Barking & Dagenham 8-0 Tower Hamlets
BRILLIANT BARKING & DAGENHAM’S first full fixture of the season saw them run out as comfortable winners over visitors Tower Hamlets, with six different players finding the net in an 8-0 victory. Maiden district goals for Tiana Dowuona-Hammond, Alissa Dhillon (2), Gracie Jones and Eva Young accompanied the opening strike from skipper Lily-Mae Elsey and Violette Sharpe’s well-taken brace.
The hosts began on the front foot, taking the lead inside the fourth minute as a sliced clearance inside the Tower Hamlets box fell to returning veteran Elsey. She side-footed home from close range to convert for her sixth district goal, signalling her side’s intent in the process.
Three minutes later, the lead was doubled. Sharpe twice had opportunities to get on the scoresheet but both efforts were well-saved. The loose ball eventually fell to Jones on the follow-up though – who poked the ball over the line to make it two.
Sharpe made no mistake moments later, opening her account for the season to extend an emphatic lead inside ten minutes.
Meanwhile, Rihanna Zaman was unlucky not to make it four from a series of efforts that deserved something more as a reward for her intelligent positional play.
Instead, it was Dhillon who burst away from the left flank and cut inside the penalty area to drill a low shot into the back of the net. And when Dowuona-Hammond dribbled her way unchallenged into the six-yard box to prod home a fifth, the game looked to be all but over by half-time.
Barking & Dagenham took their foot off the gas however, letting the quality of their passing drop and wasting several attempts to press home the advantage.
In fact, there were almost twenty minutes between the fifth and sixth where the home side huffed and puffed against a resilient and determined opponent, resolute and defiant in defence. If anything, Tower Hamlets will feel a little unlucky not to have earned a consolation goal for their endeavour and industry.
With ten minutes to go, the reintroduction of Sharpe to the front-line sparked a revival in the home side’s attacking play – and it was the Gascoigne striker who squared for Young to squeeze a shot under the keeper from eight yards for 6-0.
Smart thinking by Jones on the right wing then saw her catch out the Tower Hamlets defence with a quick throw to pick out Elsey. The captain ran with purpose to the by-line before flashing a perfectly weighted cross past the face of the goal, which was met by the onrushing Dhillon, cutting in from the opposite flank.
Barking & Dagenham saved the best until last however as Sharpe finished off the scoring with the strike of the day. Keeper Connie McChrystal was quick to claim a loose ball inside her own box before pumping a long ball up to the unmarked forward. Sharpe then made her way at pace into the Tower Hamlets box before thumping a blast into the top corner to complete a comprehensive win for her side.
Barking & Dagenham: C McChrystal (Grafton); A Santo (Henry Green); R Abela (Dorothy Barley); A Dhillon (Valence); L Elsey (Northbury); Y Moore (Henry Green); T Duouwana-Hammond (George Carey); V Sharpe (Gascoigne); G Jones (Grafton); R Zaman (Hunters Hall); E Young (Hunters Hall)