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Accrington Stanley 0 Gillingham 1: A great keeping performance from Jack Bonham and a Regan Charles-Cook goal bags the points for Gills

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Regan Charles-Cook was the goal hero for Gillingham on Saturday but keeper Jack Bonham played his part too.

Both teams hit the woodwork in the opening few minutes but reached the break without the deadlock broken.

Accrington Stanley v Gillingham match action Picture: Ady Kerry (20207707)
Accrington Stanley v Gillingham match action Picture: Ady Kerry (20207707)

Accrington struck the frame of Gills’ goal for a third time before Charles-Cook hit the winning goal, with Bonham pulling off a number of good saves throughout.

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Home side Accrington had mixed form pre-match, stuffed 4-0 by Peterborough United in their previous fixture, one that had followed a win over leaders Ipswich Town.

The Gills were looking for their first win on the road ahead of the weekend and boss Steve Evans brought Mikael Mandron into attack, one of two changes, with Mark Byrne also recalled after suspension.

Byrne went close the Gills in the opening moments of the match but a deflected effort struck the post on the way out of play.

In what was a frantic start to the match, Accrington hit the woodwork themselves. Colby Bishop side-footed against the post with just the keeper to beat and Offrande Zanzala hit the base of the same post with the follow-up.

Gills keeper Jack Bonham was kept busy all match and made a great save midway through the opening 45, tipping over Jordan Clark’s header.

Accrington Stanley v Gillingham match action Picture: Ady Kerry (20207737)
Accrington Stanley v Gillingham match action Picture: Ady Kerry (20207737)

There was a flashpoint on the half-hour mark when Stuart O’Keefe went to ground following a stamp from Accrington’s Jerome Opoku. Referee John Busby missed the incident that left the Gills midfielder incensed.

Busby gave the hosts a free-kick from that incident and Accrington had the ball in the net, with Zanzala finishing a flick from Bishop off the free-kick. The offside flag was up, however, to the relief of the Gills.

Accrington had dominated a large chunk of the half, with just a few rare forways forward for the Gills, who weren’t composed enough when it mattered.

O’Keefe put a shot wide and a downward header from Mikael Mandron forced goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov into punching clear under pressure as the Gills improved going forward just before the break.

Gillingham striker Hanlan hit the side netting early in the second half after using his strength well to get the better of defender Callum Johnson. The visitors had restarted the match brightly, with Byrne also going close with a chance in the box.

The Gills took a 59th minute lead but only after surviving a scare when Bishop struck the post, missing the goal after Bonham had saved from Zanzala.

Accrington were made to pay for that miss, with Tom O’Connor playing in Charles-Cook and the midfielder worked his way into the box before bending the ball home to open the scoring.

Bonham saved well from Bishop, as he headed goalwards from a corner, to keep that lead intact and also changed direction mid-air to deny Jordan Clark.

Gillingham were putting their bodies on the line to deny Stanley, holding on for the win.

Gillingham: Bonham, Tucker, O’Connor, Ehmer, Ogilvie, O’Keefe, Jones, Byrne, Charles-Cook (Lee 76mins), Hanlan (Ndjoli 90mins), Mandron (Jakubiak 63mins). Subs not used: Walsh, Hodson, Cisse, Marshall.

Accrington: Evtimov, Johnson (Carvalho 87mins), Hughes, Clark, Finley, Zanzala (Charles 80mins), McConville (Pritchard 71mins), Bishop, Conneely, Alese, Opoku. Subs not used: Bursik, Edwards, Sherif, Martin.

Attendance: 2,102 (254 Gills)

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