|Gillingham 0 v 2 Ipswich Town|
Papa John's Trophy
Tuesday, 5th October 2021 Kick-off 19:00
Gillingham 0-2 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 5th Oct 2021 20:56
Joe Pigott and Conor Chaplin were on target as a much-changed Town side comfortably beat Gillingham 2-0 at the Priestfield Stadium in the Papa John’s Trophy. Pigott gave Town the lead in the 43rd minute and Chaplin added the second on 71 with the Blues deserved victors.
Town boss Paul Cook made 11 changes from the team which was beaten 2-1 at Accrington on Saturday, starting seven players who were in the squad last season.
Former Gill Tomas Holy was in goal with Kane Vincent-Young at right-back and Myles Kenlock making his first competitive start at any level this season at left-back. Toto Nsiala skippered alongside Luke Woolfenden at the centre of the defence.
Rekeem Harper and Idris El Mizouni were the central midfielders with Kyle Edwards on the left, Kayden Jackson on the right and Conor Chaplin the number 10. Pigott was the lone striker.
Youngsters Albie Armin, Cameron Humpreys and Zanda Siziba were among the subs along with 21-year-old recent Australian signing Tete Yengi, a forward, who only made his first start for the U23s yesterday.
Sone Aluko was a conspicuous absentee from the players who have been on the fringes with the Nigerian international believed to have picked up a knock.
For Gillingham, one-time Town academy youngster Stuart O’Keefe captained a side featuring seven changes from the team which lost 2-0 at home to Wigan on Saturday. The Gills named only six subs.
Ahead of kick-off both teams, aside from Nsiala, took a knee to applause from the very sparse crowd.
Rain started to fall heavily as the Blues dominated the ball in the early stages and threatened for the first time in the ninth minute when, following a long spell of possession, Vincent-Young played a low ball from the right to Pigott on the edge of the box from where the one-time Gills loanee hit a first-time effort just over the bar.
On 11 Pigott fed in Jackson, who had swapped flanks with Edwards but soon switched back again, but the former Accrington man ran into trouble. At the other end, O’Keefe hit the home side’s first shot over following an error by Harper.
Town continued to dominate, keeping possession for spells and throwing in the occasional long ball for Pigott, Jackson or Edwards to chase, and in the 17th minute Chaplin turned a Vincent-Young cross from the right well wide.
Three minutes later, Harper sent Vincent-Young away down the right with Chaplin in space in the middle but the cross was far too strong for the former Barnsley and Portsmouth man.
The game continued in the same pattern and might have done better in the 27th minute when Vincent-Young fed in Jackson breaking behind him and the forward crossed low but behind Chaplin. The ball fell to Pigott and the striker eventually managed to get in a shot on the turn but over the bar.
Two minutes later, Edwards tricked his way past Jack Tucker on the byline and ended up on the ground. The ex-West Brom man looked to have been fouled but referee Trevor Kettle wasn’t interested and Town’s protests were surprisingly muted.
After Nsiala and Vincent-Young had blocked Charlie Kelman shots just inside the Town box, the Blues broke quickly down the right. Jackson crossed and it fell to Pigott, whose shot was blocked by a defender, then the loose ball hit him and ran to Gills keeper Aaron Chapman, at 6ft 8in tall only an inch shorter than Blues number one Holy.
Chaplin shot wide from the edge of the box in the 33rd minute with the Blues maintaining their dominance but still without finding the net.
The Gills began to show more as half-time approached and on 40 Kelman struck a 25-yard shot which Holy let through his fingers and over.
But in the 43rd minute the Blues finally took the lead. Jackson was played in by Chaplin on the right and sent over a perfectly-weighted low cross which Pigott slammed into the roof of the net from the edge of the six-yard box.
The Blues deserved their lead at the break having been well on top during an entertaining first 45 minutes.
The only thing that had been missing was the goal with Pigott taking the chance just before half-time confidently after Chaplin and Jackson had done well on the right.
The second half started as the first had ended with the Blues pushing for a second. Harper failed to find Edwards with the most difficult of three possible passes as Town broke quickly in numbers, then a Pigott reverse pass to Chaplin was cut out by a defender. On 53 Pigott hit a low shot wide from the edge of the box.
In the 57th minute Robbie McKenzie was booked for clipping Jackson’s heels as the Town man broke down the right.
A minute later, Chaplin lifted a ball over the backline for Edwards, who might have made more of it had he anticipated it making it over a defender. Soon after, Vincent-Young made a strong run with the ball down the middle but was halted on the edge of the box.
Just after the hour mark, Kenlock picked out Harper with an excellent cross from the left but the ex-West Brom man scuffed his volley when he should have scored.
Gillingham claimed a penalty in the 66th minute when Kelman went to ground in the area but the striker appeared to have dived. As Town broke, Bailey Akehurst went in late on Vincent-Young and was booked.
Two minutes later, the Gills again appealed for a penalty after O’Keefe ended up on the deck as the Blues cleared from a corner. Again referee Kettle showed no interest.
On 70 El Mizouni, again impressive and looking every bit a senior player in central midfield, shot over from 25 yards following a Town break down the right, Chaplin having laid it back to the Tunisia international from a Jackson cross.
Two minutes later, it was 2-0. Holy caught a poor Gillingham free-kick from left and threw it out to Pigott on the left. The striker took it inside a few paces and played a ball over the top for Chaplin in space. The Gills waited for a flag that never came - Tucker appeared to be playing the Town forward onside - and Chaplin confidently beat the keeper to score his second of the season and all but seal the victory.
Having doubled their lead, Town immediately swapped Pigott and Edwards for James Norwood and Louie Barry.
On 77 Holy did superbly to get across to his left to push Kelman’s deflected effort just past his post.
A minute later at the other end, Chapman palmed away a Chaplin strike as the Blues looked for a third.
El Mizouni was booked for a foul on 85 having made on two earlier transgressions which had gone unpunished before Siziba replaced Chaplin.
A minute later, Barry twisted and turned having been found on the left of the box by Siziba but Chapman saved well down to his left.
In the penultimate minute of regular time, Siziba curled a shot not too far wide after the Kent side had repeatedly failed to clear their lines.
Deep in injury time, Harper shot well wide after the ball had fallen to him after Barry had been dispossessed as he tried to find himself room to shoot.
Town were well worth their win having been in control from virtually start to finish and might well have won by a greater margin.
The result leaves everyone in the group on three points having played two games apiece with the Blues, who are top on goal difference, facing Colchester at home in their final fixture on Tuesday 9th November.
Gillingham: Chapman, O'Keefe (c), Ehmer (Lintott 60), Tucker, Kelman, Lee, Reeves (Lloyd 73), McKenzie, Akinde (Sithole 73), Bennett, Akehurst. Unused: Cumming, Tutonda, Adshead.
Town: Holy, Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, Nsiala (c), Kenlock, Harper, El Mizouni, Jackson, Chaplin (Siziba 85), Edwards (Barry 73), Pigott (Norwood 73). Unused: Hladky, Armin, Humphreys, Yengi. Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland). Att: 1,116 (Town: 224).
Photo: Matchday Images
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