Barking & Dagenham 3 Croydon 1
BARKING & DAGENHAM under-11 s District team produced an outstanding second half performance to beat Croydon Primary Schools and book their place in the LSFA Crisp Shield semi-finals.
Barking & Dagenham 3 Croydon 1
BARKING & DAGENHAM under-11's District team produced an outstanding second half performance to beat Croydon Primary Schools and book their place in the LSFA Crisp Shield semi-finals.
Despite the heavy pitch, both sides tried to get the ball down and play in the early stages, but it was the hosts who had the first effort when Max Watters' ball to Jack Kemsley was cut out by Croydon's Ryan Green. Watters almost fashioned a chance for himself moments later but he was closed down before he could get his shot off.
With the lively Fraser Garratt up front, Croydon started to look dangerous and the forward nearly played in his strike partner, Josh Anderson but Daniel John was alert to the danger.
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The Barking & Dagenham rearguard was being put under pressure but the centre half pairing of Jack Richardson and Scott Mitchell were equal to everything. The home side continued to look dangerous going forward and they almost took the lead, but Richardson saw his snap-shot strike the post and bounce away to safety. Moments later, a dangerous Watters corner found MJ Folkes but his effort flew over.
With the game becoming scrappy, it took a moment of class to break the deadlock.
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Sorba Thomas, who had been well marshalled by Rejoyden Booysen, dropped deep to get the ball and mesmerised the opposition with a surging run and shot which gave Croydon keeper Jack Webb-Olley no chance.
The St Margaret's marksman's goal seemed to spur Croydon on however and, with the midfield pairing of Sam Woods and Reis De Meza beginning to have an influence on the game, they looked the more likely to equalise.
The home side were given a warning of the threat when Pepe Alexandre saw his header from an in-swinging corner bundled away by the Barking & Dagenham defence. However, it didn't take long for parity to be restored.
Garratt found space on the right and his pinpoint through ball released Anderson, who finished with aplomb to leave the score 1-1 at the break.
Barking & Dagenham came out for the second half with a spring in their step and they were quickly back on top.
Jesse Amoh and Nathan Casey were combined well on the left and Kemsley almost scored his first District goal, but his shot lacked enough power to beat Webb-Olley.
The home side went close when Watters powered into the box, but his shot was superbly parried by Webb-Olley.
Morris then swung an inviting ball into the Croydon area but even though Thomas connected well, Webb-Olley was equal to it and kept his side in the tie.
It was all one-way traffic, but Barking & Dagenham were unable to beat the impressive keeper.
Croydon were pinned back in their own half and resorting to hopeful balls forward, with Alfie Reynolds quickly out of his goal when they finally broke out of their own half.
With seven minutes left and extra-time beckoning, an inspired substitution finally saw Barking & Dagenham's pressure pay.
Folkes was introduced in an unfamiliar striking position and the St Margaret's man surged through the Croydon defence, leaving them in his wake, before firing home to send the home side into a well-deserved lead.
Croydon knew they had to push forward but Richardson and Mitchell were immense and repelled all that was thrown at them.
However, with time almost up, Folkes made sure of the victory with a carbon-copy third goal.
Casey and Amoh released Folkes and he powered through and coolly slotted home to secure his side's place in the semi-finals.