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Post by TonyDart »


Match report 2022-23 – South East Counties Women’s League Cup Final on Friday 26th May 2023 played at Maidstone Utd ground. Final score: Dartford Dev 0 Tunbridge Wells Foresters 1
Dartford Manager: Rhys Terry; Coach: Dan Edwards
Team: Stevie-Marie Reece, Kirsty Cameron, Tilly Rowsell, Chloe Hall, Annie White, Alex Fagan,
Emily Woodhouse, Sabine Ghag, Georgia Culpitt, Aimee Ascott, Lizzie Nugent
Subs: Amy Brooks, Teodora Dimova, Beatrice Ogundele, Brittani Rumble, Robyn Smitherman (all used).

Alex Foulds was unlucky to miss this cup final after fracturing her collar bone the previous week in the match that secured them the SECWFL Championship title.

Of the two sides, Tunbridge Wells Foresters settled into the match far quicker than the Darts. They came flying out of the starting gate and showed their intentions of taking this tie to Dartford with two good attacking moves inside the first three minutes.

Their speed and eagerness to get to the ball first being evident right from the kick-off. There were worrying moments as first Annie White had to get a desperate toe on the ball to rob the attacker and then Tilly made a crucial interception with a fast attacker bearing down on goal. Darts were certainly living dangerously.

Darts’ best efforts in the opening period were the long throw-ins by Emily Woodhouse. On several occasions Darts made progress down the right wing, winning three consecutive throw-ins, gaining ground far enough for Emily to launch her aerial bombardment into the penalty area
One such move was from Tilly’s good work on six minutes. She gained ground by forcing the Foresters’ to give up territory down the flank but winning the throw-ins. Eventually Emily’s long throw found Lizzie who turned her defender and reached the bi-line but her ball into the six-yard-box was blocked and kicked away from danger.

However, in numbers 5 and 19, Foresters had a formidable tall central defence and it was only on the rare occasions that Darts got the ball either past or over them.

On eight minutes, a free-kick from Annie White was aimed for Aimee Ascott but the keen Foresters’ defenders intercepted and a long effective ball played up to their front-line players was only just intercepted by a good sliding tackle from Kirsty Cameron which relieved the situation.
The first corner of the match was Foresters’ and was scrambled away at the expense of another. The following one was delivered much higher and deeper, eventually going beyond the far post and out for a throw-in.

Then came a great through ball from Chloe that found Lizzie Nugent, the defender this time fluffing her clearance and gave away a throw-in a couple of metres from the corner flag.

Another good strong throw from Emily found Lizzie inside the area but try as she may, the ball just wouldn’t come down nicely for her, although still managing to rifle in a good shot on the turn.

Back in Dartford’s half, Kirsty Cameron was called upon to make another timely interception to break up a Forester’s attack.
On fifteen minutes, from another useful throw from Emily, this time found Aimee but once again the ball rather sat up to high for her and eventually was deflected neatly into the goalie’s arms.

Georgia on the half-way line played a nice pass forward to Lizzie, who brought Emily into play with a good pass but the Forester’s once again scrambled the ball away for another Darts’ throw-in. Now at last a good period of pressure from Dartford but aside from some stray passing, it was becoming noticeable that the ball wasn’t running kindly at all for the Darts’ forwards. One time in particular, on 27 minutes, more Dartford throw-ins resulted in Georgia picking up the ball and laying off a good through-ball to Lizzie, who, with her back to the goal laid it off for Beatrice but her shot went across the goal and luckily for Foresters, took a heavy deflection over the bar for another Dartford corner.

On 24 minutes Sabine unluckily suffered an injury and was replaced by Beatrice.
As the half went on, bright rays of hope were at last coming into Darts’ play and were beginning to get an equal amount of possession, but it was around the 40th minute that Foresters’ scored their goal with an extremely fortunate rebound right into the path of the following-up striker in front of goal and headed it through. Stevie had literally clawed the ball out from under the bar – a great save – but the ball fell cruelly for the Darts, straight to the waiting striker.

Often in finals, it is the case of needing the ‘run of the ball’ to gain the upper hand, and without fear of sounding biased, the ball hardly ran kindly for Darts throughout the first half, especially in and around the Foresters’ penalty area.
So, Darts’ found themselves going in at half-time 1-0 down, and against a very good Foresters team which was producing many excellent individual performances on the night.

One thing noticeable was that more often than not, the Foresters’ attackers were able to run onto long balls, thus facing the goal, whereas the Darts tried to play it to the feet of their forwards and when around the edge of the penalty area, more often than not, received the ball facing away from the goal.

HT 0-1

In the second half Darts began to play with much more conviction and Beatrice was more often than not found on the right wing. She began to link up well with Georgia and Emily and at last Darts’ began to build the pressure which gradually pushed the Foresters’ team back.
Although Foresters’ still had some fast breakaways at least the Darts were beginning to find their ‘men’ and there were a lot less stray passes.
Chloe Hall who had played a crucial roll in dealing with the breakaways received a nasty injury in the final period of the game and left the field in a lot of pain.

Darts’ pressed and pressed in the last quarter but although coming close to scoring on a few occasions, especially in the final mad five minutes, that goal eluded them.

With only a handful of minutes of play left Darts earned a flurry of corners on the right as Beatrice, in particular, put Foresters’ left back under extreme pressure and from one of the corners the ball flew just inches too high, just skimming the bar. The saving defender had stretched for the ball and had no idea of where the ball had ended up – on the roof of the net.

But with the seconds ticking away it was appearing doubtful that Darts’ luck would just run that bit kinder for them and finally the final whistle was blown which was a heartbreak for all the Darts’ players who had given their all.

Although not in any way detracting from Foresters’ fine play, the ball barely ran kindly where it mattered for the Darts, in and around the goal, and on a different day I’m pretty sure the Darts would have lifted the cup and with it the 'Double'

Report by Tony Brown
Video by Tony Brown

DFCWD 2022-2023 (v4) before Lhe Cup final, closer.jpg