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MK Dons 2 Gillingham 1: League 2 match report from Stadium MK - MJ Williams and Alex Gilbey score for hosts before Josh Walker nets on Gills debut

Gillingham created plenty of openings at MK Dons but their inability to make it count cost them in the League 2 clash.

A flurry of chances in the second half came to nothing for Gillingham after another opening 45 minutes without scoring. Gills were made to pay for those misses as MJ Williams and Alex Gilbey struck for the hosts before debutant Josh Walker got one back for the Gills.

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence Picture: @Julian_KPI
Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence Picture: @Julian_KPI

Gillingham had a new forward in their ranks following the arrival on loan of Josh Walker but head coach Stephen Clemence went for Ashley Nadesan to provide the pace alongside Oli Hawkins in attack from the off.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the afternoon either striker wanted. Nadesan went another game without a goal - now 21 since scoring - while Hawkins’ game ended early as he limped off before the break.

Before the weekend, Clemence had described the match as their biggest challenge since his appointment, facing an in-form opposition sitting sixth in the table - two places and three points better off than the Gills.

Clemence’s side was the better of the two early on and MK’s insistence on playing it out from the back almost cost them. Connor Mahoney should have punished them after five minutes when the Gills won it off them in their own box.

Nadesan also blocked a clearance from the keeper as the hosts looked to replicate top-flight football tactics without top-flight players.

MK bossed possession by some distance but the Gills continued to have the best of the openings. Keeper Filip Marschall produced a good save low down as Hawkins met a Remeao Hutton cross at the back stick, the downward header directed towards the bottom corner.

Dom Jefferies was back in the side following injury and he also tested the keeper.

For the hosts, Jack Payne fried wide and Turner palmed an effort from Max Dean out for a corner. The Gills keeper also got behind an Alex Gilbey shot and was grateful the ball didn’t land more invitingly for a home player.

The half ended goalless, the 10th consecutive league match where goal-shy Gillingham had failed to find the target. They would have at least been pleased with their efforts, well in the game at the halfway point.

With just 20 seconds on the clock after the restart, Turner was forced into a save from Dan Kemp, with the loose ball cleared for a corner. It was a sign that MK Dons meant business in the second half.

MK continued to look for an opening around the edge of the Gills box but the visitors kept their shape to keep them out.

With an hour gone, Clemence turned to his bench to inject some fresh ideas into his own team’s attack. New signing Walker and George Lapslie replaced Nadesan and Mahoney.

Walker got involved straight away, and Scott Malone also went close during a good spell for the Gills, but both efforts went over the bar.

Hutton flashed a shot across goal as Gillingham looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

The pressure failed to produce goal and it was MK Dons that went ahead with 11 minutes left. A cross from the left found its way out to Williams, just inside the area, and his effort bounced through a crowded box and past Turner.

MK scored a second when Gilbey tucked away Stephen Wearne’s cross before the Gills got one back. Unfortunately it was too little, too late.

Walker was on hand to poke home from close-range after Tim Dieng was denied by the keeper from a corner on 90 minutes and then in stoppage-time Bonne headed onto the crossbar.

Gillingham: Turner, Hutton, Malone, Masterson (Dieng 84mins), Ehmer, Ogie, Coleman (J Williams 84mins), Jefferies, Mahoney (Lapslie 63mins), Nadesan (Walker 63mins), Hawkins (Bonne 44mins). Subs not used: Morris, Clark.

MK Dons: Marschall, Lewington, O’Hora, Williams, Tomlinson, Harvie, Payne, Bate (Robson 75mins), Gilbey, Kemp (Wearne 75mins), Dean (Harrison 81mins). Subs not used: Kelly, Eisa, Smith, Lofthouse.

Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 6,723 (1,380 away)

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