Gravesham Girls & Women’s Football Club vs Cray Wanderers Women – Match Report

South East Counties Women’s League Division One West – Sunday 3rd September, 2023

Photos to follow

Gravesham                                       0

Cray Wanderers                                2

Atkins 49, De Souza 78

A new era began for Cray Wanderers as the Women’s team played their first ever league game and started with a hard fought victory at a sunny Gravesham on Sunday.


After a tight first half which the home side just shaded, Cray played well after the break and took the lead four minutes into the second half when Hannah Atkins was on hand to slide the Wands in front after Olivia Gregory’s shot was pushed out.  The victory was assured twelve minutes from time after a sensational free kick strike from Danielle De Souza and a solid defensive display ensured a clean sheet.

Dean Jarman’s side were looking to build on a positive performance in the final pre-season warm up game against Crayford Arrows last Sunday and at very warm and bright Cascades Leisure Centre in Gravesend got off to a confident start.

Firstly, Millie Main who had a terrific game in midfield hit a sweet strike from 25 yards which Gravesham keeper Lexi Bishop did well to turn round the right post for a corner.  From the corner from Olivia Gregory the ball into the box was headed over by Annemarie Blanche.

Then Eve Sales hooked a shot wide of the right post, then Hrystyna Kulishko found Gregory who shot wide.  The game became a little fragmented with a handful of stoppages and also a much needed drinks break as the welcome early September heat gave the players a bit of respite.

Gravesham though as the half progressed came more into the game and Alysia Stanley sliced a free kick well over from the left, and Becky Markham hooked a volley wide of the right post.

Philippa Golding had a positive first half for Gravesham and came close following rare hesitation at the back led to her looking to take the ball round Sam Sharp down the left of the area but curled her shot across goal and wide of the right post.  Then Stanley set up Golding for a rasping shot which came back off the right post and back into play.

The final action of a lively half saw Stanley hit a strike from outside the area which Sam Sharp did well to turn the ball round the left post for a corner.

HT:  0-0

The second half began with Markham down the left who looked to turn in the box and her shot was held by Sharp.

However, Cray were looking good on the break and went ahead in the 49th minute with a well crafted goal.  Main brought the ball forward and her pass was helped on by Kulishko to Gregory down the right of the area and her strike was pushed out by Bishop and following up Hannah Atkins was on hand at the second attempt to roll the ball under the keeper and into the net.

Shortly after Atkins setup Louise Chenery who saw a low shot held and then was unlucky when Blanche’s cross from the right went right across goal to the far post where Chenery just couldn’t get a firm connection to turn the ball in and went just wide.

Defensively Cray were excellent in the second half particularly Grace Dodds and Vittoria D’Urso and gave little away.  The nearest Gravesham came to a leveller was from a corner down the left into the area was met by the head of Stanley and was well claimed by Sharp.  Then a free kick from 30 yards by Brooke Hutson went over the bar.

Cray though were looking good going forward and Danielle De Souza set up Gregory down the right and flashed a shot wide at the near post.

However in the 78th minute, Cray went two nil up following the award of a free kick 25 yards out to the left of the area and De Souza spectacularly curled the ball round the wall and into the top left corner for an incredible strike.

Shortly after De Souza fired over from another free kick nearer goal while near the end Markham hooked an effort over for Gravesham but Cray were able to see out the remaining minutes to pick up the first win for a Cray Wanderers Women’s first team and it was a classic away team performance.  The Wands are now off and running and the start of a new era of Women’s first team football at Cray Wanderers and after a thriving and successful introduction of Girl’s football three years ago and the prospect of playing home games at Flamingo Park the future is looking incredibly bright.

The next league fixture will be on Sunday 17th September at Petts Wood FC (1 pm ko).

Gravesham: Lexi Bishop, Enya Joseph, Tatjana Seymour, Toni Allen (Capt.), Becky Markham, Brooke Hutson, Phillipa Golding, Alysia Stanley, Emma Rus, Rachael Cox, Hollie Flynn:

Subs:  Rachel Covington, Lucie Heath, Sam Cornhill, Brooke Law

Cray Wanderers: Sam Sharp, Grace Dodds, Vittoria D’Urso, Alice Wilcox, Anne-Marie Blanche, Danielle Smith, Olivia Gregory, Annemarie Blanche (Capt), Millie Main, Eve Sales, Hannah Atkins, Hrystyna Kulishko.

Subs:  Louise Chenery, Danielle De Souza, Charlotte Knipe