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Bolton Wanderers 4 Gillingham 0 – League 1 match report

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Gillingham were second best to a classy Bolton outfit on Monday night.

Goals from Gary Madine and Josh Vela deservedly gave the high-flying hosts a half-time advantage.

Madine made it 3-0 midway through the second half and Sammy Ameobi’s stunner sealed it.

Bradley Dack trying to find a way through Picture: Barry Goodwin
Bradley Dack trying to find a way through Picture: Barry Goodwin

Reaction: Gills boss Justin Edinburgh admits his team were second best

Gillingham had returned from a two-week break but found life tough against promotion-chasing Bolton.

Within minutes Madine and Ameobi had fired warning shots at goal.

It wasn’t long before the hosts were ahead. Gillingham appeared to stop playing as they thought the ball had gone out of play and from a Zach Clough cross Madine headed home.

It was a poor start from the Gills, who struggled in the face of a lively three-man unit of Ameobi, Vela and Clough, playing in support of big striker Madine.

Vela put another good chance wide while Cody McDonald back heeled the ball into the path of Frank Nouble at the other end, but his effort wasn’t good enough to beat keeper Ben Alnwick.

With 28 minutes gone the second goal arrived, as the Gills defence were split apart following a one-two between Clough and Vela. The latter finished well to double the advantage.

Justin Edinburgh giving instructions from the sidelines Picture: Barry Goodwin
Justin Edinburgh giving instructions from the sidelines Picture: Barry Goodwin

McDonald fired wide for the Gills but Bolton always remained the more dangerous. The linesman’s flag denied the hosts a third for offside, after Ameobi’s saved shot fell to Clough and he fired past Stuart Nelson.

Nelson was making his 200 start for the Gills and it was a busy night for the keeper, who made a number of timely interventions.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas tried his luck from distance before the break but it lacked conviction and Alnwick comfortably held on.

The half-time whistle gave the Gills the chance to regroup but a comeback looked unlikely.

Scott Wagstaff looked to bring Gills to life, with a surging early run, but instead of taking on the shot he found Paul Konchesky and the resulting cross was headed wide by McDonald.

Jake Hessenthaler also headed narrowly wide from a Frank Nouble cross as the Gills continued to look livelier and dominated possession at the start of the second half. Creating a cutting edge chance, however, was more difficult.

Jake Hessenthaler in action at Bolton Picture: Barry Goodwin
Jake Hessenthaler in action at Bolton Picture: Barry Goodwin

McDonald had another chance, with a header from Hessenthaler’s cross, but Alnwick saved comfortably.

Despite the improvements it was the hosts who showed their clinical edge. Madine headed home a great delivery from Jay Spearing after Josh Wright had given away a 65 minute free-kick.

Bolton had their tails up again and Nelson did well to block a low shot from substitute Chris Taylor. Madine headed the subsequent corner wide, running onto the cross unopposed.

A stunning strike from Ameobi made it 4-0 with 10 minutes left. He cut inside as the Gills defence backed off and curled the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Bolton: Alnwick, Beevers, Vela (Anderson 87mins), Spearing, Clough (C Taylor 69mins), Madine, A Taylor, Ameobi (Henry 83mins), Wilson, Wheater, Thorpe. Subs not used: Turner, Moxey, Proctor, Osede, Henry.

Gillingham: Nelson, Wagstaff, Konchesky, Cargill, Ehmer, Wright, Hessenthaler, Dack (Byrne 88mins), Nouble (Jackson 60mins), Emmanuel-Thomas (Donnelly 84mins), McDonald. Subs not used: Hadler, Oshilaja, Cundle, Stevenson.

Attendance: 13,861 (223 away)

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