Following the introduction of another tier to the Women’s Super League, many teams found themselves placed in a lower league following the shake up. Cardiff City were one of these opponents. A formal national side last season and a great team for the Ladies to test themselves against following their comfortable 4-1 opening win of the season.
And they passed with flying colours. Following the long trip up and overnight stay, Gills Ladies came away with a valuable point. Faye Baker, Gillingham’s new number one following her move from Ebbsfleet, gained a great round of plaudits from her teammates following her first and vital clean sheet-and one we predict will be the first of many…
Speaking to Faye after Sunday’s game. The first question we had to ask-how was that coach trip to Cardiff?! “The journey itself was pretty lively” she revealed “with Crouchy’s dodgy driving, emergency stops and missing turnings!”
“ I’m also not quite sure how Rachel (Ahern) managed to fall asleep and stay asleep while the girls crumbled cookies in her ear and mouth!” A lively journey by all accounts but one which Faye appreciates as a new member of the team; “It was non-stop team bonding to be honest with banter being thrown around all over the place!”
She also disclosed that the team’s competiveness also spilt out, “Team games in the pool got a bit heated as no-one wanted to lose.”
Besides the good bonding trip, the trip to Cardiff had serious overtones. For the club to be able to travel in advance and rest up well before their match was of great benefit, outlining the importance it places on ensuring players are given the best conditions available, something keeper Faye clearly appreciated; “The whole experience was a bit surreal for me, last season I was going to away games against Arseley town and Brentwood and second game in this season I’m staying in a 4* spa resort and facing Cardiff City with some internationals in their squad!”
“It was a big experience for me and the fact we had the opportunity to stay overnight, have team dinners, tactical meetings etc really made it feel professional.”
“I definitely feel the whole trip was beneficial not only on a performance level as it allowed us to have fresh legs for the game rather than face a long journey on the day but also on a closeness level. The team spirit and atmosphere in the camp really is sky high at the minute, everyone gets on well and is made to feel part of the team.”
And it’s not only the team’s spirit that is sky high. Gillingham currently sit top of the league. It might just be two games played, but nevertheless a rewarding start after a tough pre-season.
And for Faye, although last week’s game at Keynsham perhaps wasn’t the greatest test, Cardiff provided a much tougher initiation into the league, something Faye was aware of; “We all knew the Cardiff game would be a big test having been a national side last season, but we approached it no differently from normal as every game matters in this league.”
“It was a tight game and I think a draw was a fair result. The girls didn’t stop grafting from start to finish and it’s a shame we couldn’t nick the win!”
“On a personal note for me it was a good test, as this is my first season in the Prem and I needed a game to prove to myself, that I was good enough to play this standard. Pre season I was very much a bystander and didn’t have much to do!”
“Last week I only had two saves to make, whereas against Cardiff I was called into action a lot more and I think I did well. To keep a clean sheet against one of the toughest teams in our league felt really good.”
It felt really good for Gills Ladies fans too as they waited to hear the result from Wales. We wrapped up our interview with Faye by asking how she feels she will like life at the Gills for the rest of the season.
“Life at Gills so far is quality-the training is second to none and the girls are lovely! They have all helped me settle in really well. It will take a while for me to get comfortable with their style of play but with the help and support of Crouchy and the rest of the girls I’m sure it will be pretty easy!”
“It’s a dream start to the season, the positivity and hard work throughout pre season has paid off early doors. However we need to ensure we don’t take our foot off the pedal or become complacent. There is much more to come from us a team I’m sure!”
A fantastic recruitment to the club, we look forward to seeing Faye collect clean sheets in a Gillingham Ladies jersey throughout what looks to be a fantastic season.
Come and see Faye and the rest of the Gills Ladies in action this Sunday 8th September against Chesham LFC. Kick off at 2pm at Chatham FC.