Barking boss Gardner pleased with reaction at Witham Town

Kemo Darboe tries to shoot for goal (pic Terry Gilbert)

Kemo Darboe tries to shoot for goal (pic Terry Gilbert) - Credit: Archant

Barking manager Justin Gardner was pleased with his side’s reaction as they earnt a 1-1 draw with in-form Witham Town.

Jordan Peart attacks for Barking (pic Terry Gilbert)

Jordan Peart attacks for Barking (pic Terry Gilbert) - Credit: Archant

Blues boss Justin Gardner had said he wanted to see a response from his side, following their disappointing 3-1 home defeat against Canvey Island a week earlier.

And he got exactly that as a late 80th minute strike from defender Joe Bruce bagged his side a point following a strong display.

“We played really well; it was a good performance, especially after the week before as I got a reaction from the players,” the 38-year-old said.

“I felt we dominated the first-half even though we went 1-0 down, they scored a good goal, but I’m disappointed from our side of things, as we knew of Johnny Ashman’s strengths and weaknesses and I don’t think we dealt with that sufficiently enough.

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“We had some words at half time to correct a few things and we came out much better in the second-half.”

He felt the injury to the referee in the second-half slowed his side’s momentum down as they looked to find an equaliser.

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“There was a period in the game that we were dominating and it looked like only one team was going to go on to win the game.

“Then the referee got injured, and the game was held up for eight to ten minutes, which I didn’t really understand as the referee then changed with the linesman but he pulled his hamstring.

“I felt that was strange because it would have been easier to just stay central in the middle of the pitch, whereas as a linesman you have to keep up with the play, so that was a concern to me.”

The former Aveley also revealed he was confused by the stand-in referee’s decision to over rule the linesman.

“A minute before we scored our goal the linesman flagged for a penalty for us, which at the angle he was the referee couldn’t see or give it, and I wouldn’t have argued with that.

“To be honest when I first saw the penalty shout I didn’t call too much as I saw where the referee was standing, but when I saw the linesman flag it I started to call for it.

“I understood where the referee was that he couldn’t see it, but he went to speak with the linesman, but overruled him as you can imagine to the disappointment of the players and myself.”

Gardner also heaped praise on goalscorer Bruce and dubbed his effort as the best of his career.

“Joe Bruce probably scored the goal of his career, he’s played for 20 years, and played professional football.

“He scored an absolute worldie, myself and my coaching staff ran towards the pitch to celebrate with our players, but got to about five yards onto the pitch and realised we shouldn’t have been doing that and went back to our dug out.

“The referee then sent me off.”

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