Six-goal Hincks helps Gillingham put nightmare summer behind them

Round-up of the weekend’s league and cup matches in the South East

Jade Keogh celebrates scoring against Preston North End in March 2014 (Photo: Julian Hart)

Jade Keogh was one of three Gillingham players to score hat-tricks in their 15-0 demolition of Ebbsfleet United (Photo: Julian Hart)

Gillingham’s shell-shocked side are out of intensive care and very much alive after kick-starting their season with a 15-0 victory over Ebbsfleet United in the FAW Premier League Cup.

Simon Ratcliffe’s new-look team, unrecognisable from that which went so close to winning the Premier League title last season, racked up their biggest win since an 18-0 victory over Meridian in the Kent Challenge Cup last year.

It was their first success since Ratcliffe, a former professional player with Gillingham FC, took charge earlier this month, following James Marrs’ switch to Brighton.

And it was a former Gill, returning to the club, who inflicted most of the damage. Ashlee Hincks hit six, while there were also hat-tricks for Lauren Phillips – who scored four – and Jade Keogh. Emma Tune scored the other two. Continue reading

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Pompey bounce back as Northeast sees red over Quinn card

Lucy Quinn celebrates scoring against Lewes in 1013 (Photo: Jordan Hampton)

Quinn’s red card was rescinded and she was back on the score sheet today (Photo: Jordan Hampton)

Lucy Quinn responded to the red card that never was in the best possible fashion with two goals as Portsmouth beat Premier League newcomers Copsewood in the Premier League Cup in Coventry.

Quinn’s sending-off for handball last week, with Pompey leading Cardiff City 2-1 arguably cost them the game: Cardiff equalised from the ensuing penalty and went on to win the game 7-3.

But the decision has been overturned on appeal, and last season’s top scorer is now available for the club’s league match at Brighton next Sunday.

That’s only partial consolation for Portsmouth manager Perry Northeast, who is still fuming at last week’s decision. Continue reading

Aylesford struggle to make a case for the defence

Crawley Wasps 5 (Carter 2, Walker, Simmons 2) Aylesford 1 (Kilroy-Downs)

Action from Crawley Wasps v Aylesford Aug 31 2014

Aylesford buckled under Crawley’s high-pressure start

The harsh realities of life at a higher level are being hammered into Aylesford in these first few weeks of their maiden season in the third tier of the women’s winter game.

And manager Steve Golding knows the lessons have to be learned quickly if his side are to survive more than a solitary season in the London & South East Regional League.

The team has won successive promotions, from the depths of the South East Counties league to the verge of the FAW Premier League set-up, but if they needed any evidence of how big the leap to this level is, they’ve received it in abundance in their opening two fixtures. Continue reading

Parkwood and Aylesford set for FA Cup clash

Kent rivals Parkwood Rangers and Aylesford are set to renew rivalries in this season’s FAW Cup.

The two sides have enjoyed similar fortunes in recent seasons, both being promoted from South East Division One of the South East Counties Women’s League two seasons ago, and then taking their new league by surprise last term.

Aylesford finally pipped Parkwood to the second promotion spot behind Bexhill United, and are now playing in the London & South East Regional Women’s League, where an under-strength side suffered a baptism of fire in their opening match last weekend, losing 7-4 at home to Fulham Foundation. Continue reading

Sussex scraps under-18 league as youth crisis deepens

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Action from Crawley Town v Portsmouth in the U16 League Cup final 2014 (Photo: Beckie Kirkham)

Many of Crawley Town’s U16s, who won the League Cup last season, may have to move to Surrey for U18 football (Photo: Beckie Kirkham)

Sussex’s under-18 girls’ league has been scrapped because of a lack of clubs.

For the first time since it was established in 2011, there will be no league in the county dedicated to an age group that football administrators all over the country are desperate to foster and encourage.

It is potentially a massive blow to the development of women’s and girls’ football in Sussex, although some believe it is merely a blip and that there are encouraging signs that plenty of young girls are playing the game at levels further down the age pyramid. Continue reading

Grassroots clubs join the football action

Preview of the key matches in the South East this weekend in league and cup

Not out of August yet and the grassroots fixture list begins to gather momentum this weekend, with the top teams in the South East Counties Women’s League playing their first competitive games of the new season. Continue reading