Sixteen year-old Centre of Excellence graduate Ashleigh Loosemore couldn’t have dreamed of a better start to life in senior women’s football.
Having scored a fantastic free-kick last weekend, Loosemore was at the heart of Gillingham’s impressive attacking display against Bedford Ladies Reserves on Sunday afternoon and bagged herself another goal to continue her run of form.
Speaking after the game, Loosemore revealed the Gills accomplished 4-1 win gave her and her team-mates a big boost.
“It was good a good win -it’s boosted the confidence of the girls as we may have dropped our heads a bit from the defeat last week but getting the win this week is good, everyone’s happy and everyone’s spirits are high.”
Loosemore added, “It was good to get on the scoresheet, last week with the free kick but then this week I had to work for the goal which was good.”
Loosemore was pleased with her personal performance but praised her team-mates for their dogged determination to ensure a comfortable performance was matched with a comfortable scoreline.
“I think people adapted themselves as the game went on, we learnt to stand back, let them get the ball and then attack it. As our touching wasn’t that good in the game, we learnt to control it better and to get the ball down, look up and play as opposed to just knocking the ball out of our feet.”
Loosemore revealed Manager Jason Wright’s message at half time was very simple and she and her team-mates kept to instruction to oversee a good cup win. “He just told us ‘Keep going, keep your head up and keep doing what you’re doing’ and we looked to get shots in when we had a glimpse on goal.”
It can be a difficult transition to senior women’s football, but Loosemore and several of her team-mates are relishing the new challenges and enjoying the club’s move to Chatham Town FC.
“The atmosphere is the main difference” Loosemore said, “Being in a proper ground, you know you’ve got people behind you, backing the team up. When you’re on the pitch you can hear from the sidelines all people’s encouragement. The pitch is also much better quality!”
Besides the improved match day facilities, Loosemore praised the strong Centre of Excellence foundations within the team, “It gives you a base to work around” she said “and then you begin to make mates throughout the team, it builds from there and the play gets better.”
From a personal perspective, Loosemore also revealed how the impact of senior players at the club is helping instil belief in her and her team-mates: “I think I’ve grown in confidence, the senior players talk to you more, they tell you where to go and talk you through the game until your confidence is built up.”
Moving on from the Bedford win, Loosemore believes there’s a positive season ahead for Gillingham Ladies Reserves: “I think we’ll do pretty well. We’re getting the ball into the back of the net. Last week was unfortunate but I’m sure we’ll keep going from here.”