Woking Development 0-5 Barking & Dagenham
VIOLETTE SHARPE’S SECOND HALF hat-trick rubber-stamped progression to the second round of the Southern Counties Cup for holders Barking & Dagenham, with all three of her goals falling inside a devastating eleven-minute spell. Sandwiched between further strikes from Gracie Jones and Lily Mae Elsey, the Gascoigne striker took her tally to five from her last two games to set up a home quarter-final tie with Basingstoke in November.
Barking & Dagenham laboured for much of the first half, struggling to find rhythm and range to their passing. It was their first full away game of the season, and much of the journey around the M25 to Surrey appeared to still be in their legs.
There were still opportunities to take the lead, however. In the fourth minute, Elsey slid a pass into Rihanna Zaman, only for the Hunters Hall forward to pick out the grateful arms of the home keeper.
Three minutes later, Yasmine Moore burst into the box from midfield and squared to Zaman, free in the box once again. An intelligent ball switched play left to Alissa Dhillon, only for her well-struck shot to whistle just wide of the far post.
Midway through the first half, the breakthrough came. Hitting the hosts on the break, Dhillon burst with the ball from her own box before hitting a slide-rule pass behind the Woking backline for Jones to chase. Sprinting clear down the right, Jones bore down on the target before drilling a pinpoint strike into the opposite corner for her second goal in as many games.
Only a half-chance for Elsey, slicing wide from Jones’ cross, threatened the home side’s goal between then and the break as Woking took confidence from their solid defensive display to break forward and keep Connie McChrystal on her toes in the visitors’ goal.
In response to the growing threat, the half-time redeployment of Sharpe from defence into a striking position changed the game.
Two minutes after the restart, she forged her first chance, intercepting a loose goal-kick only to spurn the opportunity, firing straight at the home keeper.
Two minutes later though, the lead was doubled. Henry Green’s Arlinda Santo won possession deep inside her own half, before spreading play forward to Sharpe. Holding off a series of challenges, her power and strength saw her burst clear to bury a fierce strike into the top corner for 2-0.
If that goal was about brute force, Sharpe’s second demonstrated a much lighter touch as she exchanged a series of one-twos with Tiana Dowuona-Hammond at pace until the pair found themselves entering the Woking area. When clear of the final challenge, a fine finish made it 3-0 and victory was assured.
Not content with two though, another assist from Dowuona-Hammond tee-ed up Sharpe for her hat-trick before Elsey completed the scoring with an exquisite curling effort from the edge of the box.
Dominant now and slipping through the gears with ease, Dhillon and Sharpe tore through once again before playing in Eva Young who narrowly fired wide. And Moore could also have added to the tally as her late effort went close for Barking & Dagenham.
It’s thirteen goals now in their last two games for the district side who continue to develop with every game. Barking & Dagenham have made the final of this competition for each of the last two years. On their second-half form, they have every chance of doing so again.
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)