Barking & Dagenham boys hit back to beat Havering
- Credit: BDSFA
Barking & Dagenham's district boys got the better of Havering in a hard-fought contest.
Superb displays by Jahcorey Blair-Charles and George Miller led the way for the hosts, who were mssing five players due to injury and illness.
Havering began well and create a chance on six minutes, but Grafton keeper Miller was in the way and he made a point-blank save on 10 minutes.
George Carey's Blair-Charles made a last-ditch challenge to deny Havering before the visitors finally broke through midway through the first half from the penalty spot.
It was nearly 2-0 nine minutes before the break but Miller and Blair-Charles held firm to thwart attempts and the hosts then levelled when a long ball was chased by Joel Ladegbaye, whose persistence caused a mix-up in Havering's rearguard.
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The George Carey striker was gifted the ball just outside of the box and, with the goal gaping, needed only to roll it into the empty net to level against the run of play.
Relieved to be all square at half time, the hosts came out looking sharper in the second half and the pace of Ladegbaye was a constant worry for the Havering defence.
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He narrowly missed with a low shot five minutes into the half, but Havering woke from their slumber and again started to pass the ball around confidently.
With Miller as the last line of defence, Havering could not breach the Barking & Dagenham back line and another low shot on 43 minutes was expertly saved.
With 15 minutes left, Barking & Dagenham switched George Carey's Ibrahim Msabah from central midfield to central defence and he began to stem the flow of Havering attacks.
Suddenly Havering were on the back foot as Chinoso Ibeh began to make inroads in central midfield and Eastbury's Otis Akpata was looking dangerous on the right.
With eight minutes to go, a long ball up the left by Blair-Charles found top scorer Denzel-Decardi Nelson charging towards the penalty area and the St Peter's winger took the pass in his stride, before hitting an unstoppable shot across the keeper and into the net.
Defeat was harsh on Havering, who dominated for large periods, but understrength Barking & Dagenham will be pleased to have won ahead of facing local club side Triangoals Youth FC of the East London & Essex League.
Barking & Dagenham: George Miller (Grafton), Marvellous Oppong (Northbury), Ruari Stanton (Northbury), Jahcorey Blair-Charles (George Carey), Chinoso Ibeh (St Peter's), Denzel Decardi-Nelson (St Peter's), Ibrahim Msabah (George Carey), Benjamin Oluyemmy (Northbury), Theodore Mintah (Valence), Joel Ladegbaye (George Carey), Evergreen Eleagu (St Peter's), Otis Akpata (Eastbury).