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Gillingham 1 Newport County 2: League 2 match report from Priestfield Stadium - Omar Bogle wins it for the Exiles

Gillingham came unstuck at home in their final game at Priestfield this season.

Cameron Norman scored early for visitors Newport County but Tom Nichols levelled from the penalty spot for Gillingham eight minutes later. Omar Bogle’s 78th minute strike clinched a 2-1 win for the away side as the Gills failed to sparkle in the second half.

Tom Nichols scored for Gillingham from the penalty spot
Tom Nichols scored for Gillingham from the penalty spot

More: Disappoiting end at Priestfield as Gills fall flat

Gillingham - six unbeaten at home before the weekend and with just one home defeat in 11 - were unchanged for the visit of Newport after an excellent display at Bradford the week before.

Priestfield was packed for the Gills’ last home game of the season and congestion outside meant there were plenty of late arrivals. The crowd of 7,872 was the second best of the campaign - only beaten by the ‘pay what you can’ event in early February.

Superb home form since the start of the year had led Gillingham to pull well clear of the battle at the bottom of the division. There was nothing riding on Saturday’s game for either team but both teams were up for it.

Most fans were seated in time to see Newport take a surprise lead. Ethan Coleman had cleared Priestley Farquharson’s header off the line and from the corner Norman arrived at the back stick to nod home past Glenn Morris.

It was a lively half with frequent opportunities at both ends.

The Gills got back level with a 17th minute penalty. Nichols had been taken out by Charlie McNeill while about to strike the ball after being picked out with a low corner from Alex MacDonald. Nichols picked himself up and had too much power on the strike for keeper Nick Townsend, who got a hand on the spot-kick.

Gillingham and the fans celebrate a first-half equaliser
Gillingham and the fans celebrate a first-half equaliser

Newport’s finishing was slightly wayward as Omar Bogle - who used his strength well to create an opening - went wide and Norman hit an effort that almost hit the corner flag.

Gillingham had gone close through Nichols, who stretched to reach Timothee Dieng’s flick but was denied by Townsend. Dom Jefferies wasn’t far off converting and Dieng was involved again with a chance of his own that the goalkeeper claimed.

The visitors ended the half with seven shots but Morris was rarely troubled. He made one eye-catching block to deny Aaron Lewis and Max Ehmer was on hand to block the follow-up from McNeill.

It was level at the break. Just a place and a point had separated these sides before kick off and there wasn’t much in it after the first 45 minutes.

The second half failed to excite as the Gills – who usually raise their game shooting towards the Rainham End – couldn’t get going.

Newport almost broke through with an hour gone as Bogle tried to find McNeill as the Gills defence were outnumbered but Conor Masterson managed to block the pass and clear for a corner which McKenzie headed clear.

OIi Hawkins was introduced midway through the second half for Gillingham, joining Nichols up top, but creating an opening was proving tough.

Newport got their noses back infront with 12 minutes left. It proved to be the winner. Bogle had been a handful all afternoon and he was there in the box to smash home into the roof of the net after Lewis’ deep free-kick was diverted into his path.

Gillingham: Morris, Alexander, McKenzie, Masterson, Ehmer, Coleman (Clarke 83mins), Dieng, Jefferies (Hawkins 65mins), MacDonald, Lapslie, Nichols. Subs not used: Turner, Wright, Tutonda, Chambers, Clarke, Abrahams.

Newport: Townsend, Baker, Farquharson (Charsley 58mins), Demetriou, Norman, Evans, Waite, Lewis, Moriah-Welsh, Bogle, McNeill (Kavanagh 72mins). Subs not used: Day, Bowen, Wildig, Rai, Paige.

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 7,872 (419 away)

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