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Gillingham 3 Fleetwood Town 0 match report League 1

By Matthew Panting

Gillingham made it back-to-back home wins for the first time this season on Saturday.

Steve Lovell's men never looked back after taking an early lead through Brandon Hanlan at Priestfield.

Two goals from leading scorer Tom Eaves either side of the break wrapped up the points against a Fleetwood side who twice hit the woodwork.

Tom Eaves celebrates against Fleetwood. Picture: Ady Kerry
Tom Eaves celebrates against Fleetwood. Picture: Ady Kerry

Gills boss Lovell named an unchanged team for the visit of a Fleetwood side, themselves boosted by a derby success over Blackpool last time out.

Lovell had also named the same seven substitutes but Aaron Simpson was a late change for Alex Lacey, who twisted his knee in the warm-up, on the bench from the original teamsheet.

It was actually Fleetwood who started the brightest and Gills needed to block Ashley Hunter's seventh-minute drive.

Gills went ahead on 11 minutes as Hanlan took advantage of a mistake from the visiting defence. Under pressure, Ashley Eastham's backpass was never going to have enough weight to reach keeper Alex Cairns and Hanlan nipped in to score his third Gillingham goal into an empty net.

It needed an excellent defensive block by Lewis Coyle to deny Eaves a second goal two minutes later but the Gills' leading scorer was not going to be kept quiet for long.

The striker took his season's tally into double figures after 18 minutes, thanks to another assist from Darren Oldaker. The duo combined to sink Bradford last week and they were at it again as Oldaker's glorious long ball picked out Eaves and he cut inside before firing low beyond Cairns.

Gillingham's Regan Charles-Cook gives chase against Fleetwood. Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham's Regan Charles-Cook gives chase against Fleetwood. Picture: Ady Kerry

Every time Gills went forward they looked dangerous, and five minutes later it needed Eastham's block to deny Eaves after Hanlan failed to connect properly with Regan Charles-Cook's cross.

Charles-Cook fired wide just before the break while at the other end, Fleetwood played some neat football but never forced Gills keeper Tomas Holy into serious action, Oldaker making a telling block from Jason Holt's 20-yard drive.

Fleetwood also started the second half brightly, testing Holy with a number of long-range efforts. The lively Ched Evans was denied by the upright on 53 minutes when he met Hunter's corner, the loose ball being hacked clear by Eaves.

Within two minutes, Gills were three goals to the good. Eaves did brilliantly to hold the ball up and wait for support, it arrived in numbers with Charles-Cook spreading it wide to substitute Connor Ogilvie.

The wing-back took his time to deliver an inch-perfect left-wing cross and Eaves headed in to send the Rainham End into full voice.

The goal took the sting out of Fleetwood's early second-half pressure.

Charles-Cook fired a cross just too far ahead of Hanlan and Oldaker exchanged passes on the edge of the area before firing wide of the target.

Substitue Elliott List uses his pace to good effect. Picture: Ady Kerry
Substitue Elliott List uses his pace to good effect. Picture: Ady Kerry

More openings came on the break for Gills, the pace of Elliott List proving a threat.

Fleetwood didn't have much luck in front of goal, hitting the woodwork again with seven minutes left when Paddy Madden's hooked effort nearly caught out Holy. Madden then blazed over in the final minute from close range when it seemed easier to score.

Gillingham: Holy, Fuller, O'Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Oldaker, Bingham (Ogilvie 46mins) Byrne, Charles-Cook (Parrett 77mins), Eaves, Hanlan (List 69mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Simpson, Nasseri, Mbo.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Holt (Dempsey 69mins), Eastham, Burns (Long 67mins), Evans, Morgan, Hunter, R Wallace, Husband (Madden 34mins), Sheron. Subs not used: P Jones, Bolger, G Jones, Biggins.

Attendance: Not given.

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