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Gillingham 2 Rochdale 1 – League 1 match report

Gillingham completed a comeback win at Priestfield on Saturday.

Andy Cannon’s opener for Rochdale was cancelled out by Bradley Garmston’s strike before the break.

Lee Martin volleyed the Gills ahead just after the hour, a goal which turned out to be the winner.

Gillingham celebrate Lee Martin's winning goal Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham celebrate Lee Martin's winning goal Picture: Andy Jones

The Gills extended their unbeaten run in League 1 to six games with the win, with back to back successes, following their win at Charlton.

Reaction: Mixed feelings for boss Steve Lovell after Saturday's win

Scott Wagstaff returned to the Gillingham line-up on Saturday, after recovering from a hamstring injury. He replaced Sean Clare, after the loanee returned to Sheffield Wednesday, but would only last half the match, pulling up just before the interval.

Striker Tom Eaves managed to shrug off a knee injury picked up last time out, at Charlton, to spearhead the Gills attack. Rochdale included former Gillingham midfielder Billy Knott in their squad, following his loan move from Lincoln City.

While the Gills weren’t at their best in the opening half, they did create a number of good chances, with an early shot from Mark Byrne looking like finding the bottom corner before being deflected into the keeper’s arms.

Bradley Garmston celebrates his goal Picture: Andy Jones
Bradley Garmston celebrates his goal Picture: Andy Jones

Wagstaff and Eaves both also tested keeper Josh Lillis early on before Cannon struck a 27 minute opener, shooting home from the edge of the box. The Gills had complained to the referee about Eaves’ being pulled back in the build-up to the goal.

Eaves went close to an equaliser, shooting wide under pressure, but it was all square five minutes before the break.

Kgosi Ntlhe has been penalised for dangerous play and the Gills took full advantage with Garmston firing home low past Lillis after Lee Martin played the free-kick into his path.

Tom Eaves tries his luck for Gills Picture: Andy Jones
Tom Eaves tries his luck for Gills Picture: Andy Jones

Henderson put a good chance over the bar early in the second half for Rochdale while Joe Bunney forced Holy into a save at his near post.

Half-time sub Elliott List produced the cross for Gills’ second goal, falling into the path of the skipper after a deflection, and Martin volleyed home from 10 yards.

O’Neill had a free-kick saved by keeper Lillis and at the other end Holy showed safe hands from Donervon Daniels’ header. Josh Parker had a deflected shot go wide, as the Gills broke, and put another chance into the back of the Rainham End.

Former Gills man Knott should have levelled at the death but volleyed over from close range.

Gillingham: Holy, Garmston (Ogilvie 70mins), O’Neill, Zakuani, Ehmer, Hessenthaler, Byrne, Martin, Wagstaff (List 46mins), Parker, Eaves. Subs not used: Nelson, Lacey, Nugent, Oldaker, Wilkinson.

Rochdale: Lillis, Ntlhe (Knott 70mins), Kitching, Daniels, Cannon, McNulty, Camps, Henderson, Done (Inman 70mins), Bunney (McGahey 84mins), Andrew. Subs not used: Moore, Rafferty, Rathbone, Adshead.

Attendance: 4,352 (109 away)

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