Gillingham Ladies started their Kent FA Women’s Cup defence with a victory against Dartford Royals.
Gills opened the scoring on four minutes as Jade Keogh ran through from the half way line before passing the ball to new signing Paige Baker-Carroll who beat the offside trap, ran the ball past two defenders and coolly placed the ball under the on-rushing McNamara.
Gills doubled their lead when April Bowers added a brilliant second goal when Kallie Balfour drilled a deep cross to her on the left of the penalty area. Bowers hit a looping shot from a difficult angle and the ball beat McNamara, curling into the top right corner of the net.
Lydia Wills added a third goal for Gillingham when she broke away on goal and showed some great composure before placing a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Baker-Carroll continued to have a fantastic debut and scored her second of the game when a free kick from Maddison North was played to her in front of goal. Baker-Carroll had her first shot saved by McNamara but the rebound counted back to her and she slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Dartford got on the score sheet with four minutes left of the first half. Kelly Philpott capitalised on a mistake by the Gills defence and hit a powerful shot just inside the penalty area that left Courtney Shanly scraping for air.
Half Time: Gillingham Ladies 4 Dartford Royals 1
Gills started the second half looking for a fifth goal but chances from Balfour and Baker-Carroll were easily dealt with by the Dartford defence.
Emma Tune had a great chance to score a fifth goal for Gillingham. She took a free kick which cannoned off the cross bar and fell to Balfour who was in front of goal and tried to lob McNamara but she was caught offside.
Sadly for Gills, they had to play the final fifteen minutes of the second half with ten when Shanly pulled up with an injury and Rachel Ahern decided to go in goal as Gills had used all three of their subs.
But being a player down didn’t affect the Gills and they added a superb fifth goal. A corner was played out to Keogh on the edge of the penalty area, she saw McNamara off her line and hit a beautiful lob, which dipped into the back of the net.
Final Score: Gillingham Ladies 5 Dartford Royals 1
Gillingham Ladies: Courtney Shanly, Charlie Thurston, Rachel Ahern, Maddison North, Kallie Balfour, Jade Keogh, Lydia Wills, Chelsea Wallace, Ashleigh Loosemore, April Bowers, Paige Baker-Carroll
Subs: Imogen Alabaster, Emma Tune, Georgia Reece, Shannon Redhouse
Dartford Royals: Hannah McNamara, Emily Arnold, Louise Lynch, Ellen Thomas, Victoria Bull, Sophie Longhurst, Kelly Philpott, Melissa Bishop, Juliette Teague, Faye Bingham, Jody Lazell
Subs: Lee-Anne Beaney, Kathryn Esson, Emma Moore, Kerry Whitehorn
Referee: John Proctor
Attend ace: 120