Gillingham Ladies continued their winning streak as they beat Dartford Royals Ladies in another strong home win, with support from their mascots of the day, Gillingham FC Girls Centre of Excellence.
The Gillingham Ladies got off to a great start once again, with a goal from new signing Paige Baker-Carroll in the first few minutes. Jade Keogh took the ball through the midfield and played it to Baker-Carroll who was clean through, she beat the Dartford goalkeeper Hannah McNamara and tapped it into the net.
A brilliant start to her career at Gillingham, Paige Baker-Carroll had to be proud to get the first goal of the game and her first for the team. 1-0 Gillingham.
The Gills next goal came later in the first half in the form of a counter attack. With the Dartford Royals Ladies pressing forward, Rachel Ahern regained possession and with a great ball over the top, picked out Kallie Balfour who whipped a cross in towards April Bowers in the box. Bowers controlled the ball well, cut inside onto her right foot and struck the ball which sailed into the top right corner of the net. The keeper had no chance of reaching it. 2-0 Gillingham.
The third goal of the game came when a ball from Paige Baker-Carroll put striker Lydia Wills through, she held off the defender and one-on-one with the keeper she placed the ball into the bottom corner of the goal, brilliant composure. 3-0 Gillingham.
40 minutes in and Madison North stepped up to take a free kick which was directed at the keepers front post. The defence failed to clear the ball and it rebounded back to Paige Baker-Carroll who knocked the ball into the goal at the keepers near post. A comfortable lead and 4-0 Gillingham.
As the first half was coming to an end, an attempt to play out from the defence did not go to plan for the Gills Ladies and the ball fell into the path of Dartford’s Kelly Philpott. Philpott hit the ball brilliantly into the top left hand corner and gave the visitors a goal back on the score sheet. 4-1 Gillingham.
Half time score: Gillingham Ladies FC 4: Dartford Royals Ladies FC 1
The second half got off to a slow start, but the Dartford Royals Ladies were definitely looking to pile on the pressure and were asking more of the Gillingham defence. After the first 10 minutes, Manager Jack Wheeler decided it was time for a change with a double substitution that saw Lydia Wills and Chelsea Wallace replaced with Shannon Redhouse and Emma Tune.
Not long after being on, Emma Tune stepped up for a free kick which was a good 30 yards out, she struck the ball which hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced off the line but unfortunately the rebound was only placed over the bar.
After a rather unproductive first 30 minutes of the second half for both sides, Jack Wheeler decided to make his third and final substitution changing Ashleigh Loosemore for Georgia Reece. A rather long injury break then broke up any momentum that was building for Gillingham Ladies at the end of which goalkeeper Courtney Shanly decided she couldn’t play on. As all three substitutions had been made, Rachel Ahern had to step up in goal, leaving the Gills with only ten players on the pitch.
Despite their one player disadvantage, Gillingham proved the strength of their team with a fifth and final goal. A short corner from Shannon Redhouse to Madison North was passed on to Jade Keogh. Keogh looked up and took a shot which sent the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net. 5-1 Gillingham.
Soon after, a ball over the top appeared to put Kallie Balfour clean through, however she was taken down by Dartford Ladies’ Juliette Teague. A questionable call with what should have surely been a red card from the referee saw Teague only receive a yellow. The resulting free kick taken by Balfour was only sent narrowly over the crossbar, and the whistle was blown shortly after
Another impressive performance from Gillingham Ladies sees them fly through to the next round of the Kent FA Cup.
Final score: Gillingham Ladies FC 5: Dartford Royals Ladies FC 1