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Reading 2 Gillingham 0 – Carabao Cup first round report

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham were undone by a couple of quality finishes from Reading’s Liam Kelly.

Neither side could make a breakthrough in the opening half as the Gills held their own against their Championship hosts.

But Kelly unleashed a great shot to put Reading ahead midway through the second half and doubled the lead late on to seal Gillingham’s cup exit.

Scott Wagstaff lines up a shot for Gills at Reading Picture: Ady Kerry

Gills head coach Ady Pennock made four changes to their starting XI from the goalless draw at Doncaster and once again put in a solid display.

Reaction: Head coach Ady Pennock's post-match thoughts.

Lee Martin and Billy Bingham were both rested after picking up weekend knocks. Mark Byrne dropped to the bench while Gabriel Zakuani was left out completely, taking his place among the 450 Gills fans behind the goal.

Rookie striker Greg Cundle was handed his first Gills start, while fellow youngster Darren Oldaker was also named in the XI, making his fifth start for the club. Jake Hessenthaler and Josh Wright both also got the nod.

Darren Oldaker in action for Gillingham at Reading Picture: Ady Kerry

Reading finished third in the Championship last season but lost out in the play-off final on penalties to Huddersfield. Home manager Jaap Stam named a young team, with an average age of 22.

The opening half lacked a spark, with Reading happy to play keep-ball. Holy wasn’t overly tested in the first 45 as several shots drifted wide with Gills’ defence doing their job.

Pelle Clement looked to create a chance with a bit of skill midway through the half but even he was snuffed out. Andy Rinomhota dragged a shot wide – Reading’s best opening of the half – after creating space 20 yards out.

Greg Cundle in action for Gillingham Picture: Ady Kerry

Scott Wagstaff had a penalty appeal waved away for the Gills by referee Brett Huxtable, Jake Hessenthaler fired an effort well over and Darren Oldaker put a 30-yard free-kick wide. Both keepers went into the break with a clean pair of gloves.

Reading’s substitute striker Modou Barrow fired the first chance of the second half over and it was home keeper Anssi Jaakkola who was properly tested.

Firstly he got down well to save at Parker’s feet and moments later produced a great save to block Tom Eaves’ snap shot. Chances were becoming more frequent, as the hour mark approached, and at the other end Holy held onto a Liam Moore header.

Reading keeper Anssi Jaakkola denies Josh Wright Picture: Ady Kerry

It took a quality strike to finally break the deadlock with Liam Kelly driving home a shot from the edge of the box, rising beyond the reach of Gills keeper Holy in the 71 minute.

Holy made a save soon after to deny midfield dangerman Clement and the same man put a shot narrowly wide as Gills’ defence became stretched.

A second goal came after 86 minutes and it was Kelly again with a neat finish, scoring from a central position on the edge of the box.

Reading: Jaakkola, Gunter, Richards (Andresson 63mins), Moore, Evans, Kelly, Rinomhota, Barrett (Quinn 59mins), Clement, Smith, Mendes (Barrow 46mins). Subs not used: Legg, East, Frost, Loader.

Gillingham: Holy, O'Neill, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Wagstaff, Hessenthaler (Chapman 78mins), Wright, Oldaker, Parker, Eaves (Nash 74mins), Cundle (Wilkinson 69mins). Subs not used: Hadler, O'Mara, Byrne, List.

Attendance: 5,936 (450 away)

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