It's always nice to play in the FA Cup says Barking boss Gardner

Lewis Greene looks to beat Barking captain Elliot Omozusi to the ball

Lewis Greene looks to beat Barking captain Elliot Omozusi to the ball - Credit: Terry Gilbert

Barking manager Justin Gardner insists it’s always nice to play in the FA Cup as they head into a preliminary round clash with Ilford. 

The Blues will welcome Adam Peek’s Foxes to Mayesbrook Park on Saturday as they look to progress and bag themselves £1,444 in prize money as the losers still pick up £481.  

“It’s the FA Cup, it’s always nice to play in it and our plan is always to go as far as we can, and try getting further than in the previous years,” Gardner said. 

“We haven’t done too badly in previous years so if we can get close to that then I'm sure the club will be happy with that.” 

The Hullbridge defenders get to grips with Barking's James Folkes

The Hullbridge defenders get to grips with Barking's James Folkes - Credit: Terry Gilbert

The Blues started the Isthmian League North campaign in emphatic style as they sealed a huge 4-0 victory at Hullbridge Sports on the opening day. 


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A brace from Charlie MacDonald and goals from James Folkes and George Purcell secured three points for the Blues.  

Right-back Folkes opened the scoring in the 41st minute at Lower Road before forward MacDonald doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time to head into the break with a 2-0 lead.  

Eyes on the ball for Daniel McCullock

Eyes on the ball for Daniel McCullock - Credit: Terry Gilbert

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Three minutes into the second half, experienced striker MacDonald grabbed his second of the match, before former Hornchurch striker Purcell struck in the 83rd minute to seal a comfortable victory. 

“The preparations leading up to it wasn’t the best if I'm honest with you, we’ve got a few out with Covid, and some of my management team, so it was down to myself and the physio plus I called upon Jeff Sears the under-23s manager and he was superb,” Gardner said. 

Barking forward Osaretin Otete tries to get past his opponent

Barking forward Osaretin Otete tries to get past his opponent - Credit: Terry Gilbert

“We went into the game with no recognised centre midfielders apart from one (Flavio Jumo), who has just joined the club from step six, and our front three didn’t train all week due to knocks. 

“The game also didn’t start off as well as the scoreline suggests. If I'm honest in the first 20 minutes I thought Hullbridge were the better team, but once we got a foothold in the game and first game tensions settled down it was one-way traffic.” 

Barking's Jay Leader wins another header against Hullbridge Sports

Barking's Jay Leader wins another header against Hullbridge Sports - Credit: Terry Gilbert

He added: “Strikers are always going to take the headlines, but I must praise the defence, who I thought were superb led by our captain Elliot Omozusi. 

“I don’t think he lost a header all game. The back five and the goalkeeper gave us a platform to build on. Charlie MacDonald and George Purcell are always going to score goals so we’ve always got a chance at that end.”

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