Barking boss Gardner 'buzzing' to see youngsters perform in cup competition

Barking manager Justin Gardner during Barking vs South Park, BetVictor League South Central Division Football at...

Barking manager Justin Gardner during Barking vs South Park, BetVictor League South Central Division Football at Mayesbrook Park on 7th March 2020 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Barking manager Justin Gardner is buzzing to see youngsters stepping up to the challenge after they finished top of Group D in the Len Cordell Memorial Cup.

The Blues sealed a 2-1 victory over West Essex in their final group stage match to finish with two wins and a draw and bag a spot in the next round.

They will now face Essex Senior League side Cockfosters in the knockout stages as they look to continue progressing. 

“I’m very pleased, especially because we’re using some of the young players, under-23s and academy players, so it’s really pleasing from that aspect as we’re coming up against some good opposition,” Gardner said.

“That’s pleasing, we’ve uncovered a few gems so hopefully they can maintain that standard when they play against teams at our level.  

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“I’ve found it really enjoyable and I'm buzzing to be giving these youngsters an opportunity to stake a place in the squad for next season. It’s been good, but there will be bump in the road, as that’s what you have to expect with youngsters. 

“We’re playing a new system, the more we play it and train with it, then the more we’ll be used to it and the better we’ll become.” 

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Former Aveley boss Gardner was pleased with the character his side showed as they came from behind to defeat West Essex at Mayesbrook Park on Friday night.

A James Jewers rocket put West ahead early on but goals from Louis Dillon and Jonny Ashman sealed the win for Blues. 

“West Essex was good game, we went 1-0 down, so we had to show some character and play under pressure," he added.

“We were good value for the win and it was a good spectacle for the neutral. To be fair all the games have been pleasing and over time we will get better.” 

It is now a clash with Cockfosters on Saturday after facing Ramsgate in a friendly last night (Tuesday). 

“Tough opposition, I think they were fourth in the Essex Senior League when it stopped, and they haven’t lost many games," said Gardner.

“It will be another good test, it’s an important week, and of course it will be good to win but it’s more about seeing how the players cope against good opposition.”

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