Gillingham Ladies 5 London Corinthians Ladies 3
Despite conceding two goals from Emily Hart and a single goal from Katherine Long, a brace from Ashlee Hincks and other goals from Emma Tune, Louise Lorton and an own goal saw Gillingham Ladies retain the Kent FA Women’s Cup for the fourth time as they defeated a spirited London Corinthians side at the Gallagher Stadium in Maidstone.
Gillingham Ladies controlled the game’s tempo early on as they started on the front foot and had their first chance as a delightful cross from Tune to Sophie Brown saw Brown break through on goal but she hit her shot too high and it cannoned off the bar before being cleared away.
Gillingham continued to up the pressure as Tune won the ball and passed it to Hincks who then hit a shot from outside the penalty box but got too much curve on her shot and the ball went wide.
Hincks was then set up by Lauren Phillips as she broke through on goal but Courtney Harvey did well to stop the ball at her feet and clear the ball away for London Corinthians.
Gillingham’s next chance came from a free kick which Emma Michelmore drilled into the penalty area, the ball fell the way of Tune who hit a low dipping shot towards goal but Harvey did well to save.
But it was London Corinthians who broke the deadlock on 20 minutes as a free kick was not dealt with by Gillingham and Emily Hart got the ball and drilled a high shot past Courtney Shanly and into the back of the net.
Gillingham tried their hardest to get back on level terms but it was London Corinthians who added a second goal on 25 minutes as a free kick was crossed into the penalty box and Katherine Long was unmarked on the back post and drilled a shot past Shanly.
Gillingham had it all to do to save the game and on 28 minutes they got back into the Kent Cup final as some good work down the wing by Phillips pushed the Gills forward and she hit a good pass to Hincks, who got away from her defender, and curled a low shot past Harvey and into the bottom right corner.
Hincks then had a great chance to get Gillingham back on level terms as some silky play between Louise Lorton and Hincks saw the Gills striker break through on goal but she decided to power a shot on goal which sailed over the crossbar whereas her strike partner Phillips was unmarked six yards out.
Hart then had a great chance to give London Corinthians the lead as a corner came her way and she hit a low shot from over twenty yards from goal. The shot evaded everyone including Shanly but the ball cannoned off the post before being cleared.
Half time: Gillingham Ladies 2 London Corinthians Ladies 2
Gillingham Ladies took the lead for their first time in the game with their first attack of the half. A corner from Phillips and the ball was not dealt with by Harvey and she cannoned the ball off the post and bundled it into the back of the net.
The game was starting to swing from end to end and it was London Corinthians who got back on level terms on 51 minutes as Hart got the ball in the middle of the pitch and held off her defender before placing a high shot past Shanly.
Gillingham retook the lead on 55 minutes with their fourth goal of the game. This time it was Lorton who broke down the wing after receiving a good pass from Charlotte Long, Lorton got away from her defender and hit a powerful shot from just inside the penalty area which Harvey couldn’t reach.
Hincks sealed Gillingham’s win on 63 minutes as she held off two London Corinthians defenders before getting to the edge of the penalty box and unleashed a powerful shot which had Harvey staring at thin air as she watched ball sail past her and into the top corner of the net.
Long and Phillips were at the heart of the action as Gillingham had a chance to score a sixth goal as a corner was not handled well by London Corinthians. Long tied to bury the ball from inside the penalty box but Harvey did well to stop the ball on the line from Long and Phillips’s rebound efforts.
A gripping thriller of a Kent final came to an end queing Gillingham Ladies celebrations as they lifted the Kent Women’s Cup for a historic fourth consecutive year.
Final Score: Gillingham Ladies 5 London Corinthians Ladies 3
Courtney Shanley, Emma Michelmore, Ellie Manning, Lauren Williams (Capt), Charlotte Long, Emma Tune, Emily Lyons, Louise Lorton, Ashlee Hincks, Lauren Phillips, Sophie Brown
Subs: Charlie Thurston, Chloe Cavenagh
London Corinthians Ladies:
Courtney Harvey, Kayla Murphy, Chanel Richards, Lauren Wallace, Alex Ragan, Hannah Tichener, Adele Keech (Capt), Izz Mihanski, Emily Hart, Megan Mansfield, Katherine Long,
Subs: Claire Jenner, Hannah Riddich, Kristi Nunnick, Claire Williams