Published: 21:30, 08 December 2020
| Updated: 09:00, 09 December 2020
Gillingham could have no complaints after losing out to League 2 Cambridge United in the EFL Trophy second round.
The home side were guilty of wasting some good opportunities before striker Paul Mullin broke the deadlock from the penalty spot midway through the second half. Luke Hannant added a second to seal the win.
The EFL Trophy second round match was the first meeting between the sides since 2003.
Boss Steve Evans named a side that had seven changes from the weekend win over Swindon Town.
Cambridge, challenging from promotion in League 2, made four changes from their last match, keen to bounce back from successive defeats.
The home side, with the luxury of a crowd behind them, had the better of the minimal first half chances, Jack Tucker hacking the ball off the line in the last action of the opening 45 after Leon Davies had met Mullin’s cross.
Gillingham forward Trae Coyle had put a half chance straight at the home keeper while Alex MacDonald put an effort over the bar.
Harrison Dunk should have done better with his opportunity midway through the first half. He was found free in the box by the dangerous Mullin but couldn’t manage to get his shot on target.
Gills boss Evans had started watching from the stand with chairman Paul Scally but joined his assistant Paul Raynor in the technical area, picking up a booking for protesting over a missed free-kick.
Evans has long said this season he has no interest in the EFL Trophy but there was no doubting the Gills wanted to win this one.
Gillingham started with purpose in the early stages of the second half, with Robbie McKenzie on for Scott Robertson in midfield, but Cambridge produced a chance that Mullin should have stuck away at the far post following Davies’ inviting cross. He bundled the shot over.
Davies sent in another cross for striker Mullin moments later but again the League 2 top scorer couldn’t find the target.
Mullin created a chance for himself after charging forward and when Tucker slipped he fired in from an angle, finding the side netting.
Cambridge striker Mullin got the chance to score from the penalty spot on 67 minutes and this time he didn’t waste the chance. His decisive finish found the top corner. A foul from Tucker on El Mizouni had led referee David Rock into awarding the spot kick.
El Mizouni looked for a second himself but a low shot was saved by Joe Walsh.
The home side got a second goal with 10 minutes left when Davies picked out the run of Hannant and he thumped the ball home with confidence.
Cambridge looked for more goals and El Mizouni dragged a shot wide after running at goal before having another effort cleared off the line by Declan Drysdale. Substitute Harvey Knibbs also went close to extending the lead, as did Davies, as the home side had chance after chance in the closing stages.
Cambridge: Burton, Knoyle, Digby, Cundy, Taylor (May 86mins), Davies, El Mizouni, Darling, Hannant (Iredale 90mins), Mullin (Knibbs 81mins), Dunk. Subs not used: Mitov, Dallas, Worman, Neal.
Gillingham: Walsh, Jackson, Medley, Tucker, Drysdale, Robertson (McKenzie 46mins), Woods, Willock, MacDonald, Coyle, Akinde. Subs not used: Bonham, Ogilvie, Oliver
Referee: David Rock
More on the Gills;