Despite a late goal from Lauren Phillips, a goal from Ashleigh Goddard and a sublime brace from Katherine O’Hagan was enough for Lewes Ladies to defeat Gillingham Ladies on a sunny afternoon at Priestfield Stadium.
Going into the game, Gillingham Ladies manager Simon Ratcliffe was trying to use the positivity and the confidence that the team played in the second half of last week’s game against Spurs Ladies in order to grab a big win against Lewes Ladies.
Ratcliffe brought up Imogen Alabaster for her first start in the first team after some impressive performances in the reserves over the past few weeks in goal. Also coming into the line up were Georgia Reece after a good performance last week against Spurs and Chloe Cavenagh who again has been making some good impressions in the reserves. Lauren Phillips started upfront with Ashlee Hincks and Captain Lauren Williams overcame a douse on tonsillitis to captain the side.
The game started with Gillingham Ladies trying to work the ball from the back – something that they have been looking to do in training this week.
But it was Lewes who had the first chance of the game as they won a corner, 8 tried to cross it into the penalty are but Emma Tune was there to get the tackle in and clear the ball away.
Lewes who took the lead on seven minutes as a through ball was played into the path Catherine O’Hagan and she brushed off her defender before placing a shot past the rushing Alabaster and the ball nestled into the bottom corner of the net.
Gillingham could have immediately got back on level terms as Danielle Farmer got the ball just on the outside of the penalty box and she did well to hold off her defender before have a low shot on goal it did beat Beazley but the ball went narrowly wide of the post and out for a Lewes goal kick.
Phillips then had a chance to score as she foot the ball from a great though pass from Emma Michelmore, she did well to hold off her defender but she couldn’t connect well with her shot and Beazley easily saved the shot.
Lewes then could have doubled their lead as the Gills defence switched off and O’Hagan got though again on goal but this time Alabaster did well to save her shot a point blank range before Tune cleared the ball away for Gillingham.
Lewes then had another chance to double their lead. Ashleigh Goddard and O’Hagan worked well to test and torture the Gillingham defence. They did clear the ball but only straight to Katie McIntyre and she unleashed a powerful shot from thirty yards out, it had beaten Alabaster but the ball grazed the bar and went out for a goal kick.
Gillingham then were starting to create more chances as Hincks then beautifully setup Phillips who beat the offside trap to get though on goal, she took her time before placing a low shot but Beazley saved well with her feet and the ball was cleared away.
Lewes then got the break on Gillingham and doubled their lead on twenty seven minutes as a long ball over the top came the way of O’Hagan and she got away from Rachel Ahern before placing a cool shot past Alabaster and the ball zipped into the bottom corner of the net.
Gillingham did continue to create chances in get back into this game and after some good work down the wing from Farmer, she crossed the ball into Phillips who then set up Hincks to have a chance on goal but she got too much behind her shot and the ball went well wide of the goal and into the stand.
Lewes then added a third on thirty six minutes as a ball was crossed into the box from right, and the ball was met by O’Hagan who had a chance to complete her hat trick but Ahern got the tackle in to deny her chance of scoring but the ball was going to the back post and Ashleigh Goddard was first there tap the ball into an empty net.
Chorelle Khassal then had a great chance of adding a fourth before half time for Lewes. the ball was worked hard down the right by Sian Heather and she hit a well timed cross to Khassal who was unbalanced but she still she hit a beautiful volley towards goal but Alabaster was there to saved the shot low to her left.
Gillingham finished the half on the front foot as both Farmer and Phillips both had chances to get on the score sheet but they lacked any finishing power and the shots were easily saved by Beazley.
Half Time: Gillingham Ladies 0 Lewes Ladies 3
The second half began with Lewes Ladies on the front foot as they looked to add a fourth goal to their sizeable tally. They won an early corner and the ball was crossed into the path of O’Hagan but she tied to lob Alabaster from three yards out but she misconnected it and Alabaster easily saved the shot.
Gillingham tried to push forward by working the ball from the back, but they were caught out when Khassal got the ball from Ahern but it was Michelmore who deflected the ball before Khassal can get her shot on target and the ball went out for a Lewes corner.
Lewes then had another chance to get a fourth goal as the ball cane the way to O’Hagan on the right and she hit a delightful shot which beat Alabaster for pace but her shot cannoned off the crossbar and the ball was cleared away by the Gillingham defence.
Gills Ladies then introduced Sophie Brown, Natalie Crinean and Chloe Cavenagh as they looked to freshen things up as they continued to get back into this game. And Crinean nearly broke though on goal as she beat three defenders for pace but a last ditch tackle from Katie Baker denied her the chance to get a shot on target and the ball went out for a corner.
Phillips was the next person to create a chance for Gillingham as she worked well to get the ball from a great pass from Michelmore, she did well to hold the ball up before crossing the ball into the path of Brown but she wasn’t expecting the ball to be played to her and she miss-kicked her shot and the ball was easily gathered up by Beazley.
Gillingham then got on the score sheet on 83 minutes as Tune won the ball from her defender in the middle of the pitch and she beautifully created a though ball for Phillips who took her time before slotting a low shot past Beazley and the ball zipped into the back of the net.
Gillingham tried to push to get another goal and but sadly time ran out on them as they pushed forward.
Gillingham Ladies will now turn their attention to Kent FA Women’s Cup next week as they being their trophy defence away from Priestfield Stadium as they travel to Parkwood Rangers Ladies.
Gillingham Ladies line up: Imogen Alabaster, Ellie Manning, Lauren Williams (Capt) (Chloe Cavenagh), Emma Tune, Emma Michelmore, Rachel Ahern, Louise Lorton (Natalie Crinean), Georgia Reece, Ashlee Hincks, Lauren Philips, Daniella Farmer (Sophie Brown).
Subs not used: Courtney Shanly,
Goals: Phillips (83)
Lewes Ladies Line up:
Michelle Beazley, Chloe Howe (Katie Baker), Rachel Palmer, Katie McIntyre, Rebecca Thompson, Kellie Newton, Sian Heather, Chorelle Khassal (Kelly McCullock), Catherine O’Hagan, Ashleigh Goddard, Yasmin Poole
Subs not used: Alison Cowling.
Goals: O’Hagan (7, 27), Goddard (36),