Barkingside 0-1 Grays Athletic
By GAFC News
Blues reached the 3rd round of the league cup courtesy of a Joao Carlos goal on a night when both sides will wonder how the game only ended 1-0
Caretaker manager Andy Swallow was joined in the dugout by Glenn Little, in a cameo role as assistant manager, and David Raven as Blues negotiated a path to the 3rd round of the Robert Dyas League Cup in a tricky encounter against Barkingside at Cricklefields.
Winger Joao Carlos settled matters in the 14th minute. Freddie Ladapo's dummy run dragged three defenders inside allowing Arron Wickham to feed the ball into Carlos on the left corner of the penalty area. He had time to take a touch before slipping the ball across the keeper and into the far corner.
Blues were comfortable in the opening period and camped in the Barkingside half helped in part by the wind. Wasteful - and sometimes woeful - finishing and a failure to adapt to a side that was prepared to pack the defensive third meant the scoreline remained unchanged at the break.
The home side made use of the wind in the second period and despite the Blues playing the better football it was Barkingside that looked threatening when they had the ball and Sky Blues manager Matt Frew became an increasingly frustrated figure as his young side failed to test Blues 'keeper Lamar Johnson. As the half wore on the game opened up and both sides created openings but it was the Barkingside keeper that made the more significant contribution saving well from Bradley Tomlinson and Freddie Ladapo.
With just under 15 minutes to go Barkingside found another gear and started to put some good passing football together and put the Blues under sustained pressure. The home side won a succession of corners and free kicks in dangerous areas and were able to get the big guns into the final third and throw the ball into the mix...but Lamar Johnson was alert and quick off his line and repeatedly intercepted the ball and snuffed out the danger.
The light that burns twice as bright lasts half as long and the Barkingside resurgence simply ran out of energy. Blues then had good chances to kill the game off but Akwasi Marfo blazed over with the goal at his mercy and Bradley Tomlinson stung the hands of the Barkingside keeper before jinking through the defence and hitting row-z when Ladapo was in space to his left.
The referee brought the game to a close and Blues now go to Cheshunt in the 3rd round. That match is expected to be played in January 2015 but attention now turns to a tough derby against East Thurrock United on Saturday.