Home   Kent   News   Article

Gillingham 2 Plymouth Argyle 1

Chris Whelpdale
Chris Whelpdale

Matchwinner Whelpdale takes the game to Plymouth. Picture: Barry Goodwin

by Luke Cawdell

Gillingham extended their lead at the top of League 2 thanks to a win over Plymouth on Saturday.

Antonio German put the Gills ahead with half an hour gone and in the second half Chris Whelpdale slotted home to double the advantage.

Jason Banton pulled one back from long-range for the visitors, but the Gills took all three points.

Defeat for second-placed Port Vale saw the Gills go five points clear at the top of the table.

There were two changes made to the Gillingham starting XI, as Bradley Dack and German both started having impressed towards the latter stages of last week’s game at Aldershot. They helped the Gills put on a first-half display that bettered anything shown at Priestfield for a long time.

It was Dack’s first start since the team thrashed Scunthorpe 4-0 at Priestfield in the FA Cup at the beginning of November, while German was also starting a Gills game for the first time after making two substitute appearances.

Charlie Lee and Deon Burton dropped to the bench, while new loan signing Danny East was also added to the matchday squad.

It took just four minutes for the pace of Dack and German to open up the Plymouth defence, but, from the latter’s cross, Whelpdale headed over from a great position.

Dack hit a shot over moments later and German displayed his confidence with a cracking 25-yard effort that narrowly went wide. Anton Robinson also fired a shot into the side-netting.

German smashed home the opener with 31 minutes gone. Dack’s free-kick wasn’t cleared properly and when it fell to the on-loan striker he made no mistake from five yards. At the other end of the country Port Vale conceded a second goal in the same minute against Southend as their challenge continued to waiver.

The Gills – backed by a season-best crowd of more than 10,000 – came close to adding a second of their own just before the break. Not for the first time a good pass from Whelpdale opened things up and, from Joe Martin’s cross, Dack powered a diving header in the arms of grateful keeper Jake Cole.

Gillingham’s failure to convert their first-half chances meant that they were living life dangerously and early in the second half Stuart Nelson needed to be at full-stretch to tip over Jason Banton’s dipping effort.

Nerves were calmed on 62 minutes with a move started and finished by Whelpdale. He put German through on goal, allowing the forward to bomb forward, and after he hit the post with a shot, the ball fell kindly for Whelpdale and he tucked home.

Sponsors' man-of-the-match Dack, German and Whelpdale were all replaced – the latter after taking a knock – after impressive individual displays from all three.

Plymouth threatened to spoil Gills’ party with a goal midway through the half, as Banton found the bottom corner of the goal from the edge of the box, and he created another chance with five minutes left. But, after beating Matt Fish for pace, he smashed the shot wildly over. A timely challenge from Fish seconds later denied the same man from bursting forward again.

As the injury time board went up, displaying four extra minutes, Banton slammed another effort at goal, this time into the side-netting.

Gillingham: Nelson, Fish, Martin, Legge, Barrett, Gregory, Robinson, Dack (East 73mins), Whelpdale (Richardson 68mins), German (Burton 63mins), Kedwell. Subs not used: Forecast, Davies, Lee, Birchall.

Plymouth: Cole, Blanchard, Branston, Hourihane (Young 73mins), Cox, Bhasera, Banton, Reid, Charles, Gurrieri (Cowan-Hall 63mins), Murray (Ugwu 56mins). Subs not used: Chadwick, Chenoweth, Wotton, Richards.

Attendance: 10,260.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More