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Colchester United 0 Gillingham 1: League 2 match report from the Jobserve Community Stadium - Scott Malone scores again for the Gills

Gillingham got their new year off to a winning start after beating troubled Colchester.

The Gills twice hit the woodwork during a terrific start to the second half at lowly Colchester either side of Scott Malone’s strike, the only goal of the game. Home keeper Owen Goodman pulled off several good saves to ensure the Gills were unable to add to their tally.

Scott Malone scored again for the Gills at Colchester Picture: @Julian_KPI
Scott Malone scored again for the Gills at Colchester Picture: @Julian_KPI

Malone was rewarded for his match winner on the Friday with a place back in the eleven and he made it two goals in two and four for the season with his goal. Connor Mahoney was also returned into the XI after an impressive performance off the bench, replacing injured Jonny Williams last time out.

Former Gills striker John Akinde was back in the starting line-up for a Colchester team facing a relegation battle this term. Akinde’s previous nine league appearances of the campaign had failed to produce a goal.

The Gills were in no position to criticise anyone over goalscoring form and it took left-back Malone to show the forwards how it’s done in a 1-0 win over Sutton, scoring with a superb volley at Priestfield.

A great chance for Gillingham came as early as the third minute when Oli Hawkins held the ball up and played in Dom Jefferies, the midfielder poking the ball past a defender and as he looked to pick out the bottom corner, Owen Goodman saved with an outstretched arm.

What didn’t help the Gills was a poor Colchester pitch that looked sticky and bobbly but they still managed to pass it well at times.

Gills shaded the opening half but the hosts had the best chance of the first 45. Noah Chilvers crossed for Taylor at the back post and he managed to shoot wide with the whole goal to aim for.

Other than that the Gills hadn’t been overly troubled, with Arthur Read firing over a couple of times from outside the box for Colchester.

Goodman made another great save to deny Max Ehmer as he looked to nod in from a Connor Mahoney free-kick and the home keeper was also there to save from Jefferies as he tried his luck from the edge of the area.

Conor Masterson headed a corner wide late in the half as the sides went into the break goalless.

Hawkins went even closer at the start of the second half as he clipped the woodwork with a header from Mahoney’s cross but the Gills were then almost caught out on the break, Turner needing to save from Read.

Big Gillingham striker Hawkins headed another chance at the keeper before the Gills finally got their noses in front.

It was Malone who scored again for the Gills, driving down the left flank past right wing-back Jayden Fevrier’s sliding challenge and then beating defender Zach Mitchell and keeper Goodman by squeezing in a shot at the near post.

The Gills went close to quickly adding to Malone’s 54th minute effort when Shad Ogie blasted a shot goalwards through a crowd. Goodman got just enough on the shot to turn it onto the woodwork.

A speculative ball into the box from Colchester’s Noah Chilvers wasn’t far off creeping into the goal as Gillingham continued to be at risk of wasting their good performance with just a slender advantage.

Gillingham’s defensive wall did its job to deny Read with a free-kick in a dangerous place and Ogie also blocked the follow-up.

Gills looked to get a second late on with Masterson heading over from a corner and Goodman saving Mahoney’s shot from 18 yards. An angled drive from Brad Ihionvien went close at the other end as Stephen Clemence’s men hung on for a second straight 1-0 win in League 2.

Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Malone, Masterson, Ehmer, Ogie, Coleman, Jefferies (Lapslie 70mins), Mahoney (McKenzie 84mins), Hawkins (Bonne 62mins), Nadesan (Nichols 62mins). Subs not used: Morris, Clark, Clarke.

Colchester: Goodman, Iandolo (Edwards 76mins), Hall, Dallison, Chilvers (Cooper 85mins), Mitchell, Read, Akinde (Ihionvien 63mins), Taylor (Hopper 63mins), Marshall-Miranda (Jay 85mins), Fevrier. Subs not used: Hornby, Kazeem.

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Attendance: 4,923 (998 away)

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