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Gillingham regained the Kent FA Women's Cup with a 2-0 victory over Charlton Athletic Reserves at Sevenoaks on Thursday.
A goal in each half was enough to see off Charlton, who missed a penalty late in the game. The match was well contested with chances for both teams but strikes by Lauren Williams and Laura East gave Gills the silverware for the second time in three years.
Charlton had the first chance of the match when Kristina Manktelow shot just over after combining well with Katie Flack down the left. Gills had a great opportunity to take the lead when Natalie Crinean got clear on the right but her cross was scuffed wide from close in. Laura East for Gills from an Emma Tune corner and Megan Chandler for Charlton went close before Gills took the lead on the half hour. Another low cross from the right was missed by two attackers but Williams was waiting beyond the far post to control and finish with a powerful drive past Alex Baker.
Gemma Bryan nearly got a brilliant equaliser, beating two defenders after taking a Kim Dixson pass, but her shot was wide of Toni-Anne Wayne's far post. Gills skipper Crinean was also inches away from scoring, her cross shot going just past the post as an entertaining half drew to a close.
The second half was a tighter affair for the first twenty five minutes. Gillingham got the crucial second goal when East, running on to a pass from Annelle Massey, finished well past the advancing Baker when sent clear on the right. Charlton's claim that East was in an offside position went unheeded .
The introduction of Kit Graham gave Charlton's attack a much needed boost and they were given a lifeline when a penalty was awarded for a challenge by Danielle Carlton. However, Wayne showed her skill and bravery to save both the penalty low to her left and the follow up by Bryan at point blank range.
Gillingham played out the nine minutes of added time with some comfort to claim the Cup. There was little to choose between the teams on the night but two quality finishes from Williams and from East in her final game for the Gills meant that the Cup was headed for the Medway town.
Gillingham: Toni-Anne Wayne, Lauren Williams, Danielle Carlton, Jay Blackie, Laura East, Sarah Jones, Emma Tune, Vicky Ashton-Jones, Natalie Crinean, Lauren Phillips, Bryony Smith. Subs: Annelle Massey, Katie Hardaker, Amy Taylor, Charlotte Stephens.
Charlton Athletic: Alex Baker, Alice Singyard, Athena Yennaris, Vanisha Patel, Megan Chandler, Charlotte Long, Louise Duffy, Kristina Manktelow, Kim Dixson, Gemma Bryan. Subs: Ellie Stenning, Courteney Gibson, Jade Keogh, Megen Lynch, Kit Graham.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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