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Gillingham 3 Barrow 0: League 2 match report from Priestfield Stadium - Josh Andrews scores on his first start but Josh Walker is stretchered off

Gillingham’s play-off dream was kept alive on Saturday thanks to a home win over Barrow.

Josh Andrews fired the Gills ahead in first-half stoppage time, against a Barrow side reduced to ten men after George Ray’s horrible-looking challenge on Josh Walker, which led to the player being stretchered off.

Connor Mahoney in action Gillingham v Barrow Picture: @KPI_Julian
Connor Mahoney in action Gillingham v Barrow Picture: @KPI_Julian

Gillingham extended their lead in the second half with a 55th-minute own-goal and Connor Mahoney made it three.

Gillingham’s play-off hopes had looked all but over before Saturday’s game but their head coach wasn’t giving up while there was a mathematical chance.

Victory leaves the Gills two points off the play-off places with two games remaining after seventh-placed Crawley - who still have a game in hand - lost at home to relegation-threatened Colchester.

Stephen Clemence reverted back to 4-2-3-1 for the match against a Barrow side starting the day sixth in the table. Leading the attack and making his first start for the Gills was Josh Andrews.

Pre-match plans were soon out of the window as George Lapslie limped off on 21 minutes and within 30 seconds of Walker’s introduction, he was left in a heap following Ray’s high challenge.

Ray got a straight red card and after a lengthy stoppage, Walker was stretchered off, to be replaced by Oli Hawkins.

Josh Walker taken off injured Gillingham v Barrow Picture: @KPI_Julian
Josh Walker taken off injured Gillingham v Barrow Picture: @KPI_Julian

Early chances had been at a minimum, Jonny William going closest for Gills with a shot that deflected wide after he slipped a challenge to fire in from an angle.

The Gills didn’t find it easy against a Barrow side down to 10 men but with three of nine added-on minutes played they got the breakthrough.

Remeao Hutton - a former Barrow player - fed Andrews with a ball forward that split the defence, the Gills striker kept onside and took a couple of touches to get past keeper Paul Farman before finishing well.

Barrow ended the half with a couple of corners and a ball in from Elliot Newby that beat everyone before just missing the far post, to the relief of the Gills who went into the break ahead.

Max Clark had an effort saved at the near post early in the second half as the Gills looked to extend their advantage.

Andrews looked to score a second from distance and keeper Farman tipped the ball over the bar.

Constant pressure paid off as the Gills doubled their lead on 55 minutes when Conor Masterson’s ball across the face of goal was turned in by Barrow’s Rory Feely.

It was 3-0 on 64 minutes with a goal of quality. Tim Dieng played a delightful ball forward into the path of Mahoney, who with his left foot took the ball past Farman and then on his right he fired it home.

Hawkins went close to a fourth with 10 minutes left as his downward header was cleared off the line by Newby.

Gillingham keeper Jake Turner didn’t have much to do and made a routine save to deny Kian Spence from his free-kick.

League 2 table

Gillingham: Turner, Hutton, Clark (Malone 70mins), Masterson, Ehmer, Coleman, Dieng, Lapslie (Walker 21mins (Hawkins 31mins)), J Williams, Mahoney, Andrews (Jefferies 70mins). Subs not used: Morris, McKenzie, Ogie.

Barrow: Farman, Campbell (Stephenson 72mins), Ray, Canavan, Newby, Gotts (Spence 58mins), Foley, Chester, Acquah (Proctor 58mins), Feely, Whitfield. Subs not used: Lillis, Telford, Stockton.

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 5,796 (174 away)

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