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Crewe Alexandra 0 Gillingham 1: John Akinde scores Gills winner at Gresty Road to end run of five defeats

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Gillingham’s run of defeats is over thanks to John Akinde’s winner at Crewe.

The hosts wasted several good chances and struck the frame of the Gillingham goal either side of the half before Gills substitute Akinde headed in, just three minutes after coming off the bench.

Both teams had gone into Tuesday’s match struggling for goals and feeling they had deserved more from recent outings.

The Gills hadn’t netted in their previous five league matches, losing them all. Steve Evans’ side made a bright start at Gresty Road but the home side quickly got on top and missed some golden chances.

Former Gillingham striker Mikael Mandron was behind some of their best moves, a deft touch here and there helping to open up the visiting defence. The Frenchman also had a header saved by busy loan keeper Joe Lumley.

Charlie Kirk put the best of Crewe’s chances wide. Mandron had set Tom Lowery off down the right flank and when he then picked out Kirk with a cross it looked as though the net would be rippling, but it wasn’t to be for the home side.

More good chances followed for Crewe. Daniel Powell struck the outside of the post after being put in on goal by Mandron and headed another chance wide after finding himself in the clear to meet Perry Ng’s ball into the box.

Lumley followed up his save from Mandron by denying Callum Ainley, as the Gills managed to avoid going behind.

Vadaine Oliver had a couple of chances at the other end during the opening half, heading one effort at the keeper and firing wide from the edge of the box when he had more time then he perhaps felt, as the covering defender slipped.

Gillingham had put Crewe under pressure well in the opening stages of the half and hit the top of the bar when Jordan Graham whipped in a corner but it was Crewe who went into the break guilty of missing the best of the chances.

Crewe had the Gills hemmed in at the start of the second half and struck the woodwork again when Mandron got a toe to a Harry Pickering cross.

Gillingham changed things around with Akinde introduced early in the second half for Trae Coyle and it wasn’t long before he had his name on the scoresheet, powering a header in from a Graham cross on 55 minutes. Jack Tucker’s deep ball to Graham had been taken down well by the winger and he delivered the ball onto the head of the Gills substitute.

It was Akinde’s first goal in 15 games for the Gills and ended their goal drought.

The Gills should have had a second goal 10 minutes later when Graham put in another excellent delivery, from the opposite flank this time, but Tom O’Connor couldn’t keep his header down.

Lumley made a great save to deny home sub Oliver Finney late on, the Crewe man firing in from close range. Jack Tucker also made an important last-ditch challenge to prevent Mandron from scoring.

Gillingham: Lumley, Jackson, Medley, Tucker, Ogilvie, McKenzie, Coyle (Akinde 54mins), Dempsey, O’Connor (Willock 90mins), Oliver (Samuel 70mins), Graham. Subs: Walsh, Maghoma, Drysdale, Woods, Samuel.

Crewe: Jaaskelainen, Ng, Pickering, Wintle, Powell (Dale 69mins), Lowery (Zanzala 88mins), Kirk, Ainley (Finney 77mins), Mandron, Offord, Beckles. Subs: Richards, Porter, Sass-Davies, Murphy.

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