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Notts County 3 Gillingham 1

Gillingham manager Peter Taylor Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gillingham manager Peter Taylor Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham’s hopes of climbing into the top half of League 1 were quashed by basement-side Notts County.

Callum McGregor gave County a first-lead before Bradley Dack’s early second half strike gave the Gills hope.

But McGregor put the hosts back infront and Jack Grealish wrapped it up with a super strike three minutes from time.

Gills boss Peter Taylor went for youth over experience at County, as he handed midfielder Jake Hessenthaler a first Football League start, while also naming Bradley Dack in the team.

Chris Whelpdale and Cody McDonald were dropped to the bench, where they were joined by Amine Linganzi, back after a spell out injured.

Home side County, with a change of manager since Gills beat them 2-1 at Priestfield in October, started the afternoon bottom of the league and with no wins from their previous seven games.

Gillingham knew that victory would take them into the top half of League 1 for the first time this season.

The first chance of the match fell to the Gills, as Charlie Lee headed a cross from former County player Myles Weston over the bar.

And with 15 minutes gone they went even closer, as Kedwell found Dack in the box and the youngster’s flick beat the keeper before bouncing off the post.

County had most of the first half possession and five minutes before the break they made it count. McGregor ran at the Gills defence, before firing a shot past keeper Stuart Nelson, after taking a touch on the way in off Adam Barrett.

Gillingham, relying on the counter-attack, went close again before the break as a long throw was flicked on to Dack. His shot was turned onto the post by keeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

Dack made it third time lucky just two minutes into the second half when Lee’s throw-in was flicked on by Barrett and County failed to clear. Dack was on hand to bundle the ball home from close range for his third of the season.

Gillingham’s joy was shortlived, however, as McGregor scored his second goal on 52 minutes. He gathered in a low cross from the right, pulled the ball back and fired into the top corner.

Donervon Daniels had a header saved from a corner, as the Gills went in search of a second equaliser and Taylor introduced Adebayo Akinfenwa for the latter stages. The big Gills striker almost levelled, with a header from Lee’s throw, but keeper Bialkowski saved.

At the other end Gills keeper Nelson had to save from substitute Callum Best, after a pass from Jack Grealish had undone the defence.

Cody McDonald was introduced to give Gillingham even more in attack but it was Akinfenwa who went close again, with 10 minutes left, as his effort was cleared off the line.

It was game over on 87 minutes when Jack Grealish took on the Gills defence single-handedly, ran from left to right and spanked the ball into the top corner for 3-1.

Gillingham: Nelson, Martin, Harriman, Barrett, Daniels, Hollands (McDonald 75mins), Hessenthaler (Akinfenwa 66mins), Dack, Lee, Weston, Kedwell. Subs not used: Howard, Linganzi, Davies, Legge, Whelpdale.

Notts County: Bialkowski, Freeman, Sheehan, Leacock, Fox, Liddle, Grealish, McGregor, Campbell-Ryce, Boucaud, Haynes (Ball 64mins). Subs not used: Subs: Spiess, Smith, Bell, Showunmi, Murray, Fotheringham.

Attendance: 3,607

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