Happy New Year everyone…
Not that we have had the best start to the year with all this rain causing so many games to be cancelled. There is nothing more annoying on a Sunday morning when you have got up, got ready and raring to go, about to walk out of the door to hear that most annoying sound of recieving a text message to tell you the game has been cancelled!
But we have not let this stop us from working hard and training hard; whatever the weather, whatever the conditions or facilities we are out training, putting the graft in and working towards the next game coming our way.
We know this when the business end of the season begins, and after a dream like start to the season we know that we are no where near the finish line, and we have everything to play for. The league is so tight at the moment with both Cardiff and us having exactly the same stats, seperated by one goal.
We have the same number of games played, won, drawn and lost; a slip up for either team could be costly to the result at the end of the season. There are other teams not far behind either but it all adds to the excitment of playing in the Premier League with so many good teams around you, fighting for the same thing.
It shows anything can happen; when we had a seven goal margin on Cardiff , they pulled off a 9-1 win at home to Cheshem to scrap top spot by one goal on goal difference.
So what’s happened since the start of the new year…
After a very decent performance for Kent with half of our squad involved, it finished very abruptly with an injury to one of our players, Amy Taylor. She had had a fantastic game then went in with well hit tackle by herself (although she took me out at the same time) a Sussex player manged to catch Amy’s legs with her studs and cause a very large gash that you could only describe as not very nice.
The injury was suspected to be a lot worse than it turned out and with the help of a few people Amy was taken to hospital and sewn up and after two weeks on crutches she’s back on the recovery path. We cant wait to have her back in training and playing with us, we really miss her sarcasm 🙂 I would just like to say thank you to the physios from Sussex FA and Kent FA and a few other qualified people around at the time that helped. Now to get you back playing, Amy!
Also on the injury front, our Skipper Vaj has finally, after a long wait, had her ACL reconstruction operation done a few weeks ago and is finally moving forward with her recovery. From here it is only forwards now and after some good rest, she will soon start her rehab and we will have her back with us, as we miss her very much as well.
Vaj has worked so hard pre op to make sure her body is in the best condition to give herself the best chance of recovering as quick as she can. She is a massive inspiration to us girls at Gills, her dedication to the girls and the club at all times even while being injured has been 100%, she has been so positive and we all look up to her. She has a big impact on us on and off the pitch and we all thank her for that and wish her the speediest recovery.
Some good news. Although Fliss Gibbons was set to return to Watford in the New Year, she has decided to make her playing days at Gills permenant. Fliss had been playing very well with us before Christmas and from day one fitted in and loved the club, the girls and the coaching. This is a massive positive for us as adding and keeping players that make up a very talented squad can only push us in the right direction. We are so pleased with her decision to stay. It is important in this league to have depth in your squad and this definetly adds to this. This signing also shows the quality at the club when you are signing international players.
Our only game of the New Year so far was the second round of the FA Cup away to QPR. After travelling to Keynsham the week prior to this and then having the game called off, we were despearte to play a match after having a few weeks off. Last season we had the best run in the FA Cup the club has seen and fingers cross we can match or better this acheievment this year.
The rain was pouring, the pitch was in a dyer state and on such a steep hill but on with the game we went. The first half you could certainly see we hadnt played for a while and it took us a good half an hour to shake this from our system and start to find some flow in our play.
QPR were very physical and didnt make this easy for us and had a few chances of their own but were stopped by some fantastic saves from Faye Baker. The second half didnt start as we would have liked conceding an early goal to go 1-0. This set a fire off in us and we raised our intensity and we started to come into our own, pinning QPR in to their own half making them defend with 11 players behind the ball for most of the second half.
It shouldnt take for us to go a goal down to pick up our game but it certainly allowed our character to show through and demonstrate that we can fight to the end. Peppering the QPR goal but with no success, we kept going and finally a free kick on the edge of their box was given. Dan Carlton stepped up and with a signiture finish buried the ball in the far top corner. 1-1 the game went to extra time.
The pitch was so heavy and everyone was feeling the effects, but again we lifted our game and our fitness levels showed and eventually Tune Dog got in behind QPR’s defence and finished beyond the keeper to secure the win and our progress to the third round. “Ain’t that right Boi”
This was only the second time this season we have fell behind in a game and it shows that we have got what it takes to turn things around and still get the win; we can grind out a result when we need to, so there are so many positives you can take from the game.
We’ve been drawn away to Nottingham Forest in the third round to be played next Sunday 9th Feb (fingers crossed the weather allows us to play). Last season Forest knocked us out of the cup in the fifth round with a 3-2 win scoring in the last minute. It was a very entertaining game and we was gutted at the end knowing it could of gone either way.
This season both teams will be stronger and both of us will be looking forward to this tie. It is going to be down to who performs on the day and I know with the strength in our team we have got a big chance to get revenge and progress. The beauty of getting in to the latter stages of the FA Cup is the chance to be drawn against a Super League team. It is exciting at the prospects of playing the best teams in the country and this is the only way you can prove yourself against these teams and match up how big a difference there is between the standards. I really believe that we are a talented enough team to cause upsets on our day and what a fantastic feeling that would be.
We also have cup ties against Coventry and Ebbsfleet in the coming weeks. Coventry in the League Cup which has already been postponed from this weekend due to the weather, but is also a game we are really looking forward to playing in, another cup where we have progressed further than we have before and a real chance of progressing further.
Ebbsfleet is always an interesting game as it is a local rilvary. Although Ebbsfleet are in the league below this is never an easy game and a place in the Kent Cup Final is at stake so both teams will throw everything at it. If we can get to the final we have an opportunity to win the competition for the third successive year. Captaining the team to such an achievement would make me so proud.
Having not played for weeks, we have arranged a friendly against Millwall this Friday night on a 3g pitch at Coldharbour Leisure Centre to ensure the game will be played. There is nothing better than playing a match. Match fitness is so important and a friendly is a good opportunity to get everyone minutes under their belt and try new things.
Millwall is always an interesting game given the rivalry between the two clubs and the matches last season definetly lived up to the occassions. Being a friendly everyone will be sensible but it will also still be very competative. Millwall are going to be a much stronger side than what they were last season having made a few very good signings leading up to the start of their WSL2 season. I believe we can give them a very good game and the result will be interesting but whichever way it goes, it will be good preparation for our FA Cup fixture against Forest next week.
Just like to say thank you to Colin and Craig who have been working hard alongside the rest of the staff to deal with niggly injuries that we have picked up along the way and for keeping the players fit and ready to play.
There is lots to look forward to and we are ready for the challenge.
Come on the Gilllllllssssss!! 🙂