Gloucester 3-1 Barking & Dagenham
BARKING & DAGENHAM SLIPPED to just their second defeat of the season as hosts Gloucester ran out deserved winners at Longlevens. Leading scorer Violette Sharpe levelled things up after Freya Boucher’s twenty-sixth goal of the season put the home side ahead. However, heavy Gloucester pressure ultimately cost Barking & Dagenham as Boucher and Holly Myatt pounced again to make sure of the win.
An experimental Barking & Dagenham line-up began well, pushing Gloucester back into their own half and earning a brace of early corners. No-one managed to get on the end of Lily-Mae Elsey’s dangerous set-pieces though as the visitors failed to turn early possession into goals.
Kara Mason-Wisbey enjoyed a strong start at the back, shackling the dangerous Boucher well until the tricky Gloucester forward engineered her opening chance of the game after ten minutes, forcing Connie McChrystal into the first of several smart saves at her near post.
On seventeen minutes, Boucher made no mistake as a misplaced goal-kick left her one-on-one with Barking & Dagenham’s last line of defence. A quick side-step and finish later and Gloucester were one-nil up following a finessed, curled effort into the far corner.
Barking & Dagenham responded on the front foot as Arlinda Santo latched on to Tianna Dowuona-Hammond’s through ball for Barking & Dagenham’s first attempt on target.
And Mason-Wisbey, now employed in a more advanced role, went close with a well-struck free-kick from twenty-five yards, with Alissa Dhillon denied on the follow-up.
Mason-Wisbey caused further problems for the Gloucester defence just before the half-hour mark as she showed strength and skill to hold up the ball inside the box before centring for Sharpe to lob the keeper from close range.
The equaliser gave confidence to Barking & Dagenham who continued to press, looking to add to their tally and relieve the pressure caused by the home side’s lively attack.
With Barking & Dagenham shuffling the pack after the early start and lengthy journey westwards began to take its toll, Boucher’s influence continued to grow. Two goals in three minutes then proved decisive.
First of all, Boucher’s neat flick inside split the Barking & Dagenham backline for Bostock to fire home inside the box.
Then a long pass over the top saw two visiting defenders compete for the same ball, with neither successful, gifting the prolific Boucher a chance to extend the lead.
In the final stages of the game, a Barking & Dagenham revival briefly threatened to narrow the score-line.
However, Gloucester deserved their win with Boucher’s silky wing-play ultimately making the difference.
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); K Mason-Wisbey (William Bellamy)