Essex Senior League – Premier Division
Venue: Mayesbrook Park 3G
2022-23 Season: Match 58
Saturday 22nd April 2023 – 3pm KO
Barking: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts & Socks
Woodford: Yellow Shirts, Blue Shorts & White Socks
Barking pounce late on to seal narrow win over Woodford in an entertaining close-season match
Barking 3 – 2 Woodford Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The last Saturday of the regular campaign saw an interesting match in the Essex Senior, with Barking welcoming Woodford Town to Mayesbrook Park. The hosts are aiming for a top-six finish while Town are still hoping to crown off a memorable season with a third-placed finish. Both teams made a few changes here, recognising a busy end to their league campaign in two days time, plus Errington Cup Semi-Finals in midweek. Nick Harding’s side had Harvey Simson in goal, with the defence being comprised of full-backs Kyrell Palmer and captain Eljay Worrell, with Kenedi Dariri and Alfie Leach in central defence. Jess Norey & Jack Folan were the central midfielder pair, with Sa-Sean Lutumba & Daniel Brock on the flanks, supporting forwards Sam Shaban and Lauric Diakiesse. Woodford had Sam Soutar in goal, with Miles Mitchell-Nelson, Simon Omope, Lee Sharpe & Luke Steele in their defence. The three-man midfield contained skipper Georges Kebi, James Runham & Ope Mosuro, with Luke Parrott, Ernest Okoh and Dimi Christou the front three here.
Understandably with such a busy last full week of the campaign to come, both sides were a little reserved in their play, and this meant chances were not plentiful. However, visiting goalkeeper Sam Soutar had to be alert to deny rapid Blues forward Sam Shaban’s effort. In the early going at least, it was rather even, as Town forward Ernest Okoh made a few good breaks down the right channel for Shane Baptiste’s side, with winger Sa-Sean Lutumba also showing intent for Blues down their left flank. Both teams were also keen to play their respective brands of possession football on the deck, and just short of the half-hour, the visitors nearly made the breakthrough. A good counter-attack by Town was started by James Runham’s good cross-field ball which found Okoh, and after another good break down the right side, his decent strike was narrowly over home custodian Harvey Simson’s top right corner of the goal.
Barking did break the stalemate right on that half-hour, as good initial work by forward Lauric Diakiesse on the right side saw him find winger Daniel Brock and his good touch found the advancing run of full-back Eljsay Worrell which the Town backline had not tracked, allowing Worrell the chance to slot home calmly, past Soutar into the right corner. It was a well-worked goal but a disappointing one from the visitors’ point of view. Woodford duly responded at the other end and levelled three minutes before the interval. Okoh was finding space well on the right channel, but this time he cut inside well and fired a low drive past Simson at his near post to level things up. Okoh netted his 18th league goal this season here. Town midfielder Runham also had a decent effort which needed the intervention of Simson, after a neat passing move.
HT: Barking 1 – 1 Woodford
You had the feeling that there was more to come in this match, given that both teams were looking dangerous going forward and had good spirit along with it. Woodford struck first ten minutes after the resumption as a good header by captain Georges Kebi found the net to give the visitors the lead for the first time. but this time it was the hosts’ turn to respond well. Midway into the second half, Diakiesse spurned a decent chance as he couldn’t generate enough power in his header to bypass Soutar, who comfortably gathered. Soon afterward though, the Woodford stopper couldn’t gather a dangerous cross, allowing forward Sam Shaban to stroke the ball home from five yards out to level the match once again.
Again to their credit, both sides were looking for the win as we entered the latter stages. The visitors had a decent chance nine minutes from time, as substitute Bailey Brown made a purposeful run down the right channel and his cross found fellow replacement Wale Odedoyin but he could only fire wide of the goal frame when well-placed. Nick Harding’s side had a golden chance to grab all three points with moments remaining, as referee Alex Baker pointed to the penalty spot, having adjudged there to be a handball by a Woodford defender.
Shaban duly stepped up & blasted the ball home from twelve yards, for his second in this game and his fourteenth league goal in all this term. Woodford kept going into added time but ultimately, they didn’t quite have enough on this day to avoid defeat. However, other results meant that if they will finish very likely finish third, which is some achievement. Barking will finish sixth if they win at Sawbridgeworth Town and rivals Newham fail to defeat Romford at home.
Full-Time: Barking 3 – 2 Woodford Town
In summary, this was an entertaining duel between two sides aiming to finish the league season strongly. Both sides had their forays forwards and nervy ones in defence too. Barking did well to come back from falling behind for first time not long after the interval, but errors from the visitors affected the result & made it a sore one to take for Shane Baptiste’s team.
The stand-out begins with victors Barking. Winber Sa-Sean Lutumba put in a very good display & made several important darting runs down the left side as well as good passes too. Forward Sam Shaban grew into the game as it went on & made the most of his oppurtunities with two goals, one from the penalty spot & also showcased good movement. Midfielder Jack Folan was a good, energising presence to bolster his side’s attacks while centre-back Kenedi Dariri did well at the back, making several important clearances to deal with a dangerous Woodford front three.
For Woodford, forward Ernest Okoh was always a threat down the right side, as well as cutting indide & taking his goal well. Okoh also made a good good crosses. Skipper Georges Kebi is a key player in this team, putting in another high-energy performance in both defence & attack. His goal did change the momentum in favour of the visitors for a time after the break. Lastly, there are mentions for centre-back Lee Sharpe and full-back Simon Omope. Sharpe had another good game, making important interceptions while Omope also made a few good tackles & was a good outlet from the left flank as well.
Barking | Manager: Nick Harding | Assistant: Jeff Sears |
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Harvey Simson (GK), 2 Kyrell Palmer, 3 Eljay Worrell (Capt), 5 Kenedi Dariri, 6 Alfie Leach, 4 Jess Norey, 8 Jack Folan, 7 Se-Sean Lutumba (14 George Okoye 61′), 9 Sam Shaban, 10 Lauric Diakiesse, 11 Daniel Brock (16 Darnell Baxter-Alleyne 61′)
Goal-scorers: Eljay Worrell [30′], Sam Shaban [68′ & pen 87′]
Booked: Deniri, Leach | Subs Not Used: Baker, Wisdom, Ombok
Woodford Town | Manager: Shane Baptiste | Assistant: Dee Safer
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Sam Soutar (GK), 2 Miles Mitchell-Nelson, 3 Simon Omope, 5 Lee Sharpe, 6 Luke Steele, 4 James Runham (15 Wale Odedoyin 55′), 7 Ope Mosuro, 8 Georges Kebi (Capt), 9 Luke Parrott (14 Dimitri Nicolaou 74′), 10 Ernest Okoh (16 Zivonimir Lopes 74′), 11 Dimitri Christou (12 Bailey Brown 71′)
Goal-scorers: Ernest Okoh [42′], Georges Kebi [55′]
Booked: Mosuro, Omope, Odedoyin | Sub Not Used: Kiangebeni
Referee: Alex Baker
Assistants: Mihai Nitu & Adam Schroder