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Gillingham 0 Accrington Stanley 2: Gillingham lose striker Dominic Samuel to injury and slip to defeat at Priestfield


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Gillingham’s midweek home defeat to Accrington was made worse after striker Dominic Samuel was stretchered off.

The Gills had a forgettable first half, with Samuel carried off before going a goal down from a corner. An improved Gills performance after the restart was for nothing as Dion Charles added a second for Accrington against the run of play.

Vadaine Oliver gets up for the ball in Gillingham's defeat to Accrington Picture: Barry Goodwin
Vadaine Oliver gets up for the ball in Gillingham's defeat to Accrington Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham were looking to bounce back from a disappointing weekend trip to Doncaster and boss Steve Evans made three changes to his starting line-up while also changing formation.

The Gills started with a wing-back formation as John Akinde, Alex MacDonald and Tom O’Connor all dropped to the bench.

Home keeper Jack Bonham was busy early on, keeping out a corner that was whipped in under his crossbar and also holding onto a driven shot from the edge of the box. Harvey Rodgers also had a shot blocked.

Accrington, who had never won at Priestfield before Tuesday, dominated on the ball with Gillingham’s best effort falling to Vadaine Oliver, shortly after his original strike partner Samuel had been carried off injured after stretching for a ball. Oliver’s overhead kick cleared the bar.

The Rainham End remains empty Picture: Barry Goodwin
The Rainham End remains empty Picture: Barry Goodwin

Colby Bishop had gone close at the other end on a couple of occasions before he finally hit the back of the net, rising highest to head home from a 44th minute corner.

Only a good save low down to his right from Bonham prevented a second before the break, turning Sean McConville’s effort wide.

Oliver had a goalbound header cleared before the teams went off at the break.

Gillingham reverted to a flat back four at the start of the second half and started the second half with more about them. Oliver went close after Eccles shot took a deflection and fell into his path.

Striker Dominic Samuel is stretchered off Picture: Barry Goodwin
Striker Dominic Samuel is stretchered off Picture: Barry Goodwin

Substitute Tom O’Connor’s half volley wasn’t far away as Accrington struggled to get out of their own half at the start of the second period.

Gills’ early second half dominance wasn’t without a scare and Bonham needed to be alert to save low down and deny Dion Charles.

Charles would score on his next attempt but not before Oliver had shot wide for the Gills and visiting keeper Baxter saved Akinde’s close range effort.

The second goal for Accrington came on 64 minutes, a cross from Joey Pritchard converted by Charles, undoing all of Gills’ good work since the start of the second half.

Accrington Stanley attack the Rainham End Picture: Barry Goodwin
Accrington Stanley attack the Rainham End Picture: Barry Goodwin

Charles had a couple more efforts to add another, shooting wide with one chance and being denied by Bonham with another.

Gillingham had tried to get back in it, with a far better second 45 minutes, but visiting keeper Baxter didn’t have enough to do.

Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Drysdale, Ogilvie, McKenzie (MacDonald 76mins), Mellis (O’Connor 45mins), Dempsey, Eccles, Samuel (Akinde 22mins), Oliver (Robertson 76mins). Subs not used: Walsh, Medley, Woods.

Accrington: Baxter, Nottingham, Hughes, Burgess, Butcher, Pritchard, McConville, Rodgers, Bishop, Conneely, Charles. Subs not used: Savin, Russell, Cassidy, Uwakwe, Barclay, Sama, Fenlon.

Referee: Andy Woolmer

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