Gulfer: Barkingside face 12-pointer against Waltham Abbey
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Side boss believes tonight’s match at home to relegation rivals could be make-or-break
Barkingside manager Gursel Gulfer believes his team face their biggest match of the season tonight when they host fellow Ryman North strugglers Waltham Abbey.
Both teams are in desperate need of points to pull clear of danger at the foot of the table as the season approaches its climax.
Side will no doubt be boosted by their display against table-topping Sudbury on Saturday, going down 1-0 with a late penalty for the hosts proving the difference.
The visitors had a few new faces in their squad for that game after Dagenham & Redbridge scholars Kai Heather, Darren Foxley, David Nicol-Wilson and Jimmy Shepherd all joined on loan.
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And they are all likely to feature again tonight with Gulfer hinting at no changes as he looks to triumph and pull Barkingside closer to safety.
“It’s not a six-pointer tonight, it’s so big it’s more like a 12-pointer,” said Gulfer.
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“I’m keeping the same side from Sudbury, even the subs, because I’m confident in their ability to go out and get the right result. It was a close run thing last time against Abbey (the sides drew 3-3 in August) and it will be the same again.
“The boys who have come in from Dagenham & Redbridge are doing really well and I’m lucky my assistant here knows their academy manager and we’ve been able to get them in on work experience loans — we could have done with them two months ago!”
As for Saturday, Gulfer was thrilled with his team’s performances despite the result as they pushed league leaders Suds extremely hard.
Craig Parker scored a 78th-minute penalty to finally break Side’s resolve despite 56 points splitting the teams at either end of the standings heading into the match.
And Gulfer hopes his team can build on that display with another good showing that leads to a win against the Abbots tonight.
“It’s the best we’ve played in a long time and the Daggers youngsters did well. We almost look like a different team now,” he added.
“We played very well and were beaten with what I thought was a dubious penalty decision so there are positives to take despite the result.
“If we play like that tonight, then we will have no problem. We have two home games this week and their both must win. If you look at our last four games, our heads no longer drop when we concede and that can only be good.”