Reigning Champions pushed all the way in first shootout fixture

Last Saturday saw this season’s Half-time Shoot-out competition get back under way and we were treated to a nail biting encounter.

During our home game against Blackpool we were happy to welcome both of last year’s finalists to MEMS Priestfield Stadium to kick off this year’s tournament. 

The reigning Champions Featherby Junior School took on The Academy Of Woodlands, who were our runners up last year, in the first round of the competition this season. 

The players had just seven seconds to score from the edge of the D but choosing to try their luck from the edge of the box or to test their skills in taking on the opposition keeper. 

The keepers were allowed to move off their line as soon as the whistle had been blown to put the striker under pressure leaving them no choice but to be smart and act fast. 

Both teams were lined up in the tunnel full of confidence and hoping to advance to the second round of the tournament when Gills face Chesterfield on 27th February.

As the shootout got underway it was apparent that the young footballers had been practicing over the summer period with both teams scoring their first penalties with two fantastic strikes. 

Featherby Junior School scored a second goal following a stunning strike to keep the pressure on. 

Luckily for The Academy Of Woodlands a way back into the game was possible after a brilliant penalty flew into the net right in front of the noisy Gills fans in the Rainham End. 

As the game progressed the teams were still at deadlock and neither team could get the break through so the game went to sudden death. 

Another strike on target from both teams kept the scores level as Featherby stepped up to take their seventh Penalty. Scoring from the edge of the box meant that once again the pressure was piled on Woodlands. 

The final penalty was taken and saw a spectacular save from the Featherby keeper meant that this thrilling encounter was finally over with Featherby advancing to the Quarter Finals. 

A huge thank you to both schools for their brilliant efforts and congratulations to Featherby Junior School on progressing to the Quarter Finals. 

Our next fixture will take place on Saturday 3rd October when Gillingham face Oldham at Priestfield.

Pictures courtesy of Sports Images