By John Seager
A sublime brace from Lisa Fulgence plus goals from Jay Blackie, Emma Tune, Rachel Ahern and Nikita Whinnett was enough for Gillingham Ladies to progress though to the Ryman League Cup Final at the expense of Herne Bay Ladies at London Road – home of Chatham Town FC on Wednesday evening.
Gillingham Ladies manager James Marrs was disappointed with conceding three goals against Portsmouth Ladies in their previous fixture and he was hoping for a resilient performance against Herne Bay as they look to prepare for the FA Women’s Cup game against Preston North End this Sunday.
The game started with Gills Ladies with the ball as they looked to take an early grip on the game in foggy conditions. They won an early throw in and the ball was worked through on goal by Emma Tune but Breeze Handley easily picked the ball up.
Gills Ladies had another chance when Charlotte Gurr was almost played though after some great play in midfield but the ball was easily caught by Handley in the Herne Bay goal.
Herne bay’s Harriet Chapman worked hard to run though midfield but couldn’t create a goal as her mishit shot went straight to Gills Ladies Faye Baker.
Gills Ladies then won a corner as Fliss Gibbons worked well down the left, and the ball came her way after a great pass from Rachel Ahern but her shot from outside the penalty box went high of the goal.
But then Gills Ladies took the lead on 12 minutes as a cross from Gurr came the way of Tune and she coolly got ahead of her defender and slotted a header past Handley to give them the lead.
Gills Ladies could have had a second goal as again Gibbons and Gurr were playing some great passing and Gurr got a cross into Fulgence but she didn’t anticipate the cross and headed it wide.
Fulgence then had another chance to score as Tune and Deanna Cooper linked well to put Fulgence through on goal but her shot was excellently saved by Handley and went out for a corner.
Gills then could have added another goal as Cooper went on a darting run though the middle of the pitch, the ball was not dealt with by Herne Bay and it led to Tune having a shot at goal from inside the penalty box, it beat Handley to her left but the ball went agonisingly wide.
Gills Ladies finally added a second goal as a corner was crossed into the box, Rachel Ahern was at the back post and she stood her foot out as the ball went over the Herne Bay defender and into the back of the net.
Gills Ladies were in control but Herne Bay then won a corner after some great work in the middle which led to a chance on goal but Faye Baker pulled out a great low save to concede the corner, the ball was crossed in but it was cleared away.
Gills could have added a third before half time as Amy Taylor broke thought the middle and the ball bobbled off a couple of Herne Bay defenders before coming to Gurr who hit a powerful shot towards goal but the ball went high, wide and out of the stadium.
Half Time: Gillingham Ladies 2 Herne Bay Ladies 0
The second half started with Gills Ladies looking for a third goal which would effectively finish the game.
Gills Ladies won a free kick just outside the area as Fulgence was clipped. Gurr stood over the ball and delivered a excellent shot towards goal and it was tipped well wide by Handley and out for a corner.
From the resulting corner Gills Ladies added a third goal as Jay Blackie hit a low shot towards goal from outside the penalty box, the ball was deflected off a Herne Bay defender and whizzed past Handley into the back of the net.
Gills Ladies could have added another goal as a shot Emma Tune from outside the penalty box was tipped away by Handley and she was scrambling back to get the ball before it crossed the line but she caught the ball in the nick of time before it crossed the line.
Gills made some changes as Tune, Gibbons and Taylor were brought off and Lauren Williams, Lauren Davis and Nikita Whinnett were brought on to freshen up the squad.
And the subs nearly made an immediate impact as Fulgence, Whinnett and Davis all had excellent chances to score but they were brilliantly denied by a great triple save from Handley before going out for a corner.
The game turned for the worse for Herne Bay as Kate Foster was involved in a crunching tackle with Gills Lisa Fulgence. Foster came off the worse but she managed to continue on with the game.
Gills Ladies added a fourth as they continued their dominance. This time a corner was crossed into the path of Blackie who hit a powerful shot which deflected off the post and fell comfortably into the path of Fulgence who was in front of the open goal and she simply tapped the ball into the empty net.
Herne Bay were looking to make the score more respectable and they did try to play the ball forward but couldn’t create any chances and were easily dealt with by the Gills Ladies defence.
Gillingham then added a fifth as a corner came the way of Ahern at the back post and she had time to pull out a powerful shot which was deflected off a Herne bay defender before Fulgence nestled the ball into the back of the net.
Danielle Carlton could have made it a sixth for Gills Ladies but her shot from outside the penalty area was excellently saved by Handley and went out for a corner.
Cooper also had a great chance to score the Gills sixth goal as she got the ball in the middle of the pitch after a great cross from Whinnett but her well timed and hit shot cannoned off the crossbar and was deflected away.
But it was Whinnett who finally added a deserved sixth for Gills Ladies as she got the ball in the middle of the pitch after great wing play down the right. Whinnett took her time before hitting a low right shot which had Handley beaten all ends up and going to the bottom right corner of the net.
Full Time: Gillingham Ladies 6 Herne Bay Ladies 0
Gills Ladies return to action this Sunday back at Chatham Town FC as they play heir fourth round of the FA women’s cup against Preston North End.
Faye Baker, Jade Keogh, Fliss Gibbons, Deanna Cooper, Rachel Ahern, Amy Taylor, Jay Blackie (captain), Emma Tune, Lisa Fulgence, Charlotte Gurr, Danielle Carlton.
Lauren Williams, Lauren Davis, Nikita Whinnett.
Herne Bay Line up:
Breeze Handley, Debbie Blackmore, Emily Hayward, Beth Nugent, Lesley Kay, Kate Foster, Carly Farrow, Harriet Chapman, Sarah Holmes, Vicky Holness, Rachel Tracy (captain)
Isabelle Tulett, Bella Smith, Lauren Wiltshire, Elizabeth Lehan
Referee: Zoltan Konkoly
Linesman: Matthew Cowlam and Steven Julian