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Gillingham 1 Wigan 0: Vadaine Olvier’s goal clinches the points for Steve Evans’ men

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Vadaine Oliver continued his impressive scoring form with the winning goal for play-off hopefuls Gillingham against lowly Wigan.

Wigan missed some big chances in the second half before Oliver - known as Big V to his team-mates - headed the Gills infront with 14 minutes left. That goal proved enough for Steve Evans’ men in Wednesday’s League 1 clash.

Gillingham celebrate as Vadaine Oliver puts his side 1-0 up Picture: Keith Gillard
Gillingham celebrate as Vadaine Oliver puts his side 1-0 up Picture: Keith Gillard

Gillingham knew a win would for a time take them up to sixth in the League 1 table - the final place in the play-offs. It was a fiery and feisty match at Priestfield and the Gills rode their luck at times but got the points that they needed.

Wigan went into the midweek match having found some positive form on the pitch and buzzing with the news of a successful takeover off it.

But the visitors, starting the evening in the relegation places, were on the backfoot early. The Gills won a flurry of corners that they were unable to make count and also had a fourth minute penalty appeal turned down after keeper Jamie Jones clattered into Vadaine Oliver. Steve Evans was adamant his side should have been awarded the spot-kick.

Jack Tucker also put a free header at the keeper.

Wigan gradually worked their way into the match and were guilty of missing some good chances, Callum Lang unable to finish two two good opportunities while Curtis Tilt produced a centre-back’s finish from 12 yards with a shot that went over the bar.

Oliver was gifted a sniff at goal when chasing a ball over the top from Jordan Graham. George Johnston’s back-pass was weak but as Oliver closed in on goal and got a toe to the ball Wigan keeper Jones rescued his defender.

Alex MacDonald had a couple of half chances for the Gills but neither side could find the net after a physical opening 45 minutes.

Jordan Graham on the ball for Gillingham
Jordan Graham on the ball for Gillingham

There was a flashpoint early in the second half when Jamie Proctor left Connor Ogilvie on the floor after a challenge. The Wigan man got booked and Gills boss Evans was in the referee’s notebook soon after following his protests.

Wigan’s Tendayi Darikwa came close to an opener with almost an hour gone, surging forward and sending a swerving shot at goal that Bonham did well to get behind and save. Proctor skied the follow-up.

Lang continued to be a threat but continued to miss-fire, sending a low shot just wide of the far post.

The visitors kept coming during a good spell of play and a Proctor header at goal had to be held by the busy Gills keeper.

Another chance came and went for Wigan on 66 minutes and the net should have rippled when Lang got the better of Tommy O’Connor and played the ball into the path of Proctor. It looked a simple finish but he fired over.

Oliver continued his rich run of form, scoring his ninth goal in the last 12 games, when he rose to head home Ryan Jackson’s cross to put Gillingham infront.

Soon after taking the lead the Gills almost conceded, Lang’s header from a corner hitting the bar after Jackson got a head to it and Oliver hooked it clear.

Gillingham continued to live life dangerously and a shot from substitute Dan Gardner went narrowly wide with five minutes left.

Oliver went close to scoring a second with another header late on but one goal was enough.

Connor Ogilvie challenges Callum Lang for the ball
Connor Ogilvie challenges Callum Lang for the ball

Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, O’Connor, Ogilvie, Tucker, Dempsey, O’Keefe, Graham (McKenzie 90mins), MacDonald, Oliver (Lee 90mins), Akinde (Samuel 67mins). Subs not used: Bastien, Willock, Lee, Johnson, Woods.

Wigan: Jones, Ojo, Aasgaard (Keane 77mins), Darikwa, Johnston, Robinson, Proctor (Dodoo 76mins), L Evans, Tilt, Solomon-Otabor (Gardner 80mins), Lang. Subs not used: O Evans, Whelan, Clough, Long.

Referee: Chris Sarginson

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