Gillingham Ladies Reserves 2 QPR Ladies Reserves 6
Report and Photographs by Julian Hart
Following Thursday’s nights Ryman Cup semi final which saw some of the reserve team players see ninety minutes just two days before, Jason Wright rested striker Georgia Pilbeam, and made changes for the injuries to keeper Imogen Alabaster and attacking midfielder Chloe Cavengh. With no first team fixture this weekend Lauren Williams, who missed the last two first team games through illness, stepped into the defence to get minutes under her belt as they faced QPR reserves on a very muddy Chatham pitch.
But despite the reserves recent good results and performances, a hat-trick from Carrie Ann Layton, a brace from Zemeka Clarke and one from Fern Colepio gave QPR’s a resounding scoreline win over Gills. Late second half goals from Kayleigh Galvin and Charlotte Long gave the score a better reading from a Gills perspective.
The game started on an even footing, both teams looking to establish an advantage from the off. It was just five minutes into the game when Gills found their first chance in attack, Lucie Heath’s clearance from the defence made its way towards Sophie Brown in QPR’s half. Brown’s pace to chase down the ball forced QPR’s defence to clear away to safety. A minute later Brown was again the centre of Gills attacking threat as she found space to latch onto a through ball on the edge of the box. Taking the ball under control unleashed a shot but it was straight at Torr Caldwell in the QPR goal.
QPR’s opening threat came on the 10 minute mark, Mel Gagnon played a low diagonal ball across the Gills box to Fern Colepio at the far post. Colepio drove a shot goalwards by the effort was saved by Gills keeper Sophie Ledger.
The deadlock was broken in the 14th minute. Georgia Reece sliced a defensive clearance inside the box and the ball was collected by Zemeke Clarke ten yards out. A powerful strike into the near top corner was beyond Ledger’s reach. 0-1
Gills Reserves looked to make a quick response, Bonnie Long pushing the ball out of defence was fouled by a QPR midfielder, the advantage was played as it made its way to Sophie Brown who continued to pose Gills attacking threat up top. But the well drilled QPR defence were quick again to react and cleared the danger.
QPR doubled their lead not long after, Clarke getting her second of the game. QPR’s well retained passing lead to Clarke obtaining time to get a low drilled shot across goal past Ledger and into the far corner. 0-2
And it soon could have been more on the scoresheet, Clarke’s looping shot was palmed into the path of Charmaine Benham. The striker managed to turn her effort on an open goal from six yards out, over the top of the bar.
With half an hour on the watch, defenders from both teams made efforts to keep the other team out. First it was Ashleigh Harte in the QPR defence with a great tackle on Brown, stopping Gills threat. Attack then turned into defence for Gills, Hollie Musmeci was forced into making a challenge on Layton breaking through on goal. Well timed to clear the QPR danger.
Gills were to finish the first half the brighter. Substitute Ashleigh Loosemore won possession on the right wing, after Loosemore’s clever one two passing with Brown, the attacker was able to squeeze between two defenders. Brown’s shot was well collected by Caldwell in between the QPR sticks.
Half Time: Gillingham Ladies Reserves 0 QPR Ladies Reserves 2
With no more than two minutes after the restart QPR extended their lead, Carrie Ann Layton got her first of the game. Smart movement around the Gills defence and Layton found the end of a through ball and one on one with Ledger to slot home past the Gills keeper. 0-3
Gills continued to push for a way back into the game, first Ashleigh Loosemore won a corner, the resulting kick into the box put QPR under a bit of panic. The ball was cleared away but found its way back into the area, Galvin looked to get onto the end of the cross, but the forward was unable to bring it down and the QPR keeper scooped it up.
Just over ten minutes into the second half and Layton got her second of the game. A cross into the box took a bounce off of Clarke and into the path of Layton, she took time to compose her shot into the bottom corner from 10 yards. 0-4
Layton completed her hat trick for QPR within 18 minutes of the second half. Converting a cool lob over Ledger in the Gills goal. 0-5
Gills second half sub Charlotte Long then came close. Keira Daulby did well to force a corner, Lauren Williams floated the kick into the area. Daulby headed the ball down into the path of C.Long but she was unable to get enough contact to trouble the QPR keeper.
Gills did peg one goal back in the 77th minute, it was C.Long who had been influential since coming on as a sub, played some smart passes with Galvin who placed a shot from 20 yards beyond Caldwell. 1-5
On the bounce of getting one goal back Gills looked to get more, Brown unleashed a shot but it sailed high over the bar. A C.Long header found Brown, who in her stride was unable to keep her effort down.
Five minutes to go and Fern Colepio restored QPR’s lead to five goals, Colepio’s rifled shot found its way past Ledger and in the Gills goal. 1-6
Though Gills weren’t to give up, Brown dummies one defender to get a shot away. Caldwell did well to save the initial shot but parried into the path of C.Long who duly slotted home past the QPR keeper. 2-6
Gills reserves came up against a well composed QPR side, and some of the Gills team facing their third game in a week were not completely at the races. Spells of flowing attacking football, much like in the last two reserve league fixtures, showed through when they got their chances.
Gillingham Reserves: Ledger, B.Long, Musmeci, Williams, Reece, Lyons, Galvin, Morrison(C.Long,56), Daulby, Heath(Loosemore,22), Brown
Goals: Galvin (77) C.Long (88)
QPR Reserves: Caldwell, O’Reegan, Hayes, Harte, Gagnon, Engels, Clarke, Nicholson, Benham, Colepio, Layton
Subs: Long, Lopes, Skiverton
Goals: Clarke (14,23) Layton (46,56,62) Colepio (86)