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Jarvis on target as Gills make winning start

IMPRESSIVE: Matt Jarvis scored the only goal of the game. Picture: MATT WALKER
IMPRESSIVE: Matt Jarvis scored the only goal of the game. Picture: MATT WALKER
TUSSLE: Gillingham's Dean Beckwith in determined mood on Wednesday night. Picture: GARY BROWNE
TUSSLE: Gillingham's Dean Beckwith in determined mood on Wednesday night. Picture: GARY BROWNE

MATT JARVIS capped an impressive display with the only goal as Gillingham began their pre-season campaign with a win at Folkestone Invicta on Wednesday night.

New regulations restricting the amount of substitutions used in friendly matches meant Hessenthaler was unable to play several of his top players.

Many fans had been expecting to see Iwan Roberts make his first start in the Gills colours but they were out of luck as the striker settled for a place on the bench in a non-playing capacity.

With so many players to rotate during pre-season, Hessenthaler’s plans to field two separate teams in each half had to be abandoned.

Several triallists were out to impress, with second-half substitute Kevin Barralon being the pick of these. The Frenchman looked sharp down the left and will be hoping to prove his worth against stronger opponents.

Playing up-front was 20-year-old former Nottingham Forest player Matt Bodkin, while Patrick Omgba was getting to grips with the match out on the wing.

More familiar players lined up at the back, with Nyron Nosworthy, Richard Rose, Leon Johnson and Dean Beckwith defending Jason Brown’s goal.

Skipper Mark Saunders led the midfield of Matt Jarvis, Andrew Crofts and Omgba, with Darius Henderson partnering Bodkin in attack.

With just six days training behind them, the Gills were more interested in boosting fitness levels than impressing the small crowd at the Westbourne Stadium.

Early first half chances fell to Saunders and Henderson, with Jarvis looking good on the right flank.

Bodkin nearly made a quick impression as he curled the ball around Tony Kessell, only to see Paul Lamb clear off the line.

Jarvis switched wings and soon made a mark as he latched onto Henderson’s ball, beat Drew Watkins before shooting home on 32 minutes.

The home side’s James Dryden had their best effort of the match soon after as a cross from the left was missed by Brown but the striker headed over.

Half-time saw a mass of substitutions and the Gills were forced to take off Leon Johnson soon after the re-start as he picked up a knock, with Saunders’ returning to the action having been subbed just minutes before.

Mamady Sidibe had the best chance of the half as he was put through by Barralon, only to see Kessell beat away the shot with his feet.

KM-fm's James Phillis has been getting the reactions of the manager and players...

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