Gillingham Ladies held their nerve to win penalties as they started their defence of the Women’s Ryman League Cup as they beat Billericay Town Ladies on Wednesday evening in their Quarter Final of the competition.
Going into the match, Gillingham Ladies manager Simon Ratcliffe decided to send the majority of the reserves players to the game in Essex. This meant a chance for Jason Wright to showcase his players in the competition and they were joined by some of the first team including forward Sophie Brown.
In his last game against Charlton, Jason’s side played well despite losing narrowly by a single goal and he was determined to put this right against Billericay Town.
The game started with Gillingham Ladies trying to boss the game early on but the Billericay midfield held them out.
As Gillingham failed to clear their lines in defence, Marie Barker got through and had a shot on goal but she got too much behind her shot and went high over Imogen Alabaster’s goal for a goal kick.
Paris Smith nearly broke the deadlock as she got through on goal from a good pass from Murphy, she did well to divert her shot from Alabaster but her effort went narrowly wide of the goal.
Fran Murphy then had another chance for Billericay as she broke through on the right, took her time before placing a low shot towards goal but Alabaster easily saved.
Georgia Pilbeam had a great chance to score for Gillingham as she got at the end of a good cross from Kiera Daulby. Pilbeam took her time before hitting a low shot towards the near post but Prior saved well low to her left.
Billericay had another chance to take the lead as Murphy broke through on goal but Alabaster did well to narrow her shot towards goal and the ball ended up in the side netting.
Gillingham then took the lead on 43 minutes as Ashleigh Loosemore did well to get the ball from Billericay before setting up Pilbeam, who seeing Prior off her line, delightfully chipped the ball over her from outside the penalty box.
Half Time: Gillingham Ladies 1 Billericay Town Ladies 0
The second half started with Billericay on the front foot as they looked to get back on level terms. They won a corner straight from the kick off and as Gillingham tried the clear the ball away, Smith had a good chance to score from outside the penalty box but pulled her shot well wide of Alabaster’s goal and out for a goal kick.
Billericay had a great chance to get on level terms as Katie Whitehead got in the end of a cross and did well to hold off Daulby before hitting a low shot towards goal.
Billericay got on level terms as Murphy did well to hold off Hollie Musmeci an got the ball and team towards goal before placing a low shot past Alabaster.
Kayleigh Galvin was then introduced in a tactical change for Gillingham Ladies, but Smith could have given Billericay the lead as a defensive mistake let in Smith to have a shot at goal and Alabaster did well to divert her shot away. From the resulting corner, Vanessa Wilson got hold of the cross and hit a free header past the helpless Alabaster and into the back of the net.
Galvin was involved as the Gills got back on level terms on 71 minutes as her cross came the way of Cavenagh who set up Daulby to simply tap the ball past Prior.
Billericay then pushed further forward looking to retake the lead, but couldn’t create any further chances as Gills Ladies held out and took the game to penalties.
Final Score: Gillingham Ladies 2 Billericay Town Ladies 2
Gillingham Ladies took first and it was Emily Lyons who stepped up and drilled a high shot but shot got too much on it and it went over the bar. Billericay then capitalised on it as Hayley Piggott and hit a high powerful shot straight into the top corner to give them an early lead.
Bonnie Long then sent Prior the wrong way to get Gillingham Ladies to 1-1. Fran Laisey doubled the lead to Billericay as she hit a low shot past Alabaster and into the back of the net to make it 2-1 to Billericay.
Kayleigh Galvin hit a powerful shot towards the right of the goal and Prior had no chance of saving it and it put Gills Ladies back on level terms. Hayley Spallin was next to take a penalty and hit a low penalty to Alabaster’s left but Alabaster read her well and saved the shot low by Alabaster and the score stayed at 2-2.
Sophie Brown was next up for Gills Ladies and she hit a powerful shot to the right side of the goal the ball cannoned off the bar and it nestled into the back of the net and it game and it gave Gillingham a 3-2 lead. Marie Barker was next to step up for Billericay, she hit a low shot straight down the middle but the ball was hit straight at Alabaster and she easily saved the shot to make it 3-2 to Gills Ladies.
Ashleigh Loosemore was next up and all she had to do was score to send Gillingham Ladies through, she hit a powerful shot towards goal sending Prior the wrong way and the ball zipped into the top of the net to send Gills Ladies though 4-2 on penalties.
Imogen Alabaster, Annie Morrison, Georgia Reece, Hollie Musmeci, Kiera Daulby, Bonnie Long, Sophie Brown, Emily Lyons (Capt), Georgia Pilbeam, Chloe Cavenagh, Ashleigh Loosemore.
Subs: Lucie Heath, Nicole Witham, Kayleigh Galvin.
Billericay Town Ladies:
Laylor Prior, Holly Darling, Sally Appleton, Hayley Spallin, Marie Barker, Vanessa Wilson, Paris Smith, Katie Whitehead, Fran Murphy, Fran Laisey, Hayley Piggott
Subs: Sophie Whiting, Helen Alder, Emma Roberts, Steph Poleykett, Jo Dunne
Referee: S. Newton
Linesman: P. Humphries and S. Patel