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Chatham Town 0 Gillingham 12 – match report

By Luke Cawdell

A rampant Gillingham proved too strong for Chatham Town on Tuesday night.

Darren Oldaker lit up Maidstone Road with a stunning free-kick as the Gills ran riot against their non-league hosts in the opening half.

Chatham were hosting Ady Pennock’s League 1 Gillingham to unveil their newly installed floodlights but were blown away by the visitors.

Goalmouth action at Maidstone Road Picture: Steve Crispe

The Gills scored four goals in an eight minute spell at the end of the first half, to lead their Medway neighbours 5-0 at half-time infront of a sizeable crowd.

More goals followed after the break as the Gills showed their superior quality.

Among those playing for the Gills was last season’s player-of-the-year Josh Wright and former Bolton man Wilkinson.

Fans queue outside the ground as the Gills take on Chatham in pre-season Picture: Steve Crispe

Oldaker had opened the scoring after just nine minutes with a well-struck free-kick, finding the net from 30 yards with a shot that dipped over the wall.

The Gills were a threat every time they went forward but a combination of missed chances and good goalkeeping from Ryan Nicholls kept them out.

Lee Bremner and Lee Coburn went close for the Southern Counties East side but at the other end the Gills kept knocking. Greg Cundle twice went close before the floodgates opened 10 minutes before the break.

Conor Wilkinson chips the keeper to make it 3-0 Picture: Steve Crispe

Busy striker Conor Wilkinson found the net with a finish in the bottom corner after creating himself some space and three minutes later scored again, this time dinking one over the keeper following Cundle’s pass.

It was 4-0 after 40 minutes as Wright – subject of speculation regarding a possible move to Charlton – struck one from distance through the hands of Nicholls.

Bradley Garmston completed a good 45 minutes for the Gills when the impressive Aaron Simpson – playing as a winger – played him through. The finish across Nicholls into the far corner was clinical.

Chatham Town's management team watch on Picture: Steve Crispe

Gillingham added a sixth three minutes into the second half when Tom Eaves turned on the edge of the box before firing home into the top corner.

Trialist striker Liam Nash was among the half-time substitutes, along with Eaves. It was Eaves who supplied the cross for Noel Mbo to make it 7-0 on the hour.

Nash made it eight after 72 minutes, surging towards goal with quick feet before chipping over the keeper.

Jake Hessenthaler scored the ninth as he fired home across goal after being picked out by Elliott List. It was List who took it to double figures with a strike into the bottom corner.

Gills weren’t finished there and trialist striker Nash scored from the spot after being brought down to make it 11. Wright added another from the penalty spot when List was tripped inside the area.

Chatham: Nicholls, Welsh, Butler, Coburn, Acland, Precott, Edwards, Palmer, Gallacher, Bremner, Friend. Subs: Nurse, Webb, Ascheri, Alderman, Gundry, Bearman-Dyce, Gibson, Bray.

Gillingham: Hadler (Nelson 52mins), Chapman (Mbo 46mins), Garmston, Simpson (List 63mins), O’Mara, Tucker, Wright, Oldaker (Hessenthaler 63mins), Stevenson (Eaves 46mins), Wilkinson (Nash 46mins), Cundle (Parker 46mins).

Attendance: 1,241

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