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Gillingham 4 Sheffield United 0 - match report

Bradley Dack celebrates his goal against Sheffield UnitedPicture: Barry Goodwin
Bradley Dack celebrates his goal against Sheffield UnitedPicture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham stunned League 1 title favourites Sheffield United at Priestfield on Saturday.

The Gills took an early lead off a Ryan Jackson throw and doubled their advantage through Adedeji Oshilaja.

Both men were starting a league game for the first time in Gillingham colours.

John Egan claimed Gillingham’s third and a stunner from Bradley Dack capped a great start to the 2015/16 season for the Gills.

Gills boss Justin Edinburgh handed out five league debuts, the most surprising inclusion being that of 18-year-old midfielder Emmanuel Osadebe.

Osadebe claimed the opening goal, with just seven minutes gone, as keeper George Long failed to deal with Jackson’s throw into the box. It was Luke Norris who actually got the final touch.

Luke Norris pushes forwardPicture: Barry Goodwin
Luke Norris pushes forwardPicture: Barry Goodwin

It was a great start for the Gills and it turned out to be a great half, as they dominated against a United side who were tipped by the bookies to win League 1 this season.

The big spenders found the side-netting and Billy Sharp shot wide for the visitors, but the Gills weren’t overly troubled.

Stuart Nelson - who had won over Edinburgh in the summer to not only stay at the club but to regain his no.1 spot – showed safe hands when hanging onto a couple of corner kicks from Martyn Woodford.

United threatened to get back into the game midway through the half but the Gills, playing in a 4-2-2 diamond formation, found another gear.

With a minute left the Gills once more crowded the goal-mouth, a corner from Dickenson dropped into the danger area and keeper Long was left flat-footed as Oshilaja poked the ball home.

United introduced an extra forward for the second half and started well, putting the Gills under immediate pressure. Nelson did well to divert a Chris Basham shot wide.

The Gills managed to hang on and nearly got a third when Norris’ free-kick was spilled by the keeper and Oshilaja put the loose ball wide.

United continued to struggle against Gills’ set-plays. A Dickenson corner 20 minutes into the half led to Ben Williamson putting a chance wide, one of two men left unmarked.

Nelson needed to save from Jamie Murphy but with seven minutes left United defender Neil Collins powered a header past his own keeper, from another Dickenson corner, to make it 3-0. 

It got better for the Gills in injury-time when Dack danced past the challenges of two defenders and curled the ball home from the edge of the box.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Dickenson, Oshilaja, Egan, Houghton, A Morris (Hessenthaler 46mins), Osadebe (Wright 89mins), Dack, Williamson, Norris. Subs not used: Garmston, Ehmer, McGlashan, G Morris, Donnelly.

United: Long, Freeman, Basham, Murphy, Sharp, Baxter (Sammon 46mins), Collins, Woolford (Reed 70mins), McEveley, McFadzean, Adams (Scougall 70mins). Subs not used: Howard, J Wallace, Higdon, K Wallace.

Attendance: 7,511 (1,832 away)

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