Upcoming MatchMargate vs Dartford/July 16, 2024/Hartsdown Park

DARTS’ LIFT THE LEAGUE CUP – WINNERS BY 5-1

DFC Women Cup winners

London & SE Regional League – League Cup Final, played at Gallagher Stadium on Sunday 21st April 2024
Team: Jade Charlton, Gabby Howell, Chana Hinds, Jo Woodgates, Meghan McKeag, Georgie Davis,
Lizzie Adams, Shauni Griffiths, Bethany Powell, Paris Smith, Emily Vaughan.
Subs: (all used) Emily Woodhouse, Xayla-Rae Alberts, Charlie Torry, Hannah Cleary, Molly Hawkins
Attendance: estimated at 175 (the poor attendance was attributed to FA Cup semi-final on live TV)
Scorers: Lizzie Adams, Emily Vaughan, Paris Smith, Emily Woodhouse, Shauni Griffiths.

Here, we produce another ‘new-style’ report from Tony Brown in conjunction with Connor Brennan’s Live Twitter-Feed:

DREAM START FOR DARTS

Within five minutes of this League Cup Final tie, Darts were ahead! – GGGGOOOAAALLL! – Darts take the lead. A long throw from Gabby Howell on the right was headed on by Emily Vaughan and the ball fell to Lizzie Adams to hammer home the opener 1-0.

There came an almost instant response from Saltdean where an ambitious effort on goal which went not too far over Jade’s crossbar.

On 11 minutes, there was a great shot from Shauni that was well on target but the keeper finger-tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.

Soon there was another chance for the Darts … From a short corner the cross created havoc in the congested Saltdean 6-yard box and after a couple of half-chances the ball fell nicely for Bethany Powell but her fine shot from just inside the penalty area was rising all the time and the Saltdean keeper was very happy to see it whizz over the bar. Darts on top in the early stages!

On 23 minutes, a free-kick awarded to Darts and Jo lined it up and produced a thunderbolt 30-yarder but it gradually bent away past the right-hand post.

On 28 minutes, the pressure mounted from Saltdean and Jade had to be at her best to swallow-up a fine shot that was goal-bound.

In a counter-attacking move, Shauni intercepts the ball within the Saltdean half, and shot from distance but was easily gathered by the Saltdean keeper. Darts pushing for the second.

“How Darts have not had a penalty is beyond me.” tweeted Connor, and I was even closer to the action and Paris was clearly brought down in the 18 yd box by goalie and defender but the referee waved away the penalty claims and seemed more concerned about the “injury” to their keeper. The chances are that the injury sustained was caused by the defender, not Paris.

Chance for Saltdean .. they got in down the left-hand side, and the effort on goal from the Saltdean skipper forces a smart stop from the Darts No 1.

30 minutes – equaliser when the ball bounced kindly and Saltdean player, Caitlin Sullivan, headed it over Jade and just in under the bar. This was a good effective spell from Saltdean. 1-1

Subs: Emily Woodhouse on for Meghan McKeag

42 minutes – GGGOOOAALL! Darts retake the lead. Great persistence from Paris to win the ball back, gets her pass through to Emily Vaughan who smashed the ball beyond the Saltdean keeper. 2-1

In the final minute. GGGOOOAAALL! – Darts get another just before half-time. Goalie came well out of the penalty area and was caught in no-man’s land and Paris looked up and saw the keeper-less goalmouth and neatly lobbed it over everyone for a finely-taken goal. 3-1

HT 3-1 – “Great first half for the Darts, Let’s have more of the same in second half!”

Early chance for the Darts … Shauni with an effort on goal, but wide of the Saltdean goal

Subs: Xayla-Rae Alberts on for Emily Vaughan

In the 60th minute there was a chance for Saltdean… they got in down the Darts’ right-hand side, but poor shot goes wide of the Dartford goal.
Another chance, this time for the Darts … Shauni with a great run through the Saltdean defence, but her accurate shot was well held by the Saltdean keeper.

63 minutes …. GGOOAALL! – Darts get their fourth goal of the afternoon. Great move from the Darts sees the ball fall to Emily Woodhouse, just inside the area who drills it home. 4-1 (ed: search out the video of this goal).

Subs: Charlie Torry on for Bethany Powell

On 73 minutes – a penalty awarded to Saltdean (for hand-ball I believe) – SAVED BY THE DARTS No 1! …. The Darts’ fans sing: “Englands No1!” The penalty was low to Jade’s right-hand side but she got down to make a magnificent save.

2023-2024 v Saltdean LC final Jade saves penalty at 4-1.jpg

Jade, diving low and to her right brilliantly saves the penalty
[Photo: Taur Everard]

Shortly after this, there was a lovely ball played inside by Shauni which found Xayla who saw her goal-bound effort brilliantly tipped over.

Subs: Hannah Cleary on for Gabby Howell; Molly Hawkins on for Paris Smith

“We’re into the last 10 minutes … still 4-1”

Subs: Gabby Howell and Meghan McKeag on for Lizzie Adams and Jo Woodgates

In the 85th minute – GGGOOOAAALL! “It’s the Famous Five!” – Shauni got on the end of a lovely through ball, and got in behind the Saltdean defence. Her shot was well-controlled and fired confidently past the goalie for 5-1.

Now there was no fight left in Saltdean and Darts had cruised to a great Cup win.

FT 5-1

“ LEAGUE CUP WINNERS!”

Summary:
Darts’ started very strongly and with a goal in five minutes looked to be going hard for the second. Gradually Saltdean worked their way back into the game and they had a couple of good 5-10 minute spells of spirited attacks and Jade had to be at her best and pulled off a couple of top-notch saves.
But Darts’ looked really sharp and gradually got on top again and crushed Saltdean’s hearts with two goals just before the break.

Darts never really looked back with Saltdean less effective in the second-half, although Darts’ were always concerned about them nicking back a goal.
The penalty save by Jade was really the end of Saltdean who rather capitulated with Darts’ fast onslaughts towards their goal. The Saltdean’s defence couldn’t hold the Darts’ attacks back any longer and two later goals were the icing on the cake.
A great team performance and key substitutions were behind this great Darts’ victory.

With this victory, Dartford FC Women became winners of the League Cup for the third time since London Corinthians teamed up with the Darts in 2018-19.

2018-19 – Dartford (LKFU) 4 AFC Phoenix 3 aet
2021-22 – Dartford Women 2 Hackney 1
2023-24 – Dartford Women 5 Saltdean Utd 1

2019-20 – Dartford Women also reached the final this season but the tie with QPR was never played due to Covid-19

Report by Tony Brown in conjunction with Live Twitter-feed from Connor Brennan.
Photos by Taur Everard