By John Seager
Gillingham Ladies 4 Cardiff City Ladies 2
Goals from Jay Blackie, two from Lisa Fulgence and a penalty from Charlotte Gurr was enough for Gillingham Ladies to extend their lead at the top of the FA Women’s Premier League South at the expense of Cardiff City Ladies at Maidstone Road – home of Chatham Town FC on Easter Sunday.
Gillingham Ladies manager James Marrs was still feeling proud with the team’s performance in last Sunday’s cup game with Arsenal Ladies despite conceding two but he was hoping to put things right with a good performance in this top of the table clash.
The game started in wet and damp conditions with Gills Ladies looking to get an early breakthrough. It was Cardiff Ladies who had the first chance as Bethan Lloyd got the ball on the edge of the box and hit a low shot towards goal but Faye Baker was easily able to catch the ball.
Gills Ladies continued to be pressed on the back foot by Cardiff Ladies, but Fulgence got on the end of a great pass from Deanna Cooper and hit a low ball towards goal but the shot was excellently saved by Dando in the Cardiff goal.
Fulgence had another chance to score as Gills Ladies won a throw in and the ball was crossed in by Danielle Carlton and Fulgence was at the end of the cross but the ball just couldn’t connect with her and it ended in the safe hands of Dando in the Cardiff goal.
Gills Ladies then won a corner but the ball was cleared away, Gills Ladies had another chance as the ball came the way of Carlton who hit a powerful shot from outside the box but the ball went wide of the goal.
Cardiff Ladies Lauren Townsend had a chance after getting away from her defender and hit towards goal from twenty yards out but her tame shot was well wide of the goal and it went out for a goal kick.
Cardiff then won a free kick deep in the Gills half, Townsend crossed the ball into the box but she got her bearings all wrong and the ball went high over the bar for a goal kick.
Gills Ladies had another chance as Gurr was excellently played through from a ball from Emma Tune but she took her shot way too early and the ball went well wide of the goal.
They then took the lead as a free kick was played through from Jade Keogh and Blackie was there to head the ball past Dando and give Gills Ladies the lead.
Cardiff Ladies started to add more pressure as they looked to get back into the game. They worked the ball hard on the right side and the Gills Ladies were lucky to get the ball away after failing to clear their lines.
Cardiff’s Nicola Cousins had a great chance to score as she went on a amazing run from her own box and shot towards goal from around twenty yards out. The shot did worry Baker in the Gills Ladies but the he ball went over the bar.
Gills Ladies then had a chance to double their lead as Gurr got the ball and hit a powerful shot towards goal but her shot went wide of the goal. Then Lauren Davis was though on goal from a pass from Fulgence, but her shot was easily saved by Dando.
It was then Fulgence who had a great chance to score as she got the ball from the pass from Tune but she was adjudged to be offside when she got the ball in front of Dando.
Gills Ladies finished the half with a flourish as they won a penalty as Fulgence broke though and was pulled down by Dando in front of the goal. Gurr stood up and sent Dando the wrong way to double the lead before half time.
Half Time: Gillingham Ladies 2 Cardiff City Ladies 0
Gills Ladies started the second half by bringing on Nikkitta Whinnett on the right side of the pitch for Davis.
And the substitution paid off as Gills Ladies added a third as Keogh worked well down the left side of the pitch and hit a delightful cross into the penalty box and Fulgence was there to head a looping ball past Dando who was clawing at thin air before the ball nestled past her and into the back of the net.
Cardiff did manage a goal of their own straight from the kick off as Michelle Green and Beth Lloyd worked well before Lloyd the ball towards goal which clipped of the Gills Ladies defender and went past Baker in the Gills goal to put Cardiff back in the game.
Cardiff Ladies then won a free kick from about just over twenty yards out, Townsend drilled the shot towards Baker in the Gills Ladies goal but she did well to tip the ball over the bar and out for a Cardiff corner.
Cardiff Ladies did try and get back into the game they brought on Gwen Harries and she linked well with Nicola Cousins as she looked to cross a ball into the penalty box but she mishit her cross and it went out of play for a goal kick to Gills Ladies.
Then Gills Ladies added a fourth goal as the ball was crossed into the box from Gurr and she set the ball into the path of Fulgence who did well to poke the ball past the stranded Dando and despite the best effort of the Cardiff defender it went to the back of the net for her second goal of the game.
Fulgence could have completed a hat trick as she tried to acrobatically tried to kick the ball past Dando from about five yards out but her brave attempt was cleared off the line from a defender before being cleared away.
Gills Ladies brought on Rachel Ahern for Lisa Fulgence as they looked to close out the game with over ten minutes to go. It nearly paid off as Gurr nearly put her though on goal but Dando cleared the ball away.
Keogh had another great chance to add a fifth goal for Gills Ladies as she took a free kick from around twenty yards out. She curled the free kick towards goal, it had beaten Dando but the ball cannoned off the cross bar and it went out of play.
Cardiff finished the game stronger of the two sides and they finished off the scoring as Kelly Issac got the ball from the edge of the penalty box and hit a powerful shot which Baker got a hand to it but she couldn’t stop the ball from going into the back of the net.
Full Time: Gillingham Ladies 4 Cardiff City Ladies 2
Gills Ladies return to action next Sunday as they travel to Keynsham Town LFC for their next league game as the looked to secure another win on their path to claiming the FA Women’s Premier League South title.
Gillingham Ladies Line up:
Faye Baker, Lauren Davis, Jade Keogh, Deanna Cooper, Amy Taylor, Fliss Gibbons, Jay Blackie (captain), Emma Tune, Lisa Fulgence, Charlotte Gurr, Danielle Carlton.
Charlotte Long, Lauren Phillips, Nikita Whinnett, Lauren Williams, Rachel Ahern.
Cardiff City Ladies Line up:
Sophie Dando, Nicola Cousins, Lauren Townsend, Cori Williams, Louise Hutton, Kayleigh Green (captain), Kelly Aldridge, Michelle Green, Bethan Lloyd, Kelly Issac, Naomi Clipston.
Gwen Harries, Hannah Daley, Hannah Mills, Steph Williams.
Referee: Jamie Broughton
Linesman: Michael Johnston and Kieran Williamson.