For a third year in a row, Charlton Athletic and Gillingham Ladies come head to head in the Kent Women’s Cup final.
This year, the final is being hosted at an elite venue for the first time, with the final scheduled for Thursday 10th April at Maidstone’s Gallagher Stadium with a 7:45pm kick off.
As the Women’s Cup celebrates its tenth year, the competition has largely been dominated by three clubs with both Gillingham and Charlton, alongside Millwall Lionesses, winning the silverware three times. Whoever wins this year’s competition will enjoy the additional title of being Kent’s most successful women’s side in the competition.
Gillingham Ladies manager James Marrs revealed how the club have their eyes set on retaining the prolific Kent Women’s Cup.
“It’s a brilliant feeling to get to a cup final and especially the Kent one. It’s a big trophy for us as we want to be renowned for being the best women’s side in Kent. Being that the final is at Maidstone, we’re hoping that the weather is nice and we can get loads of fans down there to watch.”
Likewise, Charlton Athletic Reserves team manager Warren Clarke revealed his pride at his side’s achievement making it to the competition’s final and how The Addicks are preparing to showcase their club at the final.
“Getting to the Kent Women’s Cup final for the second successive season with a new group of players is a fantastic achievement showing that we have a good group of players and coaching structure in place. Being the underdogs it would send out a big statement about the work we are doing here at Charlton and I believe it’s a cup the players would love to add to their trophy cabinets.”
Gillingham are current Women’s Cup champions having beaten Charlton Reserves 2-1 in a very hard fought contest last year at Sevenoaks FC. The Gills will look to make the most of the momentum from a successful 5-0 win against Ebbsfleet in the semi final to take on The Addicks again.
Charlton meanwhile produced a brilliant comeback to seal their place in the Kent Women’s Cup final, beating London Corinthians 4-2 after extra time in their semi-final tie.
Both clubs are very familiar with each other, intensifying the contest The Gallagher Stadium is set to host.
Marrs said: “It’s always a good game against Charlton, they have been the superior side for a number of seasons over Gillingham and we’re doing our very best to change that around. They have a lot of quality players and will certainly be up for the challenge. The girls don’t need much firing up for the Charlton games so we’re hoping that they roll their sleeves and work as hard as they can.”
Clarke and his side are equally excited at the quality of football the Kent Women’s Cup final will bring, showcasing the development of the women’s game in the county.
“The team and myself are very excited to be facing Gillingham, they are flying in The FA Women’s Premier League and knowing James from our time at a coaching course, he sets his team up to play just like ourselves. We’ve identified aspects of our game that needs fine tuning so we’ll be working hard on the training field to put it right so we can give the supporters something to cheer about.”
A highly anticipated date in Kent’s Women’s football, the final is an encounter football fans in the county don’t want to miss out on.
Addressing fans, Marrs explained how the final will be set to entertain those who come along.
“The Kent Women’s Cup is the main trophy we set our sights on every season. To win it for the third time on the bounce would be more history for the club and a huge achievement for the club.”
“It’s the two best women’s sides in Kent, both try and play attractive football and the final is on the best surface and in the best stadium in Kent. It’s relatively cheap for people to get in and around in Maidstone Town centre. You will be guaranteed a ‘good game’ so pop down for a couple of hours and join in the fun!”
Clarke meanwhile encouraged people to get down to Maidstone: “Two teams playing open, expansive football under the floodlights of the outstanding Gallagher Stadium what more do you need? Plus you’ll get the chance to meet the players afterwards so any fans or aspiring players surely can’t miss what will be a fantastic game.”