Sunday 6th November 2022 – SE Counties League Cup - Dartford 5 Foots Cray Lionesses 0
Weather: Driving rain for all of the first half easing off during second half
Dartford Manager: Rhys Terry, asst coach George Kingdon
Dartford team: Lauren Owen, Tilly Rowsell, Kirsty Cameron, Lauren Bullen, Robyn Smitherman, Georgia Culpitt,
Annie White, Alex Foulds, Emily Woodhouse, Lizzie Nugent, Aimee Ascott
Subs: Tazmin Shaw, Brittani Rumble, Chloe Hall, Sabine Ghag, Beatrice Ogundele.
On a rainswept Princes Park on Sunday, Foots Cray Lionesses came closest in the opening exchanges when they hit the foot of the post in the 6th minute to give Dartford a wake-up call.
The Lionesses were showing how well organised they were, especially in defence and this was true when a well-flighted corner from Emily Woodhouse was met by Lauren Bullen but the defence managed to ‘dig-it-out’ cleared, and survived Darts’ first call on their goal.
In the opening ten-minute spell, the Lionesses looked very well drilled and didn’t let Dartford settle on the ball.
However, this all changed in the 12th minute when Alex Foulds put the Darts 1-0 up. A mistake from a Foots Cray defender inadvertently played it into the path of Lizzie Nugent who forced the ball through to Alex inside the area, and she took one step and shot accurately past the goalkeeper.
Then on 15 minutes Emily Woodhouse picked up the ball on the half-way line and played a delightful cross-field pass into the path of Aimee Ascott, who found herself with just the goalie to beat, and made no mistake to make it 2-0.
On 21 minutes, Aimee got the rich rewards of an “Assist” when a close-in forceful clearance struck her viciously on the side of her head and the ball rebounded into the path of Lizzie who calmly beat the goalie to make it 3-0 to the Darts. Aimee admitted she didn’t know much about it but gladly claimed the “assist!”
So, what a difference ten minutes made. The Lionesses went from a competent looking outfit, controlling the Darts’ attack comfortably over the opening ten, to a well and truly defeated team who just couldn’t hold the lively Dartford attack. Darts didn’t allow Cray any respite in that second ten-minute spell and the three goals really killed them off.
On 25 minutes, Emily won a strong tackle just outside the penalty area, the ball span loosely and fell nicely for Alex who, as cool as you like, took a couple of steps and fired the ball beyond the goalie to put the Darts four up.
Foots Cray now look very vulnerable at the back with every loose ball won by Darts’ players and even when the floodlights came on due to the worsening weather, it didn’t really do anything to lighten-up the Lionesses’ day.
On 28 minutes it looked likely that the score-line would get worse for them – Emily, who looked to be shaping up for a long-range shot, but instead played a lovely through-ball to Lizzie but her shot was this time saved by the goalie’s outstretched legs.
Robyn tried her hand at a long-range effort from 30 yards but although it was on target there was not quite enough pace on it and the goalie snapped it up as she got her whole body behind the save.
The plucky Lionesses kept fighting for the ball but a 37th minute defensive mix-up between goalie and defender left Lizzie with the easiest of tasks to slot home Darts fifth.
On the stroke of half-time, Cray mounted a rare attack and Lauren Owen brought off a flying full-length save to her left from a fine strike, which kept the score at 5-0. The Dartford defence had done their jobs well too, with Annie White, ever the reliable and with excellent passing out of defence to get the midfield moving. Kirsty too with Tilley, Lauren, Robyn, Georgia and Emily all played their part in controlling the middle of the park.
Lauren in goal, her confidence sky-high from her save just before half-time, had to pull off two more dramatic flying saves throughout the second half and that deprived Foots Cray of a consolation goal. Both attempts looked goal-bound until Lauren’s fine intervention.
During the second-half all the subs were used, including that of Tazmin Shaw who made her debut, straight out of the U16s Youth Development side. A good solid performance from her too.
Beatrice came on for the second half and her strong running and hunger for a goal gave the Foots Cray defence a torrid time, but unfortunately that goal for her didn’t come.
Dartford still produced a few goal-scoring chances, Annie just putting a header from a corner over the bar, Beatrice caused mayhem in the defence on more than one occasion.
In the 84th minute, Beatrice forced her way into the penalty area and shot for goal – the goalkeeper making an outstanding save to her right, but the loose ball was still in play and Lizzie Nugent pounced but her shot just missed the target and hit the side netting by the near-post.
With the wholesale changes early in the second-half, Darts’ game became a little disjointed for a while but a very convincing win takes them into the next round of the League Cup. A good show by all concerned.
Report by Tony Brown.
Photos by Joshua Bowles Media©
Tazmin Shaw made her debut for the DFC Women's Development:
Foots Cray Lionesses (Home, League Cup) 5-0 - Match report
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