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Home / News / MATCH PREVIEW / XL Academy (A) - 28th April 2024

XL Academy (A) - 28th April 2024

XL Academy (A) - 28th April 2024

By David Hansen

After last week’s League cup final defeat, Margate Women look to their final three fixtures of the season. Starting with a trip to the Star Meadow Sports Club to take on top of the league, XL Academy.

XL Academy come into the game of the back of winning the SECWFL Chairman’s Cup, as they beat Woodcoombe 5-1 at the Gallagher Stadium in the final. Including a hattrick for Gabriella Buddle-Smith in a player of the match performance.

The last league fixture for XL saw a 2-0 win against Sittingbourne at home, putting the hosts seven points clear at the top the table, securing the title for the Gillingham based team.

Last Sunday saw Margate Women taste defeat in the final of the SECWFL Cup, at the hands of Tonbridge Angels, who ran out 2-1 winners after extra time at the Gallagher Stadium, in a massively proud moment for all involved.

The last league fixture for Margate was our final home game of the season as Steph Meek’s side ran out 3-0 winners at Hartsdown Park to leave the ‘Gate on 32 points, meaning another victory should secure 3rd place with the prospect of 2nd still very much on the table before the end of the season.

These two sides have already met twice this season. With each team earning a victory over each other. The first of these meetings came in December as XL Academy came away with a 3-1 victory at Hartsdown Park.

Margate would avenge this defeat as they beat XL Academy at Hartsdown Park in the Kent FA Plate 3-0 after goals from Rebecca Niblett, Paige Godden and Abbie Greetham. Margate would ultimately fall to Cray Wanderers in the next round.

Looking ahead to the game, Steph Meek had her say:

“The last few fixtures of our season have become crucial in meeting season targets of a top three finish. The team have worked extremely hard in a 33-match season and although we’re drawing to the end we must continue to push until that 90-minute whistle at Tonbridge in mid-May.

“Despite last week’s league cup loss, the team are united more than ever before and they are focused on securing a second-place finish. There’s a real sense of camaraderie around the players at present and it gives me great pride to see.

“Numbers are looking a little depleted currently with a few knocks taken during the gruelling 120+ minute final and it’s possible that even I may have to lace up my boots in the coming weeks, but I can I assure you that every player is determined to give there all and I expect nothing less from this fantastic group. They are more than capable of reaching their targets!

“We’re very much looking forward to the closure of the season, it’ll serve as an opportunity to recover and regroup before an intense and well-structured pre-season.”

Previous Meetings:

Margate Women 3-0 XL Academy – Kent FA Plate - (21/01/24)

Goals: Abbie Greetham, Rebecca Niblett, Paige Godden

Margate Women 1-3 XL Academy – SECWFL Premier Division - (03/12/23)

Goal: Becca Slevin

XL Academy 0-1 Margate Ladies – SECWFL Premier Division - (28/05/23)

Goal: Abbie Greetham

Margate Ladies 4-6 XL Academy – SECWFL Premier Division - (04/09/22)

Goals: Nicole Adams x2, Shannon King x2

Players to watch:

For Margate we have highlighted the defensive ability of Jessica Coltham-Lai. Jess is one of the most underrated players in the squad. Her ability to recover and never back down from a challenge. Jess captained the side in the League Cup final last week, playing over 100 minutes and commanding her side very well. At such a young age Jess has really got the potential to continue being a core member of this side for years to come.

It's difficult to avoid the capability of striker Gabriella Buddle-Smith. Her 35 goals this season has meant she has scored around 50% of their total goals this season. She has been the main asset in being able to secure the league title for XL Academy. She is coming into the game of the back of a hattrick in the SECWFL Chairman’s Cup Final after a 5-1 win against Woodcoombe.

The kick-off time has changed to 4:30pm on Sunday 28th of April at the Star Meadow Sports Club in Gillingham.






Sunday, 28 April 2024
By Joshua Colect

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