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Plymouth Argyle 3 Gillingham 1 - League 1 match report

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham’s troubles worsened as they were comfortably beaten by basement side Plymouth.

Former Margate striker Freddie Ladapo scored twice to give Plymouth a deserved lead at the break, having dominated the opening 45 minutes.

Plymouth - with just one win in the league before Tuesday’s encounter - got a third goal through Ruben Lamieras before Luke O’Neill pulled one back shortly after for the Gills.

Gills manager Steve Lovell watched his side well beaten on Tuesday Picture: Ady Kerry
Gills manager Steve Lovell watched his side well beaten on Tuesday Picture: Ady Kerry

Reaction: We didn't get close to them

Gills boss Steve Lovell made three changes to his starting line-up, leaving Bradley Stevenson out completely as Josh Rees came into midfield while Elliott List and Conor Wilkinson were picked to partner Tom Eaves upfront, switching to a 4-3-3 formation.

It was only a second league start of the season for both Wilkinson and Rees.

Bottom side Plymouth were desperate to change their own form, their manager Derek Adams making five changes, three of them in defence, and they dominated the first 45 minutes.

The Gills were camped in their own half for the first 10 minutes, allowing the home side to pass the ball around.

Home striker Graham Carey failed to bury a few good early chances but Ladapo made no mistake from the edge of the box, with 20 minutes gone. The ball was played to him and with time on his side, he picked out the top corner.

Ladapo’s second goal was put on a plate for him, nodding home Conor Grant’s cross from close range, with minimal pressure on him.

Gillingham were struggling in all areas, the best chance coming when Tom Eaves’ looping header was turned over the bar. Another chance late in the half fell to Elliott List, after Callum Reilly had done well to carry the ball forward, but the young striker bent the effort wide.

The Gills had changed to a diamond midfield formation midway through the half, which at least appeared to stop Plymouth passing their way through, but the damage was already done.

There was another reshuffle at the break, with three at the back for the start of the second half, as Bradley Garmston replaced Reilly.

Eaves put an early chace over for the Gills but at the other end only a heavy touch from Joel Grant prevented him from going one on one with Holy. Rees blasted another shot well wide.

Antoni Sarcevic wasted a good chance to make it three just before the hour, shooting wide after being played in by Ladapo, while Carey again made Holy work moments later.

Substitute Navid Nasseri forced keeper Matt Macey into a save but Plymouth made it three soon after, home sub Lamerias firing a shot under the body of Holy and Max Ehmer’s desperate clearance was unable to keep it out.

O’Neill thumped in a low shot to get the Gills a goal back with 15 minutes left but Holy had to get down well to save from Ladapo, denying the striker a hat-trick late on.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Fuller, Ehmer, Zakuani, Byrne, Reilly (Garmston 46mins), Rees (Bingham 77mins), List, Eaves, Wilkinson (Nasseri 67mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Lacey, Parker, Ogilvie.

Plymouth: Macey, Moore, C Grant, Songo’o, Canavan, Sarcevic, Fox (O’Keefe 80mins), Ness, Carey (Lameiras 69mins), J Grant, Ladapo (Jephcott 94mins). Subs not used: Wylde, Letheren, Smith-Brown, P Grant.

Attendance: 8,754 (254 away)

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