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Gillingham 0 Southend United 2 - League 1 match report

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham’s poor home form continued on Saturday.

An awful start to the second half against Southend cost the Gills dear as Simon Cox struck twice in the space of four minutes.

The Gills are now five games without a home league win.

Alex Lacey is challenged by Simon Cox Picture: Ady Kerry (4771557)
Alex Lacey is challenged by Simon Cox Picture: Ady Kerry (4771557)

There was just one enforced change for the Gills from their starting line-up at Portsmouth, where they had beaten the league leaders the week before. Injured striker Brandon Hanlan was replaced by Elliott List.

Fellow frontman Josh Parker was away on international duty and List was selected for only his second league start of the season.

Buoyed by their success at Portsmouth, the Gills were hoping for some much-needed joy on home soil, particularly after the completing of works on the playing surface.

The visitors had a couple of early chances snuffed out by some committed defending, Gabriel Zakuani sliding in to block a shot from Simon Cox and Barry Fuller doing well to deny Dru Yearwood after Southend broke on the counter.

Gillingham were unable to make the most of a number of corner kicks, the wind not helping. They came closest to scoring by trying their luck from distance. Tom Eaves had a rising shot turned over by keeper Mark Oxley and Callum Reilly sent a rasping effort just wide.

Tom Eaves shoots wide in the first half Picture: Ady Kerry (4771555)
Tom Eaves shoots wide in the first half Picture: Ady Kerry (4771555)

Southend striker Cox had a shot saved shortly before the break after being teed up by Yearwood, who had done well to create the chance with some trickery inside the box.

The Gills had shaded the half but had no goals to show for their efforts.

Sam Mantom blasted over the Town End stand with an early Southend effort after the restart but Cox showed a lot more composure to put the visitors ahead, with 51 minutes on the clock, taking his time before picking his spot from just inside the box, the ball taking a nick off Zakuani on the way in.

Yearwood was the creator of the second goal just three minutes later, advancing up the field from the halfway line and slipping the ball into Cox, who was then able to fire into the bottom corner beyond Tomas Holy.

Boss Steve Lovell responded by making a double sub. Bradley Stevenson was one of those introduced and he created an opening for List early on, but the shot was wide of the mark.

Lovell was soon forced to reshuffle again as captain Zakuani limped off, the Gills playing with Max Ehmer, Luke O’Neill and Fuller as the back three.

Conor Wilkinson had a penalty appeal turned down after being taken down inside the box by keeper Mark Oxley but referee John Busby said no.

Gillingham kept pressing and Oxley made a good reflex save to deny Mark Byrne before tipping Stevenson’s low shot wide.

Eaves fired wide for the Gills and put a header from a corner wide. Wilkinson had another penalty appeal turned down while at the other end Ben Coker had a deflected effort rattle the bar.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Fuller, Ehmer, Zakuani (Wilkinson 68mins), Lacey (Stevenson 59mins), Byrne, Parrett, Reilly (Garmston 59mins), Eaves, List. Subs not used: Oldaker, Rees, Hadler, Ogilvie.

Southend: Oxley, Bwomono, Coker, Hendrie, Turner, Dieng, Cox, Yearwood (Lennon 90mins), Mantom, Moore, Robinson (McCoulsky 80mins). Subs not used: Bishop, Kightly, McLaughlin, Klass, Hutchinson.

Attendance: 5,584 (1,037 away)

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