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Gillingham 2 Grimsby 1: George Lapslie scores opener in League 2 match at Priestfield; Gevan Holohan levelled but Oli Hawkins headed in a winner

Gillingham are out of the League 2 relegation zone thanks to their win over Grimsby Town on Tuesday night.

George Lapslie had put the Gills infront on his first start for the club but the home side were unable to hold onto their lead, Gevan Holohan heading in Grimsby’s equaliser. But with three minutes left Hawkins headed in the winning goal.

Oli Hawkins put Gillingham 2-1 infront on Tuesday night
Oli Hawkins put Gillingham 2-1 infront on Tuesday night

Midfielder Lapslie was included in the Gills’ starting eleven after four appearances off the bench - the only change to the team from that which kicked off at Mansfield on the Saturday.

The Gills were looking to bounce back from that 2-0 defeat but the first half was a struggle. With Shaun Williams dropping to the bench Harris’ men were missing that experience in the middle.

It was a game that struggled to excite during the opening half. Anthony Glennon’s high challenge on Robbie McKenzie got the home fans riled and he got away with a booking. He could have got another had referee Craig Hicks been more forceful after he kicked the ball away at a throw.

Both teams put corner kicks straight out of play and the best chances were wasted.

Lapslie got caught out close to goal midway through the half and was grateful to see John McAtee fire wide. The Gills man then had a super chance of his own after Alex MacDonald’s through-ball put him in on goal but instead of taking on the shot, he tried to find team-mate Dom Jefferies and Grimsby cleared.

Lapse marking from the Gills allowed Glennon a sight of goal, after Bryn Morris had picked him out in space from a throw-in. The Grimsby man was wasteful with a shot over the bar.

Gillingham had more chances in the opening moments of the second half than they did the entire first 45, with Lapslie playing slightly higher at the top of a midfield diamond.

Tom Nichols headed a MacDonald corner towards goal after being left unmarked at the back stick but keeper Max Crocombe saved. Moments later Nichols was involved again as he picked out Jefferies in space but with the goal to aim at, a poor touch allowed Grimsby to clear.

There were a couple of Gillingham appeals for a penalty too, one for handball and another when Lapslie went to ground, but referee Craig Hicks played on.

Gillingham’s good start to the half was rewarded with a goal. Lapslie put his side infront in the 56th minute, a simple finish from infront of goal after Jefferies picked him out with a low cross.

Grimsby striker McAtee had a shot blocked and another effort turned wide by Glenn Morris and the Gills keeper was beaten on 76 minutes when Holohan met a right-sided cross with his head and the ball went in off the post. That goal came just moments after the Gills had introduced some experienced men from the bench, taking MacDonald and goalscorer Lapslie off.

Oli Hawkins went close to putting the Gills back infront with a shot deflected wide and Nichols had a powerful effort blocked by the keeper before Hawkins headed home a Cheye Alexander cross to put the home side 2-1 ahead on 87 minutes.

This time there was no comeback from Grimsby as the Gills claimed maximum points.

Gillingham: Morris, McKenzie, Tutonda (Alexander 60mins), Ehmer, Masterson, Dieng, MacDonald (O’Brien 73mins), Jefferies, Lapslie (Wiliams 73mins), Nichols (Wright 90mins), Hawkins (Abrahams 90mins). Subs not used: Turner, Gbode.

Grimsby: Crocombe, Efete, Glennon, Waterfall, Holohan, Lloyd (Orsi 76mins), McAtee, Clifton, Morris, Smith, Maher. Subs not used: Emmanuel, Hunt, O’Neill, Dickson-Peters, Amos, Gallacher.

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 5,097 (294 away)

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