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Gillingham 2 Crawley Town 1: Arsenal loan man Trae Coyle among the the goals as Gills win their EFL Trophy opener

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Gillingham won their final match before the real action begins at the weekend after seeing off Crawley Town in the EFL Trophy.

Arsenal loan man Trae Coyle put Gillingham infront just before the break and second half sub Vadaine Oliver doubled the lead but from that moment on Crawley had numerous chances and got a deserved goal back through Nathan Ferguson.

Gillingham celebrate the opening goal scored by Trae Coyle Picture: Barry Goodwin (42173019)
Gillingham celebrate the opening goal scored by Trae Coyle Picture: Barry Goodwin (42173019)

Gillingham's League 1 season starts on Saturday with a home game against Hull City at Priestfield.

Coyle was one of six changes to Gills' weekend team, which also included Jordan Graham in the XI, after he missed Saturday’s win over Southend United with a strain.

Ryan Jackson, who was sent off in that game, was eligible for the Trophy match and wore the captain’s armband.

Coyle was thwarted by visiting keeper Tom McGill early on after being played in with a perfectly weighted ball from Jacob Mellis. Ricardo German had a better chance at the other end straight after, curling a shot against the frame of the goal with only the keeper to beat.

Graham looked positive from the off and put some inviting crosses into the box but there was nobody able to convert.

Mellis had looked lively too and he provided the assist for Gills’ 40th minute opener, playing a one-two with Coyle, allowing the Arsenal youngster the chance to score, finishing low into the bottom corner.

Young Henry Woods had also provided a timely pass in the build-up, making amends for losing out moments early to George Francomb, allowing the visitors in with a chance. Archie Davis had also gone close before the Gills took the lead.

Jack Tucker on the ball for Gillingham Picture: Barry Goodwin (42173021)
Jack Tucker on the ball for Gillingham Picture: Barry Goodwin (42173021)

Oliver replaced John Akinde at the break and it wasn’t long before he made an impact, arriving at the back post to head in Graham’s deep delivery.

German couldn’t take advantage of another opening for Crawley soon after as Jack Tucker did well to dispossess him as he bore down on goal. Visiting sub Tyler Frost also headed a good chance wide during a lively spell for John Yems’ League 2 side.

Chances kept coming for Crawley as they responded well to that second goal. Jack Bonham got behind efforts from Tarryn Allarakhia and Nathan Ferguson, Ashley Nadesan went close and both German and Jordan Tunnicliffe headed opportunities wide.

Zech Medley rifled a left-footed drive narrowly wide for the Gills but Crawley got a goal back with 12 minutes left, and it had been coming, Ferguson slotting home from a Frost cross.

Crawley kept the pressure on for the remainder of the match, but were unable to make the most of their chances in the Gills box, Nadesan putting a chance narrowly wide in stoppage-time.

Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Maghoma, Medley (Ogilvie 81mins), Willock, Mellis, Woods, Graham (MacDonald 83mins), Coyle, Akinde (Oliver 46mins). Subs not used: Walsh, O’Keefe, Dempsey, McKenzie.

Crawley: McGill, Doherty, McNerney, Adebowale (Frost 52 mins), Tunnicliffe, Davis, Francomb (Hessenthaler 70mins), Ferguson, Allarakhia (Ashford 70mins), German, Nadesan. Subs not used: Dallison, Powell, Jones, Bulman.

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