Kent FA ladies development squad played their first match as a team at Chatham Town, and several players impressed in an entertaining 1-1 draw against Aylesford. Kent took the lead on 15 minutes through Bethany Nugent and took the lead into the break despite Aylesford hitting the crossbar, but the visitors equalised soon after the interval. Kent themselves hit the crossbar in the second half and were looking the more likely to score a winner but the match finished 5 minutes early due to an injury.
The ladies development squad was created to offer more players the opportunity to represent the County, identify talented players from the lower divisions to potentially bring into the first team and increase the profile of women’s football in Kent. The squad will also be managed by Cori Daniels and will play friendly matches throughout the season. Their first opponents Aylesford, are an established team in the London & South East Regional Women’s league and proved suitable opponents.
Aylesford started the sharper as was probably to be expected, with the Kent players learning each other, coming from 8 different Clubs. The visitors had 2 early chances on the right, but on both occasions after some good play from Faith Cullen-Cooper both efforts failed to hit the target. Then a bit against the run of play Kent broke the deadlock, a long kick from Cara Davies was allowed to bounce twice and ran kindly for Nugent to run through and calmly rolled the ball into the corner.
Aylesford regrouped and after a tactical change continued on the offensive, playing some attractive football and moving the ball well but lacking a cutting edge. This was summed up from a superb move which started from the keeper, and 18 passes later the final ball was just over hit which allowed Davies to pounce on the ball. They put Kent under a spell of pressure and from a half cleared corner Alison had a shot which went over the bar.
At the other end Nugent forced a good save from a curling effort from the edge of the box but Aylesford were the stronger team at this point. An incisive passing move once again caused Kent problems but Davies was on hand to save from Helena Jefferies on the left. Minutes later, Niamh Jestin played in Becks Barr on the right and her cross from the byline was headed onto the crossbar by Zara Chapman from close range, the half time whistle coming at a good time for Kent.
After the break, Kent started the brighter but Aylesford equalised 4 minutes into the half. Draper from the left beat 2 defenders to get into the box and fire in a low shot, Davies made a good save low to her left but the rebound fell kindly for Draper to finish. Despite the goal Kent were starting to control the match, Aylesford at times struggling to get out of their half.
Kent had chances to win it, Chantelle Jones had a low strike well saved by the keeper, a testing 30 yard strike was well tipped over, and from the resulting corner a header hit the crossbar, with Aylesford managing to scramble the ball clear. 5 minutes from time play was stopped to treat an injury, and after symptoms of a stroke an ambulance was called and both sides agreed to end the match. Thankfully we can now confirm she was given the all clear from hospital this morning.
: Cara Davies (Gillingham FC) Jessica Newbury (Swale Ladies FC) Jade Tinsley (Phoenix Sports FC) Skye McNally (Parkwood Rangers FC) Kerri-Anne Newbury (Swale Ladies FC) Georgina Kendall (Ashford FC) Debbie Burgess (Faversham Strike Force FC) Aileen Williams © (Gillingham FC) Chantelle Jones (Faversham Strike Force FC) Charlie Myhill (Parkwood Rangers FC) Bethany Nugent 15’ (Gillingham FC) Courtney Smith (Tonbridge Angels FC) Emily Murphy (Faversham Strike Force FC) Jessica Oldfield (Phoenix Sports FC) Lauren Bullen (Parkwood Rangers FC)
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