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Fleetwood Town 2 Gillingham 1 – League 1 match report

Gillingham’s long run without a win continued on Saturday.

Justin Edinburgh’s side were denied even a point at Fleetwood after conceding late on, making it seven league games without a victory.

They equalled the club’s longest run without a clean sheet in the process.

Gillingham concede a second goal on 83 minutes Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gillingham concede a second goal on 83 minutes Picture: Barry Goodwin

David Ball put the home side ahead midway through the first half but Jake Hessenthaler levelled early in the second.

Gillingham left with nothing, however, as home substitute Ashley Hunter netted with seven minutes left.

Reaction: Justin Edinburgh felt his side deserved something from the game.

Gillingham made three changes to the team that started against Charlton the week before.

Captain Josh Wright returned into the midfield while Deji Oshilaja took over at right-back from injured Ryan Jackson. Bradley Dack was part of the travelling party but wasn’t involved.

Stuart Nelson, as expected, was back between the sticks in place of injured Jonathan Bond.

Fleetwood went into the game with a record of scoring in every one of their 14 league matches before the visit of a Gillingham team who were desperate to avoid equalling an unwanted record.

The Gills had conceded in each of their previous 26 matches. The record, from the 1933/34 season, stood at 27.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas gets away from his marker at Fleetwood Picture: Barry Goodwin
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas gets away from his marker at Fleetwood Picture: Barry Goodwin

It took 19 minutes for the Gills to equal that record as David Ball tapped home a cross/shot from Kyle Dempsey, who had run into the box, evading a couple of challenges. There was suspicion that Ball was in an offside position as he put the ball in past Nelson.

Gillingham put the pressure on after conceding and kept Fleetwood at bay for the remainder of the half. Ball’s goal was their only on-target shot of the half.

Frank Nouble and Billy Knott both had shots saved by keeper Chris Neal, while Deji Oshilja shot over the stand towards the end of the half.

The Gills were behind at the break and lacked the attacking spark of the previous weekend.

But they levelled the scores in the 52nd minute. A corner was only partially cleared and Hessenthaler struck home low into the bottom corner for his first goal of the season.

Hessenthaler had another effort from outside the box, 12 minutes later, but fired wide on the volley.

Chris Long came close to putting Fleetwood ahead after 67 minutes, having been played in behind the defence, but Nelson got a slight touch on his low shot and turned it wide.

The hosts also broke from a Gills corner but Jimmy Ryan’s final ball was poor as he attempted to slide in a team-mate. Soon after a shot from Hunter went narrowly over.

It was Hunter who fired the hosts back in front with seven minutes left, prodding the ball home from Conor McLaughlin’s cross and giving Nelson no chance from close range.

Nouble nearly equalised moments later but his shot was deflected wide.

Fleetwood: Neal, McLaughlin, Bell, Pond, Ryan, Ball (Cole 77mins), Grant, Bolger, Long (Hunter 68mins), Sowerby (Nirennold 54mins), Dempsey. Subs not used: Cairns, Jonsson, Eastham, Woolford.

Gillingham: Nelson, Oshilaja, Konchesky, Herd (Pask 81mins), Ehmer, Wright, Hessenthaler, Knott, Nouble (List 88mins), Emmanuel-Thomas, McDonald (Donnelly 88mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Osadebe, Oldaker, Byrne.

Attendance: 2,600 (198 away).

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