It was a disappointing result for the gills but a good debut for reserve team goalkeeper Imogen Alabaster in the 3-1 defeat against Lewes.
The 17 year old was called up to the first team after some solid performances for the reserves.
Imogen said: “It was nerve-wracking. Beforehand I was very shaky, very nervous about it but I think I did alright. It was nice to have a change because I’m with the reserves most of the time, so it was nice to have a change around and see how different players work.
“I think I need to improve on little things to get that confidence and hopefully come back and play with the first team knowing I can keep up with everyone else. “
Lewes’ pace and fast reactions gave them an early lead and ensured their eventual 3-1 win.
They kept clam under the pressure from early attacking play by Gillingham and waited for their moment to attack.
Gillingham kept most of the possession but Lewes were patient and their chance to break through soon came.
In the 8th minute, Catherine O’Hagan showed great pace in front of the goal and took a powerful shot that sailed past Alabaster making it 1-0 to Lewes.
Danielle Farmer had a brilliant game and was unfortunate not to find the goal in the first half.
She had to compete with a solid Rebecca Thompson who was difficult to get past with her build and speed in front of goal.
Farmer had an early chance when she worked the ball in to the middle of the box before shooting wide.
O’Hagan outrun Gillingham’s defence on numerous occasions to take powerful shots at goal.
She replicated her earlier goal but this time the shot was saved by Alabaster who was quick to react to the on target shot.
Ashleigh Goddard supported O’Hagan well in attack, feeding in good balls for O’Hagan to take her shots.
The second goal came in the 28th minute as O’Hagan broke through Gillingham’s defence again.
Gillingham seemed to be in control in the first half but a few mistakes by the defence, who were missing captain Lauren Williams who had been moved to midfield, saw them fall to 3-0 at half time.
The final goal for Lewes was an example of this, three defenders were huddled at the post trying to stop the striker but she managed to pass it out to Ashleigh Goddard who tucked it in.
As Gillingham have shown time and time again this season, their second half was better than their first.
Ashlee Hincks and Lauren Phillips worked well together upfront again this week, but couldn’t make it past the Lewes defence.
Emma Michelmore seemed to wake up in the second half making some excellent tackles to stop Lewes from increasing the gap.
This half felt more even with both teams struggling to get to the goal, but showing flashes of pace.
The Gills made a triple substitution in the 67th minute with a clear aim of moving forward.
Natalie Crinean, Sophie Brown and Chloe Cavanagh, making her senior team debut, came on for Daniella Farmer, Louise Lorton and captain Lauren Williams.
Brown was good on the attack and had chances to score but was unable to finish and was often looking for support up front that wasn’t there.
Birthday girl Phillips finally managed to find the net in the 84th minute. Emma Tune, who took over as captain, passed it in to Phillips who out ran Lewes defence and found the goal.
The goal was a consolation prize for the Gills who were out played by Lewes. They moved forward and applied more pressure, but were unable to deal with the speed of Lewes’ attack.
Gillingham’s manager Simon Ratcliffe was pleased with the chances his team made but overall felt they could have played better.
“I told them to go out and play like they did against Tottenham in the second half but they didn’t in the first. They were a little bit tepid.
“It was only in the second half that they got the bit between their teeth and got the goal, a few tackles went in and they had a good go in the second half. But it’s not good enough ultimately. “
Gillingham will be in action in the Kent Cup next Sunday against Parkwood Rangers