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Gillingham 2 Peterborough United 1 match report

It just had to be Bradley Dack on Saturday.

Gillingham's star man has been the subject of increasing transfer speculation this month as the January window is open.

And he did nothing to damage his reputation with the winning goal against promotion rivals Peterborough.

Bradley Dack scores Gillingham's winner on Saturday Picture: Barry Goodwin
Bradley Dack scores Gillingham's winner on Saturday Picture: Barry Goodwin

The three points took Gillingham to the top of the table as Burton lost at home and Walsall could only draw.

Gills originally named an unchanged line-up but lost 10-goal striker Rory Donnelly to injury in the warm-up. He was replaced by Luke Norris in the starting XI with youngster Darren Oldaker on the bench.

Peterborough, who sold top scorer Conor Washington to QPR in the week, handed two new signings their debuts in Shaquile Coulthirst and Harry Toffolo.

Graham Westley has restored Peterborough's attacking intent under his tenure and they certainly played an open, expansive game.

A team packed of flair footballers, they took advantage of the space afforded to them by the Gills in the early exchanges.

Coulthirst was particularly lively. He cut inside Bradley Garmston in the fourth minute but keeper Stuart Nelson was down smartly to turn his low shot behind for a corner.

Erhun Oztumer sent a left-foot shot over the bar, and Bradley Dack was back in his own penalty area to block a Toffolo effort.

At the other end, Gills were finding chances hard to come by, Norris twice had chances to play in Jake Hessenthaler and then Dack but opted to shoot instead.

Max Ehmer went down infront of the Rainham End following a deep free-kick into the box but no penalty was awarded and Peterborough quickly took the lead from a set-piece of their own.

Jon Taylor deliberately took an age to take the free-kick 25 yards from goal. A number of Posh forwards lined up well away from the action outside the penalty area, they never got a look-in as Oztumer spun off the wall and shot home from just inside the box to give Posh a 25th-minute lead.

It could have been worse moments later but Coulthirst shot wide of the far post after a devastating turn of pace on the edge of the box.

Gills got into their stride in the last 10 minutes of the first half. They went closest when John Egan turned smartly inside the area but his powerful shot came back off the crossbar.

The home side maintained that momentum early in the second half as Doug Loft and Brennan Dickenson replaced Bradley Garmston and Jake Hessenthaler.

On 49 minutes, Dack fed a delightful ball down the line for Dominic Samuel and his early cross was slotted home by Norris for his fourth goal of the season.

Suddenly the Priestfield crowd upped the volume and Gills upped the pressure. Egan cracked another shot against the bar, and Norris somehow put the rebound over from close range when he should have scored.

Posh made a double change of their own and had a great chance when Adil Nabi hit the bar from 25 yards with his first chance.

But it was only a momentary halt of Gills' irresistible second-half play. Samuel tried to flick the ball off to Dack on 65 minutes but Chris Forrester appeared to get back and clear. However, he somehow gave the ball straight to Dack and he blasted home his 14th goal of the season.

Gills nearly made it 3-1 when Norris found the side netting but Peterborough were far from over and they hit the woodwork again, this time Forrester from 35 yards finding the outside of the post.

Gills sat deeply as the clock ticked down but they held on to record another three points at Priestfield.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Garmston (Dickenson 46mins), Egan, Ehmer, Hessenthaler (Loft 46mins), Samuel, A Morris, Norris (List 88mins), Dack, Wright. Subs not used: G Morris, McGlashan, Osadebe, Oldaker, Dickenson.

Peterborough: Alnwick, Smith, Baldwin, Taylor, Oztumer (Nabi 58mins), Santos, Coulibaly (Angol 58mins), Forrester, Samuelsen, Coulthirst (Maddison 75mins), Toffolo. Subs not used: Henry, Brisley, Maddison, Beautyman, Wilson.

Attendance: 6,449 (534 away).

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