Shrewsbury Town 2 Gillingham 0
Gillingham midfielder Curtis Weston
challenges against Shrewsbury on
Picture: Barry Goodwin
By Luke Cawdell
Gillingham drifted further away from the
League 2 automatic promotion places with defeat at play-off rivals
Shrewsbury on Saturday.
A goal in each half condemned the Gills to
defeat at Shrewsbury as the home side completed the double over
Andy Hessenthaler’s men.
They had won the reverse encounter at
Priestfield 1-0 but the hosts got their revenge as Shane
Cansdell-Sherriff scored Shrewsbury’s opener with half an hour gone
and Mark Wright doubled the lead late on.
The Gills, without either of the new signings
in the starting eleven, created nothing to trouble home keeper
Chris Neal in the opening 45 minutes despite a promising start as
Jack Payne’s deflected shot looped narrowly wide.
The majority of the chances in the first half
fell to the home side, with left-winger Mark Wright causing
problems for the Gills defence.
On two occasions the Gills almost put the ball
into their own net. Firstly Andy Frampton did well to clear James
Collins’ dangerous cross wide and Garry Richards, who had put a
header wide at the other end, deflected Wright’s cross wide.
But from the resulting corner Shrewsbury
took the lead. Gillingham were unable to clear the danger and
Cansdell-Sherriff was on hand to turn the ball into the net.
Jon Taylor smashed a low shot narrowly wide
just before the break as Shrewsbury all-too-easily found a way
through the Gills defence.
Hessenthaler decided against making any
changes at the break despite having attacking options, including
new signing Gavin Tomlin, although fellow newcomer Jo Kuffour was
not in the squad.
An early second half free-kick was comfortably
dealt with by Ross Flitney in the Gills goal but at the other end
the 247 travelling fans had to wait until almost the hour mark for
a second attempt at goal, when Charlie Lee sent one flying
Shrewsbury kept the pressure on and nearly
added a second through Joe Jacobson but Flitney turned the effort
against the post and claimed the rebound.
With the introduction of Luke Rooney and
Tomlin, Gills looked to attack Shrewsbury with pace in the latter
stages. It was Rooney who finally tested Neal, with 69 minutes
gone, but the Shrews keeper got his body behind the shot and
deflected it wide for a corner. Gills kept up the pressure and Lee
hooked an effort just over the bar.
The home side, with tricky forward Marvin
Morgan, were always a threat and did not give the Gills defence a
rest all afternoon.
With three minutes left, the hosts sealed a
deserved win when Wright converted Jermaine Grandison’s cross. Matt
Richards should have added a third in stoppage time but curled a
good chance wide, while Flitney had to race off his line to save
from Jon Taylor, as Shrewsbury finished with a flourish.
Gillingham: Flitney, Lee,
Lawrence, Richards, Frampton, J Payne, Jackman, Montrose (Tomlin
64mins), Weston, Whelpdale (Rooney 65mins), Oli (S Payne 73mins).
Subs not used: Fish, Gazzaniga.
Shrewsbury: Neal, Grandison,
Jacobson, Sharps, Cansdell-Sherriff, Wright, Collins (Gornell
85mins), Morgan, Richards, D McAllister, Taylor. Subs not used:
Smith, S McAllister, Ainsworth, Wildig.
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