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Blackpool 0 Gillingham 3: League 1 match report

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Tom Eaves struck a double for Gillingham on Saturday in what might have been his last game for the club.

The striker, out of contract in the summer, took his league tally for the Gills to 21 goals after twice finding the target in a 3-0 win at Blackpool.

Fellow front-man Brandon Hanlan had got the Gills off to a flyer in their last game of the season, scoring a seventh minute opener.

Tom Eaves celebrates scoring against Blackpool Picture: Ady Kerry (9657352)
Tom Eaves celebrates scoring against Blackpool Picture: Ady Kerry (9657352)

Eaves was back in the starting eleven for the Gills as one of three changes made by caretaker boss Mark Patterson.

Darren Oldaker and Bradley Garmston were also named, with the trio replacing Elliott List, Tahvon Campbell and Luke O’Neill.

It was Garmston’s first league start since January and Oldaker’s first appearance in almost two months.

The Gills bossed the opening half, buoyed by a fantastic start which saw Hanlan break the deadlock early on. Gillingham worked the ball down the left flank and when Mark Byrne found Hanlan, there was still plenty for the striker to do. He beat one defender and dropped his shoulder to beat another, opening up space and finishing well past keeper Christoffer Mafoumbi.

Blackpool were limited to just one clear-cut chance in the opening half, Armand Gnanduillet creating an opening in the box and firing towards the bottom corner, only to find Barry Fuller there to clear from infront of Tomas Holy.

The Gills doubled their lead with half an hour gone. Byrne provided the assist again, picking out Eaves on the edge of the box and he bent the ball home with his left foot.

Eaves made it 3-0 on 40 minutes when Bradley Garmston picked him out with a deep left-sided cross, Mafoumbi beaten with a deft touch from infront of goal.

Gillingham’s leading scorer hit another effort wide before the Gills went off at the break in firm control of the game.

Blackpool were forced to make a double change at the break, in an effort to get into the game, but Fuller came close to a fourth with a shot that went over the bar.

Marc Bola was denied by Holy, sticking out a leg to prevent Blackpool from getting a goal back, while Nathan Delfouneso’s cross just needed a touch moments later.

The hosts, showing much more fight after the break, continued to get closer to a goal with a flurry of chances before the hour mark. Harry Pritchard had a shot that Holy couldn’t hold and Delfouneso came close to converting the loose ball. Jordan Thompson also went close, with a shot hooked off the line, before Pritchard had an effort ruled out for offside.

Alex Lacey was introduced for the Gills as they went three at the back but the pressure remained. Holy saved well again with a reflex effort to prevent Curtis Tilt from heading home.

Gillingham attempted to relieve the pressure by playing keep-ball, much to the delight of the 500-odd travelling fans, greeting every pass with an “ole!”

Gillingham: Holy, Fuller, Garmston, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Charles-Cook, Oldaker (Reilly 79mins), Byrne, Lopes (Lacey 68mins), Hanlan, Eaves (List 87mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Rees, Parrett, Campbell.

Blackpool: Mafoumbi, Anderton, Evans (Ryan 46mins), Heneghan, Spearing, Pritchard, Thompson, Tilt, Manduillet, Bola, Long (Delfouneso 46mins). Subs not used: Boney, Dodoo, Feeney, Guy, Shaw.

Attendance: 9,571 (503 away)

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