BARKING & DAGENHAM U11S ENJOYED another successful trip to Jersey as they took part in the 43rd Jersey Festival of Football. They recorded three wins and three losses in their six games against teams from across the U.K.
Barking opened their Festival with a comfortable 3-0 win over Potters Bar. Goals from Emis Gasperavicius, Jaqwaan Williams and Favour Fawunmi saw the side start the week-long event in impressive fashion.
Gasperavicius opened the scoring early in the piece with a brilliant header from Harry Millburn’s corner. Despite plenty of pressure, Barking & Dagenham were unable to add to their tally until Williams fired home from close range. Fawunmi then rounded things off with a solo effort to put the seal on an impressive first outing.
Day two saw Barking & Dagenham face the challenge of local club side St. Paul’s U12s and they made it two wins from two with a 5-3 victory. Williams scored twice and goals from Gasperavicius and Mason Stanton saw Barking & Dagenham go in at the break 4-0 up. Joe Martin’s spectacular free kick made it 5-0 early in the second half as the hosts struggled to come to terms with the pace and power of the visitors.
Hot weather and some niggly injuries saw Barking & Dagenham go down to eight players and St. Paul’s scored three late goals to give the score line a somewhat unrepresentative look.
Jersey were their next opponents and a poor first half showing meant they went down 4-1 to the islanders. Despite dominating most of the first half, Jersey capitalised on some poor defending to take a 3-0 lead into the break.
Barking & Dagenham peppered the home team’s goal in the second half but were caught on the break as Jersey went 4-0 up.
Barking & Dagenham continued to create chances but were denied by the post, bar and some desperate defending. Martin was given the chance to reduce the deficit from the spot but his well-struck penalty hit the post. However, they continued to battle and grabbed a late consolation when Williams scored his fourth of the week.
Another slow start cost Barking & Dagenham on Day Four as they lost 3-1 to Orpington. The Kent side made the most of some slack defending to take an early three-goal lead.
Barking & Dagenham slowly edged their way back into the game but they were unable to reduce the arrears until the middle of the second half when Fawunmi reacted quickly to Millburn’s throw in to slot home.
Barking & Dagenham continued to create chances but once again any luck in front of goal deserted them and they succumbed to a second successive defeat.
Barking & Dagenham bounced back from that disappointment, to secure a 1-0 win over Gloucester on Day Five. Fawunmi’s first half effort was enough to separate the sides. The margin of victory should have been much wider as Barking & Dagenham once again missed numerous chances but Fawunmi’s cross-cum-shot saw them make it three wins for the week.
Day Six saw Barking & Dagenham face Erdington & Saltley for the first time ever and the Birmingham-based side ran out 4-2 winners. Fawunmi’s brace wasn’t enough as a long week, with just ten players, finally caught up with the Barking boys.
Fawunmi’s powerful drive gave them a 1-0 lead but The ‘Ton hit back with two goals in as many minutes. There were chances at both ends but Erdington increased their lead early in the second half.
Barking & Dagenham refused to lie down, however, and set up a grandstand finish when Fawunmi finished well from eighteen yards. It wasn’t enough though as Erdington sealed the win with a breakaway fourth.
Despite the final day defeat, Barking & Dagenham could be proud of their efforts in what was a brilliant week. They received plaudits for their performances on the pitch and made memories that will last a lifetime.
Barking & Dagenham: Onajobi (Becontree), Gasperavicius (W Bellamy), Williams, Martin, Rich (Valence), Fawunmi (Hunters Hall), Stanton (Eastbury), Dean (Dorothy Barley), Millburn (Five Elms), Rice (Southwood)