Football: Barking & Dagenham in Essex Finch League title hunt

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 January 2018

Balls on the pitch before play (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Balls on the pitch before play (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Barking & Dagenham’s under-11 boys beat Essex Finch League leaders Newham 3-2 to throw the title race wide open.

Newham wasted two good early chances, before Romir Mann’s through ball found Tolu Fabamifobee to curl a shot home.

Abdi Pal produced a good save to deny Newham a reply, as Mann and Fabamifobee went close to a second, and Alamin Kosoko produced a last-ditch tackle to protect the lead, which Nathan Solomon doubled soon after.

Amine Zafar made it 3-0 after Aidon Shehu’s free-kick hit the crossbar and Mann hit a post, after Matas Klimas had fired a chance high over the crossbar.

Previously unbeaten Newham rallied to score twice in a tense final five minutes, bundling home from close range and then sending a long ball over the top for their striker to finish well.

But Barking & Dagenham held firm under late pressure for an excellent win and a 7-2 triumph at Basildon leaves them needing to win their last two matches to clinch a first title since 2013.

Zafer opened the scoring after Mann’s shot was saved and Matas Klimas chipped a second from Shehu’s quick free-kick.

The hosts hit back against the run of play, but Somfechi Okuno raced clear to lob the keeper and make it 3-1, with Shehu firing a free-kick into the top corner for a fourth.

Okuno raced on to Kosoko’s pass to round the keeper and slot home number five, before Basildon grabbed a second from the penalty spot.

Barking & Dagenham saw Solomon twice denied by the woodwork in the second half, but went 6-2 up as Okuno headed in Mann’s corner to complete his hat-trick.

Fabamifobee hit the post and Okuno was denied by a superb save after a mazy run before firing his fourth goal from another Mann corner.

Barking & Dagenham: Nathan Solomon (Southwood), Alamin Kosoko (Richard Alibon), Matas Klimas (Marsh Green), Somfechi Okuno, Abdi Pal (both Dorothy Barley), Ibrahim Bangurah (Valence), Romir Mann (Rush Green), Aidon Shehu (Hunters Hall), Amine Zafer (Gascoigne), Tolu Fabamifobee (George Carey).

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