Gillingham Ladies had to settle for a point in Sunday’s FA Women’s Premier League clash with Ipswich Town Ladies. Amy Taylor had given Gills the lead but Ipswich’s Joyce Mlambo made sure the visitors had a share of the points.
Manager Jack Wheeler made two changes to the starting line up from last week’s cup win at Southampton Saints. Courtney Shanly returned between the sticks and Millie Waud began in the starting XI for the second league match in a row.
The Gills started the first half brightly, within the first ten minutes Gills had numerous chances. Amy Taylor twice finding time and the space to test the Ipswich defence. Her first effort was set up by a pin point through ball by Lauren Williams, Taylor fired her effort over the crossbar. The forward was then able to capitalise on a defensive miscommunication by Ipswich, and found herself one on one with the Ipswich goalkeeper. Her effort rolled wide of the left hand post.
With a quarter of an hour gone, the visitors tested the Gills defence for the first time in the game. Natasha Thomas slipped her markers and was able to get a shot away, her attempt was straight at Gills keeper Shanly.
Gills kept pressing for the opening goal, thirty minutes into the game Katie Hardaker had a curling effort tipped wide of the post by Ipswich keeper Leanne Smith. In an end to end few minutes Ipswich counter attacked, Joyce Mlambo trying her luck for the visitors, but Gills keeper Shanly comfortably dealt with the shot.
Gills Ladies took the lead in the 40th minute, Millie Waud sent a wonderfully weighted through ball in-between the Ipswich defence for Taylor to sprint on to, the forward this time was on target to place the shot past the keeper. 1-0
Minutes later Waud nearly had a goal to go with her assist, Hardaker delivered a corner into the six yard box and Waud above her marker and sent a header crashing off the woodwork. In a Gills dominate spell, April Bowers sending a shot over the crossbar from distance.
HALF TIME: GILLINGHAM LADIES 1 IPSWICH TOWN LADIES 0
It was five minutes into the restart that Ipswich levelled the scoring, from a corner Mlambo fired in a powerful shot and even with Williams attempting a header on the goal line, she couldn’t stop the effort from finding the top corner. 1-1
The closing ten minutes of the fixture produced some exciting viewing football, on the wide left Amy Taylor played in Charlie Thurston past the last line of Ipswich defenders. Ipswich keeper Smith closed down the space and managed to just beat Thurston to the ball to clear to safety.
Though Ipswich could have taken the win for themselves in the same spell, Thomas sent a drilled shot in past Shanly but was ruled offside in the build up. Sophie Welton also had a late chance for the visitors, she beat the Gills defence and got a shot past Shanly but saw it go wide of the far post.
Gillingham threw everything at the visitors in the added time at the end of the game, three chances fell to take all the points late one, Amy Taylor twice trying her luck at goal before setting up April Bowers on the right of the penalty box, Bowers saw a shot whisper past the far left post.
Gills had to settle for a share of the points but maintained an unbeaten start to the FA Women’s Premier League season.
FULL TIME: GILLINGHAM LADIES 1 IPSWICH TOWN LADIES 1
Gillingham Ladies; Courtney Shanly, Vanisha Patel, Rachel Ahern, Vicky Ashton-Jones, Lauren Williams (60′ Jade Keogh), April Bowers, Emma Tune, Grace Seely (68′ Charlie Thurston), Millie Waud (73′ Emily Symonds), Amy Taylor
Subs: Katie Startup, Charlie Thurston, Jade Keogh, Shannon Redhouse, Emily Symonds
Ipswich Town Ladies; Leanne Smith, Jac Ball, Sophie Welton, Sian Fagg, Aimee Harrison, Lindsey Cooper, Natasha Thomas, Joyce Mambo, Hollie Clement, Zoe Cossey (34′ Jenni Gray), Jade Henry
Subs: Georgie Morton, Cassie Craddock, Sam Walker, Jenni Gray
Referee: Christopher Clarke
Assistants: Paul Franks, Nick Fruin