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Gillingham 7 Reading U21s 5 match report

By Craig Tucker

Greg Cundle scored after 15 seconds as Gillingham won a crazy Checkatrade Trophy match featuring 12 goals.

Conor Wilkinson, Scott Wagstaff and Luke O’Neill also struck as Gills led Reading U21s 4-1 at the break.

Reading stormed back with three goals after half-time before Darren Oldaker missed a penalty for Gills.

Conor Wilkinson scores Gills' second Picture Andy Payton

Conor Wilkinson scores Gills' second Picture: Andy Payton

Substitute Noel Mbo restored the lead on his first competitive appearance and Oldaker made up for his spot-kick miss with a lovely strike from distance before Reading added a fifth.

There was still time for Oldaker to add Gills’ seventh as the small crowd of just over a thousand went home entertained.

Cundle finished Wagstaff’s cross for his first-ever Gills goal as Steve Lovell’s side made a flying start to their final Group B match against Reading U21s.

Scott Wagstaff makes it three Picture Andy Payton

Scott Wagstaff makes it three Picture: Andy Payton

With Gills already safely through, the only incentive on the night was to win the group with a perfect record and they wasted no time with Cundle’s neat finish.

Cundle had another effort blocked on the line before Wilkinson made it 2-0 with his first Gills goal, following in sharply after Wagstaff’s 20-yard strike was parried.

A third goal followed on 29 minutes when O’Neill got forward from right-back and whipped in a lovely cross to the far post, with Wagstaff’s ruled to have crossed the line.

Reading’s youngsters, managed by former Arsenal centre-half Scott Marshall, pulled a goal back on 38 minutes with Joel Rollinson meeting Adrian Popa’s cross.

But Gills restored their three-goal cushion straight from the restart as O’Neill cut inside and curled home with his left foot from 25 yards.

Reading had their second goal in the 49th minute, Popa with a lovely bit of footwork and a nice finish in the box.

A poor challenge by Tom Holmes ended Wilkinson’s evening a minute later, the Gills striker hobbling back to the dressing room and eventually replaced by Bradley Stevenson.

Who was your star man for Gills?

The Reading revival continued with another goal on 57 minutes, Ramarni Medford-Smith beating Stuart Nelson at his near post.

And they were level on 68 minutes as a nice move from right to left ended with Jake Sheppard’s diving header making it 4-4.

Gills had the chance to regain the lead in the 75th minute after Wagstaff was sent tumbling by Tom Holmes but Oldaker sent his penalty into the deserted Rainham End.

They were back in front on 80 minutes with Mbo finishing Wagstaff’s corner and that was followed by a cracking Oldaker strike from 25 yards just two minutes later.

But that wasn’t the end of it with Reading going straight up the other end from the restart and Popa scoring their fifth with a nice finish from inside the area.

Gillingham made it seven when Oldaker’s 25-yard free-kick squirmed under keeper George Legg.

Gillingham: Nelson, O'Neill, Ehmer (Tucker 46mins), Wagstaff, Wilkinson (Stevenson 55mins), Oldaker, List (Mbo 46mins), Chapman, Simpson, Cundle, O'Mara. Subs not used: Arnold, Nash, Starkey, Scarlett.

Reading U21s: Legg, Popa, Barrett, East, Medford-Smith, Osho, Frost, Rollinson, Sheppard, Holmes, Burley. Subs not used: Rosario, Howe, Shokunbi, Davies, Green, Buchanan, Odimayo.

Attendance: 1,039.

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