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Northampton Town 3 Gillingham 1: Kyle Dempsey nets for Gills but Sam Hoskins, Danny Rose and Alan Sheehan on target for the hosts

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Gillingham ended the year with a loss to lowly Northampton Town.

A goal just before the break from Kyle Dempsey gave the Gills hope after trailing to a Sam Hoskins penalty and a Danny Rose strike but Town restored their two-goal advantage soon after the restart.

Gillingham manager Steve Evans watched his side beaten at Northampton
Gillingham manager Steve Evans watched his side beaten at Northampton

Hosts Northampton went into the game off the back of successive 4-0 defeats while the Gills had the confidence of a 4-1 win at Rochdale behind them.

Boss Steve Evans had former Northampton striker Vadaine Oliver 100% fit again but opted to start him on the bench as he named an unchanged side.

The match got off to a slow start, neither side managing to get into their flow.

Hoskins was on the end of most of Northampton’s early efforts, firing one shot over, another towards the corner flag and a header that also went wide of the mark.

Hoskins made no mistake from the penalty spot, however, to put the Cobblers a goal ahead on 31 minutes.

Connor Ogilvie had committed the foul, miss-timing his challenge on Rose just inside the area.

Town were 2-0 five minutes later. Benny Ashley-Seal had already forced a block from Ogilivie after a strong run from the halfway line ended with a shot at goal. Another surging run from him got Northampton their second.

When Gills keeper Jack Bonham parried Ashley-Seal’s effort Rose was there to finish.

The Gills needed something to give themselves hope and they got it from their captain. Dempsey stood over a free-kick 25 yards out and bent it home with 45 minutes on the clock.

Oliver was introduced off the bench at the break but Gillingham were soon back facing a two-goal deficit, conceding again on 47 minutes. Sheehan whipped in a free-kick without too much pace but it managed to evade everyone, including keeper Bonham.

Hoskins was only denied a second after striking the foot of the post, the ball landing invitingly for him after a poor punch from the Gills goalie. Rose was unable to convert the loose ball.

Rose had another chance to score moments later, running onto a header from home captain Cian Bolger but he got it all wrong and shot wide.

Tom O’Connor wasn’t far away from getting a goal back with 10 minutes left, his shot deflected just wide.

Akinde also had a couple of shots blocked as the Gills pushed to get back into the game without success. Jack Tucker was denied with almost the last kick as his shot was tipped over the bar by keeper Jonathan Mitchell.

Northampton: Mitchell, Sowerby, Bolger, Hoskins, Watson, Sheehan (Horsfall 77mins), Adams (Harriman 71mins), McWilliams, Ashley-Seal (Holmes 90mins), Jones, Rose (Chukwuemeka 71mins). Subs not used: Arnold, Missilou, Marshall.

Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, O’Connor, Tucker, Ogilvie, Eccles (Willock 60mins), Robertson, Dempsey (Oliver 46mins), McKenzie, MacDonald (Coyle 74mins), Akinde. Subs not used: Maghoma, Drysdale.

Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)

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