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Barking boss Gardner eager to cause an upset at Maldon as ‘underdogs’ in final match

PUBLISHED: 14:00 26 April 2019

Action from Barking's clash with Basildon (pic Terry Gilbert)

Action from Barking's clash with Basildon (pic Terry Gilbert)

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Barking manager Justin Gardner says his side are ‘massive underdogs’ as they head into their final fixture of the season against Maldon & Tiptree.

Nana Boakye-Yiadom gives chase for Barking (pic Terry Gilbert)Nana Boakye-Yiadom gives chase for Barking (pic Terry Gilbert)

The Blues visit the Wallace Binder Ground on Saturday as they look to cause an upset and end the campaign on a high note.

But boss Gardner knows it will be an extremely tough test as the Jammers look to finish the season in second place to earn home advantage in the Bostik North play-offs.

“We couldn't have asked for it to be any harder, but we're playing a team with something to play for, so we can at least give them a challenge for that,” the 38-year-old said.

“It's going to be very tough for us to get anything out of the match. Let's be honest you're talking a huge difference in resources and the quality at this stage.

“The table doesn't lie, so we go into the game as massive underdogs.”

The former Billericay Town manager revealed that he was backing Maldon to earn promotion this term, but now feels Aveley have the better record heading into the play-offs.

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“I fancied Maldon for promotion at the beginning of the season, but now they're in the play-offs, it looks like Aveley are the in-form team at the moment so they're probably the hot favourites,” he added.

Gardner however is looking forward to wrapping up the season at one of the best grounds in the league, adding: “It's good to finish the season on probably the best grass pitch in the league.”

Barking were due to face Aveley at Mayesbrook Park last night (Tuesday) in the final-ever match on grass before they convert the pitch into 3G in a few weeks time.

They did however nab a 1-0 win over Basildon United at The Ho Ho Stadium on Saturday.

An 86th-minute strike from attacker Nana Boakye-Yiadom sealed the points for the Blues.

The former Hornchurch man came off the bench in the 72nd minute for Ola Ogunwamide and made a telling impact.

“I held Nana because he had a hamstring injury a few weeks ago. He didn't pull it, he just tweaked it but we had to make sure that was right,” he added.

“When I brought him off the bench, I read how the game was going, and I did feel he would contribute and he did exactly that.”


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