Published: 16:30, 21 September 2019
| Updated: 16:55, 21 September 2019
Gillingham were left empty-handed despite pushing promotion chasing Ipswich all the way at Priestfield.
Kane Vincent-Young headed Ipswich infront with just over half an hour gone, a goal which was to eventually settle the match.
Gillingham had some great chances, and plenty of second half pressure, but came away with nothing to show for their efforts.
The Gills were facing a team sitting second in League 1 before the weekend, and a club who they had never beaten at Priestfield, in nine previous attempts.
They had never mustered more than a goal in each of those past fixtures. That run of form against Ipswich continued following a 1-0 defeat.
Steve Evans’ side were four unbeaten heading into Saturday’s game but were without Alfie Jones, the ever-present midfielder missing after picking up a knock in training. Mark Marshall was absent on compassionate leave.
The Gills finished their midweek match at Bristol Rovers with wing-backs and stuck to the system for the visit of Ipswich, which meant a first league start for 19-year-old Jack Tucker, looking assured early on.
Big goalkeeper Tomas Holy was back at Priestfield for the first time since leaving the Gills, signing for Ipswich in the summer. His form was good heading into his return, boasting four successive clean sheets. He made it five on his visit back to Kent.
It was a first meeting of the two clubs since 2005 after Ipswich’s 15-year stint in the Championship came to an end with relegation in May. They have a squad more than capable of making an immediate return.
The visitors took a one goal lead into the break but the Gills hadn’t been far off themselves, with a specular effort from Tom O’Connor the closest. When a corner was played out to the edge of the box, he returned it with a super dipping volley that hit the roof of the net.
Moments after that the Gills went close again, during a good spell. Brandon Hanlan failed to connect properly with a overhead kick but the ball ran loose to the unmarked Max Ehmer, who shot wide, with the goal at his mercy.
Ipswich had been kept at arm’s length early in the game, with James Wilson glancing a couple of headers wide from corner kicks and Gwion Edwards firing in a shot between the legs of Barry Fuller, only to find Jack Bonham there to gather.
Alan Judge was being played as a makeshift striker for Ipswich and he had appeals for a penalty when surrounded in the box. He went down easily and referee Christopher Sarginson wasn’t interested as he looked for a decision.
The visitors got themselves infront in the 32nd minute, following some good build-up play. Kayden Jackson crossed deep to the far post and Vincent-Young beat O’Connor to head home.
Gillingham ended the half without a shot on target but at least had managed to create some chances, the one from Ehmer in particular which should have put them infront.
The Gills made a couple of changes early in the second half, with O’Connor going off injured and Tucker then making way for Ben Pringle, as the management team opted for a change of shape and a flat back four.
Holy held onto a long-range effort from Mark Byrne during a period of good pressure from the Gills and Hanlan also headed a Pringle corner wide.
Alex Jakubiak was put in on goal by Byrne but a last-ditch challenge from Luke Chambers sent the ball over the bar.
Ipswich then nearly doubled their lead, as the game really opened up. A low shot from Judge hit the upright and soon afterwards an effort from Jon Nolan was claimed by Bonham.
Gillingham responded, with several half chances. Mikael Mandron’s weak effort was claimed by Holy and Hanlan’s shot was blocked.
The home side kept the pressure on but were unable to find what would have been a deserved equaliser.
Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, O’Connor (Hodson 49mins), Tucker (Pringle 52mins), Ogilvie, Ehmer, Byrne, Lee, O’Keefe, Hanlan, Jakubiak (Mandron 70mins). Subs not used: Walsh, Ndjoli, Charles-Cook, Cisse.
Ipswich: Holy, Chambers, Wilson, Woolfenden, Edwards, Vincent-Young, Skuse, Downes (Nolan 46mins), Dozzell (Huws 65mins), Jackson (Norwood 77mins), Judge. Subs not used: Norris, Garbutt, Georgiou, Keane.
Attendance: 7,214 (2,171 away)
More by this authorLuke Cawdell