Published: 16:45, 02 October 2021
| Updated: 21:08, 02 October 2021
Gillingham battled top League 1 opposition on Saturday and were beaten by two second half goals.
Max Power opened the scoring just after the hour mark and Will Keane added a second in the closing stages to settle an entertaining encounter played in wet and windy conditions at Priestfield.
Gillingham were unchanged from the team that started the midweek match at Cambridge. It meant Rhys Bennett maintaining his place in central defence despite the return from suspension of Jack Tucker.
Striker Vadaine Oliver was passed fit after overcoming a rib injury and he had an opportunity to put the Gills infront midway through the opening half. A long ball forward deceived visiting defender Jack Whatmough but Oliver’s heavy touch allowed the keeper to clear.
Wigan had started the match well, winning a couple of early corners which they were unable to capitalise on, as the Gills defence held firm. Keeper Jamie Cumming’s biggest test came from a free-kick that was fired in low by Callum Lang, the Gills goalie claiming the ball without much fuss.
For all of Wigan’s possession, the Gills were always a threat. John Akinde got a sniff after a superb bit of control from Rhys Bennett’s high ball forward. He attempted to score with the second touch but keeper Ben Amos saved.
Lang fired another chance wide for the visitors and with the last kick of the half Cumming got behind a Max Power shot which took a deflection off David Tutonda.
Gillingham came out fired up in the second and Wigan needed their goalkeeper to pull off a point-blank save to deny Akinde after the striker met Tutonda’s deep cross five minutes after the restart.
Wigan’s only two defeats had come against Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday but the Gills had shown they were capable of producing a surprise result against a side starting the day second from top.
Lang blasted wide for the visitors and also put an overhead kick wide as they responded with a little spell of their own.
The visitors took a 64th-minute lead when James McLean’s cross was met at the back post by Power, who headed home.
Gillingham responded well to conceding, with Oliver having a shot blocked and Tutonda firing over the bar.
Will Keane headed over for Wigan as they started to dominate, prompting a first change for the Gills as they introduced Gerald Sithole for Akinde to give them extra pace up top.
But with eight minutes left Wigan added a second, Keane getting a touch on a low drive towards goal from Tendayi Darikwa.
Young Gills forward Sithole came close to scoring a stunner, which would have made for a grandstand finish, bending in a cross-shot from out wide and almost catching out Amos on his near post.
Keeper Amos also denied Robbie McKenzie as he met a Dempsey corner while a speculative long-range effort from Alex MacDonald forced the stopper into action as Gills kept trying.
Gillingham: Cumming, Tutonda, McKenzie, Ehmer, Bennett, Adshead, Lloyd, MacDonald, Dempsey, Oliver, Akinde (Sithole 75mins). Subs not used: Chapman, Tucker, Lee, O’Keefe, Reeves, Kelman.
Wigan: Amos, Power, Darikwa, Whatmough, Watts, Naylor, Cousins, Lang (Edwards 88mins), Keane, McClean (Massey 77mins), Wyke. Subs not used: Tickle, Pearce, Jones, Tilt, Humphrys.
Referee: Neil Hair