GALLERY: Defiant Barnett the inspiration as Doddington run riot in second half against West Wratting
- Credit: Archant
A returning player proved the inspiration as Doddington United scored seven goals in one spectacular half of football.
Last season’s captain Lee Barnett found out he had testicular cancer in pre-season. He had an operation and returned to training, only for tests to reveal he now had lung cancer.
But the 22 year-old forklift truck driver took the setback in his stride. In December, after undergoing chemotherapy, he was given the all clear.
Doctors told him he wouldn’t play this season, but he has defied their predictions. After a couple of run-outs for the reserves, he returned to the first team squad for Saturday’s game with West Wratting.
Barnett said: “They told me I probably wouldn’t play this season but as soon as I got the all clear I started going to the gym every day. I wanted to get back as soon as possible.
“The club has been brilliant. People are constantly checking on me and the chairman’s organised some Man Utd tickets. I’ve had loads of support.”
After a frustrating goalless first half, manager Ashley Taylor summoned Barnett from the bench, and he was the catalyst as Doddington ran riot after the break.
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Four goals from Craig Gillies, James Harness’ double and Gary Smith’s effort saw Doddington claim a 7-1 win, which keeps them right in the Kershaw Senior B title picture.
Taylor said: “The credit Lee deserves is unreal. I’ve never heard him moan, he’s just got on with it.
“I can’t think of any man who would have been able to come back so soon. He’s an inspiration to us all and it’s so good to have him back. He’s such an important player for us.”
Doddington are fourth in the league, ten points behind leaders Outwell Swifts but with five games in hand. They also have Barrington and Orwell, who have also played more games, firmly in their sights.
When Doddington are on top of their game, no team in the division can live with them, Taylor says.
He said: “On our day no one in the league can compete with us. We won 4-1 at Outwell but were awful against Orwell and lost. We need to be more consistent.
“Outwell are in the driving seat. I know they have played a lot more games than us but it’s good to have the points on the board.
“They are favourites, especially after their win over Barrington (Outwell won 4-1 on Saturday).”
Up next for Doddington is a home game with Wimblington on Saturday.