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Gillingham 1 Bristol City 3 - match report

Danny Kedwell heads for goal but Gills were second best against Bristol City Picture: Barry Goodwin
Danny Kedwell heads for goal but Gills were second best against Bristol City Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham ended the year with a home defeat against the league leaders.

Two first half goals from Matt Smith put Bristol City in control of Sunday’s clash at Priestfield.

Cody McDonald gave Gills hope with a goal early in the second half but Scott Wagstaff quickly restored the two-goal advantage.

Defeat leaves Gillingham sitting just outside the bottom four at the halfway point of the season.

Danny Kedwell was named in Gills’ starting XI for the first time since the 3-2 win over Leyton Orient in mid-November.

Midfielders Amine Linganzi and Jake Hessenthaler were also recalled for the Gills as they faced their second League 1 encounter in three days.

City bossed the opening half and deservedly went into the break with a 2-0 lead.

Matt Smith chipped an effort over in the second minute and Gills keeper Stuart Nelson made a good early save from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

Gills’ best first half chance fell to Kedwell but he was unable to divert Jake Hessenthaler’s corner on target.

The opening goal came in the 34th minute from a corner. Luke Freeman put in the delivery, Aden Flint headed goalwards and Smith got a slight but vital glance on the ball to take it past Nelson.

City doubled the lead on 44 minutes and it was Smith with his second, scoring from close range to convert Greg Cunningham’s low cross.

The Gills ended the first half without a shot on target. Taylor introduced some more pace at the break, with Brennan Dickenson and Jermaine McGlashan taking to the field to support McDonald.

It took the Gills just two second half minutes to pull a goal back in the second half. McDonald drove at the defence and slotted home across keeper Frank Fielding into the bottom corner.

Gills’ hopes of getting back into the game were shattered when former player Freeman back-heeled into the path of Wagstaff and he bent the ball past Nelson from the edge of the box for a 3-1 lead.

Visiting keeper Frank Fielding made a save with his feet to deny McDonald with 20 minutes left and from the resulting corner the striker had an on-target header blocked.

Michael Doughty fired a late shot over for the Gills and Harry Lennon directed a header at the keeper but City ended the game in firm control.

Gillingham: Nelson, Martin, Egan, Ehmer, Lennon, Hessenthaler, Linganzi (McGlashan 46mins), Doughty, Pritchard (Norris 73mins), Kedwell (Dickenson 46mins), McDonald. Subs not used: Legge, German, Hoyte, G Morris.

Bristol City: Fielding, Wagstaff (Kane 86mins), Cunningham (Bryan 89mins), Ayling, Flint, Williams, Pack, K Smith, Freeman (Elliott 90mins), M Smith, Emmanuel-Thomas. Subs not used: Richards, Wynter, Osborne, Little.

Attendance: 6,216 (662 away)

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