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Women's Football News
Gillingham retained the Kent FA Cup with a 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic Reserves at Maidstone United FC's Gallagher Stadium.
Two early Lisa Fulgence goals set them on their way and their opponents did well to restrict a strong Gills line up to one further strike through good defending and a number of fine saves by Alex Baker.
The Charlton keeper denied Charlotte Gurr in the third minute but was beaten by a powerful Fulgence shot after seven minutes. Gurr then set up the Gills striker for a close range second on 13 minutes and the young Addicks team must have feared the worst.
Instead they battled hard to deny space and get in blocks, Baker twice saved one on one situations with Fulgence and they created a few chances of their own. Beth Rodgers forced a flying save from Faye Baker on the half hour and Gills took a two-goal advantage to the break.
Lauren Phillips replaced the first half goalscorer and nearly added an early effort of her own but Charlton sub Katie Hardaker cleared her effort off the line. Nikita Whinnett was busy all evening up and down the left for Gills, earning the player of the match award, but again Baker twice saved bravely to deny her a goal.
It was Phillips who sealed the win with a stooping near post glancing header midway through the half and Gills saw out time comfortably to keep the Cup in their hands.
A crowd of 361 gave both teams great support and local MPs Helen Grant and Tracey Crouch were present to witness a big evening for women's football in the county.
Gillingham: Faye Baker, Nikita Whinnett, Fliss Gibbons, Deanna Cooper, Amy Taylor, Jay Blackie, Charlotte Long, Emma Tune, Lisa Fulgence, Charlotte Gurr, Lauren Davis. Subs: Jade Keogh, Lauren Williams, Lauren Phillips, Rachel Ahern, Danielle Carlton.
Charlton Athletic Reserves: Alex Baker, Ruby Southgate, Alice Singyard, Leigh Houlihan, Claire Rogers, Francesca Tye, Eliz Ibrahim, Gemma Hyland, Beth Rogers, Olivia Cole, Ellie Searle. Subs: Katie Hardaker, Isabel Hunter, Megan Mulholland, Chloe Shields, Megen Lynch.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Gemma Hyland slides in to tackle Charlotte Long
(middle) Jade Keogh on the attack, chased by Gemma Hyland
(bottom) Gillingham with the cup
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