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Gillingham 3 Woking 2: Vadaine Oliver heads winner to complete FA Cup fightback


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Gillingham came back from two goals down at Priestfield against non-league opposition to bag a place in the second round of the FA Cup.

Goals from Max Kretzschmar and Josh Davison either side of the break put Woking in charge but Dominic Samuel’s double levelled it up before Vadaine Oliver completed the turnaround.

Jordan Graham celebrates the third goal after crossing for Vadaine Oliver to head home Picture: Barry Goodwin
Jordan Graham celebrates the third goal after crossing for Vadaine Oliver to head home Picture: Barry Goodwin

Woking arrived without former Gills winger Matt Jarvis, a bonus for the home defence if his performance on his last visit to Priestfield was anything to go on, after giving the hosts the runaround. He was out with a niggle and could only sit and watch.

Gillingham boss Steve Evans named a strong side, despite the four changes, with keeper Jack Bonham making a welcome return after a week off with concussion.

Former Woking manager Geoff Chapple - also watching from the stands on his birthday - oversaw some memorable FA Cup moments and remains with the club, as secretary. At one stage it looked like he was about to witness another.

The Gills started well enough and John Akinde found the top of the crossbar from a corner but a collision between Jordan Graham and visiting defender Tyler Reid led to a five minute delay and a chance for Woking to restart.

Jordan Graham was shown a yellow after this high challenge early in the game Picture: Barry Goodwin
Jordan Graham was shown a yellow after this high challenge early in the game Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham had plenty of possession in the half but failed to make it count.

The visitors, who play two divisions below the Gills, took a 23rd minute lead when Kretzschmar found the bottom corner with a sweet strike after a decent first touch to open up the chance.

Samuel had a chance to score an equaliser straight after but was denied by the legs of Woking keeper Craig Ross, making his only save of the half. The Gills forward would later have the last laugh.

Kretzschmar went close again for Woking with another driven effort which Bonham had to tip around the post and the visitors found the frame of the goal themselves, with Gills defender Jack Tucker going close to scoring an own goal from a corner.

Woking soaked up some pressure at the end of the half but their rearguard remained organised and resolute.

Woking celebrate their second goal but it wasn't enough Picture: Barry Goodwin
Woking celebrate their second goal but it wasn't enough Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gills made a switch at the break with Oliver replacing midweek match-winner Akinde and restarted with purpose but it was Woking who found the net again.

From a corner kick, the ball was cleared as far as Ben Dempsey and when he put the ball back into the area, Davison was there to convert from a crowded box on 55 minutes.

Gillingham got themselves back in the tie four minutes later when Samuel’s glancing header from Graham’s cross beat Ross at his near post.

Substitute Trae Coyle fired in a low free-kick that Ross dealt with comfortably. The home side had the goal back and plenty of time to rescue the cup match.

Vadaine Oliver made an impact after coming off at the bench at the break Picture: Barry Goodwin
Vadaine Oliver made an impact after coming off at the bench at the break Picture: Barry Goodwin

Samuel was in the right place at the right time to level the scores on 69 minutes, tucking away the loose ball after Drysdale’s effort from a corner had cannoned off the woodwork.

It was Graham’s quality again that produced a third goal for Gillingham, which turned out to be the winner, as his cross was met by Oliver who headed in with 11 minutes left.

Kyle Dempsey almost added a fourth with a powerful effort that rattled the woodwork with three minutes left.

Gillingham: Bonham. Jackson, Tucker, Drysdale, Ogilvie, Dempsey, McKenzie, O'Connor (Coyle 59mins), Akinde (Oliver 46mins), Samuel, Graham. Subs: Walsh, Medley, Maghoma, Eccles, Willock.

Woking: Ross, Cook, Casey, Cooper, Shotton, Ferdinand, Kretzschmar (Wareham 86mins), Spasov, Dempsey (Tarpey 83mins), Reid, Davison. Subs: Gerring, Collier, Lofthouse, Leslie, Smith.

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Reaction: Relief for Gills after comeback win

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