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A goal in each half from Emma Harrison helped to earn Barking an Essex Women’s Cup Final victory against Stanway Pegasus, and Manager Ross Shorey reacted: “Winning this cup means everything to our team.”
Harrison put Barking in front on 35 minutes and added another eight minutes from the end, securing a deserved victory at Great Wakering Rovers FC’s Burroughs Park home. Boss Shorey was overjoyed with the victory, explaining: “I’m extremely proud of the girls for winning such a prestigious cup competition that’s now been running for a decade.”
“The competition is looked upon as a major trophy to win in the county. The trophy itself is beautiful and dates back to 1950, so it’s an honour to hold it for a year. Thanks to Stanway for giving us their best. They did amazingly well to reach the final in their first season.”
The opening half-hour was relatively quiet between both sides, with neither creating any major goalscoring opportunities. The first real chance of the match came in the 30th minute from a ball being played out from the left side, which Stanway’s goalkeeper punched back out, the rebound falling back to a Barking player, but the subsequent shot was saved.
Barking’s first goal of the game arrived five minutes later. The ball was played from the edge of the centre circle forward to Harrison, who ran onto it and was put under pressure by a defender. However, she managed to be the stronger player and beat the ‘keeper, putting Barking 1-0 up heading into half time. Shorey was very confident from this point.
“It took around ten minutes for our girls to relax and settle into a passing rhythm,” he recalled. “The first goal was started by a quick goal kick and, four passes later, it was in the net. This relaxed our players and the second goal came just at the right time to kill the game. I felt it was just a matter of when we scored - not if - and, once the first goal went in, I knew we would win.”
They also started the second half on the front foot. Barking came close to getting a second through some great link-up play between Harrison and Laura Bunton, Harrison playing a lovely through ball to Bunton whose shot was saved. They came close again in the 60th minute as a long, grounded pass was played forward to Bunton.
She managed to get past one defender, but her shot was blocked by Lauren Hannah. The second goal did eventually arrive on 82 minutes thanks to a great strike by Harrison. She found herself in space on the edge of the box and hit a thunderous effort into the net, ensuring victory for Barking, the new winners of the Essex Women’s Trophy.
Shorey summarised: “I said to the team a year ago that winning your first trophy is the hardest because you haven’t been there before. The girls handled the final brilliantly, and are now perennial winners. The future of this team is very bright as we can use this cup success to recruit quality players because good players want to play for successful teams.”
Barking: Amy Lewington, Juliet Thomas, Lauren Taylor, Niamh Pridie, Rebecca Gajewska, Daisy Cook, Rachel Daltrey, Mia Zorbas, Rebecca Killington, Fran Pridie, Emma Harrison, Grace Holt, Kiera Colhart, Sarah Finch, Baileigh Cordice, Alessia Mangapane, Nat Oxby, Ammarah Ali, Laura Bunton.
Stanway Pegasus: Danielle Bragg, Shannon Clarke, Tish Cleary, Jade Clemmens, Lindsey Cowell, Beth Dodd, Lauren Hannah, Sarah Jolly, Dom Merchant, Charlotte O’Malley, Rosie Robinson, Ella Tooley, Farren Varty-Macdonald, Danielle Warnes, Rosi Webb.
Referee: Katie Dorling.
Assistant Referees: Nicholas Hodges and Martin Nevill.
Fourth Official: Paul Falvey.