Gillingham Ladies welcomed Newcastle United WFC to Chatham Town FC for the quarter-finals of the FA Women’s Premier League Plate. Today was the first occasion on which the two teams had come head to head so it promised to be an interesting game.
Throughout the first half, the game was end to end. Newcastle appeared to have the majority of possession and chances but failed to create anything significant, Gillingham created a few chances of their own but again nothing Newcastle needed to worry about.
Towards the end of the first half the referee looked to a tough decision to make when one of the Newcastle defenders made what appeared to be a risky tactical foul on Kallie Balfour. Balfour looked to be clean through but was clipped from behind on her run towards goal. There was a loud shout for a foul from the players and fans alike but the referee gave nothing and allowed play to resume. The referee could easily have seen this differently and this would have certainly changed the course of the game.
There was plenty of action during the opening 45 minutes; however it proved unproductive for both sides, with neither team able to break the deadlock.
Half Time Result: Gillingham Ladies 0: Newcastle United Ladies 0
The second half proved to be much more eventful. Gillingham came out firing from the first minute and a ball over the top saw Balfour go through but unfortunately she placed the ball a whisker wide of the left post.
Within 5 minutes some good pressure from Newcastle accompanied by some poor defending and a misplaced clearance from Gillingham led to Newcastle grabbing the first goal of the game. The ball fell to the feet of Newcastle’s Jessica Foster who beat the defender on the right wing and whipped the ball into the box. Ellen Turnbull rose highest only for the ball to ricochet off of the back post and back into play, amongst a scramble of players Turnbull managed to get a toe to it and knock the ball into the net. 0-1 Newcastle.
Newcastle kept the pressure on Gillingham and shortly after they doubled their lead. Jessica Round made an excellent driving run forwards and played the ball to Jessica Foster out wide. Round didn’t stop there and continued her run into the box, Foster cut the ball back into Round who slotted it neatly into the bottom left corner. 0-2 Newcastle.
At this point the Gills, down but not out, pushed forward to try and get themselves back into the game. A shot from Emma Tune and a great save from Alison Cowling led to a Gillingham corner. Unfortunately the corner was cleared allowing Newcastle to go on the counter attack from which they themselves were awarded a corner. The corner was taken and another scramble in the box allowed Newcastle to claim their third and final goal. Even the Newcastle players seemed uncertain as to who got the last touch, the ball was knocked around and finally ended up in the back of the net. 0-3 Newcastle.
After a rough opening 15 minutes to the second half the Gills kept their heads up and continued to push to get on the score sheet. We saw some brilliant play, both attacking and defending from both sides in the final 30 minutes but some resilient defending from Newcastle and a lack of luck meant that Gillingham were unable to capitalise on a number of chances. It wasn’t their day today and unfortunately the Gills were unable to get back into the game which ended 0-3 to Newcastle.
Newcastle will go on to the semi-final of the FA WPL Plate and Gillingham Ladies look forward to their next home game against Tottenham Hotspur LFC in the FA Women’s Cup.
Full Time Result: Gillingham Ladies 0: Newcastle United Ladies 3
Gillingham: Shanly, Reece (Thurston 46′), Ahern, North, Williams, Tune, Keogh (Hardaker 72′), Bowers, Balfour, Wills (Baker-Carroll 72′), Redhouse
Newcastle: Cowling, Smith, Havelock, Lock, Brooks, Foster, Gardner, Round, Dobson, Turnbull, Hewitt
Subs: Mckenzie, Clarke, Driver