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Gillingham 1 Preston North End 2

Danny Kedwell makes his point on Saturday Picture: Barry Goodwin
Danny Kedwell makes his point on Saturday Picture: Barry Goodwin

Peter Taylor’s return to Priestfield ended in defeat at the hands of Preston on Saturday.

Two goals inside six minutes at the start of the second half rocked the Gills.

Keith Keane and Josh Brownhill were both on target for the visitors before Danny Kedwell halved the deficit.

Interim boss Peter Taylor made two changes to the starting eleven, both in defence.

Leon Legge returned into central defence, in place of Callum Davies, while Michael Harriman was back at right-back after recovering from a calf injury.

Elsewhere Taylor kept the same team that slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Shrewsbury last weekend.

The Gills failed to trouble visiting keeper Declan Rudd in the first half. Harriman’s curling effort from outside the area flew over and that was as close as they came.

Preston only got marginally closer to taking the lead. Scott Laird, Kevin Davies and Keane all put efforts wide before Stuart Nelson was forced into action, turning Chris Humphrey’s powerful effort around the post.

Laird should have done better with another chance, when put through on goal by Stuart Beavon, but he missed the target. It was as good as the half got.

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

The opening minutes of the second half contained more action than the whole of the first 45.

And Preston took the lead with just three second half minutes gone. It was a fortuitous goal to score, as Keane’s hopeful low shot went through Adam Barrett’s legs, taking a wicked deflection on the way past, which left Nelson unable to prevent the ball hitting the net.

The goal woke the Gills up and Chris Whelpdale had two chances in as many minutes. He toe-poked one effort wide after finding space in the box and then saw Rudd save his other shot, after being put clear through on goal.

But Gillingham soon found themselves two goals down. Preston broke and Stuart Beavon created space in the box before laying the ball off for youngster Brownhill to guide the ball home.

The Gills pulled a goal back with 14 minutes left. Whelpdale picked out Kedwell with a free-kick and the home striker headed past Rudd for his fifth goal of the season.

Kedwell came close to making it 2-2, with a glancing header, but Rudd held on.

The Gills ended up with Kedwell, Antonio German, Adebayo Akinfenwa and Myles Weston on the pitch in the final few minutes but they couldn’t level the match.

Gillingham: Nelson, Harriman, Martin, Legge, Barrett, Gregory, Hollands (Akinfenwa 88mins), Lee (German 66mins), Whelpdale, Kedwell, McDonald (Weston 57mins). Subs not used: Howard, Davies, Linganzi, Dack.

Preston: Rudd, Keane, Laird, Huntington. Clarke, Wright, Humphrey (Holmes 90mins), Davies, Beavon (Buchanan 85mins), Welsh, Brownhill (Byrom 70mins). Subs not used: Stuckman, Garner, Mousinho, Hume.

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