Barkingside U10s are still looking for their first win of 2024 - not for want of trying today at a blustery Wanstead Flats.
Barkingside were up against tough opponents in G4K and it was clear from the off that each member of the team was going to have to put in a real shift to compete with them. G4K were dangerous on the break and in the early stages they threatened to make the breakthrough on a couple occasions. George G was once again in sterling form and aided by Ian at the back whilst G4K were struggling to make their possession count.
The game's major talking point came on 12 minutes. The G4K winger slung in a low cross into the Barkingside box and the ball was cleared. Or so everyone thought. Under no appeal, the referee deemed that the ball had been handled by the unfortunate Josh and he, perplexingly, blew for a penalty. This was duly dispatched with Lewis not really having any chance.
This setback sparked Barkingside into life. Lucas looked dangerous just in front of Ian and it was his slotted pass into George L that saw the wing wonder tear past G4Ks left back before putting in a delicious cross. Sadly, none of his team mates were able to keep up with him and the ball was gathered by the keeper.
On came Savanyah, Alfie and Ben and Barkingside's control on the game was maintained. From a free kick on the left by Alfie, the keeper did well to push it back out to him - Alfie pulled the trigger again but once again the keeper did well to parry it out for a corner. George L put in another terrific cross, and this time it pinballed around the G4K box before being cleared.
The second half saw Barkingside once again take the game to G4K. Benji continued to ask questions of the impressive G4K backline. It was great to watch as he did battle with G4s Number 17 - neither of them giving an inch. Meanwhile he was ably assisted once again by Lucas who saw his 20 yarder gathered by the keeper. Josh was continuing to hustle in the midfield and at the back George and Savanyah continued to snuff out any G4K threat. It came as something of a surprise when Savanyah, having expertly wrestled the ball from G4s No 10, was then penalised by the referee. Once again, there had been no appeals and it had looked a very fair and indeed competent challenge. Nonetheless, a penalty was given. However, on this occasion, Lewis was more than a match for the Number 10, and expertly pushed it wide. Game on!!
Barkingside pushed and pushed for the equaliser - two superb comers from Alfie into the six yard area yielded no scoring success and Benji continued to probe with able assistance from Josh. Ben broke free with minutes left but once again G4Ks impressive 17 was there to snuff out the danger.
The full time whistle came and G4K celebrated wildly - and well they might. It had been a great game and once again to see such a low scoring game at this level remains unusual. Both teams played exceptionally well and Barkingside can count themselves extremely unlucky. They were on the wrong side of a couple of questionable calls - but never let their heads drop and encouraged each other throughout. Man of the match Benji must be nursing a few bruises tonight but his robust and competitive approach to G4K's excellent defence was a joy to behold. It won't be long until Barkingside break their 2024 duck. Well played everyone!