Published: 16:45, 26 September 2020
| Updated: 19:36, 26 September 2020
Returning striker Dominic Samuel fired Gillingham to victory against Blackpool on Saturday.
Samuel, who signed last week , took just over three minutes to mark his return to the Gills and smashed in a vital second for good measure.
Gillingham welcomed Jack Bonham back following his midweek injury but were without defender Christian Maghoma, who was self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who had Covid-19.
Newly-signed striker Samuel started for the Gills and it didn’t take him long to make an impact, heading home from close range. Scott Robertson’s corner was headed against the bar by Connor Ogilvie, Jack Tucker nodded it back in and Samuel was there to convert.
Perhaps it was no surprise to see the striker making such a quick impact. He scored within six minutes of appearing for the Gills first time around back in November 2015. The Gills went top of League 1 that day.
It needed a good save from Bonham soon after to keep the lead intact, after Zech Medley blocked a move, but inadvertently diverted the ball towards his own goal.
Blackpool looked a bit shaky in defence at times, conceding a couple of sloppy corners, but the Gills were unable to capitalise any further on their set-pieces in the opening half.
Graham had a thunderous effort blocked and Mellis put one over the bar, while a shot from Jerry Yates forced a save from Bonham, the effort bouncing just infront of the Gills keeper.
Blackpool had dominated the possession in the half but had struggled to turn it into anything meaningful as the Gills stayed solid.
Gillingham got the better of the Blackpool defence again to score their second, Oliver doing well to hold off the defender before playing in Samuel and his low drive was too good for keeper Chris Maxwell. Including winning a penalty, it’s four assists now for Oliver so far, showing his value to the team up top.
Blackpool responded well enough, with plenty more of the ball, but the Gills kept them largely at bay. An inviting cross from Demitri Mitchell fizzed across the goal and soon after Bonham was called upon to save from Sully Kaikai. The follow-up shot from CJ Hamilton was blocked by Ogilvie.
Bonham needed two attempts to save from Robson, the Blackpool midfielder trying his luck from 20 yards as the visitors grew more desperate.
Mitchell hit the base of the post with a stoppage-time free-kick. There was some confusion over the additional time to be played, the fourth official holding up eight minutes but after Gills boss Steve Evans' protests the referee came over to tell both benches his instruction had been for six.
Gary Madine had the ball in the net but was clearly offside, with the flag already up before he converted. It was the last chance for the visitors.
Gillingham: Bonham, Ogilvie, Tucker, Medley, Robertson (McKenzie 80mins), Eccles, Mellis, Samuel, Oliver (Akinde 85mins), Graham. Subs not used: Walsh, Coyle, MacDonald, Woods.
Blackpool: Maxwell, Ekpiteta, Nottingham (Husband 52mins), Mitchell, Lubala (Kaikai 63mins), Robson, Ward, Anderson (Madine 73mins), Turton, Hamilton, Yates. Subs not used: Sims, Williams, Sarkic, Kemp.
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