Gillingham Ladies continued their unbeaten run and begin to make Chatham Town a fortress as they put five past Chesham Ladies. Another accomplished performance from the girls, Gills Ladies stay top of the league accumulating seven points out of a possible nine.
The Gills set the tempo for the game from the off. After a frantic few minutes exchange, the Gills began to control play with Danielle Carlton and Jay Blackie dictating play.
Gillingham had an early penalty shout when forward Charlotte Gurr found space to run on goal before releasing a shot that appeared to rebound off a Chesham defender’s arm. The referee waved away Gills’ fans call for a spot kick. After mounting pressure upon Chesham, the Gills got their reward from a beautifully taken free kick from Carlton. Yet another powerful delivery from the Gills midfielder, the ball managed to fly through a bevy of defenders and beyond the Chesham keeper’s out-stretched arm.
The Gills’ attacking formation was proving very effective as the Gills continued to amass the majority of possession and exhaust Chesham’s defence. Pushing forcefully in numbers, Gillingham were exercising great patience, passing the ball collectively to create space to unlock the number of Chesham bodies behind the ball. Whilst the Gills managed to do this several times throughout the first half, many chances to put them two up were wasted and a killer instinct in the box missing.
The team persevered as defenders Amy Taylor, Rachel Ahern and Deeanna Cooper joined in attacking movements. Taylor produced a good effort, winning possession on the edge of the box, she feed a smart ball teeing up Carlton to unleash a thunderbolt strike on goal.
And the Gills just kept knocking at Chesham’s door when Blackie drove forward from midfield before finding Jade Keogh who sprinted forward down the left wing taking the ball towards goal. Keogh tried to sneak the ball through the keeper but she positioned herself well to collect the ball and avert danger. Taylor was in on the attacking action once more when she was on the end of a clumsy tackle 25 yards out from goal.
The free kick was easily awarded and Carlton stepped up to drill another teasing delivery but Chesham managed to clear their lines. Whilst the Gills were looking very dangerous and executing some good set pieces, the final finish and killer instinct prevented the girls from gaining a more comfortable lead. Chesham had an opportunity when a ball was looped over the Gills midfield into the path of their centre forward. Cooper was on hand to block the attacker’s path on goal and showed great strength to squash the opportunity.
Gillingham kept focused in defence when Chesham were awarded a rather skeptical free kick in an advantageous position. Keeper Faye Baker positioned herself well to collect the attempt on goal with ease. The Gills could and should have made it two before half time after two opportunities presented themselves. Blackie threaded a wonderful ball through the Chesham centre and full backs into the path of the onrushing Lauren Williams. Playing in a more advanced position Williams caused problems throughout the 90 minutes and laid a pin perfect pass along the six-yard area but no Gills players could get on the end.
And just inches stopped the girls from getting a deserved goal after a lovely exchange of passes between Gurr and Tune. The Gills midfielder positioned herself yards from goal but missed the target by the most minimal of margins.
Gillingham’s centre forward Lisa Fulgence worked tirelessly leading the line and managed to defeat the offside trap when put through by Gurr but the Chesham keeper came off her line quickly and managed to smother the ball away from Fulgence.
Half time: 1-0
Gillingham Ladies came out from the break hungry for more goals and it proved to be a very rewarding 45 minutes for the team.
Gurr produced a fantastic ball into the box which found Cooper three yards out from goal. The Gills centre back reacted quickly to head the effort on target but the effort bounced straight off the goalkeeper and away from goal.
Taylor executed another great cross field ball for a Gills player to put away but the opportunities continued to build up whilst the goals didn’t.
Chesham began to put more and more bodies behind the ball making it increasingly difficult for Gillingham to find a way through. The girls kept to their style of play and patiently played to ball around the park to create spaces to infiltrate the Chesham defence.
Eventually it took a moment of individual brilliance and perseverance to give the team a well earned second. Gurr demonstrated great determination to shake off her marker and drive towards goal, before turning her defender, re-positioning herself and curling the ball round the keeper into the bottom left corner. This proved to be a crucial moment in the game as Gillingham reinforced their attack with fresh legs as substitutes including debutant Fliss Gibbons made a real impact on the game and pressed Chesham even more.
As a result the goals kept coming for the Gills in quick succession. Gurr grabbed her brace gliding the ball past the Chesham keeper from a Williams’ delivery.
A slice of luck rewarded Taylor with a goal for her outstanding performance as her cross floated into the top right hand corner, licked the inside of the post and rebounded into the back of the net from 35 yard out.
Gills fan’s day got even better and spirits refused to be dampened in the torrential rain as debutant Gibbons left her marker in the shadows as she turned 20 yard from goal to sharply release a lethal shot which the keeper failed to get close to.
Chesham continued admirably to try and make an impact on the score line. However, their shots on goal came late in the game and caused Gill’s keeper Baker little concern.
Gills were almost the makers of their own downfall however when they gifted Chesham the ball as Baker failed to clear the ball. Instead Gills had possession pinched from them and Chesham looked to exploit and empty goal.
Gills had Cooper to thank as she was positioned well on the line to clinch Gills a clean sheet.
As the rain continued to pour a bright and lively performance with plenty of quality goals ensured Gillingham Ladies fans had a result to brighten their Sunday.
Gills Ladies: Faye Baker, Amy Taylor, Deeanna Cooper, Rachel Ahern, Jay Blackie (c), Danielle Carlton, Lauren Williams, Emma Tune (Charlotte Long), Charlotte Gurr, Lisa Fulgence (Fliss Gibbons), Jade Keogh (Nikita Whinnent)