Goals from Ashlee Hincks, Lauren Phillips and Ellie Manning sealed a 3-2 victory against The Hammers in tough conditions at Chatham Town FC. After retaining the Women’s Cup on Wednesday evening at Maidstone United, Ratcliffe was pleased with improved performance over the 90 minutes.
Ratcliffe said: “I thought we played very well, not dissimilar to when we went away and lost 5-1 but today we didn’t make any silly errors.”
“We’ve shown a bit of character to come back into games this week. I was dissapointed with the goals we have conceded today. In the dressing room before the game, our message was to concentrate and concentrate and we didn’t. Conditions helped as the ground was hard here yesterday and the rain has helped make it a good surface.”
Gills Ladies hit the cross bar twice in the build up to Phillips’ important overhead kick and Ratcliffe admitted memories from the team’s previous contest against West Hame did return.
“Away at West Ham we hit the cross bar twice at important points where we could have brought the game back and taken the lead at one stage. Today, when we hit the crossbar twice again, you did think ‘here we go again’ but the big moment in today’s game was when they hit the crossbar and that’s the first game where we have had a little bit of luck.”
Ashlee Hincks scored her fifth goal in three games for the Gills and Ratcliffe explained how the club’s top scorer played a different role in the formation on Sunday afternoon.
“When we played against Lewes, we played Ashlee in midfield and she’d been doing that for a few games. What we’ve not had is enough players to play the formation I would like, with the players I would want in the positions I would want. Today, fortunately Charlotte Thurston was fit and we could bring Ashlee back into midfield and she did very well.”
There was further praise for Thurston who returned from injury to help power Gills attacking movements throughout the difficult contest against West Ham.
“When people show effort and enthusiasm it rubs off on other people and Charlotte Thurston, I did not expect her to play today, she wasn’t fit for Wednesday and she turned up today and said she felt good to play and she’s gone on to put in a good shift for us and she did very, very well.”
Looking ahead to next Sunday and Gillingham Ladies face a long trip to Bristol to face relegation rivals Keynsham.
Looking ahead to that game, Ratcliffe said: “Winning is a habit, winning two games on the spin and with Keynsham away on Easter Sunday, which is a long trip for us, we will hopefully be able to take that form away with us.”
“I look forward to every game and next Sunday is a cup final for us and we need to treat every game as such.”