Gillingham 1-2 Town
Tuesday, 16th Jul 2013 21:18
Late sub David October slammed home an injury time stunner as Town beat Gillingham 2-1 at the Priestfield Stadium. David McGoldrick scored a superb freekick in the first half but the Blues were caught sleeping seconds after the restart when Cody McDonald equalised for the home side.
Trialists Titus Bramble, Frederic Veseli and Bongani Khumalo all started or Mick McCarthy's side. Veseli lined up at right-back with Bramble and Khumalo at the centre of the defence.
Town have ended their interest in centre-half Dan Seaborne, who was in the side last week at Crawley and at Shelbourne with the former Southampton man in the Yeovil side facing Torquay United this evening.
Left-back Aaron Cresswell missed out having suffered a thigh injury at Crawley and Tyrone Mings fulfilled that role at the Priestfield Stadium. Scott Loach was in goal.
Anthony Wordsworth and Luke Hyam, who was wearing the armband, were in the centre of midfield with Jay Tabb on the left and Paul Anderson on the right. David McGoldrick partnered Frank Nouble up front.
The first chance of the game fell to the Gills in the third minute, Danny Kedwell beating Mings on the right and cutting the ball back to one-time Town schoolboy Chris Whelpdale, who lashed wildly over.
Veseli started the game impressively and in the 10th minute whipped over a superb cross from the right, which McGoldrick headed wide when he ought to have made a better contact and scored.
In the 19th minute, Nouble, who spent time on loan with the Gills while a West Ham player, hit a low shot which keeper Stuart Nelson claimed comfortably after a lengthy spell of Blues possession. Town had been comfortably on top against last season’s League Two champions.
The Blues finally scored the goal their performance had deserved in the 22nd minute, and what a goal it was. McGoldrick’s mazy run was halted by Bradley Dack’s trip about 10 yards outside the penalty area and the striker stepped up to curl brilliant low freekick to Nelson’s right and into the net. It was the former Forest man’s second goal of pre-season.
Moments after the goal Mings took a nasty knock to the head after an aerial clash with Kedwell but after treatment was able to carry on.
Town were close to going two goals in front in the 27th minute when Tabb fed Wordsworth, who moved the ball on to Nouble just inside the penalty area but Gills keeper Nelson did superbly to save his powerful strike to his left.
The home side had keeper Nelson to thank again in the 36th minute after he pulled off a fine double stop. Nouble’s initial strike fell to McGoldrick but Nelson blocked at close range. The loose ball ran out to Anderson but again the keeper was equal to the strike.
Hyam, who had made several lively runs forward, shot wide from 20 yards as the half moved into its final five minutes with the Blues on top but with Gillingham creating the odd moment of danger.
There were no other chances before referee Andy D’Urso blew the half-time whistle and Town’s subs began warming up.
Aside from Hewitt’s introduction in place of Veseli at right-back, the Blues were otherwise unchanged and within seconds of the restart the Gills were on terms. Dack played in former Canary Cody McDonald on the left of the area and the striker slipped the ball under Scott Loach.
Town almost got their noses back in front a minute later when Hewitt crossed from the right and Nouble flicked the ball just past the far post.
Gillingham had started the second half strongly and nearly went in front in the 51st minute when Steven Gregory forced Loach into a save to his right from distance. Further efforts were blocked before Nouble broke and cut in from the left, but scuffed his strike across goal and past the post.
McGoldrick was close to netting his second of the game in the 58th minute when his overhead kick from Anderson’s cross flew just over the bar.
On 65 Michael Chopra and Daryl Murphy replaced Nouble and McGoldrick up front for the Blues. Six minutes later, Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith took over at the centre of the defence from Bramble and Khumalo, Kyle Hammond replaced Wordsworth and Cole Skuse came on for Anderson. Soon after, the Gills brought on man mountain striker Adebayo Akinfenwa.
Moments later, Chopra saw a freekick deflect wide after Murphy had been fouled. From the resultant corner, the ball was worked back to Chopra, but his low effort was just wide.
Smith headed Hammond’s strike to Nelson as the game moved into its final 15 minutes. Soon after the Blues switched Mings, Tabb and Hyam for David October, Byron Lawrence and Josh Carson.
As the game moved into injury time, Lawrence crossed from the left, Carson flicked a header back at the far post. The ball was half-cleared to Murphy but his shot was blocked.
The game was looking destined to end in a draw until Hewitt crossed from the right and the ball reached left-back October, who caught a half-volley perfectly and his low strike flew across Nelson and into the corner of the net. There was no time left for the Gills to hit back.
Town ought to have been more than a goal ahead at the break with Nelson making a number of decent saves. After the break, the Blues were caught cold for the Gillingham goal and never really matched their first half display.
Late on, the game became rather disjointed due to the number of substitutions made by both sides and a draw looked certain until 18-year-old October's excellent winner.
Veseli probably made the greatest impression of Town’s three trialists, pushing forward, working well with Anderson and getting in a number of decent crosses before being replaced at half-time.
Bramble was solid and largely untroubled, as you’d imagine against League One opposition, while Khumalo was dominant in the air if less comfortable on the ground.
Town: Loach, Veseli, Mings (October 79), Bramble (Chambers 71), Khumalo (Smith 71), Wordsworth (Hammond 71), Anderson (Skuse 71), Hyam (c) (Lawrence 71), Nouble (Chopra 65), McGoldrick (Murphy 65), Tabb (Carson 71). Unused: Gerken.
Photo: Action Images
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