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Gillingham 1 Crewe Alexandra 0: Danny Lloyd penalty enough for victory in Neil Harris’ first match as manager at Priestfield

Gillingham claimed a first league win in 15 games to boost their survival hopes in League 1.

Danny Lloyd converted a first half penalty for Gillingham against fellow strugglers Crewe and Vadaine Oliver struck the woodwork. One goal was enough to make it a winning start for new boss Neil Harris.

Danny Lloyd puts Gillingham ahead from the penalty spot Picture: KPI
Danny Lloyd puts Gillingham ahead from the penalty spot Picture: KPI

It was a nervy second half for the Gills as Crewe upped their game after the break but they hung on for a much-needed victory.

Harris switched the keepers for his first game in charge, bringing in Aaron Chapman to replace Pontus Dahlberg following the heavy weekend defeat.

QPR loan defender Conor Masterson was handed his debut as part of a three-man central defensive until as the new manager started with wing-backs.

It was a set-up that brought joy for the Gills as they dominated the opening half, only tainted at the end of the 45 with an injury to the lively-looking Mustapha Carayol.

Danny Lloyd had an early shot saved and Carayol also went close with a low drive towards the bottom corner.

Gillingham took a 17th minute lead from the penalty spot. Having conceded four penalties at the weekend it was a welcome sight to see Gillingham score one. Lloyd converted after Oli Finney had been penalised for handling a shot from Stuart O’Keefe.

The Gills might have had another later in the half as Jack Tucker met a corner at the back post and was denied by a block from an arm.

Gillingham had the better of the half but had just the 1-0 lead as the teams went off following an extra 10 minute delay to deal with Carayol’s injury. The Gills player later returned without the need for a hospital visit, having apparently suffered a head and leg injury.

David Tutonda was back in the side as Gillingham played Crewe Picture: KPI
David Tutonda was back in the side as Gillingham played Crewe Picture: KPI

Crewe had picked up an injury of their own with former Gills striker Mikael Mandron going off with a knee injury.

The visitors made a positive start to the second half and Dan Agyei went close with a low shot and only a good save from Chapman kept out Tariq Uwakwe’s curled effort that was heading for the top corner.

Vadaine Oliver had replaced Carayol and the striker struck the inside of the post with a shot.

Agyei was next to try and bend in an effort for Crewe as they continued to press but once again the 6ft 6inch keeper Chapman was alert and pushed the ball away.

Harris made a change with just over an hour gone, sacrificing striker Kelman for an extra midfielder in Dan Phillips, to try and make it harder for Crewe to get so much of the ball.

Crewe did continue to press but the Gills were able to keep them out.

Man-of-the-match Lloyd was the second player to go off injured for the Gills, limping out of the action with five minutes or normal time left.

Tom Lowery’s strike for Crewe was comfortably held by Chapman ahead of six additional minutes following a busy night for the Gills physio. Gillingham managed to enjoy some late possession to frustrate Crewe late on and hang onto the points.

Gillingham: Chapman, McKenzie, Tutonda, Ehmer, Tucker, Masterson, O’Keefe, Lee, Lloyd (Jackson 85mins), Carayol (Oliver 45mins), Kelman (Phillips 67mins). Subs not used: Dahlberg, Dickson-Peters, Sithole, Maghoma.

Crewe: Jaaskelainen, Alebiosu, Offord, Long (Sambou 33mins), Lowery, Finney (Ainley 73mins), Agyei, Murphy, Sass-Davies, Uwakwe, Mandron (Porter 43mins). Subs not used: Richards, Griffiths, Johnson, O’Riordan.

Referee: Declan Drysdale

Attendance: 4,917 (151 away)

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