Published: 14:40, 21 July 2019
| Updated: 16:31, 21 July 2019
Gillingham’s second match against Championship opposition within 24 hours ended in a narrow defeat.
Jiri Skalak’s super strike gave the visitors the edge at the break against a Gillingham side which included a number of youngsters.
Mikael Mandron levelled from the penalty spot in the second half for the Gills but Jake Cooper headed in Millwall’s winner soon after.
It was all change for the Gills on Sunday as they faced Millwall, a day after beating Charlton at Priestfield.
Among the eleven named to face the Lions was teenage keeper Joe Walsh and youth player Ben Allen. Those who started the game against Charlton were named as substitutes for the visit of Neil Harris’ side.
The only player starting both matches was Barry fuller - the oldest player in the squad. He was back in action again after playing 84 minutes against the Addicks, enjoying another half of action.
With 19-year-old centre-half Jack Tucker also among the starters, it was a youthful Gills line-up against Millwall but Steve Evans’ side got to grips with the opposition well, creating the best of the early chances.
Callum Reilly stung the hands of keeper Frank Fielding after a quick one-two with trialist striker Mandron and moments later fit-again defender Lee Hodson swung in a cross that Allen came close to connecting with.
Millwall had big Matt Smith playing upfront for them, a summer signing from QPR. He once scored four goals in one match against the Gills in his Bristol City days and was a handful again.
It was Skalak who opened the scoring with a terrific finish after 17 minutes, showing no adverse affects after an early blow to his face which had required treatment. He ran onto a long ball forward from Ryan Leonard, beat Connor Ogilvie to the ball and then smashed a half volley past Walsh.
Tucker came close to an equaliser, heading Darren Oldaker’s corner at goal but keeper Frank Fielding pulled off a fingertip save.
Fielding’s opposite number Walsh was kept busy, tipping an awkward shot from Connor Mahoney wide, after it bounced infront of him. A flurry of chances for Millwall followed and the 17-year-old stopper blocked a close-range effort from Smith and also had a hand in denying Shaun Williams with the follow-up.
Towards the end of the half the Gills had a few more chances. Ogilvie couldn’t get a header on target from Mark Byrne’s tantalising cross and Reilly fired in a low shot that shaved the outside of the post, having worked some space on the edge of the box.
Allen wasn’t far off with a speculative effort from 30 yards early in the second half and a foul on him by former Gills youngster Mahlon Romeo led to a 54th minute penalty which Mandron converted.
Gillingham didn’t have the lead for long and will be disappointed to have conceded from a corner, just two minutes later, with Cooper rising unchallenged to convert Skalak’s set-piece.
Fielding saved well from Byrne at the other end, after he was played in by Elliott List as the game continued to be competitive.
Wholesale changes for the Gills came about with 66 minutes played and one of the eight substitutes, Mikael Ndjoli, smashed a shot across the face of goal after Bradley Garmston had done well to win possession.
Gillingham: Walsh, Hodson, Fuller (Garmston 46mins), Ogilvie (Ehmer 66mins), Tucker (Jones 66mins), Allen (O’Keefe 66mins), Oldaker (Cisse 66mins), Byrne (Thomas 66mins), Reilly (Charles-Cook 66mins), List (Ndjoli 66mins), Mandron (Hanlan 66mins). Subs not used: Bonham, Woods, Campbell.
Millwall: Fielding, Cooper, Williams, Ferguson (McNamara 67mins), Romeo, Pearce, Leonard, Mahoney (Burey 84mins), O’Brien (Mitchell 76mins), Skalak, Smith (Bodvarsson 46mins). Subs not used: Sandford, Ransom.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell
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