It was an afternoon of mixed emotions for Gillingham Ladies goalkeeper Faye Baker on Sunday afternoon. Having joined the club from Ebbsfleet United in the summer, Baker returned to face the side she had formely captained as the two teams battled it out for a place in the Kent Cup final.
Gills won the contest convincingly, winning 5-0, with Baker picking up yet another clean sheet to add to her considerable tally this season. “It’s a little bit bittersweet to be honest” said Baker, “I still really care about the club, I was there for a long time and I wish them all the best and hope they do really well.”
“I’ m still friends with most of the girls but obviously it’s the first final I am in with Gills and it’s special because it’s the Kent Cup. Gills already have the Kent Cup so we want to retain it. It’s been an enjoyable day.”
Whilst the result reflected the Gills dominance in the tie, Baker confessed it took a while for the Gills to get into the swing of things.
“It took a while for us to adapt to the fact they were playing the offside line and they were playing it quite high. We were trying to get in behind but it just wasn’t working. It took some time for the girls to get their heads around that and start playing to feet which is something we normally do.”
“I think we were a bit sloppy in the first half, the final balls weren’t there but again we created chances which is always a postive. We knew we had the fitness levels and that would take over in the end and we’d win the game.”
A competent 90 minutes from the Gills grabbed a spot in the Kent Cup final at Maidstone United against Charlton Athletic, a finale Baker and her team mates are looking forward to.
“The girls are really happy. Charlton is again another local derby, there’s a rivalry there so it will be nice to play with the hope of winning a trophy. Of course we’ve got the chance of another final on Tuesday against Herne Bay in the Ryman Cup, so it could be two finals in a week!”
“The pitch at Maidstone will suit our style of play, we like to get the ball down and play it about. We don’t play long so a nice, flat surface will favour us and because it is an elite venue the kind of crowd it will bring in will be good for women’s football. We’ll have a good crowd, great stadium and nice pitch so it will make the day really special and we hope to finish it with a win.”
“It’s always special to come along to a Kent Cup final. In all the years I’ve been down it’s always been a close final, the teams are always putting out a full strengh side so with a nice big crowd. I think with our momentum it’s an opportunity for people to see what we’re about.”
Now focus turns to Tuesday’s semi final with the reward of a Ryman League Cup final place should the Gills overturn Hearne Bay.
Baker said, “At the moment everything is going well. With the break in play due to the weather I was worried it may break our momentum but the we’ve come back just as strong as we left things so hopefully long may that continue and we’ll win on Tuesday.”