Barking & Dagenham girls district bag Cup final spot with win in Gloucester
- Credit: BDSFA
Barking & Dagenham's girls' district team returned to Gloucester, scene of their only defeat to date, and produced a fine performance to book their third Southern Counties Cup final appearance in four years.
Chi-Chi Musa-Onyeka’s second-half strike was all that separated two incredible sides in another nervy encounter that was balanced on a knife edge from start to finish.
Aysia Matabaro’s high press won the ball off the Gloucester back-line on the edge of the penalty area and she laid the ball off to Gracie Jones, who spotted the run of Musa-Onyeka, to chip a delicate pass into her path.
Although the resulting cross narrowly evaded Rihanna Zaman at the back post, Barking & Dagenham’s intent was clear – they meant business.
The hosts wanted to win and Barking & Dagenham were served a timely reminder of their attacking talents a moment later when Dalia Wyszczelska dived at full stretch to deny Holly Myatt.
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A minute later, Jones registered Barking & Dagenham’s first attempt on target with a long-range effort from 20 yards that required more power and pace to trouble Amelie White in the Gloucester goal.
Marcheri Sherrif then tried her luck with a free kick from near the halfway line that caused chaos before, at the other end, Wyszczelska was forced to show great reactions to parry an attempt away.
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The game’s decisive moment came with 20minutes left as Musa-Onyeka connected on the volley in the six-yard box, with the ball looping up off the junction between foot and shin to squirm over the line.
It was nearly 2-0 six minutes later when Okungu was almost rewarded for a fine individual display, showing great technique and composure to wriggle free, only for her goalbound effort to be plucked from the air by White.
As the game edged towards its tense conclusion, Gloucester threw everything they had forward to gain an equaliser but the visitors held on to secure a memorable victory.
They will now head to Oxford City on June 12 where they will face Woking or St Albans in the final.
Barking & Dagenham: Tobechukwu Edoka (George Carey), 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).