Lauren Phillips was proud to reflect on good progress made by Gillingham Ladies this second half of the season and celebrated getting on the score sheet against West Ham United. We spoke to the Gills striker to gather her thoughts on a good week and what lies ahead for the club.
The club has had a difficult season losing an host of talented players and coaches to FA WPL rivals Brighton and Hove Albion. The Gills striker was keen to point out the significance of last weeks cup final and the impact she believes it can now have as the team preprare for their final three league fixtures.
“I think it’s been documented the difficulties we have faced this season, but not to dwell on that Wednesday in its own right was a big game for us. Not only to gain confidence and momentum running into our remaining three games of the season which are cup finals in themselves, but to regain the Kent Cup for the fourth consecutive season. With getting the win against a tough London Corinthians side, who made it very difficult for us and where we made it difficult for ourselves at times, I think it has relighted the confidence within the squad at a very important time.”
Phillips was one of only three players who remained at Gills Ladies and played consecutive cup finals for the club and it proved to be another memorable night for the committed striker.
“Being fortunate enough to be a part of consecutive successful teams to lift the Kent Cup is special. It’s a trophy that has always been important to the team and this season even more so this season with the ups and downs we have had.”
“It’s an important competition to prove we are the best team in Kent, which we may not have showed that at times throughout the season in comparison to past, but one we all take pride in being a part of especially for those who like myself have been involved for the past seasons successful campaigns.”
The win on Wednesday propelled the team to a fantastic league victory of the Sunday. The team showing their battling qualities to fight back on two occassions to beat West Ham United 3-2. A Hammers fan off the pitch, Phillips could not have taken more delight at scoring against her team.
“The goal I scored on Sunday was a little special for me personally. It also came at a time to put us in the lead before half time but also to actually hitting the back of the net after coming close hitting the bar and post 2-3 times in respective games. I seem to have a habit of making it difficult for myself not scoring the “easy” ones and then step up to score an overhead kick Sunday.”
Phillips added “The goal gave me a massive boost that I had been needing! To be honest not entirely sure what happened, I just reacted, flung myself to the rebound and it just happened to fly in the top corner, much to the shock of everyone!”
“I suppose the best goals are the ones that are that instinctive. Either that or I have been dreaming about the Juan Mata’s goal in my sleep and not realised!”
Confidence is key for Phillips personally and the whole team, as she explained:
“Winning two games on the bounce in the same week, at this stage in the season is massive especially the way we have come back into the last two games from going behind. There is a confidence and belief in the squad that I think the girls now recognise.”
“We just need to channel that into the remaining games and not make any silly errors. Our remaining games are all cup finals and where we need to show some grit and determination. I have great belief in the team and know we can do it and the girls feel the same.”
The team has been producing markedly improved performances since the new year and Phillips admitted the fighting spiriting epitomising Gillingham Ladies is beginning to show in points collected.”
If you look at the last two games, and previous games e.g. QPR, you can visibly see that there is a fighting spirit, it has always been there just sometimes not as visible. We are in the position we are, and we have to work hard to achieve what we want and that is to stay up.”
“No-one said it was going to be easy and yes we have made it hard for ourselves at times. But it’s in our hands, only we can get ourselves out of this and we will, starting with Sunday’s game.”