Hastings United Ladies 1 Gravesend & Northfleet Ladies 4
The fixture against Hastings Ladies always produces a competitive match between the two sides, whose rise in the leagues over the past few seasons have mirrored each other, writes Tina Martin.
Earlier in the season the home match produced a 7-goal thriller with Fleet ladies narrowly edging the win 4-3.
Sunday’s game though began at the expected fast pace with two strong sides and produced a game of end to end football, that in the first half was strongly led by the quick attacking play of the Fleet team which produced some early long range shots on goal through the midfield.
As confidence grew amongst the ladies team, forward play became stronger and the movement of the team flowed with constant attack and the scoring was opened by forward Mel Bishop who timed her run into the box superbly to capitalise on a crossed ball, which she finished confidently.
Slightly against the run of play Hastings immediately mounted their own attack, catching Fleet on the back foot, their midfielder was allowed a free run through on goal and shot low which finishing neatly in the corner of the goal.
This sparked an instant and positive reaction from Fleet ladies as forward Jade McDermott chased down a loose ball near the back line which she squared back to Fleets left midfielder Chelsea Fowler, who took one touch and buried the ball in the top of the net, scoring her first Fleet goal.
The game at this stage was fairly equal and the Fleet defence were in fine form on the day and holding firm to stop any danger that may have been created by Hastings, and the half was finished strongly by Fleet ladies as midfielder Becky Merritt struck a shot from the edge of the box, which the Hastings goalie managed to save but quick reactions of Bishop meant she got to the loose ball first and blasted home at close range giving the keeper no chance of stopping.
3-1 up at half time Fleet ladies were in confident mood but aware that Hastings have a good scoring record this season and would be looking to get back in the game.
With tactical words from coach and manager Valter Antunes at half time, the ladies went out for the second half determined to finish the game off.
The whole squad enjoyed a strong performance on the day and produced an excellent team effort to keep the second half flowing with as many attacks as the first and shutting out any opportunity for Hastings to get back into the game.
The half was capped off by midfielder Chelsea Fowler’s second goal of the game as she latched onto a quality corner, delivered by Becky Merritt, which she finished off with one touch and half volleyed into the net.
Overall it was a very pleasing result for the ladies after the disappointment of the previous weeks poor performance.
Fleet ladies have a break in the fixtures next week and then have the final two league games of the season against Crowborough Ladies and then Woking Ladies , both games are away fixtures with Fleet looking to finish their season with three straight wins and a fantastic 2nd or 3rd place finish.
Fleet ladies are running coaching and fun sessions to get more girls involved in the game and to offer quality coaching to all ages and abilities.
They currently run a Monday night coaching centre at Northfleet School for Girls, Hall Road, Northfleet from 3.30 - 5.30pm for ages 7-16 years any ability welcome to come along.
Ultimately the club aims is to start Gravesend and Northfleet girls teams for summer 2006. Qualified FA female coaches generated from the clubs player coach development scheme run all the sessions.
The club are keen to hear from any players or adults that would like to help out and get involved in a variety of club roles including, coaches, managers, and administrative volunteers.
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