Published: 14:45, 24 October 2020
| Updated: 19:49, 24 October 2020
Gillingham missed several good chances against Fleetwood as they fell to a third straight league defeat on Saturday.
The Gills - who finished with 10 men after Connor Ogilvie’s late dismissal - twice hit the woodwork either side of the interval before Paddy Madden headed the visitors in front and Ched Evans sealed it late on.
There were a trio of players missing for the Gills through injury, Jacob Mellis, former Fleetwood player Kyle Dempsey and striker Vadaine Oliver were all unavailable for the Gills at the weekend, as they looked to bounce back from successive defeats.
It meant another team shuffle for manager Steve Evans, making four changes, including a new defensive line-up as Ogilvie was moved to central defence to partner returning Jack Tucker.
That defence was under early pressure but the Gills defended well, restricting Fleetwood to any shots on target in the opening half. Zech Medley, playing left-back, made an important block after Callum Camps chested the ball down into the path of Harvey Saunders, who looked odds-on to score.
Fleetwood had prepared for the match in a makeshift changing facility in the old club shop, behind the Rainham End, after playing a midweek game against Accrington, whose own weekend game was called off because eight of their players tested positive for Covid-19.
Gillingham were taking extra precautions to keep separate and both benches were moved apart.
Evans and his coaching team were sat midway in their attacking half for the first 45 minutes and in the latter stages of it they saw their team swarm all over the visitors.
Just after the half-hour mark Dominic Samuel’s low shot was tipped around the post by the keeper. It was the first chance of many and none were better than when Jordan Graham played John Akinde in on goal, with just the keeper to beat. The striker hesitated with the shot, however, and could only hit the woodwork.
Scott Robertson had a shot saved, Samuel and Zech Medley both had chances from Graham crosses, while Akinde had another shot saved by the keeper just before the interval.
Gillingham had legitimate penalty shouts early in the second half when Graham looked to have been upended in the box by Daniel Andrew. Referee John Busby said no.
Alex MacDonald crashed a shot against the underside of the bar after being picked out by Graham, who had rounded keeper Jayson Leutwiler, the Fleetwood goalie getting himself in trouble after attempting to claim Tucker’s deep free-kick.
Medley made another good block, as he did in the first half, to deny Paddy Madden. The referee squared up the penalty decisions as he ruled no foul when Tucker challenged Camps. Had the Fleetwood man gone down he may have been more tempted to point to the spot.
The visitors looked to have turned the tide and they made it count, scoring on 66 minutes through Madden, who nodded home from close range after Camps’ header had come off the crossbar.
Gillingham lost Ogilive for the final 10 minutes when he picked up a second booking, receiving his marching orders after a foul on Jay Matete sent the Fleetwood man into the advertising boards.
Fleetwood added a second goal in stoppage time when Madden picked out the run of Evans and he fired past Jack Bonham, the Gills management protesting at a missed handball in the build-up.
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Medley, Ogilvie, O'Connor (MacDonald 23mins), Robertson (Willock 75mins), Eccles, Samuel (Coyle 85mins), Graham, Akinde. Subs: Walsh, Maghoma, McKenzie, Woods.
Fleetwood: Leutwiler, Edwards, Andrew, Connolly, Whelan, Camps (Coutts 87mins), Mulgrew, Madden, Saunders (Evans 54mins), Finley (Duffy 67mins), Matete. Subs: Cairns, Burns, McKay, Holgate.