Gills Ladies on brink of title with win

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Gillingham Ladies 7 Actonians Ladies 1

Report by Julian Hart

Gillingham Ladies moved within one game of securing the FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One title after a win against Actonians Ladies sees Gills with a ten point gap over second placed Cambridge United Women FC.

After last weeks narrow solitary goal victory over Stevenage Ladies in Hertford, Gills returned to home soil at K Sports looking to rediscover their free scoring form of late. Fifth placed Actonians Ladies were the visitors, on a good run of form themselves, unbeaten in their last four games.

Gillingham Ladies started the game brightly, creating an effort in the opening minutes. Rosie Kmita was able to get a cross from the left hand wing into the box. The ball fell to Mollie Kmita to volley a shot wide of the post.

Gills continued to press and it took a great recovery from Actonians’ defender Catherine Murphy, blocking off Kallie Balfour as the forward went through on goal as she lined up the shot.

Gillingham Ladies found the break through on the 38th minute, Rosie Kmita’s low near post cross was turned in by Fliss Gibbons with a smart flick. 1-0

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Gills added to their advantage as the first half headed to a close, Gibbons’ free kick was floated into the box. As Kallie Balfour, Cat Cooper and Charlotte Gurr beat their markers, Gurr got the connection to rifle home her shot past Actonians keeper Paige Hornsell. 2-0

Gillingham made it three when they found the net with the last kick of first half injury time. Gibbons’ breaking past the defenders to round the keeper to slot home for her second of the game. 3-0

Half Time: Gillingham Ladies 3 (Gibbons 38′,45+6′, Gurr 45′) Actonians Ladies 0

Actonians produced the first effort after the restart when Jessica Byrne unleashed a drilled shot from 30 yards which fizzed past the post.

Gills responded to Actonians strong opening to the second half and were unfortunate when Kallie Balfour’s shot came back off of the crossbar and Actonians were able to clear to safety.

Gillingham continued to press forward and Balfour caused panic in the defence, the Actonians keeper rushed out to close down the gap and bought down Balfour when one on one. Gibbons stepped up to take the penalty, unfortunately for the forward her spot kick hit the right hand post and bounced away from goal.

Gills added a fourth when Jade Keogh hit a dipping shot from 25 yards out which looped over the keepers fingertips and into the back of the net 4-0

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In a dominant few minute spell Gills added two more goals, firstly Gurr scored a close range diving header after a cross was delivered to the far post and Gurr connected low down to net her brace of the game and Gillingham’s fifth. 5-0

The second goal in a space of a minute came from the penalty spot, Balfour had broken into the box and had her heels clipped in an attempted tackle, the referee in no doubt pointed to the spot for a second time in the game. Gibbons despite the earlier penalty miss was keen to make amends and go for her hat trick. Stepping up and placing the shot the same corner as her previous penalty kick, this time the ball nestled into the back of the net. 6-0

Gibbons rounded off her own brilliant performance with Gills last goal of the game, cooly slotting home past Hornsell from 6 yards out, with a shot into the bottom corner of the goal. 7-0

Actonians pressed to find a consolation, firstly Barreca’s effort sailed over the crossbar before Mellissa Yung tried her luck but her shot was straight at Gills keeper Courtney Shanly.

Just a minute later Actonians found the target to deny Gills a clean sheet. Byrne’s long shot rattled the left hand post and rebounded into the path of Barreca. The Actonians’ forward easily able to slot a shot past Shanly, who was rushing back into position from the initial shot. 7-1

The win for Gills against Actonians means that matching Cambridge United Women’s result next week will secure the league title.

Full Time: Gillingham Ladies 7 (Gibbons 38′,45+6′,64,71, Gurr 45′, 63′, Keogh 61′) Actonians Ladies 1 (Barreca 86′)

Gillingham Ladies: Courtney Shanly, Ellie Manning, Cat Cooper, Mollie Kmita, Grace Seely (Emily Symonds 68′), April Bowers, Jade Keogh, Rosie Kmita (Jenny Newman 68′), Charlotte Gurr, Fliss Gibbons, Kallie Balfour

Unused Subs: Katie Startup, Vanisha Patel

Actonians Ladies: Paige Hornsell, Catherine Murphy, Hanna Olofsson, Leah Taylor, Sinead Friel, Alesandra Barreca, Carla Williams, Mellissa Yung, Simone Wan, Lafe Uche, Jessica Byrne

Subs: Jodie Regan

Referee Piotr Zachwieja

Assistants: Tia Walby, Jack Mottram

Att: 74

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