Girls Academy hit APD for seven.
The Gillingham FC Girls Academy cruised to a convincing seven-nil win against the APD Academy on Wednesday afternoon, with Stephanie Adby playing a starring role with her four goal haul.
Returning to National Football Youth League action this week after their Women’s U19 League Cup victory last Wednesday, the girls were all eager to carry on their impressive run of form.
The team began the game with an immediate intensity that stifled APD Academy’s attack right from the outset. Within the first five minutes two chances had already fallen Gillingham’s way, owing to some clever play and a saved effort from Trinity Barden.
They didn’t have to wait too long for the breakthrough, and it came in the form of a penalty that captain Lucy Dante stepped up and slotted home to open the scoring for the day. After that, the floodgates well and truly opened, with Barden getting her deserved goal just five minutes later with a brilliant strike into the top corner.
While most of Gillingham’s action took place in the attack, the defence was reliable when called upon to mop things up, with notable contributions from Libby Burley and Sophie Chapman meaning goalkeeper Sade Rider was relatively untested throughout the first half.
It quickly became a display of clinical play from Gillingham when Adby scored two goals in just four minutes. The first came from a poor pass by an APD player that she pounced on and the second coming once more from having the quickest reactions, after seizing upon a deflected Caitlin Hirst shot. The girls were four goals to the good, and the clock hadn’t even ticked past the 30 minute mark.
More chances fell Gillingham’s way before Milly Penfold seized the initiative, with a strong dribble into the box that Hirst converted for her first goal of the game. Now five ahead, the girls could sense there would be plenty more opportunities to turn the game into a comprehensive whitewash. A wonderful volley into the top corner from Adby for her hat-trick just before half-time gave the team a six goal cushion with 45 minutes still to play.
H/T: Gillingham 6-0 APD Academy
Having already won the game, the tempo did drop off when play resumed, and Gillingham’s defenders were called upon in the opening minutes of the half. Olivia Kavanagh Spall and Dante combined well in the midfield to win the ball back and quash a dangerous counter, and goalkeeper Rider made a strong save to deny APD Academy a consolation goal.
Substitute Megan Hawks made an instant impact, combining well down the right hand side with Adby, with their clever play leading to the seventh and final goal of the day.
This win leaves the Gillingham FC Girls Academy third in the league, having played fewer games than the leaders, Enfield Ladies. With strong performances across the field, it was a fantastic win for the team as they continue to build upon their strong run of form across both league and cup competitions.
F/T: Gillingham 7-0 Girls Academy