2014 a year in Pictures! Part 2

By Julian Hart

In part one of ‘2014 a year in Pictures’ we have looked at the first half of the year at Gillingham Ladies, with memorable matches and a record finish to the season, the summer months bought the end of a very successful 2013/14 season. However it was to be a very long close season for Gills, manager James Marrs left for the vacant managers post at fellow Southern Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion. A significant number of the playing squad followed leaving the club, Gills were in complete transition. It was previous months of talks with Gillingham Men’s club that helped the Ladies during the summer, a partnership was formed and the Ladies club would fall under the Gillingham men’s club umbrella. The men’s club took control of the day to day running and management of the club. The first step was to rebuild what had been left by so many summer departures.

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July 2014

The new founded partnership with the Men’s club saw the Ladies benefit in terms of facilities, the start of pre-season the Ladies were welcomed to the club with training sessions at the clubs traing ground Beechings Cross and indoor gym facilities at Priestfield. Darren Hare, Gillingham’s Director of Youth Developement and Community Trust, began the task of recruiting a new Ladies manager and overseeing the pre-season recruitment process and training sessions alongside remaining coaches Bill Long and Jon Leckie.

The ladies start to the pre-season run in was a tough one, In a interview at the time Hare revealed the Ladies were subject to exactly the same pre-season routine that the men were facing.

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4th August 2014

At the beginning of August, with the start of pre-season in flow with Darren Hare, Andy Hessenthaler and James Russell. The appointment of former Gillingham defender Simon Ratcliffe as first team manager was made.

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New Season 2014

A huge summer of change, the Gills head into the new campaign with a much changed squad. The new link with the men’s club has given the chance for the Gillingham C.O.F.E to have a development outlet. The Reserve team now consisting of C.O.F.E graduates managed by academy coach Jason Wright.

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7th September 2014 – Gillingham 2 Keynsham 1

What they’ve been working for, Pre match of the first home game, the first time the girls step out onto the Priestfield pitch on match day. A summer of transition behind them, the league season is set to begin.

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7th September 2014 – Gillingham 2 Keynsham 1

What a feeling for the players to be part of a historic game in the Gillingham Football Club history. In the tunnel about to step out in front of a record crowd for the Ladies club, in the first Ladies match to be staged at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

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7th September 2014 – Gillingham 2 Keynsham 1

In a game of first’s the records were going to continue, Charlotte Long wrote her name into the books, the first Ladies goal to be scored at Priestfield! A square ball from Jade Keogh across the six yard box found Charlotte Long, to side foot into the net. Giving the Gills a first half lead against Keynsham.

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7th September 2014 – Gillingham 2 Keynsham 1

Continuing the records set, the first home game was sure to set a few. Keynsham had levelled the score to 1-1 after the half time break. Into the last ten minutes of the game, newly appointed club captain Lauren Williams latched onto a lose ball to volley home to give Gills the victory. Becoming the first Ladies player to score at the Rainham End at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

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14th September 2014 – Gillingham Ladies Reserves 4 Bedford Ladies Reserves 1 (Reserves League Cup)

Gills Reserves, now consisting of a number of C.O.F.E graduates making their debuts. After a opening day defeat the Reserves bounced back to record a win against Bedford and see the Reserves progress to the next round. Which saw them faced with Charlton Reserves away, a resilient performance saw them come away from Greenwich with a 2-1 win. The Reserves League Cup run is the positive of a difficult first half of the season.

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21th September 2014 – Gillingham 6 Copsewood 2

In Gills second game at their new home ground, they took a resounding win over newly promoted side Copsewood. Natalie Crinean and Ashlee Hincks grabbed two goals each while Jade Keogh and Anelle Massey also netted.

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14th November 2014 – Gillingham 2 Tottenham 4

Gillingham’s following run of fixtures through October and November saw a dip in results. However a positive to come from these run of games has been the number of C.O.F.E Girls to make their Senior debuts for the club. In the final three months of 2014, Georgia Reece, Imogen Alabaster, Chloe Cavenagh and Sophie Ledger all from the C.O.F.E have made first team appearances for Gills Ladies. As manager Simon Ratcliffe showed the pathway for the young developing talent in the squad.

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16th November 2014 – Parkwood Rangers 0 Gillingham 8

Stepping away from the league, Gills took a convincing win in their opening game of their Kent Cup defence. Making the trip to Bexley Park to face Parkwood Ranger, Gills progressed to the next round with Crinean and Hincks netting hat-tricks while Emma Tune and Lauren Williams also scored to set up a next round tie with Herne Bay in January.

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14th December 2014 – Gillingham 1 Cardiff 7

Natalie Crinean scored a consolation goal as Gills final fixture of 2014 saw Gills fall to a heavy defeat to high flying Cardiff Ladies. It may not have ended how Gills would of liked result wise, but looking back 2014 has certainly been a memorable year!

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