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Gillingham 0 Hartlepool 1

Simeon Jackson is stopped in his tracks by the Hartlepool defence
Simeon Jackson is stopped in his tracks by the Hartlepool defence

Simeon Jackson is stopped in his tracks by the Hartlepool defence Picture: Grant Falvey

by Luke Cawdell

Gillingham 0 Hartlepool 1

Gillingham slipped to their third successive League 1 defeat on Saturday.

A goal from Hartlepool’s James Brown on 65 minutes separated the sides at Priestfield.

The Gills were unable to fight their way back into the game and failed to trouble visiting keeper Scott Flinders enough.

There were few clear-cut chances in the opening 45 minutes with Hartlepool coming closest.

A glaring miss from Brown let Gillingham off the hook with four minutes of the half remaining, as he headed Jon-Andre Fredrikson’s cross over the bar from close range. He was to answer his critics in stunning style midway through the second half by scoring Pool's winner.

Gills boss Mark Stimson admitted it was not a good performance by his side.

He said: "We looked forward to the game after two decent performances on our travels without picking up any points. We knew it would be a tough game against Hartlepool and we expected them to set up the way they did.

"We didn’t have enough spark and there were too many players off their game. They were key players and players who have done really well since they’ve been here, but there were six or seven who were nowhere near what they’ve shown this season and last. When you have that many you are going to have one of these games, which was messy and bitty.

"Unfortunately we got done by a goal that didn’t warrant being in the game, it was a goal from nothing."

Simeon Jackson was on the end of Gillingham’s best early chances but keeper Scott Flinders was untroubled. A shot after eight minutes went blazing over the bar and a header moments later was deflected out for a corner kick.

Just before the half-hour mark the visitors gave Gillingham a scare as Gary Liddle’s header went narrowly over the bar. At the other end Andy Barcham crossed for Curtis Weston but he was unable to find the target on the stretch.

The first shot on target came after 34 minutes, with a long range effort by Pool’s Peter Hartley, but it was never going to trouble Gillingham keeper Alan Julian. Brown’s miss was a big let-off for the Gills before the break.

Simon Royce emerged for the second half to take over in goal from Julian.

A more urgent-looking Gillingham immediately threatened with Jackson twice coming close to scoring.

Hartlepool, however, remained a threat and Royce had to twice save from visiting striker Denis Behan.

Dennis Oli was making his first appearance of the season, after shaking off a knee injury and he was introduced into the action with half an hour left to play.

John Nutter came close to giving Gillingham the lead, with a dipping free-kick that just missed the target.

The deadlock was finally broken on 65 minutes when Brown struck from just outside the area with the ball going in off the underside of the bar.

Moments later Andy Monkhouse struck just wide as Gillingham stuttered at the midway point of the second half.

Brown again came close with a low shot that Curtis Weston did well to get a block on and send narrowly wide of the post.

Gillingham were struggling to get back into the game but Mark McCammon almost levelled within seconds of coming on. His header from Garry Richards’ free-kick was tipped over the bar.

McCammon was unable to convert with a header in injury time and the Gills had to concede defeat again.

Gills: Julian (Royce 46mins), Fuller, Nutter, Richards, Bentley (McCammon 77mins), Jackson, Barcham, Miller (Oli 60mins), Gowling, Weston, Payne. Subs not used: Maher, Palmer, Wynter, Erskine.

Hartlepool: Flinders, Liddle, Collins, McSweeney, Behan (Boyd 74mins), Monkhouse, Brown (Austin 86mins), Sweeney, Haslam, Fredriksen (Jones 58mins), Hartley. Subs not used: Rowell, Power, Cook, Greulich.

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