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Gillingham 0 Fleetwood Town 1 - match report

Gillingham manager Justin Edinburgh Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gillingham manager Justin Edinburgh Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham’s biggest home league crowd of the season went home disappointed on Good Friday.

One goal was enough for the visitors to bag maximum points and leave the Gills without a win at Priestfield in their last four outings.

Gareth Evans scored the winning goal for Fleetwood in the 18 minute.

Boss Justin Edinburgh kept faith with the same starting XI which did so well at Crawley, six days previously, winning 2-1.

His side failed to match those standards infront of their home support, although they did see plenty of the ball in the second half, without reward.

The only changes came on the bench, with Jake Hessenthaler returning from illness and loanee Oliver Muldoon recovering from his knock. Also among the substitutes was 19-year-old Michael Freiter, in the matchday squad for the first time.

Gillingham’s poor home form of late has effectively ended their hopes of an end-of-season play-off push. A big crowd turned out hoping to see that change.

While not mathematically out of the question, the Gills, along with visitors Fleetwood, were still hoping of making the top six in League 1 by the end of the season.

After a tame start the Gills found themselves a goal down in the 18 minute.

Former Gills loanee Adam Chicksen found David Ball from a throw-in and when his cross/shot was saved by Glenn Morris, Gareth Evans blasted home the loose ball.

The Gills struggled to create a meaningful chance in the opening half.

John Egan had a header from a corner and Jermaine McGlashan shot low but both chances lacked power, allowing keeper Chris Maxwell to save.

Gillingham were at times losing the physical battle and they lacked the alertness in both defence and attack to impose themselves on the visitors for sustained periods.

Several good opportunities were also wasted by poor deliveries, something that the Gills were guilty of in their previous match.

Striker Luke Norris – starting his third game in a row – came close to an early second half equaliser but his low shot deflected off Steven Schumacher and went out of play off the post.

The Gills had been sent out early for the second half by manager Edinburgh and they were much brighter after the restart. McGlashan followed up Norris’ chance with a shot that flashed just over the bar.

Morris still had to be alert and he made a good save to deny Ball from scoring Fleetwood’s second. Ball flashed another chance wide moments after Norris was denied for the Gills, after a weak shot at goal.

With half an hour left Norris was taken off and replaced by leading scorer Cody McDonald, who was aiming to break his longest stretch without a goal this season.

McDonald had a shot and a header go wide and another chance that was inadvertently blocked by Brennan Dickenson. The Gills kept the pressure on but a lack of precision in the final third proved costly.

A great save from Maxwell, off an Aaron Morris header, ensured Fleetwood went home with a win.

Gillingham: G Morris, Hoyte, Bell, Egan (Legge 81mins), Ehmer, A Morris, Loft, McGlashan, Marquis (Dickenson 71mins), Norris (McDonald 60mins), Dack. Subs not used: Nelson, Hessenthaler, Muldoon, Freiter.

Fleetwood: Maxwell, Roberts, Pond, Evans (Jordon 90mins), Schumacher, Morris, Chicksen, Sarcevic, Proctor, Forbes (Murdoch 64mins), Ball (Hunter 68mins). Subs not used: Dobbie, Moore, Haughton, McAlinden.

Attendance: 7,961 (101 away)

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