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Gillingham 1 AFC Fylde 0: Lewis Walker scores winner in FA Cup first round replay at Priestfield

One goal was enough for Gillingham to squeeze past non-league Fylde and into round two of the FA Cup.

Scott Kashket missed an early penalty for the Gills but Lewis Walker struck just before the break. Fylde pressed in the second half for an equaliser but couldn’t finish. Victory will see the Gills head to Dagenham & Redbridge in round two.

Gillingham goalscorer Lewis Walker and fellow striker Scott Kashket celebrate the goal Picture: KPI (60691014)
Gillingham goalscorer Lewis Walker and fellow striker Scott Kashket celebrate the goal Picture: KPI (60691014)

Tuesday night’s game was Fylde’s eighth in the competition, with all four of their ties going to replays. They were backed by 66 travelling fans, hoping to cause a cup upset.

The Coasters held the Gills to a 1-1 draw in Lancashire for another chance to claim their first ever Football League scalp. There was a sparse home crowd watching the replay.

Neil Harris made five changes to his starting XI, switching around his forward line, Kashket and Lewis Walker picked as the manager continued his search to find goals from within his side.

Walker had a golden chance to put the Gills ahead early on, when he was fouled inside the box by visiting captain Alex Whitmore, only to drag his shot from 12 yards wide of the upright.

Gills had scored 17 of their 18 goals during their three cup shootouts prior to Tuesday but this was the first opportunity from normal play. Kashket had scored in two of those but failed to convert against Fylde.

Jordan Green on the ball for Gillingham against Fylde Picture: KPI (60691011)
Jordan Green on the ball for Gillingham against Fylde Picture: KPI (60691011)

It was fairly open start to the game, both teams a little unsettled and giving away opportunities. Walker headed against the bar with the offside flag raised, having earlier blasted one effort over and fired another straight at the keeper.

Fylde’s leading scorer Nick Haughton missed the target with an early free-kick and wasn’t going to beat Jake Turner with his 20-yard shot. The match looked like it had goals in it, if only the players could find the quality convert.

Gillingham took the lead on 42 minutes as the visiting defence were caught out of shape, leaving them well outnumbered, and Walker was composed enough to plant a low shot beyond keeper Chris Neal.

Haughton, who enjoys a shot from distance, attempted to catch Turner out from 25 yards early in the second half but his dipping effort was turned over the bar by the alert Gills keeper. Two more long-range shots soon after failed to trouble the home goalie.

A chance at the other end from Kashket was more dangerous, finding himself in on goal, but the keeper blocked his near-post effort.

Fylde centre-half Emeka Obi tried his luck from outside the box but again the effort was an easy one for Turner. Gills were happy enough to limit the visitors to chances from outside the box with opportunities of their own at a premium.

The visitors were pressing late on for an equaliser, with a couple of inviting crosses going begging and several nervy moments for the hosts before the referee blew for full-time.

It hadn't been a convincing performance from the Gills but they head into round two, pocketing £41,000 in prize money.

Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Ehmer (Wright 46mins), McKenzie (Mnoga 66mins), Baggott, Jefferies (Law 90mins), O’Keefe, Williams, Green (Reeves 66mins), Kashket (MacDonald 82mins), Walker. Subs not used: Holtam, Lee, Adelakun, Mandron.

AFC Fylde: Neal, Whitehead, Bird, Obi, Whitmore, Hatfield, Weston (Philliskirk 62mins), Conlan, Rowley (Patten 73mins), Ligendza, Haughton. Subs not used: McPartlan, Davis.

Attendance: 1,932 (66 away)

Referee: Will Finnie

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