Chatham Town Football Club erupted in celebration today as England’s women’s football team made it in to the World Cup final.
Chatham Town FC chairman Kevin Hake opened his doors to football supporters to enjoy the momentous occasion at the club in Maidstone Road, Chatham today.
With cheeks painted in England flags and a sea of hats and England kits, young fans and their parents packed into the bar just before 11am for the tense semi-final game.
Expectations were high as the majority of the crowd predicted a 2-1 win to the Lionesses.
Young football stars of the future watched as their idols started their match against favourites Australia, before that all important final on Sunday.
Ocean Pankhurst, from Faversham, and Beatrice Strouts-Hales, from Sittingbourne, both play for Chatham.
The 10-years old predicted a 2-1 win from their heroes.
Ocean, who has been playing since she was three, said Kent’s very own Alessio Russo was her favourite player because “she’s from Kent just like us.”
Nancie Robinson, 10, and Amelia Crush, 11, from Chatham, both play for Chatham FC.
They were enjoying the atmosphere and had their England hats.
Amelia said her favourite player was Russo “because she is from Kent and her goals are awesome”.
Lizzie and Sunantha, both from Lordswood, were watching the game with their 12-year-old daughters, who both play for Chatham Town.
Lizzie, who used to play when she was younger, said the Lionesses success was important for young girls.
“It’s great that the ladies are doing great because it gives the younger generation more courage to start playing football,” she said.
“They’re doing better than the men, so it’s brilliant.”
After an initial first goal the crowds mood dulled as Australia fought back to1-1 at half-time.
But the final twenty minutes saw the stressed crowd quickly back on a high as the team took the lead with another goal, quickly followed by the winning goal scored by Kent’s very own Alessia Russo.
Miki Haines from Chatham watched the game with son Josiah and his friend Ben.
Miki played for Leyton Orient’s women’s team when she was younger and was pleased the whole country was finally getting behind women in the sport.
“I’m so excited,” she said before the match: “We’ve come out especially to watch the Lionesses.
“I always feel like there’s loads of sport for the men. We’ve been singing for them since 1966 and I feel like it’s going to be for the ladies.
“It’s really good to see more support coming out, especially men coming out to watch as well because normally they prefer watching the men because it’s a faster paced game.
“It’s really good to see the ladies playing so well and whatever happens today as a country we should be so proud of them.”
Leader of Medway Council Vince Maple was delighted with the final result.
“What a fantastic game,” he said. “It was brilliant to have watched it here at Chatham Town FC and what a fantastic result – a winning goal by north Kent’s very own Alessia Russo.
“Bring on the final on Sunday.”
Mr Hake is now opening his doors for football fans to watch England's winning team in the World Cup final on Sunday and to enjoy his team’s match for free.
Speaking after the win Mr Hake said: “It was a great result but as always England didn’t make it easy for themselves.
“We are through to the cup final. Amazing.”