The midweek action began with this crucial battle with ramifications at both ends of the table. Relegation-threatened Barkingside welcomed top-five side Walthamstow. The hosts welcomed back forwards Mario Gjini amd David Hornsby while veteran ‘keeper Ryan Karrer continued between the sticks. Ryan Maxwell’s side contained a central defensive partnership of Craig Pope and Vinny Murphy with a front two of prolific forward Dwade James and promising youngster Samrai Gebrai.
The home side had a poor start to proceedings as ‘Stow scored after just three minutes. A simple ball lofted over the top of the home defence found Dwade James who lobbed home custodian Ryan Karrer and into the net. The hosts nearly responded minutes later as forward David Hornsby was one-on-one with visiting ‘keeper James Bransgrove though the stopper got the better of the duel. Forward Samrai Gebrai and James were denied by Karrer when presented with good chances to score.
For the most part, the visitors dominated the play though concurrently, Barkingside’s defence was quite rigid, led by spirited centre-back Derek O’Halem. On the odd forage forward that Alex Goldstone’s side had, they were rebuffed by a strong ‘Stow back-line.
Half-Time: Barkingside 0 – 1 Walthamstow
The visitors started the second period in a strong fashion as well, as Gebrai’s dangerous delivery was cleared off the line by O’Halem. Ten minutes into the half, James burst down the left flank and his centre fell to Gebrai whose acrobatic over-head kick was parried by Karrer. ‘Stow continued to have the better of the possession though could be accused of being rather wasteful in terms of finishing. This was further evidenced by midfielder Jack Folan scuffing his shot when clean through to face Karrer.
In the latter stages, full-back George Woodward’s free-kick was headed wide by O’Halem. ‘Stow finally doubled their lead on 73 minutes as Harry Watkins fired in on the half-volley from 25 yards out. ‘Side’s evening got worse as Isaac Marfo was dismissed late on for severe dissent. Douglas was left alone in the area though Karrer denied him on the line.