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Match Reports

Town v Gillingham

23 April 2016

Town 3 Gillingham 2

Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Mat Sadler, Zak Whitbread, Sullay Kaikai, James Wesolowski, Jack Grimmer, Ogogo, Andy Mangan, Nathaniel Knight-Percival (c), Jack Hendry, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro

Subs: Mark Halstead, Ian Black, Kyle Vassell, Shaun Whalley, Jordan Clark, Larnell Cole, Dom Smith

: Stuart Nelson, BradleyGillingham Garmston (Brennan Dickenson 61), John Egan (c), Max Ehmer, Jake Hessenthaler, Cody McDonald (Rory Donnelly 88), Aaron Morris (George Williams 77), Luke Norris, Bradley Dick, Josh Wright, Deji Oshilaja

Subs: Glenn Morris, Ryan Jackson, Jermaine McGlashan, Emmanuel Osadebe

Ref: Lee Swabey

Assistants: Robert Hyde and Robert Whitton

Fourth Official: Darren Blunden

Attendance: 6906 (with 205 traveling Salopians')

Micky Mellon sticks with the 3-4-1-2 formation but makes the one change with Andy Mangan coming in to replace Kyle Vassell who drops down to the bench.

Gillingham started well and got a Town from the first whistle with Oshilaja seeing a lot of the ball and causing problems, he crossed well to the back post to find McDonald who headed back across goal but the bar was there to save Town. Moments later Dack fired in a long drive that Leutwiler got his body behind to block and then he was down quickly to smoother the ball.

Town's first good opening came after 10 minutes with some good football that saw Kaikai come inside and play the ball to Grimmer, he took it wide and then laid it off to Hendry who in turn delivered a good ball into the Gills box, Akpa Akpro found the space to get a header in on goal but it was at Nelson who gratefully collected.

It was the visitors who took the early advantage and it was another special goal from Sullay Kaikai, Town were pressing well and moving the ball around, it came to Kaikai who drove infield and kept going, just outside the Gills box he fired in a lovely low shot that bounced before Nelson and whistled past the Gills keeper to make it 1-0 to Town.

Gillingham were awarded a free-kick around 25 yards from goal, it was Dack who stepped up for the kick and got the ball up and over the wall but Leutwiler was alert to it and helped the ball over the bar.

Town were looking lively when they got the ball and broke forward, Mangan collected the ball just inside the Gills half and looked for options, he played it into Kaikai who drove forward, he played it into Akpa Akpro who then got in behind the visitors defence before driving a low ball to the near post to find Sadler who stabbed in a shot but it was just wide of the target,

With 10 minutes of the half remaining the game got a little niggly, it started after Whitbread was adjudged to have fouled a Gills man and was booked by ref Swabey. The temperature rose a little with some strong but fair challenges going in from both sides. Then after a foul on Whitbread the Town defender stepped over Morris and attempted to walk away, the Gills man lifted a foot and then jumped up to go eye to eye with Whitbread, there was a little bit of pushing and shoving and when it had all calmed down ref Sawbey produced a yellow card for Morris.

Town picked up another booking just before the break, the ball was on the touchline with Oshilaja who looked to clear, Wesolowski came over to challenge and was adjudged to have caught the Gills man who went to ground and ref Sawbey was reaching for a yellow card.

Town were continuing to play the ball around well looking to build and get the pressure on the Gills goal, they moved the ball around nicely with Grimmer crossing and then ball then coming to Sadler on the edge of the box who hit in a decent shot but Nelson was there to save.

Gillingham got on level terms on the stroke of half-time after a free-kick was given somewhat harshly after a challenge from Hendry just outside the Town box. It was McDonald who placed the ball and he smashed in a worldy of a shot that flew into the top corner of the far post to make it 1-1.

Half-time: 1-1

Gillingham had another free-kick just outside the Town box with less than 5 minutes of the half gone after ref Swabey again saw Hendry's challenge as a foul. Dack and McDonald were over the ball and it was McDonald who drove in a low shot but Leutwiler was equal to it and was down smartly to smoother the ball.

Akpa Akpro showed good strength to hold of his marker and then nick the ball over him to get in behind and hit a cross/shot into the box that Nelson tipped over for a Town corner. The ball was delivered well into the Gills box and found Ogogo, he headed back into the danger area and there was Mangan with his back to goal but he hit a lovely overhead volley that flew past Nelson to put Town back into the lead.

Town's lead didn't last long and good pressing from Gillingham saw the ball with Morris, he did well to get the ball into the Town box to find Hessenthaler in space, he let the ball drop and then drove in a shot that beat the dive of Leutwiler at the base of the post to make it 2-2.

The game was finely poised with both sides having good possession around the opposition box and chances in on goal, but both looked like they didn't want to lose the game.

With 10 minutes of the game remaining Town took the lead again, it was a ball to Mangan that saw the Town forward hold play up, he played it Kaikai who in turn put it to Grimmer, he held it up and gave it back to Kaikai who then played it to Akpa Akpro on the edge of the Gills box, he cut back towards goal and hit a shot in which took a slight deflection to lift it over Nelson and nestle in the back of the net to make it 3-2 to Town,

Micky Mellon brought Ian Black on to replace Andy Mangan as Town looked to hold onto the lead and an important 3 points. It was a battling performance with Gillingham putting the pressure on but Town digging deep to get the important blocks and challenges in to keep the home side at bay.

With the final whistle fast approaching Gillingham tried to create one last chance with Dack curling the ball in but Ian Black flew into the challenge and went to ground, and in the confusion of players on the ground ref Sawbey blew the final whistle for an important Town win.

Full-time: 2-3

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