Published: 20:45, 27 October 2020
| Updated: 09:52, 28 October 2020
Gillingham were denied a deserved point against League 1 heavyweights Ipswich Town on Tuesday night and picked up injuries to key men too.
Goalkeeper Jack Bonham and defender Ryan Jackson both limped out of the match at Portman Road before Teddy Bishop scored a winner four minutes from time. Gillingham almost snatched a point but Vadaine Oliver’s stoppage-time header struck the woodwork.
Ipswich had won all three of their previous home league games 2-0 and had recently beaten the Gills by the same scoreline in the EFL Trophy.
The Gills, by contrast, had lost their last three in the league 2-0.
Four changes to the XI for Gillingham included a first league start for Alex MacDonald and a return for captain Kyle Dempsey. Tom O’Connor and Jacob Mellis remained out injured.
It was a lively first half, the Gills looking bright early on, but no goals were scored. Andre Dozzell bent a free-kick narrowly wide for the hosts.
Gillingham were forced to introduce 18-year-old keeper Joe Walsh off the bench for Jack Bonham, the senior stopper falling badly after collecting a high ball.
Walsh had been in goal for Gills at Portman Road in the recent Trophy match and played at the same ground in last season’s competition (a 4-0 loss) so at least he was in familiar surroundings.
Bonham took a tumble after going over his own defender Christian Maghoma, although referee Anthony Coggins felt home forward Freddie Sears had a part to play, blowing up for a foul after the Ipswich man had rolled the loose ball into the net.
It was another 10 minutes before Bonham had to come off and he had seen Jack Lankester poke an effort onto the underside of the crossbar before departing.
Gillingham had also had appeals for a penalty turned down after Jordan Graham’s cross struck an Ipswich arm.
Walsh’s first involvement on his league debut was to pick up a backpass from Maghoma, perhaps believing it was he who was supposed to restart play. Gillingham got away with it, however, as Sears blasted wide when the free-kick was played into his path.
Ipswich were in charge of the latter stages of the half but the Gills managed to get to the interval on level terms.
After the break, former Gills keeper Tomas Holy saved from Dominic Samuel as he got a touch on a John Akinde cross, moments before Walsh comfortably held onto a shot from Teddy Bishop.
MacDonald should have stuck away his chance after Samuel found him in space but the shot was blocked.
Jack Tucker also headed at the keeper during a good spell for the Gills.
Gillingham had failed to make their chances count in the weekend game against Fleetwood and Ipswich remained a big threat, Walsh helping a rising effort over the bar and then watching as Luke Woolfenden fired a good chance wide.
Zech Medley stung the hands of home keeper Holy as the teams traded blows while at the other end Ryan Jackson’s superb challenge denied Gwion Edwards a tap-in.
Jackson limped off the for the Gills with 15 minutes left as the club’s injury problems in the early stages of the campaign continue. No sooner does manager Steve Evans get players back than he sees others replace them in the treatment room.
Those injuries soured an otherwise encouraging night at Ipswich in a game that could have gone either way.
In the closing minutes Walsh stretched to save from Edwards and as the hosts began to dominate they got a goal, Stephen Ward finding Bishop on the edge of the box and he found the net.
Oliver’s first touch after going on as a substitute was to meet Graham’s ball in and his header came off the post.
Ipswich: Holy, Hawkins, McGuinness, Ward, Woolfenden, Bishop (Bennets 90ins), Dozzell, Chambers, Lankester (Huws 77mins), Edwards, Sears (Dobra 68mins). Subs not used: Cornell, Nsiala, Kenlock, Simpson.
Gillingham: Bonham (Walsh 31mins), Jackson (Robertson 77mins), Medley, Maghoma, Tucker, McKenzie, Dempsey (Oliver 90mins), MacDonald, Samuel, Graham, Akinde. Subs not used: Willock, Coyle, Eccles, Woods.