Barkingside 1 Hullbridge Sports 1
Monday 5th February
Barkingside have picked up enough points recently to move them out of the relegation zone, while Hullbridge Sports have also been picking up points to kick-start their survival bid. Both teams needed to pick up the full quota on offer at Cricklefield – instead they had to share a point apiece in a tight contest that was devoid of too many goalscoring opportunities.
Callum Ibe crafted the first opportunity for Hullbridge inside the opening five minutes, passing to Jimmy Cox who dinked his shot over the bar. The hosts were finding it hard to keep possession but luckily for them Hullbridge did not capitalise; however it also meant that the first Barkingside foray into the Hullbridge box only came about after Charlie Buffin’s weak headed pass to his keeper almost provided Michael Ogboin with a shooting opportunity. Moments later Dapo Abitogun floated a cross towards the back post that sailed away from any Barkingside players.
Cox played a lovely pass to Adebola Sotoyinbo that the Side defence cleared, but it was reconstituted back to Cox who could only rattle off a weak shot that was straight at Wayne Baker, the Side keeper. But that effort woke Hullbridge up and they nearly opened the scoring with a Matt Tapley free kick that was headed wide by Michael Salako.
However it was to be Barkingside who opened the scoring, when in the 23rd minute Matheus Santos sped in the box, passed to Garrett Kelly, who laid it off to Ogboin, who in turn set up Garyjay Thompson, who finished the move off by slotting the ball past Jamie Merrells. However the visitors immediately went back on the attack with Robert Hodgson poking a header wide, although it wouldn’t have counted had it gone in as the Assistant Official had his flag up. Sotoyinbo had a shot blocked after some good running and final pass from Salako.
The hosts didn’t look like extending their lead as a Hunwicks free kick was fired straight into the Hullbridge wall; Ogboin meanwhile found time and space to fire off a shot that Merrells did extremely well to tip over the bar. Hullbridge closed the half on the front foot with Baker having to punch clear a deep free kick and the hosts also had to defend two corners as the half came to an end.
Hullbridge opened the second period looking to get back on equal terms with Michael Bottone having to head away an early Hullbridge cross a mere 45 seconds into the second half. But that proved to be very much a false dawn as there was then very little goalmouth action until the 65th minute when Ibe fired an effort wide. Hullbridge had been pressing without forcing the Barkingside keeper to do any work.
All that was to change in the 67th minute when the hosts failed to clear their lines and were duly punished as Sotoyinbo chipped the loose ball over Baker to draw Hullbridge level.
A James Briggs long ball was picked up by Santos, which was Barkingside’s first real attack of the half, however Santos’s cross shot was easily claimed by Merrells. Baker was called into action to block a Cox shot, and then he had to smoother the ball before the Hullbridge Captain had a chance to pounce on the rebound. Moments later a Hullbridge corner was met by Hodgson with the resulting header being tipped onto the bar by Baker; however the Referee had seen an infringement and so awarded a free kick to Barkingside as opposed to Hullbridge having a corner.
Ogboin had a shot for the hosts in the 82nd minute; then Briggs cannoned a free kick straight into the Hullbridge wall, with the resulting corner being headed clear by Ashley Pibworth. The ball then made its way up the other end with Mike Hirst weaving his way through the Barkingside defence before having his cross cleared, however Pibworth was eventually able to rifle off a shot that deflected off Hunwicks. And it was Hullbridge that went looking for the full quota of points as they were able to carve out a couple of last opportunities; Cox went close with a long-range shot, Olive Miller connected with a sweeping ball but could only drag his shot wide. The final chance also fell Hullbridge’s way as Ibe turned and volleyed but Baker stopped the shot. In the end both sides will have to settle for a point which keeps them involved in the relegation issue for the time being.
Barkingside: Wayne Baker, Garyjay Thompson (Jevoi Blair 58’), Aaron Hunwicks (Capt), David Etcheri, Joseph Mendy, Michael Bottone, Jamie Pooley (James Briggs 58’), Dapo Abitogun, Michael Ogboin, Garrett Kelly, Matheus Santos.
Scorer – Garyjay Thompson (23’)
Hullbridge Sports: Jamie Merrells, Charlie Buffin, Matt Rose, Ashley Pibworth, Robert Hodgson, Sam Taylor, Matt Tapley, Michael Salako (Perry Hirst 70’), Jimmy Cox (Capt), Callum Ibe, Adebola Sotoyinbo (Oliver Miller 80’).
Scorer – Adebola Sotoyinbo (67’)
Report by Scott Lanza / Photo by Neil Hunwicks @ABridgeTooFar16