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Gillingham 2 Shrewsbury 0: Goals from Stuart O’Keefe and Olly Lee clinch the points for Steve Evans’ side

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Gillingham brought Shrewsbury back down to earth at Priestfield on Wednesday night.

Stuart O’Keefe put the Gills ahead and Olly Lee doubled the lead shortly before the break.

Olly Lee celebrates putting Gillingham 2-0 up from the penalty spot Picture: Ady Kerry (27962622)
Olly Lee celebrates putting Gillingham 2-0 up from the penalty spot Picture: Ady Kerry (27962622)

Reaction: Like a game of rugby says beaten manager

Shrewsbury had made national headlines with a comeback draw against Liverpool in the FA

Cup on Sunday, drawing 2-2 after being two goals down, but never looked like doing the same against the Gills.

Home boss Steve Evans made one change to his starting line-up, with Brandon Hanlan dropping to the bench and Ben Pringle included from the off for the first time since September.

John Akinde was making his home debut and he proved to be a real handful for the Shrewsbury defence.

He created an early chance that Lee placed wide of the mark and fired another shot narrowly over shortly after the Gills had taken the lead.

Shrewsbury’s only chance of the opening half came when Shaun Whalley put a good chance over the bar.

It was a goal from O’Keefe that gave the Gills ahead, a low shot from 20 yards creeping into the bottom corner. Goalkeeper Max O’Leary was unable to keep it out, despite getting a glove to the shot.

The opening goal arrived in the 27th minute and from that point forward the visitors barely got a look-in for the rest of the half.

Akinde was causing havoc in and around the box and even when they doubled up on him, he still managed to win the aerial challenges.

The big striker was fouled for the penalty which Lee dispatched to make it 2-0 five minutes before the interval. Akinde had got away from defender Aaron Pierre and he clumsily bundled the forward over in the box.

Gillingham cruised their way to the break two goals to the good.

Shrewsbury livened up for the start of the second half and went close through Josh Laurent, hitting the outside of the post from the edge of the box.

Matty Willock, on at the break for the Gills, came close himself with a shot that flew just wide after showing neat footwork inside the box.

Shrewsbury sub Donald Love made an impact of his own, leaving both Alfie Jones and Connor Ogilvie down injured within seconds of each other. He escaped punishment and the Gills pair were able to continue after treatment.

Visiting keeper O’Leary came under fire after leaving his box and feigning injury when in a challenge with Akinde, who had earlier been booked.

Referee Geoff Eltringham rightly ignored the attempts to get Akinde a second booking but was making himself centre of attention. He held the game up for a while to receive adjustment of his electronic buzzer, shortly after booking Evans after he had thrown the ball away from Love.

Gillingham were bossing the game in the latter stages. Akinde headed over and Jack Tucker went close with a shot that David Edwards had to clear from off the line.

Pierre went close for the visitors late on, turning in the box and finding the side netting while Max Ehmer had to be alert to clear a goalbound shot from Whalley.

Shrewsbury's fightback came too late as the Gills took maximum points, lifting them up to 12th in the table.

Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Ogilvie, Ehmer, Tucker, Jones, O'Keefe (Willock 46mins), Pringle, Lee, Roberts (Hanlan 90mins), Akinde (Charles-Cook 90mins). Subs not used: Walsh, Mandron, Jakubiak.

Shrewsbury: O’Leary, Sears (Love 66mins), Hart, Pierre, Beckles, Ebanks-Landell, Walker, Laurent, Whalley, Udoh (Cummings 55mins), Lang (Edwards 55mins). Subs not used: Murphy, Golbourne, Williams, Goss.

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