Published: 20:30, 22 December 2017 |
Updated: 08:50, 23 December 2017
Gillingham claimed back to back league wins for the first time this season, on Friday night.
First half goals from Josh Parker and Luke O’Neill put the Gills in the driving seat at Fleetwood.
A tremendous second half defensive display ensured Fleetwood ended the game without a shot on target, despite plenty of pressure.
Victory lifted the Gills five points clear of the League 1 drop zone.
The only downer of the night was an injury to Scott Wagstaff, the in-form midfielder limping off with a muscle injury midway through the opening half.
Friday night’s trip to Fleetwood ended a gruelling month of travel for fans, clocking up 1,700 miles on the road during December with, previous games at Plymouth and Carlisle. Victory ensured this was a game worth seeing.
It was Gillingham’s first win at Fleetwood’s Highbury stadium, in five attempts.
There were two changes for the Gills as Gabriel Zakuani and Connor Ogilvie replaced Alex Lacey and Ben Nugent in defence.
Fleetwood, with just one win from their last 11 in the league, included former Gills loanee defender Baily Cargill in their starting XI.
The Gills were out to prove a point after a poor showing in the FA Cup against League 2 Carlisle and they played some impressive stuff early on.
A move involving Lee Martin and O’Neill led to the opener. A cross from Wagstaff found Parker, he took a touch, turned and then fired home past keeper Alex Cairns.
Tom Eaves had the ball in the net after 15 minutes, but that was ruled out for offside. Seconds later and the Gills did have their second and it was all down to O’Neill, finding a gap through a crowd and picking out the bottom corner with a curling 25-yard effort.
Fleetwood improved as the half progressed, aided by Wagstaff’s absence, but for all the pressure Gills’ keeper Tomas Holy wasn’t overly troubled, with the defence doing their jobs well. Returning defender Zakuani made a couple of timely interventions.
The home side added extra firepower to their side at the break but the Gills remained strong at the back, forcing the likes of Hiwula to gamble with some wayward efforts.
Eaves had the ball in the net again for Gillingham but his 56th minute header, from Martin’s free-kick, but again the flag was raised for offside.
Mark Byrne smashed a powerful effort wide for the visitors and put another chance from distance over the bar.
Fleetwood were being repelled by some great determination from the Gills, everyone getting stuck in to clear the danger.
Gillingham were sticking everyone behind the ball at times as the pressure mounted. The home side were struggling to create meaningful chances from their possession.
Hiwula put a good chance wide late on after Ehmer had blocked one effort and headed another clear.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Eastham, Bolger (Pond 70mins), Cargill (Sowerby 46mins), Coyle, Dempsey, Glendon, O’Neill (Hunter 46mins), Bell, Hiwula, Cole. Subs: Neal, Burns, Maguire, Schwabl.
Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Ogilvie, Ehmer, Zakuani, Byrne, Clare, Wagstaff (Hessenthaler 39mins), Martin, Eaves (Wilkinson 81mins), Parker. Subs: Arnold, Lacey, Wilkinson, Nugent, List, Cundle.
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