Barking & Dagenham girls get hands on first Southern Counties Cup for borough
PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 May 2019
Barking & Dagenham's district girls' footballers were all smiles after lifting the Southern Counties Cup for the first time in borough history.
Having lost the 2018 final in extra time, this year's under-11 squad produced a confident performance against Gloucester at Oxford City's Place Farm stadium to run out 3-0 winnners.
It took just two minutes for Barking & Dagenham to fashion their first opening, when Lily-Mae Elsey's through ball found Kaltrina Ibrahimi on the left.
The William Ford winger sprinted clear, only to see her snap-shot finish up in the side netting, but Ibrahimi made no mistake four minutes later.
Kayla Grain's throw-in was laid off by Elsey for Grain to whip a dangerous ball into the box from the right.
And Ibrahimi reacted quickest, smashing the ball home first time to set Barking & Dagenham on their way.
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In the 12th minute, Ibrahimi's inswinging corner was met by Miquellah Meade's volley from inside the box, but her initial effort was charged down, as was her second in a frantic scramble to clear.
A corner at the other end gave Gloucester their best chance as Amelie Birchley's hooked effort saw Mei Wang called into action - with the Henry Green stopper showing great handling to cling on to the ball inside a crowded six-yard box.
Grain's speculative lob and Ibrahimi's drive just before the interval went close, but Barking & Dagenham were back on track after the restart and Meade doubled the lead, blocking a clearance and charging into the box to slot into the bottom corner.
Violette Sharpe's strong running saw her ride three challenges before passing to Ibrahimi, whose effort from the edge of the box crashed off the side of the post.
But with seven minutes left on the clock, Ibrahimi had the final say as Grain's long ball over the top landed behind the Gloucester defence and she again showed great determination to get there first and poke past the onrushing keeper.
Grain's glancing header from Ibrahimi's corner found the woodwork for a second time but Barking & Dagenham had more than made up for their disappointment in 2018.
Barking & Dagenham: Mei Wang, Miquellah Meade, Ellie Mai Morgan (all Henry Green); Kirsten McNaughton, Elishah-Oliviae Mintah Adarkwah (both George Carey); Violette Sharpe (Gascoigne); Jessie English (Roding); Kayla Grain (Richard Alibon); Lily-Mae Elsey (Northbury); Kaltrina Ibrahimi (William Ford); Kezia Owusu-Abeiye (Valence); Ruby Abela (Dorothy Barley).