Barking manager Gardner dubbed Dereham win one of the best
PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 October 2018
Barking manager Justin Gardner has dubbed his side’s 1-0 victory against Dereham Town one of the best in his managerial career.
A 21st minute goal from Ben O’Brien sealed the three points for the Blues at Aldiss Park despite having a number of players unavailable for selection.
Ryan Cosson was ruled out with injury, Joe Bruce due to family commitments, and then Gary Cohen suffered a calf injury in warm-up leaving boss Gardner with one defender in 17-year-old Jack McQueen.
“We showed character and with all of the circumstances and the way we had to do things I’d go as far as saying that is one of the best results of my career,” the 38-year-old said.
“I had to play a number of players in different positions and make it work.
“I’m quite a confident manager, anyone that knows me will know that, but I was actually quite nervous as I’m a big believer of having a well prepared team.
“The players have to take full credit for that, they all fought for each other and had to adapt.
“The icing on the cake was the clean sheet.”
The former Billericay Town felt preparation was spot on in the build up to the match but it was all thrown out of the water as they had to change tactics and formation just minutes before kick-off.
“This week I felt we had good training sessions and we had almost everyone available, I think I had 20 players to pick from.
“I was quite pleased with how we prepared and everything we worked on during the week.
“Everything went well Thursday and then Friday morning I picked the team but then found out Ryan Cosson wasn’t cleared to play after his operation yet.
“He could have maybe played with a mask but his health is important and he didn’t want to risk it.
“Then Saturday morning I got a call from Joe Bruce that his son split his head open and had to go to hospital.
“He was going to try make it after but couldn’t so we were then down to 17-year-old Jack McQueen and striker Gary Cohen at the back.
“Then just as we were finishing warm-up Gary popped his calf so the system we had been working on had to change and we went with a new system that we haven’t played this season.”