Upcoming MatchSevenoaks Town vs Dartford/July 13, 2024/Greatness Park

DARTS BEAT HAMLET TO REACH THE FINAL. 1-0 at Champion Hill

Dulwich v Dartford Women

Match Report – Dulwich Hamlet 0 Dartford 1 aet
London & SE Regional League Cup – Semi-final played on Sunday 3rd March 2024 at Champion Hill, Dulwich

Dartford Team: Jade Charlton, Gabby Howell, Chana Hinds, Georgie Davis, Meghan McKeag, Bethany Powell,
Lizzie Adams (capt), Jo Woodgates, Emily Woodhouse, Shauni Griffiths, Emily Vaughan

Subs (used): Alicia Adams, Xayla-Rae Alberts, Hannah Cleary

Scorer: Shauni Griffiths

Attendance: 581

DARTS OVER THE MOON WITH SHAUNI’S OVERHEAD KICK GOAL

Fantastic goal separates two fine teams – Darts battle their way into the Final

Darts lined up their second Cup Final of the season after a great battling performance was capped by Shauni who produced a wonder-goal in the 8th minute of extra time.

And Sunday’s performance was a great one with togetherness, fighting hard for every ball and covering every blade of grass, and often surrounding Hamlet’s midfielders in twos, thus stifling them of the opportunity of getting their usually good wingers into play.

Add to that, two fantastic saves by Jade and a great back four display this was a battle won, and a hard-earned and well-deserved victory.

Although Hamlet’s wingers, for the most part were rarely in the game, they were still a danger, but as Dart
Proved, you don’t have to rain shots on goal to win. Just one can be decisive.

From Jade forward, everyone played their part in this momentous win and the substitutions were very carefully thought through and impacted well on the game.

Great credit must be given to the Dartford management; Connor and Macca, who set the team up with a plan and the players stuck to it and brought off a tremendous win and revenge for the defeat in January.

Did Hamlet under-estimate the Darts? – they probably did; well certainly their fans were cock-a-hoop before the game and expected to reach the final with ease.

On a fine and dry March day, another bumper 500 + gate was surely a great atmosphere to play in and with a good helping of Darts’ fans making their presence known, albeit within a very friendly but noisy Champion Hill crowd, the Darts stuck to their task admirably.

It was such a great team performance it would be very difficult – perhaps even unfair – to pull a name out of the hat for ‘Player of the Match’. This was very much a “All for one and one for all” performance.

Jade pulled off fantastic saves to keep a clean sheet; the back-four of Gabby, Chana, Georgie and Meghan kept a pretty good tight ship and Hamlet’s wingers never got much of a look in; the midfield five of Lizzie, Bethany, Jo, Shauni and Emily Woodhouse performed all they had to, preventing Hamlet’s midfielders from spreading the ball out to their wingers, like they had probably planned to do.

The key of all this, was the link-up play that was necessary to give support to Emily Vaughan, and in this area it was mainly Lizzie, Shauni and Emily Woodhouse, plus the rest of the team’s ability to get good passes up the field, especially the flanks, when the opportunity arose.

A big shout-out too, for substitutes, Alicia, Xayla-Rae and Hannah who gave their all and each of them had fine performances and the balance of the team was never affected when the changes were made.

Darts were all set to give the best they could against a very in-form Hamlet side who had knocked high-flying Fulham out in the quarter-finals of the competition.

The Play:

After five minutes Dulwich sent in an excellent ball from a free kick out on the right and it was heading straight in but for a tip-over save from Jade. From the resultant near-post corner Jade had to fist the ball away to safety.

On 16 minutes – A foul on Emily Vaughan. set up a free kick which Jo Woodgates thundered towards goal but was blocked by the wall of defenders, and from the rebound the ball was hoisted back into the penalty box but Georgie was adjudged to be offside, but it was an awfully tight decision.

On 21 minutes – Jade came forward to take a free-kick and Emily Vaughan suffered a shove in the back but went unpunished and from the loose ball Emily Woodhouse attempted to get a cross into the box but was beaten away by defenders for a throw. Darts then applied some pressure and had three successive throw-ins on the right from Gabby but each one was suffocated by a massed defence and no advantage gained.

25 minutes – A corner to Darts, an in-swinger from Meghan, was beaten away for another throw-in but Darts were unable to capitalise on it.

A good ball from midfield by Emily Woodhouse for Emily Vaughan, was just out of reach for Em. But, although being cut out by a defender, she then played a near-suicide pass back to her keeper with Emily Vaughan breathing down her neck.

