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Charlton Athletic 1 Gillingham 2 – League 1 match report

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham claimed a win at Charlton for the first time in their history on New Year’s Day.

Goals from Josh Parker and Tom Eaves put the Gills two goals ahead at the break.

Intense pressure in the second half from Charlton led to Joe Aribo pulling a goal back but the hosts were unable to get back on level terms.

Tom Eaves thanks the fans after win over Charlton Picture: Andy Jones
Tom Eaves thanks the fans after win over Charlton Picture: Andy Jones

It was Gills’ first win at 16 times of trying at The Valley.

Gills boss Steve Lovell made three changes to the team which started on the Saturday, in the 2-2 draw with AFC Wimbledon, bringing Tom Eaves back in along with captain Lee Martin and left-back Bradley Garmston.

Charlton went into the match without a win from their previous seven league games, but were buoyed by a goalless draw at Wigan in their last outing.

Injury problems had hampered Addicks boss Karl Robinson while off the field there was much speculation regarding a takeover after the resignation of chief executive and director Katrien Meire.

Gillingham celebrate Tom Eaves' goal Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham celebrate Tom Eaves' goal Picture: Andy Jones

There was plenty of discontent among the home fans during the first half after watching their side fall two goals behind.

Eaves should have put the Gills ahead after just three minutes, taking down a fantastic ball over the top from Byrne, but his powerful close-range effort was well saved by keeper Ben Amos.

The Gills striker was to soon make amends. He set up the opening goal, showing great strength to hold off defender Naby Sarr before putting in a low ball across the face of goal, which was smashed home by Parker.

Charlton were sloppy in their play, Ricky Holmes among those finding it hard to get into his stride, and they struggled to find a way of testing Gills keeper Tomas Holy.

Gillingham doubled their lead on 32 minutes when Luke O’Neill found Eaves, possibly in an offside position, but the flag stayed down and the striker slid home his 10 goal of the season.

Charlton looked more dangerous as the half-time break neared but the Gills held onto their two-goal lead. The home fans booed their team off.

There was a double change for the Addicks and substitute Leon Best put a great early chance over the bar. He was slipped in again moments later and his shot from an angle was saved by Holy. Best’s lively showing was shortlived as he went off injured after landing awkwardly following the shot.

Charlton continued to put the pressure on and a super Holmes cross was met by Magennis, nodding onto the top of the bar.

Gills looked to tighten up for the final half hour as Parker dropped back, leaving Eaves upfront alone. Lovell’s men remained under intense pressure despite a flurry of subs, including the departure of injured Martin.

The pressure finally paid off for Charlton when Aribo headed home Holmes’ 83 minute corner.

Aribo put another good chance wide while Eaves was off-target on a couple of occasions as the game really opened up. Mark Marshall blasted an effort wide for Charlton as the Gills hung on for victory.

Charlton: Amos, Konsa, Sarr, Dasilva, Lennon, Holmes, Reeves (Best 46mins (Ahearne-Grant 53mins)), Kashi, Forster-Caskey (Aribo 46mins), Marshall, Magennis. Subs not used: Phillips, Bauer, Jackson, Dijksteel.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Garmston (Ogilvie 73mins), Ehmer, Zakuani, Hessenthaler, Byrne, Clare, Martin (Oldaker 75mins), Parker (Wilkinson 73mins), Eaves. Subs not used: Cundle, Nelson, Lacey, Nash.

Attendance: 11,979 (1,424 away)

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