This week the Ladies 2nd XI met top of the league Gillingham Anchorians 3rd XI, who were unbeaten to date. Skipper Kat Lichfield anticipated that this would be a challenging game, with Gillingham unwilling to relinquish their winning run. However, it was a match played in great spirit and one which was close to seeing both teams share the points.
There were some great performances permeating throughout the home side starting with Sarah Wheal, who was playing her first game of the season, and was given the challenge of using her excellent channelling skills to slow down the opposition when they encroached down the left side. She showed her usual tenacity, but also received some excellent passes as well as intercepting high up the field helping to create space for others.
Wheal was given great support by Kayleigh Smith, Clare Ayres and Lex Maritz, who never stopped running both in support of the front players and the defenders behind her. Sharon Turville linked up well with the attacking midfield, and distributed the ball wide to her wingers, Kayleigh Smith and new player Caitlin Banstead. Both Smith and Banstead held their positions throughout the match, but they had to work hard to break down Gillingham’s experienced back line. Banstead linked up well with Mandy Toombs, and there were occasions when they looked as if they might give the Anchorians defenders the slip with some intelligent calling from Toombs.
Banstead made some impressive charges out on the right, and at times was fed some great balls from the 2’s other new player, Morgan Payne. Jen Divall made some searching passes from the back and threw in a few aerials for good measure, with one of them going over several Anchorian heads and finding Sharon Turville in their 23.
Clare Ayres, Fi Percival and Sharon McAllan had a fine game at the back and in midfield, rolling on/off for each other so seamlessly that their team mates barely noticed the changes happening. In addition Morgan Payne demonstrated great tenacity relentlessly hassling, intercepting, blocking and thwarting the attempts of Gillingham’s forwards and thus frustrating many of their attempts to enter K Sports circle and get their strike away.
However the greatest plaudits were to be given to player of the match, Lorraine Mullaly. There were times when she had to use her acrobatic skills, kung-fu kicking one ball away from the goal. Another was being watched off the pitch when it tapped the post back into play. An Anchorians attacker was on it, but not as quickly as Mullaly, who toed it out of play.
But her final save was one that will probably be the save of the season. Gillingham’s very experienced centre forward found herself on the penalty spot, and took the opportunity to roof the ball into the net. Mullaly instantly read her intention and leapt in the air getting her right hand on top of the ball, and with complete composure brought it forcefully to the ground and immediately kicked the ball out of play. This earned Mullaly praise from everybody in the circle including the player who had tried to score.
The single goal was scored half way through the second half by Anchorians. Lichfield had the first striker marked out, with Mullaly blocking another forward, but it fell to a loose player running into the right who wasted no time with scoring what was to prove to be the winning goal.
In spite of not taking away any points the ladies were encouraged by their performance against a strong side and hope this will bode well for next week’s game at home against Meopham.
|14th October 2017||10:00 am||Kent Women's League Division 5||2017/18|
|Thomas Aveling School|
|85A Arethusa Rd, Rochester ME1 2UN, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|K Sports Ladies 2nd XI||0||0||0||Loss|
|Gillingham Anchorians Ladies 3rd Xl||0||1||1||Win|