A Groundhopping First…. Barking FC v Witham Town


Welcome back to another groundhopping blog, we are well and truly getting back into it now!

Finding a game for this week proved the trickiest it has been for a long time, due to the prolonged petrol issues in the South East and the damning weather forecast for Saturday, we needed a game that was both on a 3G pitch and easily accessible by train.

So of course our search centred around our country’s great capital, and we eventually decided that Barking FC v Witham Town would be our best bet.

I left Guildford just before midday, and made my way up to London for what promised to be a top day out. Getting up to London and dodging around the underground really made me happy, as it really felt life was finally back to normal with busy stations and rushing commuters, it felt good!

After a quick stop off at Stratford to meet the lads, we made our way to Barking (or Upney station to be precise). We left the station and made the 20 minute walk to the ground, via a cash point of course.

Unfortunately the forecast was completely correct and we got very wet on the way to the ground, and as soon as we had got in and paid our admission, we found shelter.

Barking FC upon arrival!

With all of this, it was easy to forget that you were actually here for a game of football. Both sides sat towards the top end of the Isthmian North Division, so we were in for an entertaining game of football.

We’ve been to two games this season, and both have yielded pretty disappointing games, but this one started at a rapid pace.

Barking made an extremely impressive start to the game, winning the ball back quickly and then hurtling forward in numbers. It did not take long before we saw the breakthrough, and it was inevitably the home side who made it in just the sixth minute.

After a free kick from 30 yards or so stung the gloves of the Witham keeper, the ball fell to Olumide Oluwatimelehin who cooly finished with a volley inside the box. He made it look easy, but I can imagine it was much harder than it looked!

Our view of the exhilarating first half!

Just ten minutes later Barking had doubled their lead, with Charlie MacDonald expertly finishing off another swift move forward from the Blues.

The second goal really rocked Witham, in the immediate aftermath of this goal they could hardly string two passes together, and it looked as if Barking would win at a canter.

However, the away side soon got themselves into gear, and found a lifeline just nine minutes after they were staring into the abyss. A good corner that gave them the goal, it was Kahlil Kirwan-Meade who finished it off, we now really had a game on our hands.

For the remainder of the first half, the game did not lose any rhythm, and it was really easy on the eye. It certainly didn’t feel like three quarters of an hour passed when the referee blew for half time, just what you want on a Saturday afternoon!

The game soon got even more exciting at the beginning of the second period as Witham were awarded a penalty for a handball. It was one of those where both sides would feel hard done by if the decision went against them, but the referee ruled in favour of the home side nonetheless.

The penalty was cooly slotted away and the game was finely poised for the final 40 minutes of the game.

What we saw of the finely poised game!

Sadly though, the game was brought to an abrupt end just after the hour mark after Barking’s second goalscorer Charlie MacDonald went down with what appeared to be a head injury following a corner.

It was soon apparent that the injury was a serious one, and the decision to abandon the game was made within about five minutes of MacDonald receiving treatment, so that told us supporters everything we needed to know.

Thankfully, it seems as if the injury is not as serious as first thought, but the decision to call the game was probably the correct one, given the scenes when he was being treated.

Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as first feared. Huge props to the Physio too who rushed on quickly to help!

It would’ve been nice to see the conclusion to a game that was gripping from start until it’s premature end, but football doesn’t always come first so it was difficult to be too upset about it when leaving the ground.

What was upsetting however was the fact that we had a 20 minute walk to Upney station in what had turned from heavy rain into torrential rain, and literally every inch of my body was soaked, not ideal when you’ve got a two hour trip home to come!

Thankfully a warm Nando’s in Stratford saved the day from complete disaster, and I eventually made it home to get myself warm and dry…

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading this weeks groundhopping blog! Hopefully next week I’ll have a full game to share with you, but it’s all part of the fun.

Until next time!

  • GROUND: Mayesbrook Park
  • GAME: Barking FC 2-2Witham Town (before abandonment)
  • COMPETITION: Isthmian North Division
  • WOULD I GO BACK: When it’s sunny!
  • DAYS SINCE LAST 0-0: 953

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