Essex Senior League: Ray Bartlett hoping Barkingside can claim bragging rights and much-needed derby win over Ilford
PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 April 2018
Michael Walther’s team lost 2-1 to Sporting Bengal United on Monday and are keen to respond positively this weekend
Barkingside assistant manager Ray Bartlett has always enjoyed facing Ilford in the past, but knows Saturday’s match carries greater significance than usual.
Side are 16th in the Essex Senior League table and only two points ahead of fourth bottom Waltham Forest with four games to go.
Not only do Barkingside need wins to ensure they move up the table, bragging rights are also at stake this weekend with the two clubs both calling Cricklefield Stadium their home venue.
Barlett has come up against the Foxes various times and so knows what to expect from Allan Fenn and Billy Cove’s team.
He said: “I have always looked forward to games against Ilford be it with Takeley, Clapton or now Barkingside.
“I guess now it means more as it’s a big derby, but I get on really well with ‘Fenny’ and I’ve never had any problems with him.
“We are both very passionate about the game and I’m looking forward to derby day, in the sun, and hopefully we can take all three points.”
Barkingside go into the match off the back of a frustrating loss on Monday night at home to local rivals Sporting Bengal United.
Roddy Lemba’s 15th goal of the campaign put Michael Walther’s team ahead, but Bengal hit back with two second-half goals to take all three points.
Side had plenty of chances to extend their advantage when the score was only 1-0, but failed to take them and it proved costly.
“Losing any game when you go 1-0 up is disappointing, but I felt Sporting Bengal deserved it the win,” said Bartlett.
“Our game plan seemed to work in the first half, but I think tired legs and individual mistakes cost us the goals in the end.”
It ensures Barkingside are still in a tricky position with weeks of the campaign left, although there are no fears at the club.
Hackney Wick’s relegation was confirmed on Tuesday while it is up for debate whether four or only three teams will go down.
With this in mind, Barkingside believe they will be in the division again next season and are already planning ahead.
“Even with only four games left I don’t see us getting relegated at all, so that’s the last thing on my mind,” said Bartlett.
“Mike and I are looking at this team right now and thinking about how we can improve it for next season. We have a game plan and players we want for next season, players we have already and potentially who we want to add.
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