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Phoenix Sports 2 Gillingham 2 – Gills win 6-5 on penalties

By Luke Cawdell

Jack Conway scored the winning penalty to send Gillingham through to round three of the Kent Senior Cup.

The match ended 2-2 and it needed penalties to settle it, with the Gills claiming the win after the 20th spot kick.

Jesse Starkey’s early strike in normal time had been cancelled out by a super Ben Allen effort from a free-kick just before the break.

Gillingham youth player Jack Conway

Gillingham youth player Jack Conway

Darren Oldaker fired the Gills back infront with 10 minutes left but home substitute Kewku Ansah levelled the scores late on to take the tie to penalties.


Reaction to the win from Gills coach Steve Lovell


 

Gills keeper Steve Arnold made four saves during the shoot-out, with the winning goals coming from Greg Cundle, Oldaker, Liam Nash, Theo White, Ben Chapman and finally Conway.

The Gills named a strong team for the match, against the Bostik South side, knowing a tie at Maidstone’s Gallagher Stadium awaited the winners.

It’s the Gills who will now travel to Maidstone on October 31.

Bradley Garmston and Scott Wagstaff both started as they continue their rehabilitation from injury.

Nash was playing upfront, hoping for goals and to impress watching caretaker boss Peter Taylor.

Jesse Starkey Picture Andy Payton

Jesse Starkey Picture: Andy Payton

Starkey, who has made just one substitute appearance for the Gills since signing in mid-September, scored a stunning opener. He took one touch to beat the defender and then beat the keeper with an angled drive into the far corner.

The Gills were dealt a blow midway through the match as Aaron Simpson limped off following a collision with Stefan Wright.

Allen had already forced Gills keeper Arnold into one good save before beating him with another long-range effort. A minute into stoppage time, his 30-yard free-kick sailed over the goalie to level the scores.

Wagstaff and Garmston played 45 minutes and were replaced by second year scholars White and Conway. Fellow youngster Henry Arnold had early come on for injured Simpson.

After the restart, Jack Tucker had to make a good early challenge to prevent Allen from getting in on goal. Tucker caused problems at the other end, getting on the end of a great Oldaker cross. His ball across the face of goal needed tapping in but nobody was there.

Nash also headed wide for the Gills and Cundle had a shot blocked.

Darren Oldaker Picture Barry Goodwin

Darren Oldaker Picture: Barry Goodwin

Starkey turned provider as he teed up Oldaker on 80 minutes. The Gills midfielder found the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Oldaker almost added a third soon after but was denied by the woodwork.

Phoenix levelled again with two minutes left when keeper Arnold came out and clattered into Tucker and when the ball ran free, substitute Ansah was there to roll the ball home, just moments after taking to the field.

Gillingham finally won a long shoot-out, with Conway converting the crucial kick.

Phoenix: Phillips, Fitchett, Muckle, Bryon, Young, Mingle (Dythe 52mins), Wright, Hopkins, Allen, Sawyer, Aldridge (Ansah 88mins). Subs not used: Ogboe, Seixas, Kemp.

Gillingham: S Arnold, Simpson (H Arnold 21mins), Garmston (Conway 46mins), Tucker, Huckle, Chapman, Oldaker, Starkey, Wagstaff (White 46mins), Cundle, Nash. Sub not used: Gildea.

Attendance: 232

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