Kent County Cup Final
Gravesham Ladies…1 Long Lane…4 aet & penalties
Sesay 2 (1 pen) Burridge 1 (pen)
Capelli (pen 1)
Kent County Cup Winners
Kent County Cup winners, sounds great doesn’t it, what a day and what a performance, to beat the two times County cup winners and current holders is a magnificent achievement and so richly deserved. Being in the dressing room before the game and hearing all the girls singing the Long Lane song with a passion must have unnerved our opponents who were sitting in their dressing room across the corridor. It was truly one of my best footballing moments and will stay with me for ever.
It was so cold but our supporters were terrific, have you ever heard Ann get so excited and so carried away, Tracey was doing, well I don’t know what she was doing, some kind of dance I’m told, and everyone cheered the players on from start to finish and we couldn’t have asked for better support.
Make no mistake this has been coming, I have said all season that we have a very special group of players who are very talented, the girls have been fantastic all season and this was just reward for all their hard work and it would have been criminal to end the season with nothing.
The day was perfect from start to finish, we all met early and the girls had breakfast at the club, then we had a team talk and photoshoot before travelling to the stadium. As I have said being in the dressing room before the game was something I will treasure, the atmosphere was electric and I just knew that the girls were really up for the battle ahead.
The pitch was massive and I feel that it’s so unfair that we are made to play 9v9 on such a big pitch, both teams were forced to leave a number of players out of their starting line ups and its especially frustrating when the FA advocate playing on pitches that are the right size for the playing format and age groups and yet allow this to happen. However we just got on with it and the girls responded in magnificent fashion and we were the better team in the first half and fully deserved our lead when Georgina pounced on a poor clearance to put us 1-0 up.
We went back to the changing rooms at half time and I warned the players that Gravesham would come out for the second half with all guns blazing and that we needed to be strong and to keep our focus but then one lapse allowed Gravesham to equalise but that did not deter the players and they kept their heads and kept battling and the game went into extra time and then penalties.
It takes brave hearts to step up and take penalties in such a big game, Terri was really unlucky when the keeper saved her shot, Lillie-Mae was on a £100 if she scored but she was lined up to take the last penalty but there was no need because Georgina and Madison scored fantastic penalties and Gemma took centre stage making three great saves before Francesca stepped up to score the winner then everyone went mad with delight when it sunk in that we had won.
These are memories that will stay with the girls for ever and I’m so very very proud of every single one of them. The team are led by Emily who is a great captain, we have a fantastic goalkeeper in Gemma and brilliant defenders in Lillie-Mae, Maia, Aleece and Madison. Then we have a wonderful midfield of Terri, Sabine, Francesca, Emily and Olivia and magnificent forwards in Shannon, Ellie, Georgina and Jade.
I will never forget these players; and as I have said on many occasions they are one of the best squads I have ever coached. Anyway now that the big one is in the bag we can relax a little (not too much) because I want this to spur us on and the next task will be to try and win the Yarmouth Soccer Classic Cup and then prepare hard for the League Cup Final in May.
Mick Norwood , Manager