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Gillingham 1 Peterborough United 2: Late Mikael Mandron goal not enough as Steve Evans loses to former team

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Gillingham deserved something from Saturday’s game after an impressive display against high-flying Peterborough.

Steve Evans’ men showed plenty of intent but Joe Ward’s stunner put the visitors infront at the break.

Max Ehmer shows his frustration on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry (19703411)
Max Ehmer shows his frustration on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry (19703411)

Reaction: Defeat was tough to take, says boss Evans

Mo Eisa doubled the lead for Peterborough from the penalty spot, soon after the restart, and despite Mikael Mandron giving them hope with a late goal the Gills were unable to take anything from the match.

Gillingham made the one change to their starting line-up with Olly Lee replacing Alex Jakubiak.

Visitors Peterborough were without influential midfielder Marcus Maddison but went into Saturday's game as the division’s leading scorers. They almost netted in the opening seconds at Priestfield.

Peterborough’s big-money summer signing Eisa had a shot blocked early on but from Connor Ogilvie’s clearance the Gills had a chance themselves. A run from Brandon Hanlan ended with a Mikael Ndjoli shot that was well saved.

The Gills enjoyed a good first half, pressurising the Posh defence into mistakes. Hanlan’s pace on the right side left big defender Mark Beevers in trouble several times but there was no end product.

Peterborough’s main man upfront Ivan Toney was seeing little of the ball as the Gills kept up the intensity, but for all of that effort they found themselves behind. Shortly after switching to a three-man defence, to counteract the Gills, Posh led.

It was a special goal that put the visitors infront. Ward, playing more advanced after switching to the wing-back role, cut inside and fired an unstoppable rising shot that found the top corner from distance.

Stuart O’Keefe flashed a shot over the bar almost straight away but the Gills went into the break a goal behind, clapped off at the break by an appreciative home crowd.

Gillingham, with Ndjoli’s early effort being the only one of the half on target, needed to be more ruthless in attack.

Hopes of getting back into the game were dealt an early blow when Mark Byrne handled Ward’s corner kick and Eisa made no mistake with the resulting penalty, timed at 52 minutes. There were no complaints from the Gills man who had misjudged a header.

It was a mistake that Evans later said was one he wouldn't expect an under-10 player to make.

Lee hit a weak effort for the Gills that keeper Christy Pym dealt with easily. The midfielder was replaced by Mikael Mandron with 25 minutes left as the hosts went for broke, ending the game with five up top.

Backed by a vocal Rainham End the Gills really put the pressure on.

Tom O’Connor had a free-kick deflected wide and the second half replicated the first, plenty of promise but no finish. Mandron had the chance to make it game-on when the ball dropped to him nicely with 15 minutes left, but he kicked fresh air instead.

The striker made amends soon after, however, scoring with 10 minutes left to put the Gills back in with a chance. A poor back pass from Niall Mason allowed Mandron in on goal and he finished well past Pym.

Peterborough had twice before blown two-goal leads this season and the Gills went close to levelling with a great chance for Connor Ogilvie, which was headed wide.

With almost the last kick Alex Jakubiak fired in a cross/shot that skimmed off the bar but Peterborough hung on for the win.

Gillingham: Bonham, Tucker, O’Connor, Ogilvie, Ehmer, O’Keefe (Marshall 83mins), Jones, Byrne, Lee (Mandron 64mins), Hanlan, Ndjoli (Jakubiak 59mins). Subs not used: Walsh, Hodson, Charles-Cook, Pringle.

Peterborough: Pym, Beevers, Ward (Kanu 90mins), Bennett, Mason, Eisa (Woodyard 86mins), Knight, Blake-Tracy, Boyd, Dembele (Butler 75mins), Toney. Subs not used: Chapman, Thompson, Barker, Burrows.

Attendance: 6,269 (554 away)

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