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Chesterfield 1 Gillingham 3 – match report

Gillingham maintained their promotion push with victory at Chesterfield.

John Egan put the Gills ahead but Rai Simons fired the hosts level before the break.

Rory Donnelly headed the Gills back in front and Harry Lennon made it 3-1.

Rory Donnelly restores Gillingham's lead against Chesterfield Picture: Barry Goodwin
Rory Donnelly restores Gillingham's lead against Chesterfield Picture: Barry Goodwin

Justin Edinburgh experienced his worst defeat so far as Gills boss at Chesterfield’s Proact Stadium last season, losing 3-0, but it was all-smiles at the end of this encounter.

Gillingham, who had lost their two previous away games, made four changes from the team that started the midweek Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match against Luton.

In-form striker Donnelly was back in the team, as was stand-in skipper John Egan and leading scorer Bradley Dack. Midfielder Josh Wright made up the quartet of players coming into the starting XI.

The Gills, starting out in a 3-5-2 formation, struggled to look a threat up front early on but took the lead in the 26th-minute after a mistake from keeper Tommy Lee.

Lee fumbled Brennan Dickenson’s free-kick and Egan was waiting at the back post to stick the ball away.

The game was level nine minutes later and Egan was this time the guilty party, giving away possession in a dangerous place. Dan Gardner found Sam Morsy and he helped the ball on for Simons who guided it past Stuart Nelson.

Luke Norris was on the receiving end of a heavy challenge from Sam Hird and it was a half where Chesterfield appeared to be trying to bully the Gills off the ball.

Chesterfield ended the half on top and Nelson had to be off his line sharpish in stoppage-time as the ball was threaded through to Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

The Gills changed their shape at the break, returning to a flat back four with Aaron Morris replacing Max Ehmer. Norris started as a lone striker with Jermaine McGlashan and Donnelly providing width.

Chesterfield started the second half like they ended the first, on the attack. Morsy forced Nelson into action shortly after the restart, the keeper diving at full-stretch to deny the midfielder.

Gillingham responded with a goal. McGlashan found space down the right and crossed for Donnelly, who beat Lee with a looping header for his fifth in three games.

The Gills went 3-1 up when Egan flicked on a Wright cross and Lennon followed up by nodding in from close range.

Ebanks-Blake put a couple of efforts wide for the hosts as they looked to get back into the match.

Gillingham had a chance to score a fourth with five minutes left. Substitute Emmanuel Osadebe skipped his way into the box but opted to shoot rather than tee up striker Norris. Keeper Lee saved, sparking angry words between the two Gillingham men.

Moments later the Gills broke again, this time Donnelly did pick out Norris, but the shot from the striker was blocked.

Chesterfield: Lee, O’Neill, Evatt, Morsy, Herd (Dieseruwe 73mins), O’Shea, Gardner, Jones, Simons, Ebanks-Blake, Raglan. Subs: Chapman, Talbot, Donoughue, Orrell, Humphreys, Hird.

Gillingham: Nelson, Egan, Ehmer (A Morris 46mins), Lennon, Dickenson (Garmston 77mins), McGlashan (Osadebe 80mins), Wright, Dack, Hessenthaler, Donnelly, Norris. Subs: G Morris, Houghton, Williamson, McDonald.

Attendance: 6,026 (396 away)

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