Published: 16:35, 14 October 2017
| Updated: 01:51, 01 March 2018
Gillingham clinched a shock win over Peterborough in Steve Lovell’s first game since taking over as caretaker manager.
Lee Martin put the Gills ahead in the first half to end a run of four League 1 games without a goal.
It was Gills' first league goal in over seven hours of football and was just reward for a positive opening 45.
Peterborough put the pressure on after the break and hit the bar through Jack Marriott. The Gills managed to hold out and claim an unexpected three points.
Bradley Garmston was the surprise name in the Gills line-up, as new interim boss Steve Lovell made four changes for the XI.
Conor Wilkinson, Connor Ogilvie and Finn O’Mara all dropped to the bench while injury got the better of Ben Nugent.
It was Garmston’s first appearance this season, having got through half a game in the week, during Gills’ Kent Senior Cup game at Phoenix Sports.
With no senior natural right-back fit, Lovell opted for Sean Clare to play that role, hoping the pace of both he and Garmston would give the Gills better hope of causing Peterborough problems.
The game started as predicted, with promotion-chasing Peterborough bossing it and stretching the Gills, but they were unable to test visiting keeper Tomas Holy.
In the end it was the home keeper Jonathan Bond – a former Gills loanee – who was the busier of the two, making fine saves to deny Elliott List and Josh Parker.
By then the Gills were a goal ahead, deservedly edging ahead in the match after a purposeful performance. Mark Byrne was getting things ticking things over in midfield, while Martin was showing what he can do when he’s on form.
It was Martin who opened the scoring, cutting inside before bending a shot in off the upright from around 20 yards out.
Parker had smashed a couple of efforts wildly over before that but he almost doubled the lead, a low shot across goal which Bond did well to divert out with his leg. It was Martin’s great crossfield pass that created the chance and Byrne’s alertness to win possession in the first place.
Bond was there again moments later to deny List. The Gills man got a shot away but should probably have gone down for a penalty after being clipped by a defender.
Gillingham ended the half on the front-foot, with calls of “rubbish” coming from the home contingent. What a difference a few days make.
It was the first time this season that the Gills had led a game at the break.
The Gills knew they had a big 45 minutes ahead of them, however, against a side that went into the weekend as the division’s joint leading scorers.
Wide-man Gwion Edwards had been a threat during the opening half but the Gills continued to thwart the hosts, who didn’t trouble Holy until the hour mark, when substitute Leo Da Silva Lopes’ low effort was held. He tried his luck moments later but Holy was well placed to save.
Peterborough went even closer from a Marcus Maddison free-kick, whipping it in at the near post, leading Holy to stick out a hand at the last second and divert it wide.
Posh kept knocking and Marriott struck the bar with a free-kick with 15 minutes left. A free-kick from the same place soon after saw Marcus Maddison curl the ball wide.
Maddison drilled another shot at Holy with five left and the Gills keeper held a couple more efforts to ensure the win.
Peterborough: Bond, Shephard (Kanu 76mins), Hughes, Baldwin, Edwards, Forrester, Taylor, Grant (Lopes 60mins), Maddison, Marriott, Miller (Lloyd 76mins). Subs not used: O’Malley, Tafazolli, Anderson, Penfold.
Gillingham: Holy, Clare, Garmston (Ogilvie 46mins), Zakuani, Ehmer, Bingham, Hessenthaler, Byrne (Wagstaff 63mins), Martin, Parker, List (Wilkinson 69mins). Subs not used: Nelson, Oldaker, Cundle, O’Mara.
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