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Gillingham 0 Leicester City 1: Kelechi Iheanacho scores winner in FA Cup Third Round match at Priestfield

Gillingham competed well against Premier League Leicester City but one goal was enough for the visitors.

The Gills - bottom of League 2 - held out until half-time of the FA Cup third round match before Kelechi Iheanacho put the Leicester ahead 10 minutes after the restart - the only goal of the game.

Hakeeb Adelakun in action for Gillingham against Leicester City in the FA Cup at Priestfield
Hakeeb Adelakun in action for Gillingham against Leicester City in the FA Cup at Priestfield

Gillingham were up against a Leicester team who had lost their previous three in the Premier League, lacking confidence and with a host of injury issues including the loss of influential player James Maddison - but whatever the problems the visitors felt they had, Brendan Rodgers’ side were massive favourites to clinch a fourth round spot.

This was Gillingham’s 35th game of the season, 12 of those in cup competitions. Those cups have given fans a chance to forget the atrocious league form, one that has seen the club prop up the Football League, completing the first half of the season with just two wins and seven goals scored.

That was all put to the back of the mind for 90 minutes at Priestfield and there were positive vibes surrounding the fixture. New owner Brad Galinson and his family were introduced to fans on the pitch before kick-off.

Gills boss Neil Harris didn’t have the luxury of a sizeable squad to mix it up - there were more BBC pundits in the ground than home players - but he made three changes with Hakeeb Adelakun, Cheye Alexander and goalkeeper Jake Turner coming in. The visitors included Belgian World Cup player Youri Tielemans and Senegal’s Nampalys Mendy while Jamie Vardy and Iheanacho started upfront.

Vardy had an early opportunity to put the visitors infront but Jake Turner stood up well to block the shot.

It wasn’t all about the defence for the Gills in the opening 45 minutes, creating problems for Leicester at times. Dom Jefferies had a low shot saved early on after winning possession. Shaun Williams also went close from a long throw flicked on by Max Ehmer.

Williams and Jefferies were doing a good job of breaking up play as Gills looked organised but Leicester always had the quality to change the game in an instant. Just before the break Iheanacho took aim for the far corner and wasn’t far off from giving his side the lead.

Will Wright in defence for Gillingham against Leicester City in the FA Cup at Priestfield
Will Wright in defence for Gillingham against Leicester City in the FA Cup at Priestfield

Gills keeper Turner tipped over a shot from Mark Albrighton early in the second half but the home side responded by putting the Premier League side under some pressure without getting a clear-cut opportunity.

The chance looked like it had come for the Gills when Jefferies found space in the box for a shot but when his effort was blocked it fell for Adelakun and he fired wide.

Gillingham were opened up with 56 minutes gone, a cross from the right leading to problems and McAteer’s cross got a touch from Vardy before falling for Iheanacho to finish.

Turner had to save from Iheanacho moments later as City looked for a second and turned an effort wide from Vardy.

The Gills suffered a blow with the loss of impressive young midfielder Jefferies with 20 minutes left, leaving the field with a knee injury. The Gills lost Ben Reeves for the rest of the season following their previous match at Priestfield, suffering a cruciate ligament injury.

Vardy had a good chance to score the second after Iheanacho played him in on goal but the effort went so wide it went out for a throw on the far side.

Gillingham: Turner, Alexander (Harriott 79mins), Tutonda (Mandron 85mins), Wright, Ehmer, McKenzie, Williams, Jefferies (O’Keefe 70mins), MacDonald, Adelakun, Kashket. Subs not used: Holtam, Law, Lee.

Leicester: Iversen, Albrighton, Vestergaard, Soyuncu, Brunt, McAteer (Thomas 85mins), Mendy (Ndidi 81mins), Tielemans, Perez, Iheanacho, Vardy (Daka 81mins). Subs not used: Smithies, Castagne, Amartey, Faes, Braybrooke, Barnes.

Referee: Samuel Barrott

Attendance: 8,567 (1,893 away)

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