Rainham Girls School did the Gills proud in the tournament
On Monday 20 February, Gillingham FC Community Trust were invited to take part in the Area Finals of the Kinder +Sports EFL Girls Futsal Cup, hosted at Leyton Orient FC’s sports centre.
Futsal is fast-paced five-a-side variation of football, played on smaller pitches and focussing on technique and creativity.
The Girls Futsal Cup Area Final consisted of teams representing clubs from across the region. Representing the Gills in the tournament was an experienced team of seven girls from Rainham Girls School in Medway. The school had previously reached the final of the tournament, so the team was raring to go and looking to emulate that success.
The Gills were up against teams from Brentford FC, Crawley Town FC, Dagenham & Redbridge FC, and Southend United. The tournament was set for each team to play each other once, with the top two teams then playing one more time to determine the tournament’s winner.
The first game for the Gills was against the team representing Brentford FC. With only 12 minutes on the clock to win, the Gills team were ready to go. They started strong, with plenty of shots on goal, only being denied by the acrobatics of the Brentford keeper. Brentford’s team pushed back though, and with one minute left they had a lucky break, slotting a goal past the Gills keeper. As the clock ticked down, the Gills fought for an equaliser, but again were denied by Brentford’s keeper. The girls gave a determined effort, but it wasn’t quite enough and the game finished 1-0 to Brentford.
There was no time to dwell however, as the Gills team were straight back up again, taking on the team representing Dagenham & Redbridge FC. The Gills had a strong start, with a shot just wide of goal. Dagenham pushed back, but the Gills were controlling the game and playing good futsal. The Gills perseverance then paid off, as they made the most of a rebound from a Dagenham save to get the score sheet off the mark – 1-0 to the Gills! Despite Dagenham’s best efforts, the Gills then held on to keep the score at 1-0, and finish their second match with a win.
The Gills were then up for their third game in a row, jumping straight from their win to play the team representing Southend United on the next pitch. The Gills started with a bang, with an early throw by the Gills keeper falling straight at her teammate’s feet, who then took a powerful shot into the back of the net – 1-0 to the Gills! Minutes later the Gills were on target again, as another goal hit the back of the net – 2-0 Gills!
The Gills kept pushing forward, with only Southend’s keeper stopping the score going any higher. The team also defended well to keep their clean sheet. The score line stayed 2-0 at the final whistle, as the Gills recorded their second successive victory.
The Gills’ fourth and final game in a row was against the team representing Crawley Town, who had won all of their previous matches, making it a must-win for the Gills. The game had a fast start, with Crawley sneaking in an early goal to put the Gills on an instant back-foot.
The Gills team kept pushing to get back into the game, but Crawley were putting on a strong performance. The teams were evenly matched, with both trying hard to hit the target, and only great saves at both ends keeping the score at 1-0.
As the pressure mounted in the final few minutes, the Gills were pushing forward but couldn’t quite find the net, shooting just wide of the target. The final kick of the game was a strong shot on goal by the Gills, but the Crawley keeper saved it and the game ended 1-0 to Crawley.
The Gills team put in a determined effort, but it wasn’t quite enough to make the final, with Brentford and Crawley both progressing through. The Gills were instead in for a third place play-off match against Southend.
As the game started, the Gills instantly pushed through, keeping the Southend keeper busy again. The Gills continued to press forward and it paid off, with a powerful shot going straight into the top of the net – 1-0 to the Gills.
The Gills held on to their lead despite Southend putting the pressure on, thanks to strong team defending. After a great save by the Gills keeper denied Southend an equaliser, the girls then took the ball straight back to shoot it into the right corner of the net to make it 2-0 to the Gills. The team were then on a role, with a third shot finding the back of the net to make it 3-0.
Southend were trying for a goal, but were frustrated by the Gills keeper and the post, with the Gills holding on to their clean sheet and finishing the game with a comfortable 3-0 win to take third place in the tournament.
Rainham Girls team captain, Hannah, said of the day; “I enjoyed wearing the Gillingham FC kit today. The whole tournament was really fun. There were lots of good teams which really challenged our futsal skills. Unfortunately we didn’t quite make the final, but we’re really pleased with third place!”
Gills Community Trust’s Participation Development Officer, Jack Knighton, added; “It’s been a really exciting tournament to watch, and the girls have played some excellent futsal. They were unlucky not to make the final, but third place is fantastic, and the team were a credit to their school and the club.”
Well done to the whole team from Rainham Girls for their fantastic effort and skills at the tournament, and congratulations to the team from Crawley Town FC who went on to win the Area Final.