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Pre-season friendly: Chatham Town 1 Gillingham 1

By Luke Cawdell

Darren Oldaker levelled from the penalty spot for Gillingham in their game at Chatham.

The Gills played a team of first and second year pros against Southern Counties East side Chatham on Tuesday night.

Chats led the game at the break, with a goal from Matt Parsons, but Oldaker struck with 14 minutes left.

Chatham Town take on Gillingham at Maidstone Road Picture: Chris Davey
Chatham Town take on Gillingham at Maidstone Road Picture: Chris Davey

Gillingham were up against a hard working Chatham side and a repeat of last year's 12-0 scoreline seemed unlikely.

With the Gills also playing against National League side Eastleight on the same night, it was the young pros on parade at Maidstone Road.

Coaches Ben White and Jason Lillis were incharge of a team that still included several players with league experience, including former Coventry and Walsall player Franck Moussa, featuring in his sixth pre-season game for the Gills after returning for a trial.

Chatham score the opening goal of the match against Gillingham Picture: Chris Davey
Chatham score the opening goal of the match against Gillingham Picture: Chris Davey

The Gills had a number of shots first half but weren't clinical enough, the closest effort coming from Aaron Simpson with a cross/shot that was turned over.

Ben Chapman, Finn O'Mara, Noel Mbo and Bradley Stevenson all went close but Chatham were holding onto a 1-0 lead, thanks to Parsons well struck opener, cutting in from the flank and firing home past Louie Catherall.

Gillingham came close to an equaliser before the break as Jack Tucker's dipping effort was turned wide by the keeper.

Tucker became more involved in Gills' attacking play second half, making numerous forays forward, but Chatham proved a stubborn outfit. Oldaker came close with a trio of shots from the edge of the box, Bradley Stevenson clipped the top of the bar and Moussa had a shot saved before the equaliser came.

Chatham Town take on Gillingham at Maidstone Road Picture: Chris Davey
Chatham Town take on Gillingham at Maidstone Road Picture: Chris Davey

Moussa was tripped in the box and Oldaker converted.

Moments earlier Catherall had been called upon to save the Gills, denying the lively Parsons after he had broke through the defence.

The Gills came close to snatching a winner late on, putting a couple of good efforts wide, infront of a healthy crowd of over 650 at Chatham.

Gillingham: Catherall, Chapman, Simpson, O'Mara, Huckle, Tucker, Oldaker, Moussa, Woods (Campbell 85mins), Mbo, Stevenson. Subs not used: Hlabi, Morrell, Scarlett, Noyelle, Bramble, Allen, Loveland.

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