Report by John Seager
Goals from Charlotte Long and Lauren Williams saw Gillingham Ladies grab a historic first win ever at Priestfield Stadium as they defeated Keynsham Ladies in their first home game of the new FA Women’s Premier League season.
Going into the game, Gillingham Ladies manager Simon Ratcliffe had to deal with a brave but disappointing defeat on Thursday night against Brighton and Hove Albion Ladies and was hopeful that a good crowd at their first home game of the season would help the girls bag their first win of the season.
The game started with Gills Ladies on the back foot as Keynsham pressed forward trying to spoil Gills big day at Preistfield.
Keynsham had the first chance on goal as Fleur Jenkins broke through on goal but it took a good low save from Shanly to save her shot and the ball was cleared away.
Rachel Cullen then had a great chance to score for Keynsham as she tried to lob Shanly but the shot rebounded off the cross bar and the ball was cleared away by Emma Michelmore
Gills Ladies took the lead on seven minutes as Jade Keogh broke the offside trap to set up Long who simply tapped the ball past the rushing Keynsham goalkeeper to give Gills Ladies the lead.
Emma Tune almost doubled Gills lead as she broke though on goal but the goalkeeper for Keynsham rushed out so quickly Tune had no chance of getting past her.
Louise Lorton had a great chance to score as she received a high cross from Hincks, she managed to get her head on the ball but the ball went high and wide of the goal and out for a goal kick.
Lorton then broke though on goal again after receiving a great pass form Tune, but she took too many touches whilst rushing on goal and the ball was easily saved before being cleared away by the Keynsham defence.
Gills Ladies started to crank up the pressure as Tune had their next chance to score after a good cross from Lorton came her way, from a header from Long, but the Keynsham;s defence reacted well to the pressure and the ball was cleared away.
Sophie Brown then broke though on goal and had Hincks and Keogh waiting for the ball in the middle of the pitch but Brown chose the wrong option and went for goal. Her shot went well wide of the goal with Keogh and Hincks crying for the ball in the middle of the pitch.
Hincks was causing a lot of problems for the Keynsham defence and it took a great save to deny her a goal as she tried the lob the Keynsham goalkeeper from outside the penalty box.
Hincks then had a great chance to score as she cut inside her defender and got a run on goal, she timed her shot to perfection and zipped past the goalkeeper but it rebounded off one post then the other post before being cleared away for a corner.
Half Time: Gillingham Ladies 1 Keynsham Ladies 0
The second half started with Gills Ladies looking to add a second goal which would give them some breathing space in this game.
Hincks was back in the thick of the action again and had a chance to score after receiving the ball form Lorton, she had some space in the middle of the pitch but her goal bound effort went well wide of the goal.
Williams nearly gifted a goal to Keynsham as a cross came her way into the penalty box, there was a mis-communication between her and Shanly which led to Williams mis-kicking the ball nearly into the back of her own net.
Hincks then had another goal chance to score as she got the ball from Keogh on the left. She took a touch before hitting a powerful lob over the Keynsham goalkeeper, but sadly for Hincks it cannoned off the bar and the ball was saved before it could cross the line.
Gills Ladies changed things up as Lorton was taken off as Simon Ratcliffe brought on Kayleigh Galvin in her place.
Hincks was denied yet again as she was put though on goal from a great pass and timed her shot well but was brilliantly denied.
Hincks was denied again as she and Tune both had chances to double the Gills Ladies lead. Hincks was again put through on goal but took too much time with her shot and the ball was deflected to the path of Tune who hit a low shot towards the goal but it was excellently saved.
Keynsham then started to panic the Gills defence and won a corner which led to Rachel Cullen setting up Arianna Somaschini who hit a powerful shot towards goal but she got too much behind her shoe and the ball sailed over the bar.
Gillingham then added a second goal on 82 minutes as a corner was crossed into the penalty box; the ball fell the way of Captain Williams who hit a low shot just outside the penalty box. Her shot zipped past the Keynsham defenders and was too good for the Keynsham goalkeeper and it nestled into the back of the net.
Keynsham failed to give up and made it an interesting last five minutes and got back into the game on 87 minutes as a cross came from the left and Andreaa Alexandru broke the offside trap, got her foot on the shot which had Shanly scrambling to her left but she couldn’t stop the ball from going into the back of the net.
Keynsham tried to get a leveller as the game went into stoppage time, but they couldn’t create any chances past the organised Gillingham defence.
Full Time: Gillingham Ladies 2 Keynsham Ladies 1
Gillingham Ladies line up: Courtney Shanly, Sophie Brown, Lauren Williams (Capt), Emma Tune, Emma Michelmore, Sokhara Goodall, Louise Lorton (Kayleigh Galvin), Charlotte Long, Ashlee Hincks, Lauren Phillips, Jade Keogh,
Goals: Long (7), Williams (82),
Booked: Long (60)