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Gillingham 1 Accrington 0: Ashley Nadesan scores winner in League 2 match at Priestfield

Gillingham got their home campaign at Priestfield off to a winning start on Saturday against Accrington.

Ashley Nadesan netted Gills’ opener after 29 minutes and that goal was enough to clinch the points, despite a dominant second-half performance from the hosts, winning 1-0.

Gillingham celebrate Ashley Nadesan's opener against Accrington @Julian_KPI
Gillingham celebrate Ashley Nadesan's opener against Accrington @Julian_KPI

Manager Neil Harris made six changes from the team that started the midweek match against Southampton in the Carabao Cup.

Shaun Williams and Jonny Williams returned to the middle of the park while there was a first appearance of the season for Tim Dieng, after recovering from injury.

Scott Malone, keeper Jake Turner and striker Tom Nichols all came into the XI following the memorable midweek cup win.

It was the first time Nichols and Nadesan had started a game for the Gills. The two strikers knew each other inside out from their time at Crawley together and they combined several times in the opening half.

Nadesan beat visiting keeper Toby Savin to the ball for the opener after running onto a delicate ball forward from Nichols. The chance came from Jake Turner’s long clearance forward that defender Jay RIch-Baghuelou could only divert into Nichols’ path.

Shaun Williams with the ball for Gillingham Picture: @Julian_KPI
Shaun Williams with the ball for Gillingham Picture: @Julian_KPI

Gillingham had grown into the half after a few signs from Accrington that they could threaten to spoil the positive vibes at Priestfield.

Just before the match, the club had announced that record season ticket sales had been achieved this season.

Home goalie Turner didn’t have anything too tricky to deal with, however, as the Gills went into the break ahead.

Savin had saved well to deny Robbie McKenzie while Shaun Williams and Nichols had put efforts over the bar.

Gillingham captain Shaun Williams wasn’t far off the mark with an early second-half chance that drifted wide while Malone glanced a header wide from Dom Jefferies’ cross.

Accrington went close from a free-kick after Shad Ogie had tripped Josh Andrews on the edge of the box. Jack Nolan took it, curling his effort just wide.

Robbie McKenzie got a toe to a loose ball, seeing it go the wrong side of the post, as the Gills put the visitors under some sustained pressure midway through the half, attacking at will. The visitors had made a triple change to try and get back into it but Gillingham kept up the momentum.

Scott Malone in action for the Gills against Accrington @Julian_KPI
Scott Malone in action for the Gills against Accrington @Julian_KPI

There were appeals for a penalty when Jonny Williams went to ground inside the box and Jefferies couldn’t convert the loose ball.

Nichols saw a near-post strike blocked for a corner and keeper Savin had to save from the subsequent flag-kick when one of his own defenders almost diverted the ball into the net.

Accrington had another let-off when Gills substitute George Lapslie shot wide after Nadesan had a shot blocked.

Gillingham switched to a back five for the last 10 minutes as they looked to protect a deserved but slender lead.

Malone almost squeezed a late second goal past Savin and Ethan Coleman shot wide, but Nadesan’s early effort was enough to clinch three points.

Gillingham striker Ashley Nadesan @Julian_KPI
Gillingham striker Ashley Nadesan @Julian_KPI

Gillingham: Turner, McKenzie, Malone, Ehmer, Ogie, S Williams, Dieng (Lapslie 75mins), J Williams (Alexander 82mins), Jefferies (Coleman 82mins), Nichols, Nadesan (Bonne 82mins). Subs not used: Morris, Masterson, Clarke.

Accrington: Savin, Rich-Baghuelou, Meller (Lowe 75mins), Hills, Coyle, McConville (Whalley 65mins), Quirk, Nolan (Longelo 65mins), Leigh, Andrews (Adedoyin 65mins), Conneely. Subs not used: Isherwood, Pickles, Sloane.

Referee: Will Finnie

Attendance: 6,489 (109 away)

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