It was an outstanding victory for Gills Ladies in the FA Women’s Premier League Cup. After seeing off their Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United, Gills boss Simon Ratcliffe was pleased his side got the job done.
Asked whether he was pleased with his side’s performance, Ratcliffe replied: “Second half yes, first half I thought we were really disappointing. We moved the ball around slowly and we were a bit ponderous so at half time I asked the girls to quicken the pace up which they did and scored a lot more goals.”
A good win for the Gills but more importantly for their manager another opportunity to accumulate crucial play time ahead of a busy schedule of League fixtures: “It was important as we’ve had so few games pre-season to get minutes under the belt; it was a warm day and the girls needed to push and get that fitness in. They did that and kept going until the very end.”
With an injury to Louise Lorton early on, Ratcliffe was forced to change his formation which proved very rewarding, as Lauren Phillips reverted back to her more natural role up front claiming four goals as a result.
Simon revealed: “It was something I was thinking of doing anyway (playing Lauren upfront) as that is her normal position and I’ve not had the opportunity to do that yet and I wanted Athena to have a run at right back as well with the games we’ve got coming up.”
And with those games coming up thick and fast, the Gills manager is positive his new side will continue to produce good performances: “It’s a natural progression; the more games we play the better we will be. We need to get fitter and become sharper on the ball and take fewer touches and we will do that the more games we get to play.”
With the Gills next home game to be played at Priestfield Stadium, there’s much excitement from fans of Gillingham Ladies and the women’s game more generally at the momentous moment for the club. Ratcliffe however remained firmly focused on Gills next league fixture on Thursday evening. A long mid-week trip to Brighton and Hove Albion
“I’m very much looking forward to leading the girls at Priestfield but we’ll think about that on Friday morning after the mid-week game.”
“We’ll have a training session on Tuesday. I’m not sure about the night games, the wisdom of them with girls working it’s going to be difficult to get there – as it will be for Brighton when they play at our place on the Thursday night as well. But we’ll do out best.”
Overall, a good day’s work for Gills Ladies, Ratcliffe concluded: “I’m satisfied we’ve got another 90 minutes under our belt. It’s hard to gage how good the performance was as Ebbsfleet were stretched at times but we’ll take it and move forward.”