The crowd at MEMS Priestfields Stadium headed home happy despite a 4-2 loss to Tottenham Hotspur Ladies on Sunday afternoon.
Although the score line was not in their favour, the drama of the game and the attitude of the team after half time was enjoyed by all.
The Gills started strong with captain Lauren Williams working hard to stop Tottenham breaking their defence.
Tottenham had chances early on but the Gills worked together well, dropping back to defend the goal.
Their teamwork was shown in an early attempt at goal that saw Rachel Ahern one on one with the Tottenham striker.
Despite Ahern’s best efforts, she was unable to stop a shot at goal which went past keeper Courtney Shanly, but Willams was on the line to keep the teams level.
Tottenham’s first goal came in the 14th minute from a corner. As the ball came into the box Shanly seemed to be fouled as the ball went over her head and into the goal.
The Gills lost some confidence after this goal and Tottenham didn’t ease up on the attack.
Goal number two came soon after with a powerful shot from their no.10 straight down the middle from outside the box.
The third goal came just before half time from a free kick that was tapped in by no. 9.
The end of the first half unfortunately saw goalkeeper Shanly get injured. As she went to clear the ball from the goal, a Tottenham player tried to charge it down resulting in a collision.
Shanly received treatment but stayed on for the last 2 minutes of the game, making an excellent save despite clearly being in some pain with her ankle.
The Gills came out for the second half with a new lease of life and a new goalkeeper in the shape of Emma Michelmore, who stepped up to replace Shanly.
They pushed for a goal with Lauren Phillips, returning to her preferred position of striker, and Ashlee Hincks working together to create chances.
Nikita Whinnett showed excellent pace down the wing to put pressure on Tottenham’s defence.
Some decisions made by the referee had cause problems between the teams and it was clear that the Tottenham players were getting frustrated, despite their lead.
A nasty tackle on Whinnett by the opposing number 19 gave Gillingham a free kick and Tottenham a yellow card.Hincks only added to Tottenham’s irritation by scoring from the free kick taken just outside the box.Whinnett jumped into Hincks arms in celebration for avenging her tackle.
Michelmore, who made some excellent saves throughout the half, was unfortunate to let the final goal in.
With Tottenham on the attack, Michelmore came out of goal to meet the striker. There was little she could do to stop the shot from her position.
The final goal from the Gills and for the match came again from Hincks who’s speed down the wing gave her the space to cross the ball in to the goal.
The drama didn’t end here though. In the 84th minute, a second foul on Whinnett saw the referee reach for his cards again. But this time it was red for no. 19.
It was an exciting game full of drama that the fans clearly enjoyed despite the defeat.
The ladies are in action again next Sunday when they take on Lewes at Priestfields.
Gillingham Ladies: Courtney Shanly (Georgia Reece), Emma Michelmore, Lauren Williams(c), Rachel Ahern, Ellie Manning, Emma Tune, Sophie Brown, Danni Farmer, Ashlee Hincks, Nikitta Whinnett (Lorton), Lauren Phillips