The reserves side lost 1-0 to West Ham at BAE on Sunday in the concluding game of the League Cup group stages. Gills Reserves went into the game knowing a win would put them in good stead to look at qualification for the next round if other results went their way.
West Ham started the game brighter, in the third minute a West Ham attack forced Gills keeper Courtney Shanly into an early save. Cutting in from the left hand side West Ham were able to get a shot away inside of the box and Shanly was quick and parried the ball away to safety.
The Reserves then found their feet in the game and with 10 minutes gone, Emily Laker and Kayleigh Galvin played a neat one two passing interchange deep inside the West Ham half. Galvin found space inside the box to shoot but the effort didn’t trouble the West Ham keeper.
It was on the half hour mark that Gills Reserves came closest to scoring, Laker involved in the Gills attack again, found a perfectly weighted pass to forward Megan Carroll who was caught by the out rushing West Ham goalkeeper. The forward did well to recover and from a wide position was able to square the ball into the box to the feet of Galvin, but she was quickly closed down by the West Ham defence and the chance faded.
Gills were nearly caught out with a quick sharp counter attack, West Ham broke away and the forward beat Bonnie Long to find herself one on one with keeper Shanly. With the forward going around the keeper it looked as if West Ham were going to take the lead, but Emma Michelmore swept in to clear the ball away from danger.
Sophie Brown made the most of a couple of opportunities just before half time, first Brown capitalised on a West Ham defender slipping on the surface and took the ball into the box. Her shot was straight at the keeper who dealt with it comfortably. A minute later Brown found space again on the same side, cut in and a looping shot ends up being collected by the West Ham keeper.
H/T Gillingham Ladies Reserves 0 West Ham Ladies Reserves 0
After the break the Reserves started brightly, some nice link up play between Carroll and Laker found Galvin on the edge of the box. Her quick turn and shot forced the West Ham keeper into swift action pulling out a save to deny Galvin.
In the 55th minute Gills Reserves were again caught by a counter attack, West Ham broke from within their own half, Gills keeper Shanly again did well coming out and pulling off a save one on one to keep the scores level.
An hour into the game and Gills had more chances to take the lead, first a foul for shirt pulling on Carroll saw Gills have a free kick on the edge of the box. Carroll stepped up to take it but her shot flew over the wall but alluded the target. Two minutes later though Galvin showed pace on the left and set up Carroll on the edge of the area but her first time low shot was well saved by the West Ham keeper.
With 70 minutes on the clock, Gillingham were caught out at the back. West Ham whipped a ball in from the right wing and it sailed past everyone but the West Ham player on the far post, who managed to put her shot wide of the target from all but 6 yards out.
Gills Reserves kept on pushing for an opener, substitute Holly Learmonth had drawn a free kick when her attacking run had been blocked unfairly by the West Ham defender. Rhea Vale lined up the free kick but the ball into the box was too deep and the West Ham keeper collected. Gillingham got the ball again and Sophie Brown did well on the wing to get a cross into the box but Megan Carroll couldn’t get her head onto the ball and the chance went amiss.
5 minutes from time West Ham cut through the middle of the defence and took the lead, a powerful shot beyond Shanly who was unable to keep it out this time. 0-1
Gillingham chased the game in the closing minutes but will certainly rue earlier missed chances in the game. A good performance from the Reserves in the last game of the League Cup group stages and if they take this improving form into the League then points will start coming.
Full Time – Gillingham Ladies Reserves 0 West Ham Ladies Reserves 1
Gillingham Ladies Reserves team: Courtney Shanly, Alex Fagan, Emma Michelmore (c), Bonnie Long, Connie Lewin, Sophie Brown, Rhea Vale, Emily Lyons, Emily Laker, Kayleigh Galvin (Holly Learmonth,70), Megan Carroll