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Gillingham 0 Plymouth Argyle 2 match report: Jordon Garrick effort and substitute Luke Jephcott's penalty worsen Gillingham's League 1 relegation troubles

Gillingham’s League 1 relegation troubles worsened with a 2-0 home defeat to in-form Plymouth on Saturday.

After a goalless first period, Argyle's Jordon Garrick broke the deadlock before substitute Luke Jephcott converted a penalty to secure their fourth straight league win.

Gillingham's Tom Dickson-Peters challenges for the ball against Plymouth. Picture: KPI
Gillingham's Tom Dickson-Peters challenges for the ball against Plymouth. Picture: KPI

The first opening at Priestfield only came in the 11th minute as Plymouth skipper Joe Edwards glanced Conor Grant’s left-wing cross harmlessly wide at the back post.

Three minutes later, the hosts had their first opportunity.

A long free-kick from home goalkeeper Aaron Chapman fell kindly for Olly Lee, but he missed the target after fellow midfielder Ben Thompson’s long-range effort had been charged down.

There was a brief break in play shortly before the 20-minute mark as Gills’ on-loan QPR defender Conor Masterson went to ground, although he was fit to continue.

Immediately from the restart after the break in play, Plymouth defender Macauley Gillesphey crossed, only for Niall Ennis to get his header all wrong.

Conor Masterson on the ball. Picture: KPI
Conor Masterson on the ball. Picture: KPI

The match’s first big opportunity came midway through the first period, Panutche Camara blasting inches over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.

Danny Mayor tried a similar attempt three minutes later, as the away team attempted to turn the screw. However the midfielder’s strike bent wide of Chapman’s left-hand post.

The Gills back-line had looked organised in the first half but Plymouth struck less than a minute into the second period in fine style, as the earlier wet and windy conditions started to subside.

Garrick cut in off the right wing for the visitors and bent a fine strike home before celebrating in front of his team’s own fans.

Argyle had another glorious opportunity in the 56th minute in unusual circumstances. Chapman came out of his goal and attempted to clear, only for Gills defender David Tutonda to attempt to control - instead putting the ball into Camara’s path. He chipped the ball over Chapman but it fell narrowly wide.

That proved to be Tutonda’s last act of the match, Ryan Jackson coming on to replace him.

All of a sudden, the match was being played at a much faster tempo.

The home side were pushing for a leveller but Grant went close to doubling Argyle’s advantage on the hour, flashing an effort inches wide.

Five minutes later, Mayor tested Chapman, although he was equal to the shot.

Gillingham wing-back Robbie McKenzie’s blushes were then spared when his misplaced pass was picked up by Ennis who guided his shot wide.

Gills boss Neil Harris turned to midfielder Ben Reeves, who came on for Lee, with 20 minutes to play.

But as Argyle made a double change, it was one of their substitutes, Jephcott, who gave them a two-goal cushion.

Fellow substitute Ryan Hardie was adjudged to have been fouled by Gills captain Stuart O’Keefe by referee Paul Howard and Jephcott converted the penalty for his 11th goal of the season.

Five minutes later, Jephcott nearly added a second, too, but his strike landed just wide.

As the hosts searched for a way back into the match, a Masterson header from a Reeves corner troubled the away defence with seven minutes to play.

With less than 90 seconds of normal time to go, visiting keeper Michael Cooper had to be alert to prevent Gills striker Vadaine Oliver from running onto a loose ball in the Argyle area, but the hosts were unable to create any clear-cut chances of their own.

The Gills are back in action at Priestfield on Tuesday, playing host to AFC Wimbledon in a big match at the bottom of the table. The gap between Gills and safety remains at five points.

They named an unchanged team from the side which drew at Morecambe last weekend.

There was a welcome return to the bench for ex-Plymouth man Reeves, who has made a timely recovery from an ankle injury.

For Argyle, boss Steven Schumacher went with Ennis and Garrick as his two strikers instead of Hardie and Jephcott in their only two changes from their 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury last time out.

Gillingham: Chapman, McKenzie, Masterton, Ehmer, Tucker, Tutonda (Jackson 56mins), Thompson, O’Keefe, Lee (Reeves 70mins), Oliver, Dickson-Peter. Subs not used: Dahlberg, Maghoma, Lintott, Phillips, Kelman.

Plymouth: Cooper, Edwards, Wilson, Bolton, Gillesphey, Grant, Houghton, Mayor (Broom 88mins), Camara, Garrick (Hardie 73mins), Ennis (Jephcott 73mins). Subs not used: Burton, Randell, Law, Crichlow.

Attendance: 5,197 (822 away fans).

Referee: Paul Howard.

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