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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Powell

Barkingside U10's end New Year Hoodoo with win against Elite Pro Sports.

The Cambridge Dictionary's definition of 'inevitable' has it that something is certain to happen and unable to be avoided or prevented. At times this year it has felt that despite dominating long spells in fixtures, a loss almost seemed a certainty. However, on a bright and sunny Sunday morning on Wanstead Flats, there was an anticipation amongst the Barkingside faithful that recent results were inevitably going to change.

Alfie had arrived an hour early just to prove the point.

However, the U10s had to overcome tricky opponents in Elite Pro Sports and their vocal coaching staff. From kick off there was a fluidity to Barkingside's play which had been absent in recent weeks. The training session on Wednesday had obviously done the trick. Barkingside looked purposeful and organised in their approach. Surely it would only be a matter of time before they took the lead? Josh was leading the way in a midfield three; his constant hassling of the Elite midfield saw the ball pressed beautifully and enabled George L to burst down the right flank on a couple of occasions. On another break Alfie broke the lines with a lovely through - ball to Ben who then tore down on goal. Only a last-ditch tackle by Elite's impressive centre back prevented the breakthrough. Savanyah was once again impressive in a back two with George G, and Elite were not getting a look in. When Elite did manage to get through they found Lewis in a parsimonious mood. He wasn't letting anything through. Barkingside were dominating the game; and were it not Elite's diminutive goalkeeper, they would surely have been two or three down. His save from Benji in particular was outstanding.

Barkingside kept knocking at Elite's door. A succession of corners midway through the first half yielded no result but the U10s were playing some lovely football and the heaving masses were anticipating a lead. It duly arrived with 5 minutes left of the first half. Almost unbelievably, it went against the run of play though. A quick break from the Elite midfield saw the ball penetrate the Barkingside rearguard and the Elite number 20 managed to poke it home beyond a despairing Lewis.

Half time: Barkingside 0 - 1 Elite Pro Sports

Zach clearly had Leeds United's struggles against Huddersfield in mind. All that graft and nothing to show for it. (Thanks by the way Leeds). In hoping to avoid similar toils at Wanstead Flats, he decided to go out with all guns blazing in the second half. Alfie was posted up front as the lone striker and Lucas moved on to the right flank. It was an inspired move. Within minutes, Lucas had powered his way down the right wing, beating two Elite defenders in the process, and flung in a delicious cross which Alfie connected with. The keeper once again pulled off a tremendous save only for the ball to fall to Benji. His shot was also remarkably saved, but this time the ball bobbled free and Alfie was Johnny on the spot to tap home.

The pressure kept coming and once again, a succession of corners saw Barkingside go close on two or three occasions. A foul in the midfield saw a free kick awarded to the U10s. Alfie launched it into the box and under pressure, the Elite defender handled. Penalty. Alfie unerringly, tucked away the spot kick and Barkingside had the lead.

Barkingside kept the pressure up. Ben was back on and asking questions of Elite's back four and George L was once again stretching the backline. George G and Savanyah were once again magnificent at the back. What a season it's been for that partnership. Lewis was finding the wing with some excellent kicking and Benji was consistently reaching the byline. However, the third goal would just not come. That was until Lucas, (some twenty five yards out) launched a spectacular lob which the Elite keeper did get hands to, but only to see the ball land in the net. 3-1 up and deservedly so. The Barkingside midfield and defence then snuffed out any remaining danger until the very last phase when Benji was a little unlucky in a handling offence. The Elite Number 3 just got the ball past Lewis with the ensuing penalty.

What a performance. Barkingside 10s first win of the calendar year and done in some style. Everyone had a part to play and everyone worked so hard for each other. There was great team spirit throughout. Barkingside will see this as an opportunity now to push on and go on a bit of a run. Well done to everyone.

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