Centre of Excellence graduate Imogen Alabaster performed heroics for her side last Sunday afternoon. Having seen her team-mates go one nil up against Brighton and Hove Albion, Alabaster was called into action as Gills Ladies were reduced to nine players through injury.
But despite a disappointing scoreline, Alabaster shined throughout her senior football debut, pulling off several saves including a double penalty save late on in the game.
Looking composed and cool on the pitch, Alabaster revealed she was far from so ahead of her debut in senior women’s football: “I was nervous before hand but managed to settle quite quickly into the game with the help of my team mates along with the pre-match talk from our manager Jason Wright.”
“I also felt very grateful to have the chance to play a whole game and hope that I did not disappoint my coaches and team mates.”
Alabaster certainly didn’t disappoint with an outstanding performance which was not reflected by the scoreline. Alabaster gave more detail into how the game turned after injury to Bex Stroud.
“We started off very strong, avoiding any massive threats but as soon as we lost Bex to injury, we all knew that it was going to be a tough game. However, we stayed strong and managed to keep the score at 0-0 by half time despite the remaining players starting to get very tired.”
“As soon as we went down to 9 players, you could see everyone needed to work hard for each other which we did and managed to get the first goal that gave everyone a needed boost. By the time a few goals had gone in, everyone was reaching exhaustion and the key objective was just to make it to the final whistle with as little goals conceded as possible. Even I was getting extremely tired and I do no way near as much running around as the on field players do.”
Despite the loss however Alabaster feels the game brought the team together and made them stronger as a unit. Alabaster and co are in the fortunate position that they can put the match to bed tomorrow afternoon as they welcome their next opponents, Bedford Ladies, to Chatham Town in the League Cup.
“Apart from aching bodies, the girls are feeling excited and positive about the games ahead knowing how well we maintained our performance on the weekend with so little players.”
“Personally, I was really happy with my performance despite the scoreline, my personal favourite being my penalty save and rebound save. It’s always a good feeling as a keeper to stop one shot, better yet two consecutively.”
Alabaster also commended the the benefits of playing at the fantastic pitch at Chatham Town FC. The Gills keeper praised the move from BAE to Chatham for it’s Reserve Team set up and encouraged fans to check it out for themselves tomorrow: “The pitch there is one of the best that I have played on along with the seating surrounding it. It’s nice to see the people that have come to watch us play so close and able to see the whole game and hopefully enjoy it and will come back!”
“It’s really important for us to see the fans as the support lifts the morale of the team and it’s also nice to give something back to those fans.”
If you want to head along and support Imogen and her team-mates tomorrow, they face Bedford Ladies at 2pm at Chatham Town. Free entry for all fans.