Gillingham Ladies extended their unbeaten run with an outstanding 7-2 victory against Tottenham Ladies in the first round of the League Cup on Sunday afternoon.
Gillingham set the pace in the opening minutes as Fliss Gibbons and Lauren Phillips pressed the Spurs backline. The pair mustered an opportunity after pinching the ball from a hazy Tottenham defender. Phillips tried to thread a pass through to meet Gibbons’ strong run into the box but the centre forward’s touch was slightly too heavy.
It did not take long for the Gills to find the back of the net however. Danielle Carlton delivered on her defensive duties, clearing the ball amongst a collection of bodies to smartly find winger Jade Keogh.
Keogh brought the ball up from half way, driving towards the Tottenham goal before unleashing a brilliant effort to sail over the rooted Spurs’ keeper’s gloves.
Gibbons caused Spurs further headaches after turning her marker ruthlessly and running towards goal. Tottenham could only respond with a mistimed tackle bringing Gibbons down with a thump and providing Gills a free kick in a threatening position.
Danielle Carlton added to her season’s tally stepping up to take the set piece beautifully. The Gills midfielder rocketed the ball into the top right hand corner with great skill to make it 2-0.
Tottenham tried to string an attack together but they proved to cause little worry for Gills keeper Faye Baker in the first half with just one looped effort for her to collect.
Emma Tune came agonizingly close for Gills after a stylish exchange of passes with Lauren Williams unlocked the Spurs’ back for. Tune made good contact with the effort but it rolled just wide.
Tune made no mistake with her next chance minutes later as she kept her cool in the box to place the ball through a sea of bodies into the back of the net.
Gibbons rattled the side netting for Gillingham Ladies having been first to a clearance from the Spurs’ keeper, as the team continued their attacking onslaught on the North London outfit.
The Gills back three of Rachel Ahern, Deeanna Cooper and Amy Taylor communicated well with one another to smother any Tottenham coutner attacks, as their opponents sought to exploit space on the wing to get past the trio. Gills’ defence stood strong and Spurs failed to conjure an opportunity.
Cooper was almost in on the goal action, skipping through the Spurs’ midfield and defence with ease before launching an effort that blazed wide.
Gillingham Ladies were four up before half time as Gibbons was rewarded for her hard work with a goal. The Gills attacker showed great composure having galloped past several Spurs players to give herself time and space to put a shot on goal.
Spurs’ first half got worse when their captain was sent off for a second bookable offence. Two mistimed body checks saw the player given her marching orders.
Half time: 4-0
Carlton and Gibbons continued to link up well in attack, as Carlton made a strong run on the overlap before drilling a ball into the danger area for Phillips to get onto. The Spurs centre back positioned herself well to block the Gills striker’s attempt on goal.
Cooper ought to have made it five when she positioned herself at the far post to get on the end of an inswinging cross, her finish however blazed over the crossbar.
Gillingham skipper Jay Blackie found herself at the end of the Kent club’s next attack after Phillips fed Gibbons a slick ball on the edge of the box. Gibbons neatly crafted the ball through the opposition centre backs into the path of the onrushing Blackie. The ball was smothered at Blackie’s feet by the onrushing Spurs keeper.
Spurs fought admirably to find some way back into the game and were gifted a goal after a mix up in communications amongst the Gills back line saw the ball roll into the back of the net.
Gillingham soon corrected this with a fifth from the penalty spot. After a sharp exchange of passes between Lauren Williams and Phillips, Williams’ run could only be halted by a mistimed tackle leaving the referee with no other option but to point to the spot. Phillips stepped up to cooly place the ball beyond the Spurs keeper.
Gills Ladies had a second penalty call just minutes later when Gibbons confident run on goal was halted as the Spurs centre back appeared to shove her off balance with a two handed push in the back. The referee waved away protestations for this appeal however as play went on.
Gills made a triple substitution with Lauren Davis, Lisa Fulgence and Charlotte Gurr further bolstering Gillingham’s attack with fresh legs.
Fulgence made an instant impact on the game, setting up Blackie with an inch perfect lay off across the goal. Blackie made no mistake and dispatched the opportunity to put Gills up 6-1.
And the pair caused Spurs more misery when Fulgence reacted fastest to a re-bounded Blackie effort. The Gills striker carried the ball down and chipped it perfectly over the onrushing Spurs keeper to make it 7-1 to Gills.
Spurs grabbed a consolation as a volley from 15 yards out smacked into back of Baker’s goal.
That brief highlight lasted seconds for Spurs as their afternoon went from bad to worse when they were reduced to nine players after a dangerous foul on Tune saw their centre back issued with a second yellow.
Gillingham kept pressing for more. Gurr tried a cheeky effort on goal from a free kick 20 yards out but the ball went straight into the keeper’s arms. Next, Tune curled a delivery into the box for Taylor to glance towards goal but the effort went over.
The game concluded 7-2 as Gillingham Ladies fans enjoyed another dominant 90 minutes with plenty of goals and wonderful attacking football to relish.
Gillingham Ladies: Faye Baker, Deeanna Cooper, Amy Taylor, Rachel Ahern, Emma Tune, Danielle Carlton (Lauren Davis), Jade Keogh (Charlotte Gurr), Jay Blackie ©, Lauren Williams, Fliss Gibbons, Lauren Phillips (Lisa Fulgence)