Following Gillingham Ladies’ 1-1 draw at Luton Town LFC on the opening day of the FA Women’s Premier League 2016-17 season, we spoke to Ladies manager Jack Wheeler on his thoughts on the result and his team’s performance.
After a balanced first 45 minutes to the new season, Luton scored 7 minutes after the interval leaving Gills on the back foot. We asked manager Jack what he thought on the start to the new season;
“We were the better team being honest, we were a bit nervy to start but we had large spells after we got over those nerves. As we got into our stride, we showed we have more gears yet to go. The girls aren’t happy at the moment but we’ve learned from today, we change things for the next game and that’s all I can ask.”
Gills managed to restore the score line just four minutes after conceding the opener but couldn’t go on to find a winner, Wheeler was glad to see Gills not panic at going behind against Luton;
“It’s not nice conceding any goals and it wasn’t ideal just after the half time break, these things happen they’ve hit us on the break and scored. The good thing from our team is that we’ve managed to get back into it very quickly. Conceding the goal didn’t effect our stride which bodes well for the season.”
With the first game of the season over with we put to Wheeler if he thought that his build up to the new campaign had been beneficial in the season opener and if it had gone the way he had hoped;
“We’ve had quite a solid pre-season, but we do need to get some of the girls back still as they’ve been away, I’m looking forward to getting the whole squad completely back together. In the first game of the season you never know what’s going to happen. So think 1-1, we didn’t lose, at least we’ve taken something away from the game.”
Next week sees Gills Ladies first home game of the season and also the first at the new home ground of Corinthians Sports Club in Longfield, We asked Wheeler if the excitment of a new home ground was what would spur on the players for the first win of the season next week;
“I’m very much looking forward to it, I used to play at Corinthians a few years back which is how we got in contact to play there. Its probably one of the best pitches outside of the professional grounds in Kent. I’m quite looking forward to getting on there as it will suit our style of play and I’m looking to make it a fortress like we had at Chatham Town FC.”
Gills haven’t the easiest opening two fixtures, our first weekend opponents Luton Town LFC finished 4th last season while Milton Keynes Dons LFC came 3rd one place behind Gills. A tough opening for the Ladies and manager Wheeler thinks it could be set to be a wide open league this season after opening weekend;
“Milton Keynes gave us two stern games last year and I’m expecting the same next week, its going to be a difficult encounter but we have to wait and see. We’ve had two teams to start the season which potentially will be up near the top come the end of the season. But looking at the results today, there’s some other strong teams and those that have just come up that have gone and got three points today on the opening game. We will just have to see what happens.”
This Sunday! Gills face Milton Keynes Dons LFC in the first game at Corinthians Sports Club, Longfield DA3 8LY. Join the Gills and purchase a season ticket for just £25 for Adults this season. Any purchase of a season ticket will receive a FREE fixture list poster!