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Bostik North: Barking boss Justin Gardner hopes trip to Heybridge Swifts is start of another long unbeaten run

PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 December 2017

Kiernan Mason-Hughes thinks he has scored for Barking against Bowers & Pitsea, but the goal is ruled out for offside (pic: Terry Gilbert)

Kiernan Mason-Hughes thinks he has scored for Barking against Bowers & Pitsea, but the goal is ruled out for offside (pic: Terry Gilbert)

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Blues saw 12-game unbeaten run in league end with 4-0 loss at Bowers & Pitsea last weekend

Action from Barking at Bowers & Pitsea in the Bostik North (pic: Terry Gilbert)Action from Barking at Bowers & Pitsea in the Bostik North (pic: Terry Gilbert)

Barking boss Justin Gardner hopes Saturday’s trip to Heybridge Swifts in the Bostik North marks the start of another long unbeaten run after their previous streak came to an end last weekend.

The Blues suffered a 4-0 loss away to promotion rivals Bowers & Pitsea, which ended a run of 12 games without defeat.

The streak had lifted the Mayesbrook Park club into the play-off places, but they face tough competition to remain there.

Another long unbeaten run would be the ideal way for Barking to maintain their promotion dreams, and Gardner hopes they can rebound at Heybridge on Saturday.

“We always knew the run wasn’t going to last forever, but we need to regroup now in time for the weekend,” he said.

“I always believe you learn more from a defeat, but I wish we had a game on Tuesday rather than have to wait until Saturday for our next game.”

In Heybridge, Barking will face a side who have performed superbly in cup competitions this term.

After making the first round of the FA Cup before losing at League Two side Exeter City, Swifts have also reached the first round of the FA Trophy, though had a replay against Hampton & Richmond Borough of the National League South on Tuesday.

Their cup runs mean Heybridge have played just 11 league games this season, which may explain why they are only 15th despite losing just twice.

And Gardner is fully aware of the challenge facing his team when they visit Scraley Road this weekend.

“It doesn’t get any easier for us. Heybridge are probably the best team in the league and have shown that in the cups this season,” he added.

“They have been flying the flag for the league nationally and have been doing really well.”

The trip to Heybridge on Saturday marks the start of a busy run for Barking, who play four times in 10 days. It is a similar story for most other clubs in the Bostik North, and Gardner believes the Christmas period is a time when clubs with bigger squads will do well.

He said: “We have a small squad and rely on key players, whereas the teams with bigger squads can rotate and be fresher for games.”

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