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Gillingham 2 Northampton Town 1 – League 1 match report


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Jay Emmanuel-Thomas struck a stoppage-time winner for Gillingham against Northampton.

John-Joe O’Toole headed the visitors in front and came close to a second when JJ Hooper hit a post.

But it was all-square when Max Ehmer fired home early in the second half and Emmanuel-Thomas was on hand to clinch a late win.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas celebrating scoring Gills' injury time winner Picture: Andy Jones
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas celebrating scoring Gills' injury time winner Picture: Andy Jones

It was Gillingham’s first league win in eight.

Reaction: Gillingham boss says win was a big relief.

Boss Justin Edinburgh wasn’t short of options for the match.

Baily Cargill was handed his home debut as Max Ehmer partnered him at the back, dropping Deji Oshilaja to the bench in favour of the Bournemouth loanee.

With a number of players back from injury, Edinburgh hailed it as the “strongest squad I have had this season”. He resisted the temptation to bring either Bradley Dack or Scott Wagstaff straight back into the XI, however.

Ryan Jackson overcame a dead leg to play as the Gills faced a side with the second- best scoring record in League 1. Edinburgh’s men were looking for their first clean sheet in the division since the season kicked off.

Gillingham started the game a point and a place above the relegation zone and were looking to get their promotion campaign on track, heading into the game without a win in their last seven League 1 matches.

Cody McDonald in the thick of it against Northampton Picture: Andy Jones
Cody McDonald in the thick of it against Northampton Picture: Andy Jones

Emmanuel-Thomas' super strike ensured the Gills got the win they craved.

The Gills certainly started the game lively enough, with chances aplenty from distance, but for all of the pressure and positive play they were unable to test keeper Adam Smith.

It was a defensive header from Brendan Moloney that provided Gillingham with their best chance, heading past his own keeper but managing to then hook the ball off the line.

Northampton gradually got into the game and they got a goal, with 36 minutes gone. Gillingham didn’t defend a corner well and John-Joe O’Toole was on hand to head home the opener.

From that point on the Gills looked a different side, with their confidence seemingly disappearing. Northampton had chances to extend the lead, with Hooper hitting a post in the final minute of the half.

But the Gills got themselves straight back into the game three minutes after the restart.

Emmanuel-Thomas’ effort from Jake Hessenthaler’s corner fell to Ehmer and he fired home the equaliser for his fourth goal of the season.

Captain Josh Wright congratulates Max Ehmer on his equaliser Picture: Andy Jones
Captain Josh Wright congratulates Max Ehmer on his equaliser Picture: Andy Jones

Second-half sub Dack shot wide soon after coming on and put in an inviting cross for Emmanuel-Thomas that he couldn’t quite make something with.

Stuart Nelson needed to make a good save late on to deny Moloney after he broke into the box and clear of Dack, who didn’t want to risk taking him down for a penalty.

And with time added on the Gills took the lead as Emmanuel-Thomas collected a clearance from 25 yards out and fired home past the reach of Smith.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Konchesky, Ehmer, Cargill, Wright, Knott, Hessenthaler, Nouble (Dack 64mins), Emmanuel-Thomas, McDonald. Subs not used: Hadler, Oshilaja, Garmston, Osadebe, Wagstaff, Donnelly.

Northampton: Smith, Moloney, Buchanan, Anderson, Diamond, Richards (Revell 58mins), Hoskins, O’Toole, Nyatanga, Hooper (Gorre 78mins), Taylor. Subs not used: Cornell, Byrom, Potter, Beautyman, Hanley.

Attendance: 5,790 (637 away).

Referee: Lee Probert.

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