Ilford, Barking battle to derby point
PUBLISHED: 10:03 13 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:03 13 March 2016
Essex Senior League: Ilford 1 Barking 1
Old rivals Ilford and Barking played out a thoroughly entertaining, high tempo draw at Cricklefield Stadium.
The game was end-to-end from start to finish, with both keepers putting on sterling displays to keep the score down.
Both teams made their intent clear right from the off and it was Barking who should have opened the scoring after eight minutes.
Lamar Reynolds played a back heel in the box which gave striker James Peagram just Ilford keeper Chris Clark to beat, but his shot crashed against the crossbar and away to safety.
The Foxes broke the deadlock just six minutes later, though, after Dan Jones won his side a corner on the left, Harry Matthews whipped the ball in and former Blues striker Wale Odedoyin towered above everyone else at the near post to glance the ball into the net.
The game continued at the same high pace and Barking went close to levelling on 20 minutes when Reynolds took an inswinging corner from the left and the ball swerved so much it nearly caught Clark out, but he managed to just flick it over the bar.
Just before the interval, Odedoyin could have doubled the home side’s lead when Jones played a perfectly timed through ball from the left leaving the striker with just Barking keeper Jason Willis to beat.
Willis rushed forward and Odedoyin tried to slot the ball underneath the diving keeper, but he was able to hold on to the ball and it remained 1-0 at the break.
The tempo did not drop as the players begun the second half as firstly, Odedoyin hit a shot with the outside of his foot from outside the box forcing Willis to save from his right hand post.
Less than two minutes later Barking’s Joe Pearman played a low cross in from the left to pick out striker Peagram unmarked in the box, but Clark produced a fantastic save at full stretch to palm the ball away.
Barking ramped up the pressure and on 58 minutes they had a corner taken by Reynolds from the right, which was cleared only as far as midfielder Joe Staunton on the edge of the box.
Staunton struck his shot through a melee of players, but Clark managed to turn the ball past the right hand post.
Blues thought they had gotten back on level terms just three minutes later when keeper Willis punted a ball upfield and Peagram duly flicked it on to Reynolds, who brilliantly rounded the Ilford keeper and tapped into the empty net, only for the linesman to flag him offside.
The decision sparked wild protests from the visiting players and staff and Ilford could have gone 2-0 up on 64 minutes when Jones played a perfectly timed through ball to Odedoyin, this time from the right, and the striker slotted the ball underneath the keeper. But Willis got a vital touch to slow the pace of the goalbound ball, enabling defender Jay Taylor to clear Barking’s lines.
Less than a minute later Reynolds crossed from the left for Barking, giving Peagram a free header in the box which he guided towards the right hand post, only for the talismanic Clark to yet again produce a fantastic save and tip the ball past the upright.
The amount of hands on heads in the stadium was a good indication to the class of the save everybody had just witnessed.
However, after 71 minutes Barking finally got an equaliser.
Peagram managed to evade the offside trap to find himself one-on-one in the box and this time he coolly slotted the ball into the net for his 21st of the season.
Clark managed to get something on the ball, but not enough to prevent the away team from levelling the scores.
Both sides continued to pushed for a winner in an open game, with the best chance falling to Barking in stoppage time when substitute Joe Omogiate shot from the right hand side of the box and Clark managed to just get enough on the ball as he tipped it onto the post to keep the scoreline even.
In truth, the score could have been much higher had it not been for both goalkeepers.
Ilford manager Allan Fenn will no doubt be happy with the tempo his team played at throughout the match, if not a little disappointed at his side’s inability to convert more of their chances into goals against their second-placed rivals.
The Foxes remain in seventh place, firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish, while Glen Golby’s Barking are now four points behind leaders FC Romania, following their 4-1 win at Tower Hamles, having played two games more.
llford: Clark, Valionis, Paliutis, Matthews (Skeggs 67), Ashnike, Mcleary, Thomas (Mullings 74), Clayton, Odedoyin, Atutis (Warwick 69). Unused subs: Nkosi, Ramsey.
Barking: J Willis, Tarbard, B Reynolds (Omogiate 62), Taylor, Rix, Staunton, Pearman (English 80), S Willis, Peagram, Barnett (Jn Bricknell 52), L Reynolds. Unused subs: Golby, Hawkins.