LONG LANE 1-1 GRAVESHAM GIRLS & LADIES
(Long Lane win 3-0 on penalties)
The game itself may have lacked goal action, but held those present totally absorbed as two well matched sides did the competition justice.
After seeing his side defy the odds and inflict Gravesham with their first defeat in more than two seasons, Long Lane boss Mick Norwood told KSN after his side received the trophy from Kent FA President Colin Boswell, “it’s the first time that we’ve ever beaten Gravesham. They are the bench-mark at our level and to beat them today is fantastic.”
“When it went to penalties I knew it would be a lottery, and when we missed the first one… ironically I thought it was the best of the seven taken, but the keeper’s made a wonderful save.”
“Let’s face it, even the superstars miss don’t they? Gemms (Cumby) is a great keeper and she showed it in the shoot out. I’m so, so pleased for all the girls. It makes a nice change not to be the bridesmaid!”
Gravesham boss Scott Martin was philosophical when he spoke to KSN. “Penalty shoot outs are a lottery aren’t they?” he shrugged.
“We didn’t start well in the game itself and obviously am delighted at the way we came back into the game! When Keisha (Lemar, Gravesham’s keeper) made that amazing save from their first penalty, part of me thought we’d win! But fair play to them!”
“This was our third final in three years which is a heck of an achievement for these girls considering we’re playing up a level all the time – I am so proud of all the girls; they really couldn’t have made me any prouder!”
To be fair, both sides at times looked lost on Woodstock Park’s full size playing area and it has to be asked if that played a part in both sides being locked in a midfield battle.
Indeed the only chance of any note resulted in the game’s opening goal as Georgina Sesdy raced onto a solitary defensive mistake to open the scoring.
The second half was slightly less cagey as the players began to tire on the huge pitch. Gravesham levelled not long after the whistle as Holly Martin showed a great touch by lobbing the ball over Cumby from an ever increasing acute angle, and the same player thought she’d given her side the lead only for the Long Lane keeper to pull off a brilliant save as Martin raced into the box onto a through ball and was able to poke the goalwards.
The ball seemed to be past Cumby, but the keeper brilliantly turned the shot wide of the left post!
Into extra time the game went and the best chance of the twenty minutes fell again to Sesdy, but this time the Long Lane striker was denied by a great block from Lemar as she raced from her goal line.
And so to penalties and it was the Long Lane takers who kept their nerve the best as they scored three out of the four they took, with Francesca Capelli driving home the decisive spot kick.
At the presentation of the trophy, the Long Lane mascot, Stevie-Marie Allison (the little sister of Lane’s defender Lillie-Mae) provided one of the highlights of the whole day as she helped to collect the trophy from Kent FA President Colin Boswell!
LONG LANE – Gemms Cumby, Madison Burridge, Lillie-Mae Allison, Amaia Albarosa, Shannon Bristow, Emily Ashcroft, Francesca Capelli, Aleese Charles, Georgina Sesdy
Subs – Terri Cranstown, Ellie Boyle, Sabina Ghag, Jade Page, Olivia Moore
GRAVESHAM GIRLS – Keisha Lemar, Imogen Saunders, Freja Asken, Maisie Parnell, Abby Hancock, Alicia Stanley, Holly Martin, Louise Chenery, Patricia Kelly
Subs – Enya Jospeh, Jade Fawcett, Hollie Chapell
Match Report by Mike Green, Kent Sport News.
Photos by Peter Still, PSP Photos.