Gills ransacked at Palace

Charlotte Richardson

Torrential conditions made a difficult evening even harder for Gillingham Ladies who were beaten 5-0 at Bromley FC by Crystal Palace Ladies on Wednesday evening.

The opening 15 minutes of the fixture were a write off for both teams with heavy rain making it practically impossible for either team to get the ball down and play.

It was the visitors however who appeared to be controlling momentum of the game and created the match’s best opening opportunity. Kallie Balfour threatening the Palace defence, creating time and space to get an effort on target which was comfortably saved.

A bright start was brought to a thunderous halt when Palace took the lead. The hosts with plenty of pace and physicality made some positive attacking movements throughout the game and were rewarded when Gills failed to clear their lines and Palace stroked the ball home from six yards out.

Gills responded well and enjoyed periods of possession as both teams battled against the conditions to make it an entertaining encounter for fans.

Gillingham Ladies captain Lauren Williams enjoyed a positive performance down the left hand side, pushing forward to support the team and supplying a number of testing crosses which had the Palace defence flustered.

One such cross escaped the Palace defence but both Balfour and Jade Keogh were unable to get a clinical touch to secure Gillingham an equaliser.

As the half wore on, Gillingham Ladies were beginning to create a passing tempo but clear cut opportunities were limited by an organised and determined Palace side.

Katie Hardaker put another effort on target for the visitors which a shot launched from 25 yards out. Keogh followed up with a similar effort slightly closer to goal as Gills worked hard to score an equaliser.

Gillingham came out for the second half and were caught cold by Palace as they doubled their lead shortly after the whistle was blown. Another ball across the six yard box was tapped in and under goalkeeper Courtney Shanley.

Palace’s third was a disappointing one for the visitors to concede, a poor clearance scooped up and the hosts did well to punish their rivals with a third.

All momentum was with Palace from this point. Buoyed by their three goal lead the hosts made it four when a ball whipped in from the right escaped everyone in the box and went into the back of the net.

Megan Maslak looked bright for Gillingham Ladies as she was introduced by Joint Manager Darren Hare. The Gills Centre of Excellence graduate called for a penalty as she appeared to be clumsily bundled over with possession by the Palace keeper but the appeal was waved away and Palace effectively cleared the danger.

Balfour, who looked a threat on the ball for Gills, showed quick feet to interweave here way around the Palace centre backs before releasing a shot on goal but the attempt was gathered.

A difficult evening for Gills Ladies was compounded in the 87th minute as Palace extended their lead even further. A delightful free kick on the edge of the area curled into the top left corner giving the hosts a deserved victory.

Gillingham Ladies midfielder Emma Tune revealed her disappointment after the game but says the team are determined to bounce back.

“Tonight’s a tough result to take. We’ve worked really hard as a squad to put on positive performances so far this season but tonight we did not put an acceptable account of ourselves. We know we can do better and we will do better. We’re a tight knit group and will look forward to Sunday and showing what we’re all about.”

Gillingham Ladies hit the road for their third away trip in a week this Sunday as they face Ipswich Town Ladies.


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