Bexhill College officially opened their new state of the art 3G All Weather Pitch with a match between their Women's Football Academy and Gillingham's Women's Academy Under 19s.
The whole Gillingham FC Academy squad travelled to the coast with their coach, ex-professional Ian Cox, who made nearly 500 appearances for Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Gillingham. The Gillingham Academy players train throughout the week and regularly compete against other professional clubs and have previously played at U16s level against the likes of Chelsea and Charlton Athletic FC in the RTC Tier 2/3 League. So they provided tough opposition for the newly formed Bexhill College Women's Football Academy.
Bexhill College started nervously but took an early lead through Georgina Cooper. Her perseverance paid off after Casey Sands pressured Gillingham's back four and Cooper latched on to a loose back-pass.
Gillingham upped the tempo and piled on the pressure on the Bexhill College defence. The back four of Lucia Wingrove, International student Jana Sonnenberg, Molly Kemp and Naomi Corrigan were kept busy all game.
Despite Abigail Lee performing heroics in goal for Bexhill, Gillingham were finally rewarded for their endeavour and scored three goals in the first-half.
Bexhill continued to compete and create chances through their pacey attack of Casey Sands, Gabriella Beckett and Georgina Cooper, but Gillingham's clinical finishing left them with a two goal deficit at half time.
During the interval Bexhill College regrouped and after a team talk from Manager Mark Linch Bexhill started the second half with more confidence. They were repaid with a well-taken goal through Captain and leading goal scorer Casey Sands. Bexhill looked for the equaliser with Mia Hylands and Lillian Tucker directing play in centre midfield but were caught out by quick counter-attacking play by Gillingham. With the score at 5-2, Bexhill provided an exciting finish to the game with goals from Lillian Tucker and Freya Hogg with Gillingham hanging on to a one goal lead.
Result - Bexhill 4-5 Gillingham
Team: Abigail Lee, Jana Sonnerberg, Molly Kemp, Naomi Corrigan, Lucia Wingrove, Lillian Tucker, Mia Hyland, Freya Hogg, Gabriella Beckett, Georgina Cooper, Casey Sands, Anna Wolford, Nikkita Smith and Vita Borzelleca-North.
Both teams were treated to a food and drink spread put on by Bexhill College after the game and Gillingham FC kindly presented the College with a signed football shirt.
Bexhill College Principal Karen Hucker commented: "The College is extremely proud of the girls and all our students who represent the College and have recently invested in a state of the art, FA standard 3G pitch which is also available for local clubs to book outside of College hours."
Anyone interested in looking around the facility or enquiring about a booking should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Gillingham's Management team commented on the playing ability of the Bexhill team and the outstanding level of the facilities we have on offer at the College. Gillingham expressed an interest in organising future games with Bexhill. Any girls interested in developing and playing for the College Football Academy should contact Academy Manager, Mark Linch, for details of how to apply, email@example.com