Silver lining for Barking
PUBLISHED: 20:29 02 May 2015 | UPDATED: 20:29 02 May 2015
Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions
Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy: Barking 4 Clapton 2
Barking ended their 18-year wait for silverware with a deserved win in the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy final at Burnham.
Joe Staunton’s wonder goal on the stroke of half time gave Blues the lead, which they doubled within a minute of the restart through captain Ben O’Brien.
And although James Briggs hit back for Tons with a stunning free-kick, further goals two minutes apart from Tom Jeffes and Glen Golby ensured Mick O’Shea’s men would end an excellent season with due reward before a late Jake Stevens consolation.
Clapton had won 2-0 when the sides met in the semi-finals of the League Challenge Cup at Mayesbrook Park four days earlier, booking a date with Bowers at Great Wakering next weekend.
And a much-changed side had gone down 4-1 at Takeley in the last regular season game of the season, as Tons finished in eighth place with 57 points and Barking third with a fine haul of 89.
Three busloads of Clapton Ultras arrived shortly before kick-off, banging their drums and waving their ‘Forza Clapton’ flags, and they were into their repertoire of songs as the match kicked off.
Blues lined up with Golby in attack alongside leading scorer Jeffes, who should have had a free-kick on the edge of the Clapton box after two minutes when fouled, but referee Peter Wilson waved play on.
Joe Killingback was caught late by Abs Jarriette, who came off worse, soon after and had to be replaced with what looked like an elbow injury. He reportedly had to wait two hours for an ambulance.
Barking’s Steve Willis blazed over the bar from an acute angle, while Tons were down to 10 men and still trying to get substitute Briggs ready to join the action.
But Fahad Nyanja then found space on the left for Tons, only to send a weak shot at Jason Willis.
Another speculative effort from Nyanja bounced through to the Barking keeper on 11 minutes, but then a long throw-in from Billy Rix fell for Golby, whose shot was deflected behind.
Golby saw another attempt blocked moments later, but Steve Willis was adjudged to have fouled Pape Diagne as he attempted to claim the corner.
Ben Turner’s long free-kick from inside his own half was flicked on by Golby, but beyond Jeffes and the far post on 18 minutes as Barking looked the more settled.
O’Brien was having a real battle with Andy Mott in central midfield, but claims of an elbow being used were ignored by referee Wilson.
The Ultras were enjoying themselves, bouncing up and down to one of their catchy tunes and Tons tried to assert themselves more on proceedings, only to find Barking’s defence in defiant mood.
Jerome Martelli’s shimmy and cross was sliced up into the air by Jay Taylor and comfortably claimed by Jason Willis, before Diagne threw up a hand at the other end to tip over O’Brien’s well-struck half volley on 25 minutes, the closest either side had come to a goal at that point.
The pacy Killingback switched flanks with Staunton briefly as Barking looked to put more pressure on Clapton left-back and captain Luke Kanjor, but Tons had penalty appeals rightly ignored when Stevens went down under Turner’s challenge in the box.
Clapton boss Michael Walther tried to urge his players on from in front of the main stand, with the Ultras making plenty of noise behind the dugouts, and Nyanja flicked on a free kick, but Martelli’s hopes of latching onto the ball were denied by the impressive Brad Ling, who hooked clear.
Good work by Jeffes, after Turner’s header on, almost set up a shooting chance for Golby on 35 minutes, but the Clapton defence closed ranks to block once again.
Yet Barking continued to look more likely to break the deadlock, although Clapton had a counter-attacking chance following a Blues corner, only for Mott’s poor pass to see it go to waste, before another penalty appeal was waved off when Tons looked to have very good claims for a foul on Stevens five minutes before the interval.
Geoff Ocran’s incisive pass almost got Martelli into a scoring position a minute from time, but Taylor was again alert to the danger and got in a good interception.
Then, in first-half stoppage time, a Barking throw-in from the right was only half cleared and Staunton, after a controlling touch, hit a stunning right-footed effort into the far top corner, giving Diagne no chance. It was a goal worthy of winning any final.
The second half was barely a minute old when Blues doubled their advantage as Ling’s throw-in from the right was helped across the box by Golby and clipped home by captain O’Brien.
Wilson had words with Troy Ricketts, and his captain Kanjor, after a show of dissent soon after, as the Ultras began to sing about winning 3-2.
But Tons were struggling to have much impact against a well-organised Blues, who moved the ball around well despite a bobbly Leslie Field surface.
Steve Willis was spoken to after holding onto Stevens, as he looked to connect with Nyanja’s backheeled pass on 53 minutes, but although Eamon Payne got his head on the resulting free-kick, it was a routine save for Jason Willis at the foot of his far post.
Then, out of nothing, after a foul on substitute Luwayne Greenwood in a central position, Briggs stepped up and sent a superb free-kick past the diving Willis and into the corner to halve the deficit and give the Ultras good reason to up the decibel count.
Tons tails were up suddenly and Mott steered a good chance wide just before the hour, but Blues substitute Sipho Mtyanda combined well with Jeffes, whose shot was juggled at the near post by Diagne as Steve Willis looked to pounce.
The Tons keeper needed treatment after the collision and Willis and O’Brien were spoken to by referee Wilson before Diagne was quick off his line to block from Jeffes, after more good work from Mtyanda on 73 minutes.
The muscular Mtyanda was proving a bit of a handful for the Tons defence and won a free-kick on the right moments later, before swinging the ball into the box for Steve Willis to head against the near upright before a relieved Diagne grabbed it.
But Barking went 3-1 up on 78 minutes when leading scorer Jeffes played a neat one-two with Willis and slipped the ball under Diagne.
And a fourth goal arrived two minutes later when Staunton sent a long ball in from the right and stand-in striker Golby, after chesting it down, hooked it home.
It was a well deserved goal for the experienced centre-back, who made way for young Ryan Creed for the final nine minutes of the tie.
And although Stevens sent a right-footed shot into the top corner three minutes from time for Clapton’s second – cheered wildly by the loyal Ultras – there was no denying Barking a silver lining to their campaign.
Tons, without silverware since 1989, still have that second chance against Bowers next weekend on what will be another big day out for the Ultras.
But Barking can now put their feet up and reflect on a job well done.
Barking: J Willis, Ling, Turner, Taylor, Golby (Creed 81), O’Brien, Rix, S Willis (Foster 85), Jeffes, Staunton, Killingback (Mtyanda 60).
Unused subs: Barlow, Clayton.
Clapton: Diagne, Ricketts, Kanjor, Mfula, Payne, Ocran, Stevens, Mott, Nyanja, Jarriette (Briggs 7), Martelli (Greenwood 46).
Unused subs: Maynard, Degraft, Jones.
Referee: Peter Wilson.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Barking and Dagenham Post. Click the link in the orange box above for details.