London Bari ground Airportmen
PUBLISHED: 08:35 20 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:13 20 March 2016
Essex Senior League: London Bari 3 Stansted 2
London Bari held off a late surge from Stansted to win an entertaining Essex Senior League game at the Old Spotted Dog.
Both teams were struggling for form before the game and were looking to galvanize a season which sees them sitting comfortably in mid-table.
And Stansted missed a hat-trick of chances in the last 10 minutes which would have seen them claim a well-deserved point away from home.
The visitors started the stronger and created a number of early chances, with the best falling to left-back Chris Moore when a deep cross found him at the far post, but he headed over.
Stansted eventually took the lead in the 30th minute after a dazzling Lionel Messi-esque dribble from Sam Ashford saw him receive the ball on the edge of the box with his back to goal, surrounded by Bari defenders. Ashford turned and penetrated the box, beating several defenders and firing a low shot that forced a save from the Bari keeper, who could only palm it in the path of Jack Isherwood who put away the rebound.
The lead did not last long, though, as Bari levelled from the first attack after the restart.
Stansted did not clear their lines and striker Toheeb Oloyede was first to collect the ball and effortlessly curled it into the bottom left hand corner from outside the area.
Bari’s influence in the game grew and a slick team move carved open Stanstead in the 40th minute to give the hosts the lead.
Simpson Mpalampa drove forward from centre midfield and found Darryl Morson, who knocked the ball off first time to Oloyede. And he produced a carbon-copy of his first goal, bending the ball once again into the bottom left hand corner.
The lead was doubled in the second half, when Stansted’s right-back Ross Gill was guilty of ball watching and did not track Castillo Herrera’s run in behind from the left wing.
Herrera, with time, took one touch then let loose a rocket of a shot which he drilled into the far left hand corner, leaving Stansted’s keeper Reece Paine motionless.
Despite the two-goal deficit Stansted never seemed out of this game and with 12 minutes to go they were back in it when a long ball over the top forced Bari’s keeper Wilkinson Boateng out of his goal and he was lobbed.
Bari’s Samy Abdellaziz did superbly to get something on the goalbound ball, but lacked the composure to prevent the goal as he ended up putting it into his own net.
Stansted player-manager Mark Ashford brought himself on in the 75th minute and had two opportunities of his own to become the hero.
The first was a header from a corner that forced a clearance off the line, although it seemed as if Boateng had been fouled but the referee saw no infringement.
The second was a difficult half volley on the penalty spot from a cross while crowded by other bodies. A spectator hinted that a younger Ashford in his prime might have found the net with such a chance.
Then in the dying moments of stoppage time another cross found Matt Ashford and his volley from two yards was sent over the bar when he really should have scored.
Now winless in five games, Stansted will rue their missed chances after forcing themselves back into the game, although they can take hope from the character shown.
Bari will hope their own problems are over and, with a number of games in hand over teams around them, they can climb the table.
They are back in action at the Old Spotted Dog on Wednesday when they welcome bottom club Newham.
Bari: Boateng, Abdellaziz, Wilcox, Richardson, Mpalampa, Olukayode, Dicker, Herrera (Adenwi 80), Morson (Nunes 61), Oloyede (Pedro 85), Sanda. Unused subs: Nishizaka, Camara.
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