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Home / News / MATCH REPORT / Women Cruise Past League Leaders Into The Quarter-Finals

Women Cruise Past League Leaders Into The Quarter-Finals

Women Cruise Past League Leaders Into The Quarter-Finals

By David Hansen

Margate Women dispatched of high-flying XL Academy at Hartsdown Park in the Kent FA Plate and booked a place in the quarter-final!

With the quality that XL possess, all paths led to a difficult match, but, Margate dominated in the 1st half, creating plenty of opportunities and scoring 2 goals.

With wind swirling around the ground it made for tough conditions for the XL keeper, of which Margate looked to take advantage of, starting with a dangerous free kick for Esmee Kew-Stroud which smacked the bar. XL conceded a second free kick in a mirrored position to the first. Abbie Greetham stepped up to take the set piece and as the ball was caught by the wind, it found the left corner of the goal, well clear of the keepers reach to make it 1-0.

The other real chance fell to Greetham once more whose long range effort went just wide as Margate continued to probe looking for the second goal before the break. Moments before the break Margate secured that second goal of the game when a wicked cross from Abbie Luby found Rebecca Niblett in the box. Niblett was able to knee the ball on the volley straight past the keeper from close range.

As the teams stepped out for the second half the wind was in favour of the visitors who needed a response after the break. XL began to make chances and Gabriella Buddle-Smith managed to create her first effort on goal as she got in behind Jessica Coltham-Lai but from a tight angle, JJ Speller managed to get herself behind the effort and palmed the ball away.

XL started to up their work rate, with Speller needing to deny Buddle-Smith again this time from a free kick. Speller was able to palm the ball round the post for a corner. Not bad from an outfield player in goal. XL had one more real chance at goal in the second half as Storm Arnold had a shot from range which was again saved by Speller.

The ‘Gate put the game to bed in the 77th minute when substitute Paige Godden was sent through on goal. A long ball was played from midfield and thanks to the wind the ball held up just enough to land at Godden's feet. she managed to lob the keeper from just outside the box to make it 3, sealing The Blues a passage into the quarter-final.

Manager Steph Meek couldn’t hide her emotions as she had her say on what is the best result of the season so far:

“I felt so much pressure coming into today’s game, this season they beat us in the league, but it’s always been narrow margins. Games against XL are always competitive and make for a good match.”

“Thankfully my nerves weren’t a reflection of the whole team and their attitudes and mindsets were unbelievable from the off.”

“Both teams are structured and know how to knock a ball around, but the players trusted in my decisions, and more importantly, trusted in one another to raise the standard yet again.”

“Every player did their part to secure a quarter-final place and not only that, they did so by keeping a clean sheet and in the process knocked out the current league leaders, who up until now, were incredibly on form.”

“Hours of hard work, decision making, and personal reflection, has gone into what’s making this team shine as they are at present and as I said to the players before the match we don’t take our foot off the gas now.”

“We’ve got good things coming, exciting possibilities, but we need to continue to work for it!”

Margate Women are in action next Sunday as they take on Tunbridge Wells Foresters in the SECWFL Premier Division at Hartsdown Park.


Speller, Charman, Kemp, Coltham-Lai, King, Chapman, Slevin (c), Luby, Niblett, Greetham, Kew-Stroud.


Hyde ('11), Blythe, Scales ('78), Godden ('62), Duff.


Greetham 42’

Niblett 45+2’

Godden 77’

Yellow Cards:

Slevin, Kew-Stroud


Monday, 22 January 2024
By Joshua Colect

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