Gillingham 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Striker Deon Burton tucks away the winning
penalty Picture: Barry Goodwin
Deon Burton’s second half penalty clinched
a home win for Gillingham and a place back at the top of League
Leon Legge netted a first half opener for
the Gills but it was all-square shortly after the interval as Femi
Ilesanmi struck for Dagenham.
Substitute Burton restored the lead by
scoring from the spot and his 11th goal of the season
was enough to take all three points.
Defeat for Port Vale at home to Morecambe
saw the Gills return to the top of the table.
Martin Allen made two changes to the team
which started in midweek against York City.
Midfielder Charlie Allen missed out with a
broken leg, while Deon Burton dropped to the bench, as Charlie Lee
and Myles Weston returned to the starting line-up.
New arrivals Ryan Williams and Michael
Richardson started the afternoon from the bench but neither came
Gillingham were looking to bounce back on
home soil after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Wycombe last time they
were playing at Priestfield. Allen’s men returned having picked up
four points on the road in their last two matches.
Dagenham had the better of the early
exchanges and Luke Wilkinson almost smashed in an opener, only to
see his close-range effort hit Andy Frampton and bounce clear.
Gillingham’s worries were eased on 28
minutes as Legge pounced on a cross from Myles Weston to put
the home side ahead. The linesman initially flagged for off-side
but after a discussion with referee Iain Williamson the goal was
Just before the break Ilesanmi showed a bit
of skill to create some space but put the subsequent shot wide. A
cross from the same player moments later had too much pace on it
for former Gills striker Ben Strevens to slide in on time.
Ilesanmi was quick to show his skills again
in the second half, as he left Chris Whelpdale and Fish in his
wake, played a fortunate one-two and then finished with the outside
of his foot to beat keeper Stuart Nelson.
The Gills looked to make an immediate
response from the 52nd minute equaliser but a header
from Cody McDonald went wide and Charlie Lee’s effort was cleared
off the line by Luke Howell.
Burton had been on the pitch for just three
minutes when he got the chance to put the Gills infront from the
penalty spot. And the striker made no mistake, tucking the
ball past keeper Chris Lewington, who had escaped with a
yellow card, after downing Anton Robinson in the box.
Dagenham pressed late on as the Gills went
more defensive, with McDonald leaving the field and being replaced
by Steven Gregory. Dagenham had little joy infront of Gills’ goal
as the hosts defended in numbers to secure the points.
Burton had the chance to score his second but he headed Weston's
injury-time cross wide.
Gillingham: Nelson, Fish
(Dack 81mins), Martin, Barrett, Legge, Frampton (Burton 65mins),
Whelpdale, Robinson, Lee, Weston, McDonald (Gregory 73mins). Subs
not used: Forecast, Richardson, Williams, Birchall.
Wilkinson, Hoyte (Reed 90mins), Ilesanmi, Doe, Elito (Caprice
75mins), Ogogo, Saunders (Green 79mins), Howell, Williams,
Strevens. Subs not used: Maher, Woodall, Bingham, Seabright.
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