Published: 16:30, 28 September 2019
| Updated: 21:03, 28 September 2019
Gillingham were well beaten by in-form Oxford United on Saturday.
The Gills conceded three goals during a torrid first half at the Kassam Stadium.
James Henry had struck twice and Matty Taylor also found the net, goals which Gillingham found no answer to.
Gillingham were facing an Oxford side full of confidence, winning 6-0 on their last league encounter at Lincoln, before then thrashing Premier League West Ham 4-0 in the Carabao Cup after making six changes.
Their scoring form continued on Saturday against the Gills, showing real quality in the attacking third.
Oxford’s opener, on 10 minutes, all came about following a Gills corner. Tariqu Fosu broke clear, evading a couple of challenges, before releasing Ben Woodburn, who also avoided being tackled before finding Henry.
The finish beyond Jack Bonham was all about precision rather than power.
Bonham pulled off a super save to deny John Mousinho, whose downward header looked destined for the bottom corner before the Gills keeper got a glove to it.
Gillingham never recovered from that opening goal and Oxford had a second on 31 minutes when Henry’s ball over the top of the defence was as good as Taylor’s well-timed run onto it, and the finish was smashed beyond Bonham.
Three minutes later and Oxford had their third. A cross from Josh Ruffels on the left was met by Henry and his glancing header found the top corner.
Oxford continued to look sharper than the Gills, on and off the ball, and Henry smashed a shot off the upright just before the half-time whistle.
Gills boss Steve Evans made a double change at the break and switched formation to a flat back four, having gone with wing-backs from the off.
Olly Lee came close to getting a goal back early in the second half. Brandon Hanlan picked him out, under heavy pressure from the home defence, but managed to get a shot away that struck the post.
It might have been game-on with an early goal but it never came and Taylor came close to his second goal, meeting a cross at the far post but going wide. Fosu hadn’t been too far away either, moments early, with an effort from distance.
Ruffels came close with a powerful 20-yard strike that Max Ehmer did well to cut out.
Hanlan looked for a penalty when he went down in the box but referee Andy Woolmer wasn't interested. The visiting fans celebrated Mark Marshall's 93rd minute shot like a goal. It was Gills' only on target shot but the keeper saved with ease.
Gillingham had been unable to stage any sustained pressure on the Oxford goal and went home comfortably beaten.
Oxford United: Eastwood, Cadden, Ruffels, Dickie (Moore 46mins), Gorrin (Baptiste 69mins), Brannagan, Taylor (Mackie 83mins), Woodburn, Fosu, Mousinho, Henry. Subs: Stevens, Hall, Long, Forde.
Gillingham: Bonham, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Tucker (Lee 46mins), Fuller, O'Connor Jones, Byrne, Pringle (O’Keefe 81mins), Jakubiak (Marshall 46mins), Hanlan. Subs not used: Royce, Mandron, Ndjoli, Charles-Cook.
Attendance: 6,553 (483 away)
More by this authorLuke Cawdell