Barking and Dagenham district girls fall short in final against Woking
- Credit: BDSFA
Despite a proud, defiant and passionate showing in the Southern Counties Cup final, Barking & Dagenham were narrowly edged out by national finalists Woking in an epic encounter at Oxford City.
Aysia Matabaro’s early goal gave the district side the ideal fillip, but second-half strikes from Madison Ayres and Ellie Turner ultimately clinched the silverware for the Surrey side.
From the opening whistle, Barking & Dagenham refused to be overawed by the hot favourites, dominating the physical battle as Woking’s irresistible force hit the immovable object of skipper Marcheri Sherrif and her defensive deputies Chi-Chi Musa-Onyeka and Tobe Edoka.
The backline was well supported by their midfield colleagues and it was one of the latter, debutante Zoe Freeman, who was at the heart of the first half’s decisive moment, crafting an opportunity for Roding’s Matabaro to sprint clear.
As she bore down on the target, a calm touch and slotted finish gave the leading scorer her 14th goal in just seven games – a record for a Barking & Dagenham year five player.
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Barking & Dagenham smelt blood and when Sherrif went close moments after the restart with a 40-yard free-kick, Woking looked rattled.
At half-time, Barking & Dagenham were in complete control, with Turner only once getting the better of her defensive shadow.
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That should have served as a warning, though, as Woking began the second half much sharper than their east London counterparts.
Barking & Dagenham conceded a needless corner just two minutes into the second period and Turner fizzed the subsequent set-piece into the six-yard box.
The ball was never dealt with as a static defence watched on and Ayres reacted first to power home.
So when, nine minutes from time, a tired ball was played behind the Barking & Dagenham defence, most players took the opportunity to rest as it drifted out of play.
Woking’s Lampard had other ideas,, though, chasing what seemed like a hopeless cause to keep the play alive, before centring to an unmarked Turner 12 yards out.
Attention now turns to next week’s London Girls’ League decider, against the same opponents.
Barking & Dagenham: Tobechukwu Edoka (George Carey), Zoe Freeman (Rush Green), Ganiyat Jimoh (Northbury), Gracie Jones (Grafton), Aysia Matabaro (Roding), Chi-Chi Musa-Onyeka (St Peter’s), Rehema Okungu (George Carey), Diamond Olalaye (Hunters Hall), Marcheri Sheriff (Grafton), Dalia Wyszczelska (Hunters Hall), Eva Young (Hunters Hall), Rihanna Zaman (Hunters Hall).