Gillingham retained the DFDS Kent Women’s Cup with an ultimately comfortable victory over Aylesford.
The holders were made to work hard for their 1-0 half-time lead by a dogged Aylesford side who fought to stay in the game, as well as having their moments in attack.
Gills’ class ultimately told as they rattled in five second-half goals, to the delight of their fans in the main stand at Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium on Thursday night.
Gills boss Dan Logue said: “Credit to Aylesford for the first half. They put us under a bit of pressure. We kind of played the occasion in the first half.
“Second half, the girls’ talent shone through and we deserved what we got.
“The pressure is on us as the team in Tier 3 and as the cup holders and Aylesford have got nothing to lose in that sense.
“We’ve just got to make sure we don’t give ourselves any problems, which we did in the first half, as well as Aylesford giving us problems.
“Second half, those problems were eradicated and we controlled the game and we scored some lovely goals.
“That’s the quality we have in there. We’ve got goals from centre-backs, forwards and midfielders today, so it goes throughout the pitch.
“The quality’s there, it’s just making sure it’s put into place on the pitch and we make the right decisions at the right time.
“We couldn’t take our foot off the gas, even at 3-0.
“Aylesford may score the next goal and it gives them a lift and they might come back into it, so when we’re in the ascendancy we’ve got to make sure we carry on punishing and playing to the level we know we can.”
A couple of meaty challenges from Aylesford skipper Alex Whitham in the opening minutes showed Gillingham weren’t going to have things all their own way.
The excellent Whitham’s uncompromising approach typified the effort and spirit the underdogs - playing in their third final - brought to the tie.
They showed some nice touches in possession but Gillingham’s superior passing and movement told, not to mention the speed at which they knocked the ball about at times.
Breon Grant went close as the Gills created several early chances, although there was a scare at the other end when Chloe Flower tried her luck from a long-range free-kick which had keeper Cara Davies concerned.
Grant looked lively and delivered the opening goal in the 34th minute after collecting a pass in the box and beating keeper Sade Rider, who got her hand to the shot.
Aylesford enjoyed early second-half possession in Gillingham territory but almost conceded a second when a lovely move involving Amy Haynes, Charlotte Creswell and Mel Espinosa ended with Creswell firing just over.
Haynes went close before fine defending from right-back Becky Burnham denied the Gills a tap-in.
Pressure was mounting and the inevitable second goal followed.
Aylesford threw bodies in the way as the ball bounced around the box but it eventually fell to Grace Coombs, who lashed home in the 68th minute. Flower threatened from even further out than her earlier free-kick after spotting Davies off her line before the killer third in the 73rd minute.
What a goal it was, too, with Lottie Sharp and Cresswell working the ball to Mary Bashford, who cut inside from the left and bent home a beauty into the top corner.
A foul on Ellie Jeffkins saw player-of-the-match Vicky Ashton-Jones extend Gillingham’s lead from the penalty spot four minutes later.
The goals kept coming, with Grant poking home her second from close range on 80 minutes.
And Georgia Griffin made it six with a great strike after collecting Jeffkins’ diagonal pass in the 87th minute.
Gillingham: Cara Davies, Halle Houssein, Grace Coombs, Niamh Jestin, Vicky Ashton-Jones, Georgia Griffin, Ellie Jeffkins, Megan Maslak, Keira Flannery, Breon Grant, Amy Haynes. Subs: Georgina Pearch, Mary Bashford, Charlotte Cresswell, Mel Espinosa, Lottie Sharp.
Aylesford: Sade Rider, Jade Folkard, Brittany Harper, Alex Whitham, Becky Burnham, Stacey Glover, Atlanta McLean, Chloe Francis, Hannah Corlett, Chloe Flower, Kara Richardson. Subs: Amanda Beeput, Beth Hulme, Imogen Armstrong, Penny Dellaway, Zara Chapman.
Referee: Clair Phelps.