Essex Senior League – Premier Division
Venue: Mayesbrook Park 3G
2022-23 Season: Match 42
Friday 24 February 2023 – 7.45pm KO
Romford: Blue Shirts, Shorts & Socks
Barking: Yellow Shirts, Shorts, & Socks
Barking emerge with a narrow win in a pulsating Mayesbrook derby
Romford 3 – 4 Barking
Match Report by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Photos by Bill Badger [@BillBadger1976] & Scott W
The season returned to the Essex Senior for this Friday night match between Romford and Barking in the Mayesbrook derby. Romford are aiming for a top 10 finish at least, given the hectic close to the season they will have after their FA Vase run earlier this term. Boro Manager Steve Butterworth fielded Matt Cafer in goal, with a defence comprised of full-backs Jamie Hursit & Danny Hurford, with centre-backs Anthony Furlong & Scott Doe. The central midfield featured Kris Newby, skipper Adalberto Pinto and Praise Ogbebor, and the forward was led by recent recruit Hassan Nalbant, supported by George Cox & Charlie Morris. Barking had Harvey Simson between the posts, with a defence of Harry Baker, Ergis Kastrati, Kyrell Palmer & captain Eljay Worrell. Jess Norey & Ronaldo Kapica were the central midfield, with Sam Shaban & George Okoye on the flanks. Luke Hirst was the focal point in attack, supported by Ahmed Abdulla. Jeff Sears took the team here with Rob O’Brien as his assistant, as the Blues were looking to fortify their place in the top eight with a win.
Barking did their chances of getting the points no harm whatsoever by making the most of a sloppy opening five minutes by Boro. In the first minute, Barking led after Luke Hurst made the most of a defensive error to lob over the covering defender and find the net. Then, four minutes later a fine assist by Sam Shaban allowed Hirst to slot home comfortably past Romford goalkeeper Matt Cafer and in no time, the Blues had a two-goal lead. Barking were bossing it in possession for the majority of the first half, but on 22 minutes, the enterprising winger Charlie Morris gos past his marker and put in a good cross from the left flank, which only just evaded the run of Praise Ogbebor, a reminder that the Blues had to keep their focus.
It was a warning they didn’t really heed, as Romford gradually had more ball time in the last 15 minutes, with Morris, Ogbebor, George Cox and forward Hassan Nalbant stretching Jeff Sears’ team defensively, even though Barking were up to the task, assisted by full-back Harry Baker, centre-back Ergis Kastrati and good handling skills of goalkeeper Harvey Simson. That was until 39 minutes when Nalbant decided to launch an unstoppable strike from 25 yards out which fizzed past Simson in a flash & found the top right corner, much to the delight of the Romford contingent. Steve Butterworth’s side really pounced on the oppurtunity to level the match before half-time, as centre-back Scott Doe headed over the crossbar, shortly before that Ogbebor had a header cleared off the goal-line as Barking were grateful to hear the half-time whistle.
Half-Time: Romford 1 – 2 Barking
That fortune for the Blues barely lasted a minute after the restart though as a decent ball tracked the run of the fired-up Nalbant who duly struck low past Simson for his second goal here to level a match that earlier on seemed rather difficult for them to get back into. That was really only the start of the drama, in what was a splendid second half of football for the neutral. Barking re-took the lead on 50 minutes, thanks to a superb strike from central midfielder Ronaldo Kapica, which found the top corner, giving Cafer no chance. To their credit, Romford responded as Jamie Hursit’s cross found Morris but the latter’s strike was just off-target. Praise Ogbebor was also in the action as his strike was blocked by a combination of a defender and a tip over by Simson.
Romford did make their decent spell count as they made it three-three as a set-piece was bundled in at the far post by centre-back Anthony Furlong. That made three goals since the restart & the pace wasn’t showing any sign of stopping. Just past the hour mark, Romford stopper Cafer made a decent save to deny Shaban’s header. The next turning point was on 64 minutes, with his defence higher up the pitch, Cafer advanced out of his area and couldn’t clear into the sidelines, allowing Luke Hirst to regain possession & slotted home with aplomb to give Barking the lead for the third time.
Romford were then restricted to ten men five minutes after that, as skipper Adalberto PInto was dismissed for a tough challenge. That did understandably affect the Boro but they admirably still pushed on in search of another leveller. Barking kept going themselves and it was hard to argue that they didn’t deserve the points, but they did make it hard for themselves at times. Credit also has to go to Romford for their determination to make the team in yellow tonight word hard for their win.
Full-Time: Romford 3 – 4 Barking
This match was one of the more memorable games this season, because of the goals, the drama & the relentless nature of it. Barking were comfortable for most of the first half but lapses of concentration allowed Romford to pile pressure on either side of half-time. Must give credit to Boro though for their contribution to a great match, which they started poorly but grew in influence as the game wore on. Barking weathered the storm well & looked lively throughout the game, as they were indebted to the cool finishing of Luke Hurst with his treble & also, they made the most of of defensive errors from the ‘home’ side here to eventually claim the points.
There were some good performances to note as ever. For victors Barking, hat-trick hero Luke Hirst was a thorn in the side of Boro all game, well suported by the likes of Shaban, Okoye and Abdulla. Hirst’s pace was tough to deal with but not as hard to stop as his cool finishing. Sam Shaban was also very good at times down the left channel, coming inside & got a good assist for Hirst’s second goal. Jess Norey had a good game, being an energetic presence in central midfield, while I thought Harry Baker was good at right-back, as he was an real presence on the deck & aerially as well.
For Romford, forward Hassan Nalbant was unfortunate to be on the losing side, scori g two good goals, the first of which was a super strike. His presence in the air & generally grew as the match went on, and showed decent passing too. Charlie Morris was a good threat as well down the left side, putting in a number of decent crosses & he was their best outlet for much of the match. Support forward George Cox also played his part in rallying his team after the start they had, showing good movement and neat passing. Finally, Scott Doe typified the attitude from the defence who had to work hard to avoid being out of the game before the interval.
Thanks to both teams for a match that will live a fair while in the memory.
Romford | Manager: Steve Butterworth | Assistant: Dan Spinks
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Matt Cafer (GK), 2 Jamie Hursit (17 Stephen Toussaint 87′) , 3 Danny Hurford (16 Bleron Ademi 62′), 5 Anthony Furlong, 6 Scott Doe, 4 Kris Newby (12 Tyrese Sibanda 70′) , 8 Adalberto Pinto (Capt), 7 Praise Ogbebor (14 Jacob Wiggins 70′) , 9 Hassan Nalbant, 10 George Cox, 11 Charlie Morris
Goal-scorers: Hassan Nalbant [39′ & 46′], Anthony Furlong [57′]
Booked: Cox | Sent Off: Pinto [69′] | Sub Not Used: Glenister
Barking | Stand-in Manager: Jeff Sears | Assistant: Rob O’Brien
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Harvey Simson (GK), 2 Kyrell Palmer, 3 Eljay Worrell (Capt), 5 Harry Baker, 4 Jess Norey, 6 Ergis Kastrati, 7 George Okoye, 8 Ronaldo Kapica (15 Ronaldo Dariri 84′) , 9 Luke Hirst, 10 Ahmed Abdulla (17 Alessandro Wisdom 75′), 11 Sam Shaban
Goal-scorers: Luke Hirst [1′, 5′ & 64′], Ronaldo Kapica [50′]
Booked: Palmer | Subs Not Used: Leach, Tshilumba, Charfi
Referee: Michael Iddenden-Smith
Asstistants: Ray Parmenter & Zeki Bedri Karayaka