Gillingham ease past gallant Herne Bay into County Cup final

Gillingham reached the Kent Women’s Cup final for the fourth year in a row, seeing off the spirited challenge of the team that seems destined to become their biggest rivals for the accolade best women’s team in Kent.

The Premier League side met Herne Bay, now in the South East Counties Premier Division, for the third successive season in cup competition, and after victories of 5-0 and 6-0, today’s 3-0 margin reflected the narrowing gap between the two sides.

Louise Lorton scored twice for the County Cup holders and Ashlee Hincks converted a second-half penalty to secure the Gills another cup-final place.

Harriet Chapman and Carly Farrow had chances to pull one back for the underdogs, but Simon Ratcliffe’s team kept a clean sheet as they booked a place in March’s final.

Anthony Deer, Herne Bay’s manager, told his club’s website: “The girls didn’t let themselves down. It’s an achievement getting to the semi-finals. These girls are capable of anything. We’ll get there.”

Gillingham must wait to learn whom they will meet in the final after the other semi-final, between Aylesford and London Corinthians was postponed.

Hampshire

The Gills’ Premier League rivals, Portsmouth, are through to the semi-finals of the Hampshire County Cup after a 6-0 victory over Shanklin.

Sarah Kempson (2), Ini Umotong, Ellie Bloomfield, Molly Clark and Charley Wilson got the goals that stretched Pompey’s unbeaten run to 16 matches and kept them on course for their seventh county cup in a row.

Also through to the semis are Southampton Saints, who – like Shanklin – play in the FAW Premier League’s Division One South West, a level below Pompey. Saints defeated Fleet Town 3-0.

Surrey

AFC Wimbledon, flying high in the London & South East Regional Women’s League, are through to the quarter-finals of the Surrey Women’s Cup, after disposing of Crystal Palace, who play in the next tier up, 2-0.

They will visit South Park, who are struggling near the bottom of the fourth tier of the women’s winter pyramid, in the semi-finals. The Reigate club beat the even lower-ranked Godalming Town 3-2 in extra time after the tie ended 2-2 at 90 minutes.

South Park’s goals came from Jess ChandlerPam Hall and Rosanne Fine, who scored the extra-time winner.

Rest of the cup action

Another L&SERWL club, Old Actonians, earned praise for their performance against Capital Cup holders Charlton Athletic, who beat them 2-1.

In the Kent Women’s Plate, SECWL Division One East side Ashford took higher-ranked Bromley all the way before losing 2-1.

But Prince of Wales are through to the semi-finals after hammering Kent Division side Teynham Gunners 7-0. Caz Rennie hit four and Danni Ritson a brace, after Izzy Wood had opened the scoring.

And in the leagues

With the only FAWPL Southern match – between Brighton and Tottenham Hotspur – and Division One South West leaders Swindon Town‘s game at home to Cheltenham Town postponed, Premier League attention fell on St Nicholas and Chichester City, who met at Yate.

The visitors won consecutive league games for the first time this season, inflicting St Nicks’ eighth successive defeat at this level – triumphing 5-0.

Top scorer Kally Ambler scored a hat-trick and Naomi Greene and Lucie Challen the others as the West Sussex side climbed to halfway in FAWPL Division One South West.

Only one fixture survived the weather in the FAWPL Reserves League – and what a vital match it was.

Brighton made it a club double-tops, defeating Portsmouth‘s reserves 5-1 – their fifth league victory in a row – to move above West Ham at the top of the Reserves League. Their first team lead the Premier League.

Dartford Royals kept the pressure on SECWL Premier Division leaders Meridian after beating Long Lane 5-3.

Meridian comfortably beat bottom club Crockenhill 3-0, while Parkwood Rangers put space between them and the bottom three with a 2-0 victory against Eastbourne – one of the teams they leapfrog as a result.

Emily Vaughan and Emily Chapman scored Parkwood’s goals.

Abbey Rangers joined the race for promotion from Division One West with a 9-0 romp at home to Dorking. The margin was sufficient to enable them to leapfrog Seahaven Harriers into second place.

Amber Walker and Hannah Johnson scored hat-tricks, Rachel Johnson hit two and Steph Sale the other.

The pair each have 22 points from their nine games, but both are still 11 points behind leaders Worthing Minors, albeit with two games in  hand.

In the division’s other game, Milford & Witley continued their revival, beating Worthing Town 4-2 to move up to fourth.

There were no games in Division One East, and just two in the Kent Division. Leaders Long Lane Reserves made it 12 wins in 12 games, Swale their latest victims, losing 4-0.

Barming remain second after winning 6-0 at point-less University of Kent.

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