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Gardner: Barking draw felt like a win

PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 December 2017

Barking manager Justin Gardner (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Barking manager Justin Gardner (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Barking manager Justin Gardner insisted his side’s 3-3 draw at home to Brentwood ‘felt like a win’.

Kiernan Hughes-Mason scored an injury-time equaliser as the Blues came from 3-0 down to extend their unbeaten run in Bostik North to 11 matches.

And a relieved Gardner said: “I’m going to take away the positives, I’m not going to focus on why we went 3-0 down, I’m only positive and to me it feels like a win.

“At 3-0 down it was the most difficult position we’ve been in this season, I feel like I’ve won three points. I think I ended with four strikers and two wingers on the pitch.”

Brentwood took the lead after 17 minutes when Matt Price slotted home and doubled their lead when Mathew Hall’s cross bounced over Ollie Bowles.

Substitute Izzy Bademosi scored the visitors’ third with half an hour to play, but the Barking fight back started soon after when Hussain Jaffa headed in Abs Seymour’s free kick.

The deficit was cut to one when Brentwood keeper Anthony Page’s punch only went as far as Seymour who headed into the bottom corner.

And the equaliser came when Martin Tuohy’s shot was only parried as far as Hughes-Mason, who tapped home to earn salvage a point.

Gardner added: “I said to the boys out of the 11-game unbeaten run that is the biggest point just because I thought we had no way out of it.

“At 3-0 down in this league you don’t usually come back, but it shows our character. The attitude, fight and determination was different class.”

Barking were only promoted to the Bostik League last season and their rise to the higher reaches of the table has been surprising a lot of people.

Gardner puts their impressive run down to the spirit within his squad, adding: “Teams are thinking, little old Barking are up there, we’ve got to go up there and step it up.

“We’re overachieving but it’s all down to the team spirit and togetherness. Everyone’s buying into it; I’ve got three players who didn’t make the squad watching from the stands. That’s the spirit we’ve got here and right now I’m ecstatic.”

There was more good news for the Blues boss before the game as he was announced as the Bostik North manager of the month for November.

“I will enjoy it and the award too as it’s my first time winning it,” said Gardner.

“It’s really down to the players and the management team. They must take credit as it was a team effort from all of us.”

Barking are at home to Maldon & Tiptree on Saturday as they seek to continue their unbeaten run.

Gardner added: “I will sit down and obviously analyse the mistakes we made to be 3-0 down and there’s going to need to be a reaction off that as to whether or not there will be changes this Saturday.”

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