Published: 21:35, 03 September 2019
| Updated: 01:04, 04 September 2019
Gillingham began their EFL Trophy with a home defeat against Colchester United.
Stuart O’Keefe cancelled out Paris Cowan-Hall’s opener for the League 2 side as they went into the break level.
Theo Robinson put Colchester back infront and Cowan-Hall grabbed his second of the night before Mikael Mandron struck against his former team to make it a tense finish.
Gillingham made nine changes to their starting eleven for the match with only Connor Ogilvie and Tom O’Connor keeping their place in the team.
There was a first competitive appearance for young keeper Joe Walsh.
Lining up in attack against his former club was Mikael Mandron and he certainly put himself about, determined to make an impact against the side which released him in the summer.
Gillingham started the match brightly enough but it was the visitors who struck first, passing their way through midfield before Robinson beat Gills keeper Walsh to the ball and Cowan-Hall was able to prod the ball home from close range.
The Gills responded on 23 minutes with an equaliser. Mark Marshall threatened down the left and when the ball came back out to the edge of the box, O’Keefe beat U’s keeper Ethan Ross with a crisp finish.
Regan Charles-Cook fired a chance over the for the Gills and Mikael Ndjoli saw a close-range effort blocked by the legs of Ross, after a good interchange with the busy Mandron, who himself had appeals for handball turned down after his shot struck a defender in the box.
Much like the first half, the Gills started the half positively, but again found themselves behind.
Colchester’s recently signed striker Robinson put them back infront in the 55th minute. He got in beyond Lee Hodson, cut back, and then found the far corner with a drilled effort through a crowded box and across the Gills keeper.
Colchester made it 3-1 after 62 minutes. Gillingham couldn’t get a challenge in as Ryan Camplin and Kwame Poiku moved the ball on quickly and when Cowan-Hall was played in on goal he made no mistake, rifling a shot into the roof of the net.
The Gills got back in it with 12 minutes left when Mandron finally got a goal that his work-rate deserved. He headed home at the back stick to convert Olly Lee’s corner.
Lee went close to an equaliser with a free-kick that went just over the bar. There were six additional minutes added on but the Gills couldn’t find an equaliser.
Mandron had a goal disallowed for a foul in the build-up and Tom O’Connor went close but Ross managed to smother his shot.
Gillingham: Walsh, Hodson, O'Connor, Tucker, Ogilvie, O'Keefe, Cisse (Jakubiak 70mins), Marshall, Charles-Cook (Byrne 73mins), Mandron, Ndjoli (Lee 70mins). Subs not used: Bonham, Ehmer, Fuller, Jones.
Colchester: Ross, Clampin, Sowunmi (Eastman 60mins), Kensdale, Sarpong-Wiredu, Brown, Chilvers (James 82mins), Comley, Cowan-Hall (Senior 76mins), Poku, Robinson. Subs not used: Vose, Stevenson, Hasanally, Nouble.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell