Darlington Women are still challenging at the tp of the table after a great 6-1 away win at Stockton Town on Sunday.
Hattie Raine scored a hat trick to give her 19 gaols for the season, with Sara Waites, Aimee Dagnall and Lily Wilkinson also on target.
Manager Shaun MacKenzie said; "I was absolutely thrilled with the three points. I thought it was the perfect away performance and really pleased with how we played football. We knew coming into the game that we would have to be defensively sound with the attacking threat that Stockton possess, and besides a lapse of concentration for the first goal, I thought we defended really well and the whole team did their job in terms of being compact off the ball.
"We looked dangerous every time we went forward and were clinical in front of goal today. Missing our top goalscorer Chloe Ryan through illness wasn’t the news we had hoped for on the morning of the game, but the other forwards all stepped up and created opportunity after opportunity. Hattie Raine with another hat-trick to add to her tally for the season and great goals from Sara Waites and Aimee Dagnall. I was delighted for Lily Wilkinson to get on the scoresheet as she’s worked really hard in training over the past month or so and we know she would be starting for most teams in this league. Unfortunately for Lily, the front three who have started games have not stopped scoring this month! I hope the goal gives Lily some confidence as she can have a big role to play in the remaining games of the season.
"I also thought Millie Soderman and Lou Brown had another solid game in defence and are forming a really good centre back partnership which complements each other's style of play.
"Another Sunday and another three points but we’ve got to back it up with another three points next week at home against top of the table CLS Amazons, we hope to have a big crowd to spur us on to victory."
Here's the match report from Chris Barrett
Darlington started well and looked to build the pressure early coming close with Hattie Raine going close but just poking a shot wide of the goal in the early stages.
Against the run of play in the 7th minute Stockton took the lead with a deep free kick from just inside the half being dropped into the right hand side of the box with the Stockton attacker meeting it for a good controlled finish to take the lead.
Darlington were not phased and continued to press with efforts from Aimee Dagnall and Millie Soderman coming close.
After 21 minutes, Darlington got the equaliser when a ball from Dagnall was played from the right into Sara Waites on the edge of the box who lifted the ball over a defender and then controlled it before striking the ball across the goal into the bottom corner. The next goal was well worked down the right hand side and was dropped back to Soderman who curled a good ball into the box to be met by Dagnall who controlled the ball on the 6 yard line and then firing the ball low past the keeper and to give Darlington the lead.
Stockton reacted straight away and built the play well and slid the ball into the box for the attacker to have a one on one opportunity but Evie Whitaker came out bravely to block the ball and force it out of play. The follow up corner also required a save from Whitaker to keep the cross out but also the ball dropped to an attacker which required another fine save from Whitaker and a clearance off the line.
Just before half time Darlington added another with a superbly measured ball over the top from Dagnall for Raine to run on to and lift the ball over the keeper to drop in under the bar for a fine finish.
The second half began a more even encounter with Stockton fashioning a number of chances down the left hand side requiring a smart interception from the defence and another good save from Whitaker. After 70 minutes, Darlington scored again when Dagnall slipped the ball into the right side of the box for Raine to run on to and she struck it low and hard across the goal finding the bottom corner.Three minutes later and it was five with Raine pressing the defence forcing the error with the ball dropping to her to smash home with another fine finish.
Darlington got their sixth and final goal when some good play from a throw on the left hand side created space for Dagnall to cross another quality ball into the box for Lily Wilkinson to meet on the volley for another fine finish and bee first goal of the season. Darlington came close again just before full time with a little dinked pass from Dagnall to Katie Sheridan to cut in and beat the defender but her low shot was well saved by the keeper.
It was a fine performance against a very good Stockton side with some excellent creative balls and clinical finishing being the difference between the two teams.
There were a number of strong performers with Millie Soderman not putting a foot wrong in defence and assisting in a lovely goal, Hattie Raine getting a well taken hat trick but player of the match was awarded to Aimee Dagnall with a battling performance in the middle of the park and contributing with four excellent assists in the game and a goal of her own.
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