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Gillingham 0 Blackpool 3 - League 1 match report

Gillingham’s winless run was extended to eight games after another painful day at Priestfield.

Two first-half goals in a five minute spell put Blackpool firmly incharge of the League 1 contest. Kyle Vasssell and Nathan Delfouneso struck as the Gills turned in a poor opening half performance.

Jay Spearing hit the post from the penalty spot for Blackpool shortly after the restart but Kelvin Mellor made it three late on.

Gillingham defender Ben Nugent on the ball Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham defender Ben Nugent on the ball Picture: Andy Jones

Keeper Tom Hadler made his first senior appearance in goal for the Gills, with Tomas Holy taking a breather after 47 games. He was named on the bench.

Reaction: Gills manager admits he would be disgusted too, after the 3-0 loss.

Boss Steve Lovell had promised changes following a disappointing performance in the week against Rotherham. Tom Eaves returned upfront in place of Conor Wilkinson while injured Gabriel Zakuani was replaced by Ben Nugent in defence.

Lee Martin was back from suspension and he claimed Scott Wagstaff’s place in midfield but it was Blackpool, who had won their last three before arriving at Priestfield, who took charge early on.

Hadler may have got a touch to Vassell’s third minute header that came crashing off the crossbar.

Gillingham defender Max Ehmer challenges Blackpool defender Oliver Turton Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham defender Max Ehmer challenges Blackpool defender Oliver Turton Picture: Andy Jones

Blackpool continued to dominate against a Gills side that were struggling to get going.

Delfouneso headed a corner narrowly wide when he should have done better but both he and Vassell were to find the net before the break.

Vassell’s opener came in the 28th minute, prodding home from close-range after Blackpool’s Jimmy Ryan had fired in a low free-kick that Hadler could only parry into his path.

Five minutes later and Blackpool had doubled their lead. Vassell was allowed spacein the box and he fired in a low cross that Delfouneso netted at the near post, beating Connor Ogilvie to the ball.

Blackpool take the lead at Priestfield Picture: Andy Jones
Blackpool take the lead at Priestfield Picture: Andy Jones

The boos were loud and numerous around Priestfield for the remainder of the half as the Gills failed to register a shot on target in the opening half. Mark Byrne shot wide and Tom Eaves headed a chance just the wrong side of the post.

Gillingham needed to win their final two games at Priestfield to avoid this campaign being their worst ever for home league victories. Three goals in the second half was a big ask.

Wagstaff replaced Martin at the break but the Gills almost conceded an early third.

Gillingham midfielder Lee Martin on the ball Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham midfielder Lee Martin on the ball Picture: Andy Jones

Eaves was adjudged to have fouled Curtis Tilt in the box, just two minutes after the restart, as a free-kick was swung into the box. Spearing couldn’t finish though, hitting the post with Hadler possibly getting a touch.

Parker put a shot over the bar for the Gills and with 20 minutes left both Liam Nash and Elliott List had taken to the field, with hopes of a fightback dwindling.

With the Gills finishing the game with three at the back, they were always in danger of conceding a third and it came with seven minutes left, Mellor with time and space to tap home Armand Gnbanduillet’s low cross.

A scuffed effort from Nash in stoppage-time was Gills’ only shot on target.

Gillingham: Hadler, O'Neill, Ogilvie (Nash 71mins), Ehmer, Nugent, Hessenthaler, Byrne, Reilly (List 61mins), Martin (Wagstaff HT), Parker, Eaves. Subs not used: Holy, Lacey, Nasseri, Wilkinson.

Blackpool: Lumley, Robertson, Vassell (Gnanduillet 77mins), Ryan, Longstaff (McAllister 84mins), Tilt, Soloman-Otabor, Turton, Daniel, Delfouneso (Mellor 69mins), Spearing. Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Aimson, Cullen, Menga.

Attendance: 5,580 (346 away)

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