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Gillingham 2 Morecambe 1: George Lapslie and Connor Mahoney on target in League 2 match at Priestfield; Michael Mellon scores and is sent off for visitors

Gillingham returned to the top of the table after making it back-to-back wins at home in League 2.

The Gills were 2-1 up against Morecambe at the end of an exciting first half that had seen George Lapslie score one and help create another for Connor Mahoney, either side of a goal for Morecambe.

Connor Mahoney puts Gillingham 2-1 ahead against Morecambe Picture: @Julian_KPI
Connor Mahoney puts Gillingham 2-1 ahead against Morecambe Picture: @Julian_KPI

Michael Mellon scored for the visitors in the first half but was sent off for a second bookable offence in the second.

Manager Neil Harris had made just one change to the Gills team which started the previous week against Harrogate, as Ethan Coleman came straight in after suspension to replace Robbie McKenzie.

Gillingham were seeking a win to reinstate their place at the League 2 summit, having been replaced on Friday night by Notts County, after their win at Salford.

The returning Coleman certainly made an impact, with an assist for both goals in the opening half.

It was a lively first 45 minutes, the Gills showing some class in the attacking third but at the same time allowing Morecambe space to exploit.

Morecambe striker Michael Mellon scored once and also hit the bar during a good first half for him. The second half wasn’t so good.

It was the Gills who struck first, in the 10th minute, after an impressive start. Coleman met Mahoney’s deep corner and played it back into the centre where Lapslie was on hand to finish from close range.

George Lapslie celebrates the opening goal at Priestfield Picture: @Julian_KPI
George Lapslie celebrates the opening goal at Priestfield Picture: @Julian_KPI

Gillingham conceded almost immediately as Mellon raced onto a ball over the defence, the linesman deemed him onside and he finished well over keeper Jake Turner.

The Gills looked to hit back again, with Mahoney denied by the visiting stopper and a delightful ball in from Jonny Williams almost creating another for Lapslie, running into space but unable to flick the ball past the keeper.

It was a moment of individual brilliance that put the Gills back infront. Lapslie did well to win the ball off a defender, Coleman helped it on and Mahoney took a couple of touches to bamboozle one defender and sit another on his backside, before then firing home.

Lapslie had pulled a muscle stretching to make the interception and signalled to the bench straight away. His day was done but it was a super 25 minutes of action from the playmaker.

Morecambe had the better of the latter stages of the half.

Captain Shaun Williams in action for the Gills Picture: @Julian_KPI
Captain Shaun Williams in action for the Gills Picture: @Julian_KPI

Gills’ busy striker Macauley Bonne netted from a corner but the referee had signalled an infringement before he struck.

Mellon also had the ball in the net when in on goal again, but had already been flagged for offside, leading to a booking for time-wasting. It was a moment that would prove costly for the striker.

Another chance later in the half from a seemingly impossible angle saw former Manchester United man Mellon clip the top of the crossbar.

Clarke was denied for the Gills, as keeper Stuart Moore saved at the second attempt, leaving the hosts 2-1 up at the break after an exciting first half.

Both Mahoney and Cheye Alexander had shots blocked early in the second half but chances dried up for both teams, in what became a more cagey affair. With a lead to protect, the Gills knew not to take risks.

Mellon put a 25-yard free-kick into the arms of grateful keeper Turner with 20 minutes left, before Harris turned to his bench to make changes for the Gills. Strike pair Ashley Nadesan and Tom Nichols were chosen to try and reignite the spark.

Morecambe finished the game with 10 men after Mellon’s late challenge on Conor Masterson with 15 minutes remaining earned him a second caution.

With an extra man, the Gills eased their way to full-time and another three points.

Nichols went close with a shot that was deflected over and although Morecambe showed some desire late on, the Gills kept them at arm’s length. The closest they came was a cross into the box which Masterson cleared.

Ethan Coleman looks to close down a Morecambe player Picture: @Julian_KPI
Ethan Coleman looks to close down a Morecambe player Picture: @Julian_KPI

Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Malone, Masterson, Ogie, S Williams, Coleman, Mahoney (McKenzie 94mins), Lapslie (Clarke 25mins), J Williams (Nichols 74mins), Bonne (Nadesan 74mins). Subs not used: Morris, Ehmer, Hawkins.

Morecambe: Moore, Senior (Tutonda 66mins), Connolly, Love, Bedeau, Songo’o (C Smith 84mins), McKiernan, King (Walker 66mins), Bloxham (Taylor 59mins), Mellon, Slew (Davenport 59mins). Subs not used: A Smith, Stoke.

Referee: Declan Bourne

Attendance: 5,915 (120 away)

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