Kent Women's Plate Final

Maidstone Women Lift Kent Women’s Plate!

By Mike Green, Kent Sports News
Maidstone United FC 2 - 1 Glebe FC

Maidstone Women Lift Kent Women’s Plate!

Maidstone United FC 2 - 1 Glebe FC

Maidstone United completed a remarkable daily double at the 2019 Kent Finals belong to the “home” side as the Womens' side followed the lead of the Maidstone U14s by claiming the Women’s Plate after a gruelling Cup Final against a Glebe side who finally succumbed to a truly freakish goal from Abbi Collins in the dying embers of the match.

Glebe made THE perfect start as Sophie Longhurst put them in front with less than forty seconds on the clock, but it was a lead that lasted less than five minutes before Nicola Morris squeezed home a spot kick to level things up.  Try as they might the Stones just couldn’t find another way through thanks mainly to the Glebe back line that was magnificently stout and secure with Jordan Springett outstanding, which makes the way that Maidstone took the trophy even more difficult for the Bromley based side to take, as Collins got in the way of a clearance to send the ball whistling into the Glebe net.

Player Boss Laura Donnelly was clearly drained when she spoke to KSN after the game saying, “I don’t think we played our best at all.  We kept our shape and kept to the game plan and then lose to an 86th minute deflection – its an absolute killer!” she admitted.  “We gutted, we did great to get to this stage playing really well but lose to a penalty and a flukey goal is tough, but they were the better side on the day but to lose like that!  Not too happy about the penalty either as I thought the defender got there first but it is what it.  We’re proud to get the Final, but just gutted the way we lost.  Maidstone were the better side on the day so well done to them!”

For Stones boss John Jackson the victory was earned the hard way.  “Absolutely delighted after an odd season where we lost the manager mid-season and losing some players.  We’ve played today a very well organised team who have beaten us twice this season already and so to get a win was certainly a relief!”  He went on, “I told my assistant coach that I thought we could have been out there all night without putting the ball between the sticks.  It was always going to be a worldy or a goal like “that” that was going to win it, but we’ll take it anyway we can get it!  They’re a really well organised side and we feel for them tonight, but we’ll enjoy the win!”

And so, the quickest start to any Kent Final so far in 2019 saw Glebe open the scoring with their first attack of the game in the opening seconds as Longhurst outpaced the defence and beat the advancing Nicole Davies in the Maidstone net for the perfect start.

Not that it took the Stones long to rally with the long legs of Amanda Beeput easing her clear down the right before sending the ball across the face of the Glebe goal just inviting someone to finish.  In their very next attack, Beeput got to a cross a fraction before keeper Hannah McNamara, and the keeper’s momentum brought the striker down and referee Monkman pointed to the spot, from where Nicola Morris just about squeezed the penalty beyond the keeper’s dive.

Beeput should then really have put the Stones in front for the first time, but after brilliant work from Carly Farrow down the right, the Stones striker lifted the resulting cross over the bar from the six yard line.  And then Gemma Sullivan beat a very fragile looking offside trap only to hit the side netting after rounding the keeper…

Beeput then had Maidstone’s next good chance as McNamara beat out her shot at the post before Nikki Waterman headed the corner straight at the keeper, but try as they might, the “home” side just couldn’t find that’s second goal before the break and the sides went in level.

The second half began as the first finished with Maidstone on top.  Beeput clipped the bar after racing clear with the rebound being prodded wide by Sullivan when she should really have done better with the goal almost at her mercy!  Moments later she raced clear despite the attentions of Jody Lazell only to fire wide.

Glebe couldn’t get anything going in attack but were frustrating Maidstone to no more that half chances at the back and from one of them McNamara did well to deny Natalie Stacey with the rebound off Farrow being cleared off the line by Lazell.

Then with time running out, Maidstone broke for one last time.  The referee played an exceptional advantage as Lucy Harrington was impeded allowing Sullivan to cross from the right and as the defence tried to clear, the ball ricocheted off Collins and flew past a bewildered McNamara and into the net.

A fortuitus way to win any game yes – to win a Cup Final in that way when you’ve bossed the game some would say deserved.  Whatever the case Maidstone wont matter as they sealed the Women’s Plate to go with the Under 14s title won earlier in the day.

GLEBE – Hannah McNamara, Lee-Anne Beaney, Caroline Kemp, Laura Donnelly, Jordan Springett, Natalie Graves, Kerry Whitehorn, Sophie Longhurst, Jade White, Jody Lazell, Shelley GoldingSubs – Kathryn Esson, Leana Ransom, Rosanna Marks, Becky Roberts

MAIDSTONE UNITED – Nicole Davies, Hannah Styles, Ellisha Duffield-Goodyear, Rachel Brewer, Nikki Waterman, Beth Kemp, Natalie Stacey, Nicola Morris, Gemma Sullivan, Amanda Beeput, Charlotte CresswellSubs – Charlotte Hughes, Emma Harrington, Lucy Harrington, Carly Farrow, Abbi Collins

REFEREE – Nick Monkman
ASSISTANTS – Ryan Andrew & Martin Cook