Darts couldn’t quite get a penetrating ball over or through the defence, either being cut out or running all the way through to the keeper, but this was also true for Hamlet’s play

On 44 minutes, Shauni made a clearance pass up to Emily Vaughan but as she tried to play the ball, she was tripped from behind resulting in a Darts free-kick. Nothing immediately came of it but a handball decision against Hamlet gained Darts another free-kick. Jo took it from about 35-yards. She hit it well, but the ball skimmed only inches past the right-hand post with the goalkeeper motionless .This was a real let-off for Hamlet.

One of Georgie’s big clearances received a great cheer from the crowd as it landed straight into the open dustbin by the stand.

Right on the stroke of half-time Jade had to be at her best to tip over a fantastic 35-yard effort, and no doubt was even the more excellent as she had the sun in her eyes.

HT 0-0

On six mins Darts got another free-kick for a push on Emily Vaughan and the free-kick from Chana found Lizzie but was deemed to be off-side. This was another really close call.

On eight minutes Hamlet had a shot that skimmed the top of the bar and then in next minute a good ball from Shauni played up to Emily Vaughan but she was involved in a collision in the penalty box but appeals were waived away by the referee

For a short period, the game went into a quiet-mode of stalemate with both teams cancelling each other out in midfield.

In the 63rd minute of the game an excellent throw from Georgie found Emily Vaughan in the box, who tried to turn but was robbed of the ball by a nick from a defender’s toe and the ball flew away to safety before Em could shoot.

In the 67th minute, Darts had a let-off as a shot grazed the far post from a cross-shot.
A good move by Darts on 70 minutes. It began with a good interception by Lizzie who got the ball to Shauni and in turn fed it on to Xayla who won a corner after playing it cleverly off the defender.

Shauni then played a quick short corner, and received the ball back before beating the first defender and made space to fire off a great shot at goal which, for Hamlet was luckily deflected for another corner.

From this one, Shauni delivered a beauty right into the 6-yard box but no-one was quite close enough to get what surely would have been a certain tap-in goal.

2023-2024 v Dulwich lge cup semi-s GD in thick of the action.jpg
Oh so close to a goal!. Emily Vaughan and Georgie Davis are inches away from a tap -in

Hamlet’s failure to get on the scoresheet was mainly through a combination of good defending by Darts and rather reckless shooting, although Darts did have a scare when, on 77 minutes Georgie had to make a superb header off the line

Then on 81 minutes Hamlet got a shot on target but was straight at Jade and she held on to it cleanly. With neither side giving an inch the seconds ticked by towards the full-time ‘90’ minutes whistle

Score after 90 minutes – 0-0

Darts gradually forced more of the play and a series of long throw-ins close to the Hamlet penalty area by Gabby had them worried, but a packed defence saw no way through for the Darts.

Next came a series of throw-ins on the left-hand side with Meghan making progress one-by-one up the line.

In the 9th minute of extra-time a throw-in from Meghan fell to Emily Vaughan. She held it up for Lizzie Adams, who squared it back to Meghan who then delivered a great ball into the penalty area, around the penalty spot and there was Shauni, with her back to the goal who produced a fabulous over-head kick that went over the keeper and in off the underside of the bar. 1-0 to Darts

2023-2024 v Dulwich lge cup s-f Shauni’s overhead kick goal.jpg
Shauni’s brilliant over-head kick – the goal that sends Darts through to the final

In the 13th minute of extra time, from a Hamlet corner, Georgie headed clear near the goal-line and the follow-up shot was wild and way off target.

Hamlet had another long-range shot but this was skied, closer to Planet Mars than Jade’s goal.

Half-time of extra time – 1-0 Dartford

In the 17th minute of extra time, Georgie made a great run down the left and sent over a searching cross but
there was no Darts player close enough to take advantage of it.

In the 23rd minute, Hamlet, by now, desperate for a goal fired in another random skied shot – and this one definitely found Planet Mars!

Hamlet became more and more desperate and with Hannah Cleary joining in the fray, her fresh running gave Darts much welcome breathing space as she, Xayla-Rae, Lizzie and Shauni all gave the Hamlet defence some anxious moments.

At the final whistle, Darts’ players, bench and fans went wild with delight – What a Team! And what a Performance!

FT – 1-0 Darts.

SUMMARY

The game was expertly managed and executed by the whole team, led by example by Captain Lizzie.
A superb and thoroughly well-disciplined display.

But take nothing away from Hamlet. They are a very good side often with smart passing and fast play – but today was the day that Darts inflicted revenge for their earlier defeat this season. Darts’ players worked harder and harder to snuff them out. The game plan worked to perfection.

There is no doubt that Darts have that “all for one and one for all” attitude and everyone was absolutely elated with the display and the scoreline.

Some other words that would well describe the Darts performance on this day would be – Tenacious, Resilient, Patient, Resolute and full of Resourcefulness.

Report by Tony Brown
Photos by Taur Everard