduced to 10 men when Shepherd went through on goal and went down as Walker came out to challenge, only to be shown a second yellow card by the referee for diving and given his marching orders.
Thamesmead had two good chances to regain the lead soon after, but McCarthy saved the first and the next was foiled by a good tackle.
Barkingside substitute Marvin Birch then fired over from 25 yards, before the hosts had another great chance only to see the ball curl over the bar.
Foxley bent a shot from outside the box just beyond the upright as Barkingside looked to defy the odds and McCarthy held on to another header at the start of five minutes stoppage time and then saw a weak punch not punished by the hosts as it ended all square.
Gulfer was quick to show his frustrations to the officials at the final whistle and must now prepare his side for the visit of Romford on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Cricklefield Stadium clash kicks off at 1.30pm.
Barkingside: McCarthy, Greenslade, Wright, Spencer, Smith, Shepherd, Ademiliyu, Adebayo, Scarlett, Lataaya, Foxley. Subs: Mills, J Wilson, Birch, Kimmence.