Sutton United gained their first victory of the London & South-East Women’s Football League Division One North season in some style after producing a dominant performance against Victoire in front of an impressive crowd at Gander Green Lane.
Victoire went into the game in second place with four points from a maximum nine. This was only Sutton United’s second match in the league having drawn their opener 2-2 away to Phoenix Sports and then playing three cup ties in succession.
Inside the first thirty seconds, Sutton showed just how dangerous they could be. Darcy Wells played a probing ball through to Fern Colepio to run onto and to fashion the first shot from the right-hand side of the box which lacked the power to force Deborah Tasker into a save.
With just two minutes played, Evie Nebbitt glided up the left wing to play in Mika Keen but the danger was snuffed out.
The quality of Nebbitt and Olivia Watson was causing Victoire headaches from the early exchanges.
The U’s best chance of the early stages fell in the eighth minute with Olivia Watson again involved. Her superb run down the right eventually led to two successive corners. From the second, Watson’s shot forced the first save of the afternoon from Tasker in the Victoire goal.
Sutton were now piling on the pressure, and Darcy Wells’ influence on the game grew. The vice-captain and forward picked up possession on the right and rounded Michaela Gooden before hitting an effort wide. Wells had another opportunity in the thirteenth minute after she turned a defender with ease in the box with the following shot trickling past the left hand post.
Victiore took advantage of Sutton’s inability to turn their pressure into goals with Michaela Gooden well involved for the Croydon based side, but they could not generate sufficient quality to trouble a well-marshalled U’s defence.
Finally, Sutton United’s quality shone through on 27 minutes and it was a move which encapsulated the quality of the side. Evie Nebbitt danced through the centre and played an inch-perfect ball to Sophie Barnes who drew Tasker and slotted the ball beautifully into the net.
With thirty-two minutes played, Barnes again troubled Victoire along the left-hand side before cutting in and firing in a shot. Two minutes later she broke clear again and fired in a shot that Tasker pushed out for a corner. Jennifer Neves sent the resulting flag kick in and this time there was no stopping Barnes who smashed the ball home for her second of the afternoon.
Eight minutes before the break, Wells hit a vicious dipping effort from outside the area which Tasker did well to push away for a corner.
Sutton were now rampant and came close to a third goal before the interval. Mika Keen combined with Tamara Graham to find Olivia Watson with a great cross-field pass. Watson’s ball in was met by Darcy Wells who was only denied by a magnificent acrobatic save by Tasker as the first half ended 2-0 in the home side’s favour.
The second period opened with Victoire on the offensive with Shannon Cambridge forcing the first save by Zoe McNulty in the Sutton goal. Olivia Watson showed great strength immediately afterwards at the other end in holding off a defender, turning and hitting a shot which Deborah Tasker held.
Three minutes into the half, Watson was in the thick of the action once more when she found Fern Colepio whose effort came crashing back off of the bar with Tasker beaten.
The third goal had to come and it did on 52 minutes when some great play from Fern Colepio found Darcy Wells who sent a shot coming back off the bar which rebounded to Sophie Barnes who lofted it over Tasker to complete her hat-trick.
With a comfortable lead on the scoreboard, confidence was coursing through the veins of the side in amber and chocolate and they began passing the ball round with great skill. On the hour mark, Mika Keen cut in from the left and hit a powerful effort which Tasker saved well with her feet.
Just three minutes later it was 4-0 when Olivia Watson’s strength in possession saw her run into the box and find substitute Keisha Small who fired home.
Victoire had a great effort shortly after when sub keeper Paige Hursey was forced to push a shot round the post. A header through from Ifeoma Chilizie towards Siane Francis Duncan was intercepted brilliantly by Evie Nebbitt
Sutton ruthlessly punished Victoire for not taking those two half chances with Darcy Wells running through to slot home a well-deserved goal with just under twenty minutes left.
Just three minutes later and Sutton emphasised their dominance with a team goal of the highest quality. Tamara Graham combined well with Olivia Watson who played a glorious ball to Keisha Small who gleefully smashed home her second.
On eighty-three minutes the home side fashioned another superb goal. Darcy Wells played in Sophie Barnes beautifully and her powerful effort arrowed into the right of the net for her fourth of the afternoon.
Immediately from the kick-off, Victoire created a chance when the impressive Michaela Gooden closed in on goal but hit her effort straight at substitute keeper Paige Hersey.
Sutton responded yet again and Keisha Small had a real chance to complete a twenty minute hat-trick, but her effort went over the bar. Mika Keen also hit a shot from an acute angle which needed pushing away by Tasker.
In the final minute, Keisha Small did complete her hat-trick which rounded off another excellent move. Gabby Howell fed Jennifer Neves on the right flank. Her ball in eventually found her way to the U’s midfielder to grab the final eighth.
In the end, it was Sutton’s greater pace, organisation and ball playing skill that was the difference between the two sides. Victoire must take great credit for never letting their heads drop and pushing for the whole ninety minutes. The U’s are well capable of pushing strongly for another promotion this season and on this evidence it will take a very good side to stop them.
Sutton United: McNulty, Colliver, Howell, Hendra, Graham, Wells, Watson, Nebbitt, Keen, Colepio, Barnes. Substitutes: Hersey (GK) Small, King, Savage, Neves.
Scorers: Barnes 27, 34, 52, 83. Wells 71. Small 63, 74, 89.
Victoire: Tasker, Leacock, Reid, Nicholson, Duncan, D’Aranjo, Christopher, Cambridge, Gooden, Gayle, Vines. Substitutes: Chilizie, Osmond, Frost, Thomas.